Culture Bump Quick Action Tips

Simple action points can help you begin to connect beyond differences in your daily life.

Now that you have been introduced to the Culture Bump Approach, there are many ways you can learn more. Culture Bump offers several types of courses for individuals and groups. Check out the Training section for more information.

But, you may be asking, “Is there anything I can do without having to take a course?”

Yes there is. Here are a few Culture Bump Quick Tips.

Culture Bump Quick Action Tips

Enlarge your idea of Culture

Use the term culture bump

Be mindful of your emotions

Be aware of your own Cultural Understanding.

STOP SELF-REFLECT RECONNECT

Enlarge your idea of culture

We usually think that we have Culture Bumps (or differences) with those born in a different country or with a different ethnicity. However, if we enlarge our idea of Culture, we realize that we can have Culture Bumps with anyone who is different than us - even our mothers! Some of the different cultural groupings that we can belong to include:

- Gender
- Age
- Religion
- Personality types (Dry humor, Quiet, adventurous)
- Different cities or locations in the same country
- Different types of jobs (business people, professors, craftsman)
- And more

Each of these differences may cause people to see, interact, and understand the world differently. Their actions, intentions, and meanings may be different or similar to your own. So next time someone does something you don’t expect, look for what cultural differences might be at play!

This action tip coincides with Step 1 of the Culture Bump Protocol.

Use the term Culture Bump

When you see something different or see someone doing something you didn’t expect or would never do in a certain situation, stop and call it a culture bump. It is a simple yet important step. Referring to a situation or a difference as a culture bump actually stops the brain from its normal thought pattern.

Normally when the brain see an action or behavior, it tries to find the intention or meaning behind the action in order to make sense of what is happening around us. But if there are cultural differences at play, we can easily misinterpret intentions and meanings, leading us down a road of misunderstanding and even stereotyping.

"Simply calling it a culture bump helps your brain to stop its automatic response of assuming knowledge of people’s intentions and prepares you to look at the situation objectively to understand the cultural differences impacting the incident."

By just saying “Wow, that was a culture bump,” allows our brain to recognize that our normal set of parameters for judging the meaning behind someone’s action will not work for that situation, and that we don’t have enough information to be able to make an accurate assumption about their intentions. Simply calling it a culture bump helps your brain to stop its automatic response of assuming people’s intentions and prepares you to look at the situation objectively to understand the cultural differences impacting the incident.

This action tip coincides with Steps 1-3 of the Culture Bump Protocol.

Be mindful of your Emotions

Emotions are a large part of why culture bumps feel so disconnecting and separating. With every culture bump you have, you will feel different and, sometimes, conflicting emotions. You might feel confused, displeased, embarrassed, uncomfortable, superior, or inferior, etc. These emotions can create a feeling of separation between you and the other person since our feelings toward a person can often influence our opinion of them.

"It helps lift the weight of the incident, and allows you to start seeing the cultural differences without being influenced by all the emotions that they created."

So take some time to review the situation and list everything you felt. It helps lift the weight of the incident, and allows you to start seeing the cultural differences without being influenced by all the emotions that the "bump" created.

This action tip coincides with Step 4 of the Culture Bump Approach.

Come to know your own Culture

When we see someone do something we would not do, a natural inclination is to try to figure out their intentions and the meaning of their actions. You might notice yourself asking them “Why do you do this this way?” or looking it up on the internet. Even though it is a natural inclination, it is not enough to actually help you handle the situation or other similar situations in the future.

This is because there is not just one, but two cultures influencing the situation - theirs and ours. We can try to consciously understand their culture, but very often forget that we don’t always consciously understand our own. In fact, we are almost completely unconscious about our own cultural behavior. If we try to manage a culture bump by only understanding their expectations and motivations, we will not be able to fully understand our own expectations, nor why we reacted as we did.

"If we try to manage a culture bump by only consciously understanding their expectations and motivations, we will not be able to fully understand what really happened. Furthermore, we lose an opportunity to understand why we reacted like we did." In other words, we lose an opportunity to really understand what makes us tick!

In order to understand that, think about what you would have done in that situation and the kind of character traits you would be demonstrating with those actions. You might say “I would nod my head when they are talking and that shows them that I am polite and engaged in the conversation, etc.” Following this action tip will allow you to not only fully understand the situation that happened, it will also prepare you to deal with the same culture bump if the situation were to happen again.

This action tip coincides with Steps 6-7 of the Culture Bump Approach.

These four tips summarize some of the steps of the Culture Bump Approach. While you can use this list as a starting guide, the best way to incorporate these strategies into your life is to use the Culture Bump Approach Steps themselves. By answering the eight simple questions of the approach, you will be able to recognize, manage, and understand any culture bump from start to finish. You can try them on your own here or you can register here for a training that enhances your communication and cultural skill set.