Cultural Sensitivity

Course Overview

Manhattan Review’s cultural sensitivity training is based on the idea that as global citizens and members of the global business community, we need to respect and understand cultural differences in order to foster successful and meaningful communication. We are practicing business in an age where we must interact with fellow business people who man communicate differently down to the tiniest detail. Unfortunately, these details may go unnoticed by even the most culturally aware. Therefore, it is necessary that each one of engage in some sort of study in order to recognize where we can improve our cross-cultural communication.

When communicating amongst those raised in a familiar culture, speaking the same language and understanding the same mannerisms, we are usually capable of avoiding serious miscommunications that could result in some offense or someone feeling disrespected. When we travel or do business away from the safety of our culture, these risks become more pronounced and behaving in a disrespectful way is a possibility whether we mean to or not.

Our Cultural Sensitivity course takes an analytical approach towards the problem of communicating cross culturally. We will use linguistic and sociological methods in order to understand how communication works in different cultures. This is not in order to become an expert, but to be able to observe your own behavior and the behavior of others in a more educated way, with the goal of avoiding upsetting miscommunications and to foster growth between communities.

Any organization or individual seeking success in the business world must be able to communicate with those that speak other languages and use different communicative behaviors. In order to train you to be able to do this, we will look mainly at verbal and non-verbal ways of communicating, and trends that exist in different cultures. How close does one stand to another when talking? To what degree should one maintain eye contact?

In this age of telecommunication, it would be remiss of us not to attempt to discuss these issues in terms of ways of communicating other than in person. There may be an important discussion that could lead to a substantial deal for your company that takes place over the phone or email. What ways of greeting or saying goodbye are appropriate in other cultures? How does one address another person of a different rank? In some cases, these details that may seem insignificant to one may be tantamount to another.

We also discuss writing and presenting for a multi national audience. Whatever your country of origin, you must learn to think from a multi cultural perspective, and to express those thoughts the same way. You want your hard work to be understood and appreciated by everyone in the room. We will cover the body language that is involved when making a presentation or a proposal. We will also cover some techniques to enhance your writing so that the content will be as rich for you as it is for your readers.

There are other issues involved in cultural sensitivity that must be understood and observed not related to communication such as gender roles, diversity, and formality. For example, are men and women treated differently? Is it considered impolite to speak informally to someone? It is important to realize that individuals in other cultures may perceive things that we take for granted differently than we do. The space between us, the speed at which something is to be done; even what it means to be “successful may be drastically different from one culture to the next.

Importantly, one should not only learn to observe these differences, but also learn to be sensitive to them. In order to conduct meaningful and productive business, one cannot become hung up on issues of communication and behave as though their culture’s customs are superior, less superficial or more efficient than another’s. Manhattan Review’s Sensitivity course is about analytically understanding other cultures as well as developing a more emotional understanding. These two qualities in tandem will provide the grounds for a well-rounded global citizen and businessperson. Remember that learning to be globally conscious and achieving a high level of cultural etiquette takes practice and sometimes even some advice from experienced teachers so be ready to be patient, tolerant and accommodating. With that in mind and a lesson from Manhattan Review, you can be successful in any business environment.

Topics Covered

  • Communication in person
  • Communication over the phone
  • Eye Contact
  • Body Language
  • Direct vs. Indirect Communication
  • Perception of space and time
  • Perception of success
  • Gender roles
  • Levels of formality
  • Nuances of Politeness