The eighth tip in a series of tips on How to Broach Delicate Topics is to:
Learn from Scratch
As adults we already “know” how to do things. However, when we start a new job, move to a different country, adapt behaviors of a different culture, we may have to relearn what we already know with alterations or added twists. Rather than focusing on what needs to be changed which can be hard to accept and can put us on the defensive, the lesson can be comprehensive inclusive of all aspects of the behavior change from A to Z.
Learning to Wear Ethnic Clothes from Other Countries
A complete lesson in learning to wear a different ethnic dress will include surprising elements that we would take for granted in our own daily wear. Some of these etiquettes include: how to walk (on flat surfaces or up or down stairs), how to sit, how to decide which version of the dress suits different occasions, and maybe most importantly how to use the restroom without ruining placement of the dress. Learning to wear the sari has posed all these unique challenges and more. A comprehensive lesson from A to Z would assume I know nothing about sari etiquette and start from scratch.
Learning How to Handle Conflict in another Language and Culture
The ways of interacting vary from culture to culture. While some cultures are informal and people can be easier to approach; in other cultures we must be more formal and go through certain channels to approach people regarding our complaints. We would need to learn who to approach, how to approach and how to use our language (verbal and non-verbal) in the most appropriate way so that our complaint will not be taken offensively but as an opportunity to try to resolve the problem.
Starting from scratch, doing the A to Z method of teaching cultural etiquette can be coupled with other tips in this series including: Learn by Doing, Reference Points, and Same Gender Trainers.
Thank you for this tip, Scott McCall.
End of Tip 8
<--Read Tip 7 - Same Gender Trainers
End of tip series.
Thank you for reading this cross-cultural teaching tip series.
Jennifer Kumar helps Indians work and communicate more effectively with Americans without compromising their identity.