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What is an Intercultural Communications Consultant?

What is an Intercultural Communications Consultant?

If you’re fascinated by the interaction and collaboration between different languages and cultures within your place of work, you might find that becoming an Intercultural Communications Consultant is a natural career move for you.

As intercultural business communication becomes an increasingly relevant topic to companies across the world, Intercultural Communications Consultants are becoming necessary investments to help promote healthy work environments and continued business success.

First things first: what is intercultural business communication?

As discussed in our earlier blog post about the subject, intercultural business communication is the term used to describe the exchange of information between two or more cultures in relation to a business.

This can include conversations between employees of different backgrounds, collaboration between offices across various countries, or even marketing to a demographic different to your organisation’s current composition.

Globalisation has not only allowed companies to reach global audiences, but has enabled them to build increasingly multicultural teams as well. This opens an array of opportunities for business growth – as long as said organisations are able to effectively navigate cultural nuances.

Unfortunately, many are not fully equipped to take on the needs of linguistically or culturally diverse teams. This can result in workplace miscommunications, ineffective marketing strategies, or even failed expansions to foreign territories.

Being able to understand the differences of values, perceptions, and behaviours across cultures requires specialist knowledge, exceptional research and analytic capabilities, plus highly advanced interpersonal skills. That’s where an Intercultural Communications Consultant comes in.

Understand and critically analyse research relating to communication, language, culture, society, and business with our MA in Intercultural Business Communication:

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What does an Intercultural Communications Consultant do?

A professional in this position aims to help companies who cannot effectively support their multicultural teams or international ambitions themselves – typically due to a lack of experience and exposure to the languages or cultures involved.

Through analysing the specific cultural context relating to their client, an Intercultural Communications Consultant will aim to equip their organisation with the knowledge or systems needed to address any challenges in an informed, strategic manner.

This could occur in a variety of different ways, including:

• Facilitating constructive dialogue and reducing miscommunication across linguistically and culturally diverse teams

• Helping teams strategise and prepare for international projects that may involve demographics unfamiliar to them

• Introducing organisational changes that better serve a global business, from inclusive onboarding practices to hiring international managers to support global operations

What skills does an Intercultural Communications Consultant need?

As touched upon earlier, an Intercultural Communications Consultant is a role that’s heavily grounded in research, business strategy, and work dynamics.

This requires developing a few different capabilities. While a client’s requirements for an Intercultural Communications Consultant will certainly vary on a case by case basis, three key qualities most professionals will be expected to hold are:

1. A qualification in intercultural business communication: A professional in this role needs to have a strong academic foundation to cater to the needs of multi-cultural workplaces. This includes the investigative capabilities needed to inform their approach to new situations, knowledge of human resource management concepts, the ability to understand topics such as cross-cultural market segmentation, and much more.

2. Personal cross-cultural experience: Actual time spent living in or working with different cultures is just as necessary. While research can provide a base-level understanding of the opportunities and challenges that could arise in a multicultural context – this knowledge alone won’t be effective without the insights that can only be gained through real-world experience.

3. Bilingualism or multilingualism: While on the subject of language, bilingualism is another common requirement of Intercultural Communications Consultants. Given the various meanings, tones, and formalities associated with different languages across the world, it’s important that a professional in this role can appreciate the process of translating these differences in a meaningful way.

However, while there are many bicultural people who use their own experience navigating cultures to guide their judgement in new situations, they may not be able to assist mono-cultural people without the academic knowledge needed to effectively pass that understanding onto them.

Similarly, an individual with academic training but no experience of any multi-cultural situations might struggle to grasp certain nuances themselves, along with unknowingly excluding these during any work they perform for others.

Ultimately, becoming a successful Intercultural Communications Consultant means acquiring the experience needed to guide your career, with a lifelong commitment to learning as well.

Ready to start your journey towards a role like this? We’re here to support you all the way. Explore our online, part-time MA in Intercultural Business Communication course, or fill out the form below to speak with one of our Course Advisers for more information.

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