Understanding Cultures for Effective Communication

As the world flattens and our multicultural workplaces expand, cultural competence is one of the most valuable business skills we can acquire. Culture underpins how individuals present themselves in the workplace, and knowledge of culture is critical to improving communication and relationships among our colleagues and customers. This program provides a basic understanding of culture and the specific behaviors that culture affects, particularly in a business setting. Learners will be introduced to the characteristics, values, and behaviors of high-context vs. low-context cultures and have the opportunity to practice navigating communication situations with each of these groups. Learners will also learn and apply best practices for effective cross-cultural communication, identify barriers to cross-cultural communication, and reflect on their personal cultural characteristics as well as those of their organization.


  • Define culture
  • Describe how culture affects behavior
  • Compare high-context/relationship-based cultures with low-context/rules-based cultures in a business setting
  • Explore strategies for effective cross-cultural communication
  • Explain how respecting cultural differences can lead to a reconciliation of differences


  • Techniques for “reading between the lines”
  • An understanding of the general cultural assumptions and expectations of others
  • Skills for bridging various communication styles
  • The ability to communicate respect and empathy to global counterparts

Supported Competency Focus Area(s)


In-person: Full  or half day

Virtual: 4 hours (two 2-hour modules)



Ready to bring this program to your organization?