Strategies for Effective Multicultural Communications

An experienced public relations professional based in Riverside, California, Patrick O’Reilly serves as president of OPR Communications. In this capacity, Patrick O’Reilly spearheads the creation of PR strategies spanning public affairs, media relations, and crisis communications. His Riverside firm has received a number of accolades since its inception in 2001, including the title of PRWeek Public Relations Firm of the Year and multiple Public Relations Society of America honors in specialty areas such as multicultural programs.

As organizations seek to be successful in a culturally diverse world, it is imperative that they consider elements of effective multicultural communications. According to public relations scholars such as Virginia Sheng, this practice involves first acknowledging the interdependence of their cultural publics, noting the ways that the company and its customer demographics impact each other. While cultural sensitivity training can support the effectiveness of communications efforts, PR professionals should also consider the impact that their own backgrounds and attitudes may have on their multicultural communications strategies.

In addition to being sensitive to the experiences and perceptions of different cultures, effective multicultural PR strategies highlight the value of diversity. Showing respect for diverse perspectives may include developing symmetrical communication strategies that allow a firm’s PR representatives to open two-way dialogues and build long-term relationships with the company’s target audiences. When conflicts arise, meaningful multicultural public relations strategies focus on negotiation and compromise as effective methods of resolution.

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