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What is Cross-Cultural Communication?

The phrase cross-cultural communication describes the ability to successfully form, foster, and improve relationships with members of a culture different from one's own. It is based on knowledge of many factors, such as the other culture's values, perceptions, manners, social structure, and decision-making practices, and an understanding of how members of the group communicate--verbally, non-verbally, in person, in writing, and in various business and social contexts, to name but a few.

Like speaking a foreign language or riding a bicycle, cross-cultural communication involves a skill component that may best be learned and mastered through instruction and practice: simply reading about it is not enough.

A balanced cross-cultural training program provides participants with the knowledge, understanding, and skills they need to communicate and cooperate effectively across cultural barriers. Training programs may be conducted either independently of or in tandem with foreign language training.

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