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Small Biz Insider: Clear Communication in a Multicultural World with CEO of MasterWord Services

Published Nov 14, 2019 by Maggie Martin

The Small Biz Insider podcast is part of a digital series from the Greater Houston Partnership, where we highlight the innovative business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders of the greater Houston area making a big impact in the small business community. 

On this edition of Small Biz Insider, host Maggie Martin sat down with Mila Golovine. She is the founder, CEO and President of MasterWord Services. It provides translation, spoken and language interpreting, and other services to enable language access and ensure the success of international organizations.

Here are 5 key takeaways from Mila Golovine: 

Small businesses should make an effort to bridge different cultures together. Diverse teams achieve much better results than one where everyone is the same. “Diverse opinions allow us to look at multiple possibilities and come up with much more creative outcomes," said Golovine. She said the majority of business literature is geared toward Anglo culture, which is individualistic and highly competitive, while 70% of the world is representative of collectivistic culture, where the group result is valued more than the individual result. 

Don’t judge people based on your own biases. All of us have conscious and subconscious biases based on where we come from and what we’ve experienced. Be aware you’re going to pass that judgement. When you catch yourself in the moment doing that, ask yourself “why?” Go from that perspective and try to understand where the other person is coming from. 

It's very important for a business owner with a diverse team and/or diverse customer population to create a "company culture," where you set specific rules and say your company is diverse and open to questions.  

Over 90% of communication is non-verbal. Tone of voice and body language says even more than the words being said. And the body language can be different from culture to culture. For example, personal space as a concept is different in different cultures. 

Early challenges for a small business range from meeting payroll to generating steady cash flow and getting a bank loan. Golovine said she found inspiration through stories from entrepreneurs who got rejected over and over and just kept on going. “It’s having that support system and the idea that [rejection is] okay and learning how to deal with rejection. Knowing that you’re not the only one was the support I really needed.”

Be sure to listen to our Small Biz Insider podcast here. You can also find our Small Biz Insider videos and other small business resources.

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