Globale Verantwortung

When people from different cultures come together, they sometimes lack a common ‚code of conduct‘, an unspoken agreement about what can and cannot be said. This is a matter of cross-cultural communication, which refers to the comparison of communication styles across cultures.

In addition, there may be differences of opinion about HOW to talk about difficult issues such as religion, racial discrimination, sexual harassment in the workplace, gender equality, corruption, LGBTIQ+, etc.

Intercultural communication refers to interactions among people from different cultures. It aims to create understanding, increase trust, build relationships and drive collaboration. However, intercultural communication can be challenging in various ways, particularly when it comes to addressing power imbalances, taboos, and dealing with stereotypes.

The training will show ways to address sensitive issues in a way that not only does not shame the other person, but at the same time makes them want to cooperate and develop. Participants will learn through practical exercises to communicate sensitive topics in such a way that there is no need for the conversation counterpart to withdraw, defend or counterattack.

Specifically, the training will address

  • power imbalances, hierarchy and authority: In many intercultural interactions, there may be significant power imbalances, where one party holds more authority or influence than the other. This can lead to unequal communication dynamics, where the less powerful party may be hesitant to express their views or concerns or where partner organisations tend to say whatever they believe the donor organisation wants to hear.
  • implicit bias, stereotypes and rigid gender norms: We all (unconsciously) hold biases and stereotypes that affect our perception and treatment of others, leading to unequal communication opportunities. Stereotypes can lead to preconceived notions and judgments about individuals or groups, hindering open and unbiased communication. People tend to interpret information in a way that confirms their existing stereotypes. This can lead to misunderstandings or reinforce negative perceptions (confirmation bias). Overcoming our own stereotypes but also countering stereotypes towards us is crucial for effective intercultural communication.
  • navigating sensitive issue: Raising issues that are considered sensitive or taboo in one culture may be necessary in intercultural communication. Discussing taboo subjects can lead to discomfort, misunderstandings, or even offense. This requires delicate handling and may require finding common ground or alternative ways of approaching the topic. On top of this it is important to we careful with one’s “wording” (e.g., vulnerability, Global South, aid)
  • communication strategies and negotiation tactics: Being an active listener and giving others a chance to express themselves can help address power imbalances and avoid misunderstanding. Practicing empathy by trying to understand the perspective of others and acknowledging the existence of taboos and stereotypes can lead to more respectful and productive interactions. Thorough planning for difficult talks helps to quickly adapt to the evolving conversation context.

The primary objective of this training is to equip participants with the essential skills, knowledge, and strategies required to effectively communicate and collaborate with diverse populations in various humanitarian contexts. The training will focus on fostering cultural sensitivity, understanding, and competence among participants.

On completion of the on-site training, participants

  • know about the influence of ‘culture’ as a set of social behavior and norms, values, beliefs in cross-cultural communication and how to adapt their communication styles and approaches to different cultural contexts while maintaining respect for local customs and norms.
  • are aware of power dynamics in communication settings and have reflected on their role in the communication process with partners in order to foster empathy and cross-cultural competence, to build positive relationships and mitigate misunderstandings.
  • have tried out practical communication strategies and negotiation tactics
  • have fostered peer-learning by sharing their experience with the gender policies, guidelines, handbooks, tool-kits of their respective organisations and can propose safeguards for internal-equality measures

Proposals should be submitted until 15/01/2024 to birgit.mayerhofer@globaleverantwortung.at.