Is Listening Crucial in a Multicultural Workplace?

“Do you ever get introduced to someone at a lunch meeting or a networking event, and before the conversation is over you forget the person’s name? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone.” (Crockett, 2017)

The average person only retains around 25%-50% of what they hear from another person or colleague, which means you only understand about half of the conversation.

However its not that people’s memories seem to go off the beaten path while conversing, but rather we just don’t listen to our full potential.

In other words, workplaces today can consist of many worker from different ethnicities. Although some might speak the same language and know what others are saying there is change in dialects, accents, and even wordplay. In order to become a more productive and stronger workplace you need to learn to listen. (Crockett, 2017)

While communicating with people from different countries and even states, its important to not only listen to what they are saying but to get the full meaning of it. By doing so problems and misunderstandings are prevented and innovations and productivity are propelled forward. Listening expert Janet Reid, a multi culture expert likes to call it “listening with empathy”, which means listening to how a person feels and their thoughts. “You have to slow down your knee-jerk reaction to talk over people and listen in the cadence and rhythm [of their culture].” This means you shouldn’t just rule peoples thoughts and interactions out, you should give them a chance and actually hear them out for what they are saying because they could be sharing valuable information.

Everyone knows consumer giant Proctor and Gamble. They make their employees listen to a training video called “Cultures at Work”. The video studies both high context cultures and low context cultures, that way you can learn to become a sensitive, and patient cross-culture listener.

Everyone should respect others culture in the workplace and actual start listening to what they have to say and feel that way we can become a better society and advance not only the workplace but ourselves.