Are you the owner, executive or manager of a corporate enterprise or smaller business that deals worldwide? Then you’ll probably be familiar with the challenges associated with hosting large video conferences with attendees from different cultures.
Multicultural video conferences can be tricky to lead. You need to ensure that you can brainstorm ideas, make decisions and clearly get your points across. This all has to be done while making sure everyone in the meeting understands exactly what you are saying, is comfortable with how you are presenting and doesn't misinterpret anything.
By bridging cultural divides, you will be able to bring different cultures together and ensure everyone is working to achieve a common goal.
But how exactly can you ensure you do this and what exactly do you need to do differently to your standard video conference? Genesis Integration has put together four quick tips that will ensure your organization is ready for a multicultural video conference.
1 - Be mindful of cultural differences
One of the most important aspects to think about before hosting a multicultural video conference is how different cultures may interpret certain factors in your meeting. This could include anything from how much small talk you should make before getting down to business, how to address a specific person, how to disagree with certain points, what your body language could mean and much more.
There are so many different aspects of a video conference that could be interpreted differently by people from other cultures. While it’s important to be mindful to those, it’s also important not to obsess over them as well.
You should take some simple steps to adapt your management style to be respectful, although not too rigid with cultural norms that could leave attendees feeling uncomfortable or could leave attendees missing the entire point of your meeting.
2 - Set an agenda with clear expectations
Some attendees of your meeting that are from a hierarchical culture may feel uncomfortable when it comes to speaking their mind, criticizing ideas, openly disagreeing with a point, giving feedback or even sharing their opinion in front of the group.
Meanwhile, some cultures have a strict approach to the timings of how a meeting should run, while others see the start time as an approximation and the finish time as a flexible number that could be significantly earlier or later depending on the meeting.
To ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of their input and the timing of the meeting, it’s crucial that you set a clear agenda for your video conference with transparent expectations of how the meeting will run.
By addressing the different cultural approaches in your agenda but at the same time setting some clear ground rules, you’ll be able to create protocols and establish norms that everyone in attendance will understand before the meeting begins.
3 - Double-check your meaning has been understood
It’s important that you always confirm the meanings of what has been said, while making sure to avoid the possibility of coming across as patronizing. Cultural differences can lead to different assumptions of certain words, phrases, symbols, pictures or conversation.
After discussing a topic, ensure that everyone in the meeting agrees with the general consensus of what has been discussed. This should also be done just before the meeting finishes. By summarizing the entire meeting and concluding any conversations, agreements and disagreements, you’ll be able to make sure everyone is on the same page.
4 - Ensure you have an effective audio visual solution
Since your video conference will be hosting employees from all over the world, it’s absolutely crucial that your business has an effective audio visual (AV) solution in place. Innovative AV technology will ensure that your video conference technology will run seamlessly for everyone involved.
An AV solution designed by a professional audio visual solutions provider, such as Genesis Integration, will be even better. In fact, an AV solution designed for the specific needs of your business will boost collaboration and ensure nothing goes wrong halfway through a meeting.
Want to learn more about how we can design an AV solution that’s tailor-made for your video conferencing needs? Contact the Genesis Integration team of experts today.