Don’t Let Cultural Differences Make Meetings Unproductive
When you’re running a meeting with people from different cultures, how do you brainstorm ideas, make decisions, and address conflict in a way that’s comfortable for everyone? First, read up on the variations that exist among the cultures represented, but don’t get hung up on how people from certain cultures are supposed to act. Keep in mind that when it comes to professional meetings, one of the biggest cultural differences is the degree to which open debate and disagreement are viewed as a positive. Establish some guidelines up front to help everyone understand how the meeting will run, then provide incentives for people to follow the meeting protocol. Finally, encourage colleagues to get to know each other outside of meetings so that cultural differences aren’t such a big deal.