Compelling news from the refugee and migrant sector
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cross cultural communication essential for new arrivals

7 December 20150 comments

Communicating vital information to a multitude of people that possess different languages and cultures can be a difficult but often lifesaving necessity.

Understanding seemingly simple procedures such as instructions in an emergency can be impossible when the appropriate communication techniques aren’t in play.

Cross cultural awareness is essential for effective communication

Cross cultural awareness is essential for effective communication

That’s why education of essential information through universal signs and symbols and cross cultural communication techniques are necessary but often forgotten about.

Everything from buying a car to being aware of depression can be made significantly more difficult through language barriers and inability to access ‘common sense’ information.

Through enlisting these specialised techniques, marketing and communications company ‘BeInSync’ has provided potentially lifesaving information to people throughout Australia and the world.

The company provides swift and effective communication across any cultural and linguistic field for government organisations and not-for-profits.

During her 25 years’ experience working in communications, BeInSync Director Sally Guilloux-Cooke has developed distinct techniques for reaching diverse cultures.

“By providing information in an engaging manner without the use of words, that is able to be understood across a wide cultural group, is a way to help new arrivals feel more at ease. It also arms them with important information to help them know what the rules and requirements are, which may be very different from their own culture,” said Sally.

Their creations include storyboards and animations that provide essential information such as what to do in emergencies and our rights in Australia.

The storyboards involve colourful imagery of culturally diverse families enacting step-by-step instructions while the animations use universally understandable movement and imagery to relay important information that cover topics from lodging complaints to heatwave instructions.

These unique forms of communication have only recently begun to be explored and implemented, their importance within our society finally being understood.

“I spent two and a half years of my Bachelor degree studying cross cultural and non-verbal communication at San Diego State University in the USA. This was something that at the time was not offered in Australia,” said Sally.

Though now companies are beginning to provide cross cultural communication techniques, BeInSync is unique in its depth and breadth of understanding of how signs and symbols work across a multitude of cultures.

“Our years of testing across a wide cultural spectrum has provided us with a unique Intellectual Property which is really what adds value for our clients.”

As more people become aware of the need to communicate in a way understandable by people from all cultures, a diverse range of companies are enlisting the help of BeInSync.

“We have started to move into working with corporate agencies that also have important community messages they need to communicate,” said Sally.

Sally believes that this increasing recognition of the need to understand as a community is a quality that is already inherent in us as humans.

“We all constantly interpret signs and symbols in our daily lives without necessarily being aware of it. It is this that connects us as humans and I think that is what probably would be good to make people more aware of. It is this ability that we share that allows us to communicate effectively across a universal platform.”


Ruby Brown
AMES Australia Staff Writer