Organisme Formateur agréé par Emploi-Québec - Agrément # 0057911
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Tips & Co. #312 - Cultural differences … when «Yes» actually means «No»

When working with customers of different cultures we should be aware that the way we communicate and what we communicate can be interpreted differently.

One example is when you are explaining something and the customer is saying yes and nodding his head throughout the interaction. Within our culture we have a tendency to assume that those verbal and non-verbal clues mean they agree to what we are saying and understand what needs to be done. It may be quite frustrating when you realize at the end of it all that he didn’t agree or didn’t understand.

This is a common predicament when working with cultures that favour politeness over frankness.Particularly in Asian countries, it is common for people to agree to do a task even when they don’t know what they're supposed to do rather than ask for further instructions.

To avoid not really knowing whether a customer understands what you are explaining or requesting, ask them to repeat back the information.This way you can work out whether you need to change what you are saying to get your message across.

Remember that politeness over frankness generally means you will find it difficult to have discussions and feedback, you will have to seek it proactively and not expect it naturally.

Trucs & Astuces #313 - Votre attitude fait la diff...
Trucs & Astuces #312 - Les différences culturelles...

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