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Discussion topic: Discuss one factor you need to take into consideration when communicating across cultures.
100-150 for each reply
All communication is influenced by cultural background. One critical cross-cultural factor is whether the country falls into a high-context or low-context culture. In high-context communication, a great deal of background information is required so a message can be understood. African, central European, Arab, Asian, American-Indian and Latin American cultures are generally considered to be high-context cultures.High-context cultures use communication that focuses on hidden context, meaning, and tone in the message, and not just the words. By contrast, low-context cultures expect messages to be specific, clear and direct. The UK, Australia and the United States are considered low-context communicators.
Understanding behavioral differences should be considered to avoid misunderstandings. Different cultures have guidelines about what is considered suitable behavior. In some countries, looking someone in the eye when they are talking is considered impolite, while in other cultures refraining from doing so is considered rude. Immediately addressing the purpose of the communication may be considered impolite by some cultures, who normally began with chatting before the discussion. These differences can be obstacles to effective communication if they are not considered.
I think language is an important factor influencing cross-cultural communication. When we travel abroad or work overseas, we expect some degree of communication problems. Our attention is fixed in the foreign language itself, language classes and how many foreign languages will be spoken. However, the mistake most of us make is that our communication problems only come from linguistic differences, and this problem can be solved through a complete language course and learning how to translate our own native language thinking into a corresponding foreign language, and it is certainly beneficial to use and understand the local languages of the countries we visit.
It takes special skills when you’re communicating across cultures. Courtesy and respect help establish a good foundation for effective communication. People know they have your respect and feel comfortable when you respond in a courteous manner. This helps them to open up and are willing to ask you questions when they don’t understand something. When you make people feel comfortable they will listen to you better.
I think a major aspect everyone needs to take into consideration when communicating across cultures is respect. In today’s society respect is lacking not only from culture to culture, but throughout a single culture as well. Just because one person does something one way does not mean everyone does it the same, or agrees. Having different opinions or cultures is inevitable and respecting the other opinions or cultures even if you disagree is really important. Not having respect only causes more miscommunication and disagreements.
One huge factor you need to assess when communicating cross culturally is personal space. There are many cultures where it is appropriate to be right in somebody’s face while you talk. I used to work in a Behavioral medicine unit and our Asian doctors were often very close when they spoke with patients and the patients sometimes got a little disturbed by that. Those doctors had to recognize that their culture was different then the people they were dealing with and adjust accordingly.