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Strategizing ahead of time

Do you take the time to plan ahead and think intentionally about the best way to interact with diversity or cross-cultural differences? CQ planning requires you to strategize before a multicultural experience.

A high CQ strategy: planning person considers the opportunities and the challenges of relating and working in a multicultural situation. A person with low CQ strategy places limited value on planning ahead for intercultural or diversity experiences.

One way to practice CQ planning is to prepare ahead of time for cross-cultural social interactions. Is the social event informal or very formal? Will you be expected to greet others in the prescribed manner? Might the seating arrangements and placement have significance? It may not be the best idea for you to immediately sit down in the closest seat. In some cultures, that specific place at the table may be reserved for the most important person at the meeting.

A second way to plan and prepare in a strategic way is to manage your expectations. Your cultural background may provide you with a mindset to frame your hopes and fears. Maybe you are expecting this business meeting to immediately forge a new business partnership. When the meeting involves relationship building and nothing about business or partnering, you need to manage your expectations. In some cultures, business will only happen after the relationships are developed.

The third strategy for planning is very basic and simple. Create a checklist. Think about it. All complicated tasks require a checklist. Airline pilots, astronauts, divers, surgeons, and even chefs require a checklist. Working across diverse cultures can be disorientating. A checklist can be a lifeline.

Think of a few ways you might prepare better before a cross-cultural encounter and then mark this step complete.

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Develop Your Cultural Intelligence

Purdue University

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