Whether we recognize it or not we live in a global marketplace in which markets are local.
In years past it very rarely crossed our minds that we – when I say we I’m talking about us as individuals – would be interacting with both partners and customers from around the world on a daily basis. We knew the hot buttons, morays, and culture of our markets because our clan was part of the market. Today that really isn’t the case. We communicate with ex-patriots in Eastern Europe, have running dialogues with Australians, and have partnered locally with a friend who matured in the business environment of China.
We all deal with an amalgamation of local markets to service our customers. It thus behooves us to understand cultural orientations and how it influences an individual’s perception.
High & Low Context Cultures
The concept of low and high-context cultures is a way to understand different cultural orientations it was first introduced by Edward T. Hall in “How Cultures Collide” in the July 1976 edition of Psychology Today.
Low-context cultures: messages are explicit and specific
High-context cultures: more meaning resides outside of words and in the context (background, associations, and basic values).
People Like People They Know
What does this mean for us? We need to be aware of how our innate phrases are interpreted. For example, high-context cultures operate with much less legal paperwork, a great deal is placed on person’s values and position in society; their word truly is bond. In business, the person, who showed an interest in his counterpart, wins every time over those who are aloof and shows no interest in understanding them, whatsoever. Take the time to align your mindset around who you are communicating with and their cultural disposition.
It should be noted that although a county’s / region’s tendency can be classified there are exceptions within subcultures.