23. - 24.06.2016 in Fürstenfeldbruck
Successful International Business Competency
02. - 03.05.2016 in Landshut
Successful International Discussions
06 - 07.10.2016 in Nürnberg
Successful International Trade Shows
11. - 12.04.2016 in Olching
Successful Presenting to International Groups
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Training from Business People
for Business People

Intercultural Business Competency

Intercultural business competency is the ability to communicate and cooperate successfully in challenging business situations with partners from diverse cultures.
The intercultural business competency of management and staff is an important part of the success of all organisations which do business with partners from other cultures; particularly those which deal with customers face-to-face.
The majority of expatriate assignments which need to be terminated prematurely, joint ventures or international negotiations which fail, do so mostly because of a lack of intercultural business competency of the parties involved.
Intercultural business competency goes beyond stereotypes and cultural do's and don'ts. It is a key business skill and decisive competitive edge in global business.


Executives with intercultural business competency save time and money for themselves and their companies. They are able to negotiate better terms and conditions with customers from all countries. This immediately improves profitability and secures a faster return on investment.
Executives with intercultural business competency reduce losses caused by unnecessary friction and delays between partners. They are able to quickly build smoother cooperation with partners from all cultures. This increases efficiency and productivity.
Executives with intercultural business competency consistently deliver superior results and achieve business targets. They are able to more quickly gain the status of preferred business partner. This increases brand and customer loyalty and ensures continuity.

Dynamics of a Relationship

The dynamics of a business relationship can be compared to an iceberg.
On the surface, the objective and established “hard facts” of a situation appear to be clear: Product knowledge, organisation and technical expertise.
Beneath the surface, the subjective “soft facts” may be hidden from view, but their presence is clearly felt. This larger and more powerful part is made up of the individual interests, emotions, feelings and needs of the parties. Effectiveness comes from deep down, not from the surface.

On the surface: the facts as they seem.

Below the surface: interests, emotions and needs.

Effectiveness comes from deep down, not from the surface.

When there is a collision of objective and subjective elements, this mostly results in friction, delay, disagreement, conflict or rejection.
A person who is trained in intercultural business competency deals with both sides of a situation, the rational, as well as the people “soft-skills” side.
“Soft skills” are the cluster of personality traits, social graces, habits, friendliness, optimism and communication style, which affects every person to a varying degree, and which makes us the unique individuals that we are.
Furthermore, intercultural business competency also requires characteristics such as:

  • Understand culture and cross-cultural knowledge
  • Interest in other people and cultures
  • Ability to adapt and empathise
  • Ability to build constructive dialogue
  • Ability to network and moderate meetings
  • Ability to integrate and work in a team
  • Ability to be assertive and deal with conflict
  • Ability to negotiate and persuade others

Areas where intercultural business competency is necessary:

  • Giving speeches and making presentations
  • Conducting discussions with customers and parters
  • Moderating meetings with international partners
  • Selling products and services and negotiating
  • Customer service and technical support
  • Virtual teams and international projects
  • Training and coaching people
  • Motivating and managing staff
  • Exercising leadership

Training of Intercultural Business Competency

Developing intercultural business competence is a life-long process. It comes through experience, reflection and training. It can be developed through a variety of development techniques, which may include cultural briefings, cultural profiling, case studies, cross-cultural workshops, coaching and training.
Training effectiveness is dependent on the use of relevant business examples, based on presentation, communication, selling or management situations.
In particular, role-play exercises need to be professionally conducted, analysed and qualified feedback provided.
The success of this type of approach is dependent on the international exposure and business experience of the trainer. This experience should, where possible, have been made at different levels of management in service, trade and industry; as well as in the head office, overseas subsidiary and as buyer.

Communication, Language and Accents

How we speak, our choice of words and tone of voice give us away. Our partner senses our attitude. No matter how hard we try to hide a negative attitude or our true feelings, they always get out for our partner to feel, hear or see.

When we are aware of the impact of our communication on others, which is only possible through qualified feed-back, this helps us to be more successful in face-to-face discussions, emails and on the telephone. We not only know “what to say” but also “how to say it”.

Difficult to understand accents can make communication difficult and can put a strain on relations. Intercultural business competency provides practical techniques to avoid friction and work more successfully together.

Minimising friction, delays and conflict

It is not the facts which separate people and lead to conflict, but their underlying interests, emotions and needs. It is not companies which do business, but people. Therefore, business goals can only really be achieved when peoples’ interests and needs have also been sufficiently satisfied. Intercultural business competency provides effective techniques to achieve win-win.

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