Canadian Communication Styles

Canada:

Canada is officially bilingual and this fact needs to be recognised in your dealings with the country. Thus it is politic to provide French translations of any marketing and promotional literature to be used when trying to enter the market (especially in the area of Quebec.) It can sometimes be somewhat difficult to find exact translations for obscure technical terms, in which case using the English phrase would be acceptable.

One striking difference between the US and Canada is that Canadian communication patterns are much more low key. Reserve, understatement, diplomacy and tact are key attributes and contrast sharply with the more direct approach of many Americans.

However, it would be wrong to assume that Canadian communication patterns are more akin to, say the British approach, because although not as confrontational as some other cultures, Canadians still like to be direct and say what they mean. It unusual to find Canadians using overtly coded language. 'Yes' will usually mean 'yes' and 'no' will mean 'no'. Canadians see evasive language as suspicious and would prefer any problems to be put onto the table for discussion.

An increasing reliance on technology means that much intra-company communication is solely email based with phones used 'in an emergency'.

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