How good are your intercultural communication skills? See how you would react in these 10 scenarios to give you an idea of how you might succeed in communicating across cultures.


There is no time limit.

When you answer questions, try to do so instinctively and quickly, rather than trying to figure out what is being assessed.


 

1. You are negotiating in a foreign country that is completely new to you. At the point of trying to close your deal, you ask the host if they like your proposal. They smile and nod. Just to make sure, you ask “So that means yes, right?”. They reply, “It is clear, correct.” How do you think you interpret this?

 

They are saying it’s obvious that they agree and are making the point that it was rude of me to ask
They are saying they haven’t really made up their minds yet and are hoping you understand that
They are saying the pitch was a disaster and are politely trying to get rid of you

2. When crafting an email to a colleague/client in a foreign country, which of the below is standard practice for you?

 

I always check the email a few times and try to simplify the vocabulary
I always read the email to check I haven’t made any spelling mistakes
I always send the email without worrying about it because life is too short

3. If a colleague of yours were new to working or dealing with people from ‘face sensitive’ cultures, which of these would you offer as advice?

 

Remember not to discuss others’ shortcomings in a group environment
Remember not to be too formal in your communication during the early stages
Remember not to smile when talking with people as it’s considered rude

4. When communicating with people from different cultures, which is true for you?

 

I never treat men/women differently and interact with both sexes in the same way
I treat men/women differently depending on what I understand to be appropriate

5. When giving you some feedback, a colleague in your global team says, “Were you drunk when you wrote this?” and laughs before proceeding to offer some advice. Would you be…?

 

Offended
Annoyed

Grateful
Suspicious

6. If working in a global or multicultural environment, which of these is true when it comes to asking closed questions, i.e. ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers?

 

They are generally helpful because they allow people to show commitment
They are generally unhelpful because they don't allow people to check for comprehension
They are generally taboo and should not be allowed in any sort of work communication

7. Which of these applies best describes you?


I never change my communication style regardless of who I am talking with
I sometimes change my communication style if I like the person I am talking with
I frequently change my communication style taking the other person's style into account

8. Which of these best sums up your feelings about small talk, chit chat and discussing personal affairs when initially meeting people within the work context?

 

It is inappropriate and I don’t like it
It is fine and I tolerate it
It is insightful and I enjoy it

9. If you had just experienced a confusing phone conversation with a colleague/client from a foreign culture, which of these would best capture what you say after the call?

 

“Wow, they’re so confusing. I’ll just ping them an email to work out what they’re saying.”
“Wow, I bet I’m confusing. I’ll try that call again tomorrow and work out how I can improve.”
“Wow, that was a waste of time. I’ll get someone else who understands them to make a call.”

10. When replying to people’s questions, I usually…

 

Just say what I think and what I believe is right at the time
Always process what they’ve asked me a few times before replying
Have an answer ready before they finish their sentence
Do my best to protect other people’s feelings

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