If there’s one thing young, aspiring entrepreneurs should be doing to prepare themselves for the future of business and commerce, it’s gaining multicultural experience. The more you enhance your global skillset, the greater your chances of being successful in a diverse business landscape.
Grow Your Global Skillset With These 5 Tips.
The internet has permanently changed the business world in more ways than one, but one of the more noticeable effects has been the way in which it has removed cultural borders and enhanced collaboration with people from a variety of backgrounds. Understanding this, here are some powerful ways you can grow your global skillset and set yourself up for long-term success.
1. Read Lots of Books.
The easiest and cheapest way to start learning about different cultures is to read. Reading gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture without ever leaving your bedroom. It also allows you to learn from other people’s experiences.
Before traveling to another country or meeting with someone who has a different background, try to read some relevant books. If nothing else, this will add some cultural context to your experiences.
2. Travel the World.
There’s something to be said for studying up on other cultures through books, movies, and secondhand conversations, but these methods pale in comparison to traveling the world and experiencing cultures firsthand. And if you travel with a purpose, you’ll find that you’re much more aware of what’s going on around you.
“Each time you have an experience or encounter with someone from another culture, reflect on what happened. Evaluate how well you did,” Dr. Louise Rasmussen writes for Global Cognition. “You might ask a friend, a colleague, or even another member of the other culture. It’s important to find someone you trust. This may mean looking for answers in more than one place.”
Reflecting on your experiences gives you an opportunity to truly digest what you’ve learned so that the lessons and principles can be applied at the appropriate time. Don’t miss these chances.
3. Learn a Second Language.
Learning a second language doesn’t just open up doors in terms of job opportunities – it also improves your skills and potential in dozens of other areas of life. And the earlier you learn a second language, the more helpful it’ll be in your life. (This is something Dr. Judy Willis, a board-certified neurologist, discovered in a study.)
“Compared to monolinguals, the studied bilingual children, who had had five to 10 years of bilingual exposure, averaged higher scores in cognitive performance on tests and had greater attention focus, distraction resistance, decision-making, judgment and responsiveness to feedback,” Willis explains.
4. Study Abroad.
If you’re still in school, don’t miss out on opportunities to study abroad. Study abroad programs often cost the same as on-campus tuition, so there will never be a cheaper time to see the world and experience new cultures.
5. Develop a More Diverse Social Group.
If you’re only hanging out with people who look like you, think like you, and like the same things as you, are you really doing yourself any favors? You’re putting yourself in a bubble and pretending that everyone is the same. By developing a more diverse social group – ethnically, religiously, politically, and culturally – you’ll start to see the world through a new lens.
Look Beyond Yourself.
A lack of empathy for different cultures will significantly hamper your ability to be successful in what is a rapidly evolving business world that’s no longer defined by cultural borders. You must look beyond yourself and start growing your global skillset today. In doing so, you’ll build yourself a much stronger foundation.