Relevant, Supportive Cross-Cultural Training

International companies operate not only across borders, but also across cultures. Culture profoundly influences how people think, communicate and behave.

An awareness of, and sensitivity to, cultural differences, particularly in relation to organisational hierarchy, etiquette and communication, are a pre-requisite for anyone working across international markets.

An appreciation of cultural differences may be instinctive, but the actual knowledge of the relevant culture needs to be learned. This knowledge can of course be acquired ‘on the job’, but investing in cross-cultural training for employees will avoid potential embarrassment, misunderstandings and costly mistakes, and ensure smooth and effective working relationships with colleagues and clients across the globe.

Language Matters can support your employees with generic cultural awareness training and with cross-cultural training for specific countries and regions. An effective approach is to run a general cultural awareness course followed by a country or region-specific programme.


“Learning the Malay language with Fatimah was a lot of fun. Her relaxed style very quickly put me at ease and the content and structure enabled me to quickly grasp the basics. Fatimah also provided me with many cultural insights and do’s and don’ts. These supplemented the excellent package of information that Nelly provided during the cultural briefing. All of this preparation paid dividends, as I gained respect from my new colleagues very quickly and I have settled into life in Malaysia easily.”

James Millard
Supply Chain Manager, Coffee & Beverages, Nestlé

When can cultural training be beneficial?

Working in a global team

Companies are increasingly operating with international teams.  In order to maximise the performance of these teams, it is essential that colleagues understand the challenges of global teams and the differing attitudes, communication styles and expectations that are likely to prevail within the group.  Mutual appreciation and training in cross-cultural skills can be invaluable in harnessing a more efficient and successful working environment.

Entering a new market

Expanding any business into a new country can be fraught with complications, far beyond the logistical and market considerations. Cultural sensitivity and a thorough understanding of the economic, social and business practices of that country are essential when engaging in cross-cultural business. Understanding the environment of the relevant market can save time and embarrassment and ultimately make the difference between winning or losing new business.

For global mobility

When employees relocate to take up roles in other countries, the success of the assignment will depend on much more than their ability to do the job. The assignee will need to understand the new business culture, but it is just as important that they and their families settle easily and happily into life in the new country if the assignment is to be a success. This can be more readily achieved if training is provided to prepare them for their transition to the new country.

Working with a foreign parent company

Joining a new company can be daunting at the best of times. Working for a foreign parent company with an unfamiliar business culture can add to the challenges. Training in the language, culture, expectations and management style of the parent company can be invaluable in assisting employees to adapt to the new company culture.

Our Training Programmes

Our cultural training programmes are designed to give you the knowledge and skills you need to work successfully in different cultural environments.

Each course is tailored to the specific requirements of the individual, couple, family or team, but typically includes:

  • An awareness of culture and culture shock
  • Country briefing: an introduction to the history, economy, politics, people, religion and language(s) of the host country
  • An understanding of the cultural values, attitudes, beliefs and customs
  • Communication style: engaging people, effective business communication, verbal and non-verbal communication differences, body language, personal space
  • Cultural values and attitudes in the workplace, women in business, dress code
  • Doing business in the target country: management and working styles, negotiation styles, hierarchy and status, office dynamics, working alone or in a group, team-building, running a meeting, the perception of time
  • Social interactions and building relationships: dining out, entertaining, giving of gifts
  • Do’s and don’ts of living and working in the host country
  • Practical advice on living and working in your new environment