Where Do You and Your Clients Fit on the Culture Map?

Erin Meyer2

Erin Meyer told attendees that people from cultures who communicate in “high-context” ways tend to have the most trouble understanding each other when working in a business relationship.

You’re used to working with American home buyers and sellers who, for the most part, expect straightforward answers and quick, hassle-free customer service. But when you’re working with foreign clients from Asia or the Middle East, you’ll need to build a more personal relationship and learn how to “read the air” when they speak rather than rely on the literal meaning of their words.

There’s a wide difference in the expectations of a business relationship across cultures, Erin Meyer, global business communications expert and author of The Culture Map, told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago on Friday. During her session, “How Cultural Differences Affect Your Business,” Meyer presented her research on the distinguishing characteristics of customers across the world.

“Low-context” societies—of which the U.S. is the most extreme example—focus on clarity, simplicity, and explicitness in communication. That may make it difficult for you to interact with clients from “high-context” societies—of which Japan is a prime example—which rely more on implicit and nuanced communication. People who communicate in high-context ways likely don’t want you to concentrate on the particular words they use; instead it’s best to try and understand the meaning behind their words, according to Meyer.

Because the verbal word is more open to interpretation in high-context societies such as Asian cultures, you may have a tendency to consider clients from those regions as uncooperative or less forthcoming with their true opinions, Meyer warned. On the other hand, they may perceive your straightforwardness as condescending or arrogant. “Think carefully about your intuition and how to use cultural bridges to communicate more effectively,” Meyer said. “Ask clarifying questions and consider whether you really need to repeat yourself. … Most times, silence is better than filling the space with repetitive communication.”

It’s also important to understand how people from different cultures process negative feedback. In the United States, we tend to use “downgraders,” or terms that soften negative feedback, such as “kind of” or “a little bit.” That may clash with the habits of clients from Russia, for example, who tend to punctuate direct negative feedback with “upgraders” such as “absolutely” or “definitely.”

“We’re taught in the U.S. to give three positives for every negative,” Meyer said. “But with downgraders, by the time you get to the real message you want to send, the customer won’t hear it.” Take a look at where certain countries fall on the scale of direct to indirect negative feedback.

Negative Feedback

There are also different methods for building trust across cultures. In the U.S., we tend to favor a task-oriented approach. “When you show up on time and do what you say you will, then you’re considered trustworthy,” Meyer said. But people from Brazil, for example, favor “cognitive trust” based on building a genuine relationship and revealing your true self. In such a case, a two-hour lunch to talk family and personal background may be more important than punctuality and follow-through.

“How friendly you are with clients is not the same as being relationship-oriented,” Meyer said. “You have to get personal to show your respect to them.” See where different cultures fall on the spectrum of trust-building.

Trust

Take Meyer’s Culture Map quiz to find out how your communication preferences match up with other cultures.

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REALTORS® and Habitat for the Win

This Wednesday and Thursday, the REALTORS® Volunteer Build returned to Chicago, where it began in 2001. Learn how NAR members partnered with Habitat for Humanity and other volunteers to create more homeownership opportunities in West Pullman in REALTOR® Magazine’s Daily News.

For a tour of the site, check out this playback of our Facebook Live broadcast Wednesday:

Here’s a slideshow featuring many of the volunteers in action:

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How to Improve Your Credit Score in 7 Simple Steps

Improve Your Credit Score in 7 Simple Steps

How to Make It Onto the Cover of REALTOR® Magazine

One of the questions REALTOR® Magazine staff hears most often in casual conversation with members is, “How can I get my photo on the cover of the magazine?”RMcoverstar_med

Well—as past NAR presidents, Good Neighbor Award winners, and a few 30 Under 30 honorees can attest—it’s not easy. That’s why we decided a few years ago that it might be fun to offer the opportunity for anyone to snap a selfie in front of a larger-than-life version of our magazine at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo. It was such a hit that we’ve been creating new covers every year since then (check out the #RMcoverstar feeds on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram to see for yourself).

So, if you’re in Chicago for the conference this year, be sure to stop by our kiosk in Hall F2 of the McCormick Place Convention Center for a souvenir your whole social feed will love. You might even score a free selfie stick from sponsor Lone Wolf Technologies!

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Open House in Nutley Today!

23 Cottage Place, Nutley, NJ

$ Click for current price
3 BEDROOMS | 3 (2 full, 1 half ) BATHROOMS |

MASSIVE PRICE REDUCTION!

mint condition home in the spring garden section of nutley, this 3 bedroom 2.5 bath home has everything, stainless appliances, wood floors, large master with bath, deep lot, long drive way, and more. this classic home sits on a dead end right near park, the landscaping is meticulous and the paver and block work are flawless, home has a nice open floor plan and finished basement newer appliances and utilities the home is move in condition!


Elite Homes

Open House Tonight 6-7pm at 23 Cottage Place

Open House Tonight 6-7pm at 23 Cottage Place

Another Home Sold in Nutley!

54 Carrie Ct Was Just Sold in Nutley NJ

54 Carrie Ct in Nutley NJ

To Get Higher Sale Price, Client Could Refinish the Floor

What does it cost to make old hardwood floors look new again? Let’s say it costs $3,000. That’s a lot of money, especially for owners who just want to get their house on the market and be done with it. But of all the remodeling projects homeowners can do to increase the resale value of their house, refinishing the floors is right up there at the top.

RemodelingOf course, no one can predict with certainty if an investment will pay off, but recent research suggests owners who redo their floors will get their investment back, and maybe a bit more. New windows and a new roof are also cost-effective ways to get a higher sale price when the home goes on the market.

The cost-effectiveness of almost two dozen remodeling projects is analyzed in research NAR put out a few weeks ago in partnership with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. The findings are detailed in the latest Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR.

Tax reform

The video also looks at why NAR is concerned with the tax reform framework that members of Congress and the Trump administration are looking at. The framework seems like a win for middle-income households because it calls for a near doubling of the standard deduction, but what often gets lost in the debate is that it also calls for the elimination of the personal exemption and the exemptions for dependents. Depending on family size, whatever gains one gets from the higher standard deduction would be wiped out by the loss of the exemptions. Meanwhile it calls for eliminating most itemized deductions, including the deductions for state and local taxes, which means many households that now itemize would be better off taking the standard deduction. As a result, they would in many cases end up paying more taxes.

On the plus side, the framework leaves the mortgage interest deduction in place, but that’s not going to be enough for most homeowners to itemize. Without the state and local tax deductions, many would still find themselves choosing the standard deduction—and paying higher taxes as a result.

The video also looks at why 1031 like-kind exchanges are so beneficial to commercial real estate, why home sales are expected to drop despite continuing strong demand, and what to do to keep your transactions on track in the weeks after a natural disaster.

Access the video.

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28 Bell St Sold in Belleville New Jersey

28 Bell St, Belleville, NJ

$ Click for current price
3 BEDROOMS | 2 (2 full ) BATHROOMS |

GREAT STARTER HOME WITH FULL IN-LAW SUITE IN NICE PART OF BELLEVILLE, CLOSE TO TRANSPORTATION AND BUS TO NYC THIS AFFORDABLE HOME IS GOING TO GO FAST!


Elite Homes

Selling Your Home?

Selling your home

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