Importance of Intercultural Communication and Soft Skills

Soft skills are crucial because these are the social skills that enable us to work effectively and "fit into" the workplace. Examples of soft skills include, showing initiative, demonstrating integrity and ethical behaviour, being motivated, and having a positive attitude.

Professional communication skills are another example of soft skills that are required to effectively exchange information. Examples of communication skills include, negotiating and influencing, interviewing and counselling, working in a team, and delivering presentations.

Both soft skills and communication skills are critical for effective interpersonal communication. This involves verbal and non-verbal elements of communication including words, gestures, and body language which differ from culture to culture.

Cultural differences influence both our communication and our behaviour. As a result of these differences, what might be considered effective communication in some cultures might be viewed as unclear or inappropriate in others, and in turn, impact communication with culturally diverse colleagues and clients. In addition to these differences, "workplace culture" (i.e., the collection of unwritten rules in the workplace) can be very different from country to country, and can prevent effective workplace integration. The need for effective intercultural communication skills among all employees is imperative in today's global workplace.

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