SIDS Program Manual Trainer's Guide SIDS & Infant Death Program Manual and Trainer's Guide


Strategies for Working With Multicultural Training Groups

Cross-Cultural Communication

To improve cross-cultural communication skills, trainers should:

  • Avoid statements based on stereotypes. If generalizations are used, they should be clearly labeled as such and modified with terms such as many or some.
  • Appreciate the different ways that people from various cultures engage in group discussions. Silence, for example, has a different meaning, depending on personal experience and cultural background.
  • Ensure that all participants have an opportunity to express their ideas to the group during discussions.
  • Remember that participants have different levels of proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and understanding the language used in a training session.

Even with all cultural considerations in mind, there is no substitute for exercising judgment in considering how, what and when to address various issues during a training. Almost any training activity has the potential to be culturally offensive when facilitated by someone who does not demonstrate respect for participants. Demonstrating respect for participants is crucial and opens the door for mutual growth and learning.

Body Language and Movements

Trainers must also be aware of the different ways people share information. In addition to speaking, people use body language, physical contact and body movements to express themselves. Be aware that the appropriateness of personal space, touching, physical contact and eye contact can vary depending on cultural norms, personal experiences and personal preferences.