Cultural differences intrigue me…why people are the way they are and do the things they do. It’s fascinating to learn the history that influences cultural norms and to see how cultures evolve.
Everyone within a culture is unique, but it’s helpful to have a general knowledge of a culture in order to communicate effectively with a person in that particular culture. This is true in business and social interactions. Without understanding a person’s culture, his/her actions are likely to be misinterpreted. For instance, in a business meeting, some people may not be as inclined to voice their opinions as others who are outspoken. Instead of assuming people are shy or don’t have anything to contribute, they could be brought into the discussion if the others were aware of a cultural norm related to how to speak in meetings.
As one of my new habits, I’m considering a regular post on culture. I would like to change people’s perplexed “Why do they do that??” question into an enlightened exclamation of “Ohhhh! I understand now!”