Connecting Cultures: Building Cultural Competence Among Airport Employees

Global Arena provides highly-specialized intercultural training programs to an international airport in Pennsylvania. The intent of this training was to build a cross-cultural toolset that allowed our client to promote a business environment where each participating employee, independent of their cultural background, felt respected, valued, and contributed up to their inherent potential.

This particular program was delivered to a group of American employees traveling to China on business. In order to customize the program to the trainees’ specific needs, each one of them was asked to complete an assessment questionnaire in order to gain an understanding of each participant’s own cultural lens. The training was facilitated by a highly qualified cross-cultural expert with extensive international experience, specifically in China – US relations, and supported by a native Chinese resource person.

The scope of the training was to educate the American employees traveling overseas on what to know from a cultural perspective before their trip. They learned how to generate a good impression on their Chinese counterparts in order to create a trustworthy environment as the foundation of their future relationship. This program was designed to enable participants to examine cultural differences, understand how they influence cross-cultural interactions, and how to apply these concepts in order to generate a successful cross-cultural business partnership from the very beginning. Participants learned skills that promote effective relationships and good communication with their international colleagues. Some of the topics that were covered included:

• Comparison of U.S. American cultural perspectives with those of the Chinese
• Business Etiquette Guidelines
• Social Etiquette Guidelines
• Strategies for interacting successfully with the Chinese
• Impact of cultural differences in communication styles
• Strategies for communicating successfully across language barriers

As result of this intercultural training session, all American participants were able to establish the foundation for a solid business relationship with their Chinese counterparts. American participants embraced and understood the meaning of trust in a Chinese cultural setting and understood that the trust component was absolutely primordial to achieve a successful business relationship in this specific cultural setting. Therefore, trainees focused and exercised in the understanding and appreciation of cultural differences with their Chinese counterparts. As a collateral benefit, trainees were also able to improve communication with people from other cultures by learning methods to overcome language barriers and understanding both non-verbal and verbal communication. Additionally, they developed culturally appropriate strategies for dealing with cultural differences in business customs and social protocols and learned how to identify specific situations where misunderstandings are likely to occur and develop appropriate response strategies. All attendees coincided that the cross-cultural concepts that they learned and practiced were eye-opening and help them to optimize, and in some cases redefine, their business approach strategy and goals based on the cultural learnings. Trainees became very excited about their upcoming trip and reduced their level of anxiety, as they were now well-prepared and knew what to expect ahead of time.

This is Global Arena’s last installment of the 4-part blog series about our Intercultural and Cross-cultural training programs and how we help our customers to improve their chances of international success. We will continue publishing success stories about how we have helped and we are helping companies across the world to build successful business relationships and have a positive impact on their bottom line by starting on the right cultural foot. If you want to discuss how our experts can help your organization’s international operations, do not hesitate to contact us.

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