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Intercultural competence

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Intercultural Competence

Management in an international environment
Expatriation - preparation for foreign assignments
Intercultural competence training for sales personnel
Working with multicultural teams
Successful presentation to international audiences
Intercultural competence
International negotation competence
International project management
Conflict management in an international environment
Creative problem solving
Culture - a social phenomenon
Cultural differences in learning and teaching styles
Cultural filters in perception (sensitisation)
Culture shock
Self awareness

Your organisation's intercultural maturity

In an increasingly integrated Europe, sales and high-level personnel require intercultural skills as well as technical and social competence. Studies show that 40% failed international enterprises were due to lack of intercultural skills.

Intercultural competence includes awareness of one's own cultural patterns through increased knowledge of cultures and cultural sensitisation. Cultural training, whether in purchase or sales, provides strategic advantages in tactical and negotiation leverage that the competition cannot easily imitate.

Intercultural competence training is divided into the following three stages:
  • Cultural self-reflection: Cultural patterns are discovered, detailed and analysed in work situations. Improved understanding of one's own cultural imprint has advantages in domestic business as well as lays a foundation for better international performance.
  • Learning cultural interaction patterns and culture standards: Improved understanding in prior preparation for foreign business contacts gives strategic negotiation advantage.
  • Establish foreign cultural knowledge: Specific cultural patterns are trained and substantiated for the most frequently contacted cultures to ensure successful, long-term business relationships.

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Management in an international environment
Planning, goal setting, delegation, time and resource management, presentation, decision-making, feedback, evaluation are some of the central executive functions. These also include communication and ensuring motivation through openness, confidence and understanding to perform even in high-tension conflict situations. This module aims to illuminate cultural differences in management situations, enabling participants to deal well with employees from different cultures.

Expatriation - preparation for foreign assignments
Good preparation is essential for lengthy foreign assignments. This module does not only consist of presentation and discussion of practical checklists for international missions. Since German studies prove that up to 90% of early termination of international missions are attributed to family difficulties, the necessary attention is also given to the partner and children. Cultural preparation, it's meaning and possibilities are worked on comprehensively.

Intercultural competence training for sales personnel
Sales requirements differ from general managers due to focus on requirement and decision structures. Therefore, intercultural sales training is based on knowledge structures and tactical sales information. The (prospectively) most frequently contacted cultures are concentrated on, the resulting sensitisation serves to improve sales relationships within familiar cultures too. Cultures where the largest contact frequency exists and/or is to be expected are focussed on. Once again, the achieved sensitisation also helps in domestic sales interactions.

Working with multi-cultural teams
As opposed to homogenous teams, multi-cultural teams can potentially solve complex problems through diverse views and the resulting ideas and solutions. These synergies however, can only be exploited if cultural awareness exists in the team as a whole and if the team leaders are considerate towards cultural differences. Typically, these teams are difficult to manage due to culturally different perceptions of time, communication, relationships, risk, rules and standards, decision-making, etc. This training module illustrates how multi-cultural teams can utilise their potential fully by discovering cultural differences and transforming these into strategic advantages.

Successful presentations to international audiences
The best presentation may fail when it is does not meet the audience's requirements. Expectations of an accomplished presentation can differ markedly across cultures. Therefore, the most important presentation patterns are worked out and techniques for dealing with international audiences are practiced.

Intercultural competence
Intercultural competence is the ability to successfully interact with people from other cultures. This involves capabilities on many levels: positive attitude to other cultures, knowledge of the cultural differences coupled with appropriate conduct in intercultural situations. Empathy is an essential characteristic of a culturally sensitive person. It can be understood as the ability to intuitively grasp other points of view while temporarily suspending one’s own opinion and is an advanced state of intercultural sensitivity. Participants learn to question their own cultural peculiarities, to manage their emotions and train behaviour appropriate for people from other cultures.

International negotiation competence
Many international negotiations are begun without the necessary preparation. Strategies that were successful in the domestic environment may not be appropriate on an international level. In this module, a comprehensive palette of international negotiation competence areas is worked upon: right from preparation of negotiation goals and shaping negotiation situation options up to dealing with interpreters.

International project management
Though international projects are often attractive, they have particular risks as well. These are in part from stark cultural differences. Depending on the prevalent culture, the emphasis may be given to precise planning, perfect organisation, concrete implementation or teamwork. Therefore, international projects tend to be more arduous, time-consuming and expensive than those within national borders. Misunderstandings are not unusual and may threaten project progress. Analysis of intercultural factors may help in this situation. Once culture-specific mental models and courses of action are understood and respected, collaboration can be optimised. In this module, methods to analyse international factors are introduced on one hand and measures to optimise international project work are discussed on the other.

International conflict management
Most conflicts in international business come from false interpretation of behaviour and motives. Familiarity with differing cultural reactions to criticism, pressure, insecurity etc can prevent conflicts to a large extent. There are however, many ways to avoid escalation of existing conflicts and to reach satisfying solutions for all.

Creative problem solving
Problems in international business are often more complex and require different solutions than in domestic business. Standing by one’s own interests in difficult situations necessitates creativity. Therefore this module consists of creative techniques for problem solving.

Culture as a social phenomenon
This module aims to turn simplistic and stereotyping cultural understanding into the comprehension of culture as a complex system of orientation. Further, the origin and effects of stereotypes and cultural biases are demonstrated.

KCultural differences in teaching and learning styles
ESuccessful instructors reach students at their level of competence. Not only is this important for the choice of syllabus but also in the methods of instruction used. In an international environment, individual requirements differ widely. What are the roles of an instructor? Which positions do the participants take? Which teaching methods are most effective? How should instruction be given? These are the relevant questions for an international teacher, trainer or instructor. This training module provides an overview of differing expectations and their effects in teaching and learning situations as well as how to motivate culturally diverse participants to learn.

Cultural filters in perception (sensitisation)
Cultural learning always means “removing the blinkers” of one’s own unconscious cultural biases in perception. Getting to know new values and manners triggers one’s cultural identity to resist the suspension of one’s own perception of “normality”. Therefore, intercultural training initiates sensitisation for one’s own cultural imprint and its effects.

Culture shock
Overloaded human capacity to adapt over a long period of time in an unaccustomed culture leads to psychological and physical tension termed as culture shock. A normal and frequent phenomenon, it is part of the familiarisation with a new culture. Background knowledge and symptoms of culture shock are important tools to aid participants in handling stress situations. Further coping strategies are discussed as well.

Employee motivation takes on a new aspect in the international context since the effectiveness of motivation measures depend on employees’ cultural background. The value of status, promotions, development, salary, commendation as motivation differs across cultures. Participants learn to analyse culturally differing motivations and to take relevant measures.

Self awareness
Awareness of one’s own cultural imprint and value system provides a base necessary to comprehend foreign behavioural patterns. Insight into one’s own culture increases tolerance for cultural differences and behavioural and psychological influences, the relativity of one’s own cultural socialisation becomes clear. >

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