The Need of Intercultural Communication

January 10, 2009

by Alain Bordier

As you can see in today’s modern World, Globalization is the main factor considered in every walks of life. Starting from small businesses to International trade organizations, Globalization plays an important role in the growth of the firm. As a result of Globalization, these organizations are in need of effective communication with the clients, suppliers and employees worldwide. This is where the intercultural communication comes into play. The need of intercultural communication is indispensable in the Globalized world. Just keep reading on to know more about the need of Intercultural communication.

What is Intercultural communication?

Intercultural communication can be defined in many ways. Basically Intercultural communication refers to the effective communication between people/ workers/ clients of different cultural background. People have a misconception that intercultural communication is all about dealing with different languages. Though Intercultural communication deals with handling different languages, it also includes managing thought patterns and non verbal communication too.

What is the Need of Intercultural communication?

It is a well known fact that the success of any International business depends upon the effectiveness in Intercultural communication. Though communicating with people of different cultures and languages will be very much interesting, the intercultural communication skills are hard to come by. Thankfully, with the advancements in technology, there are many kinds of translation services available today. These translation services help people to decode the message given in a different language. You can also opt for cross cultural training if you wish to develop intercultural skills and don’t wish to depend on anyone else for effective Intercultural communication. In the highly completive business world, Intercultural communication is also becoming competitive. As the success in International business depends on the Intercultural communication, the International businesses work hard in making their communication right. Delivering a presentation or negotiating with a supplier or providing assistance to a client, Intercultural communication has to be done right.

Developing Intercultural Communication skills

Starting from books to e-learning, the sources to develop Intercultural communication skills are unlimited. If you don’t wish to learn Intercultural Communication but still want to effectively communicate with people world-wide, the electronic translators are made for you. As the name indicates, these electronic translators decode the message into your native language for better understanding. With the help of these electronic translators, you will also be able to pass messages to the people around the planet in their language itself. You should remember that you’ve got only one shot to effectively communicate with the International clients/ suppliers for making a fair deal. Hence you shouldn’t take any risk in Intercultural communication for business. For accurate Intercultural communication you should always go with the professional translation services available out there.

Bottom Line

The success in Intercultural Communication depends on how people negotiate, meet, greet and build relationships worldwide. With the advancements in translation services and cultural awareness, International borders are not even speed bumps today.

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Intercultural Communication and Cultural Differences

January 5, 2009

Intercultural Communication and Cultural Differences

How People Are the Same and How They Are Different

By Eisla Sebastian

Takeaways 

  • All cultures have some form of language. 
  •  All culture have social roles based on age and gender. 
  •  All cultures have laws for controlling social behaviors that impact the entire group.

“People are alike, and people are different.” What a profound statement. This statement is an important concept in learning how to deal with intercultural communication issues, and with today’s population shift it is more important than ever to grasp it. In this essay we will examine how people are alike, and how people are different in relations to intercultural communication.

First, let’s look at how people are alike, and how these similarities relate to intercultural communication. Without trying to state the obvious, physiologically we are all basically the same, heart, lungs, blood, brains, etc. Also we all try to “seek pleasure and avoid pain.” (Samovar and Porter, 2001, 29). Protection of the ego is also a commonality among the human race as well. At some point in life we all realize that life is finite, that we are “isolated from all other human beings” (29), we all must make decisions, and that the world is given meaning by personal experiences. Also every culture has a language, a set of social rules based on the group member’s age and gender, and systems to regulate the community. (29). If we remember that we have these similarities then it is obvious that we are more alike than different. Using these similarities we can then relate to someone we thought we could not understand because they were “different.” And by altering slightly our views on the similarities, we can then begin to understand the differences in cultures.

“Members of different cultures look differently at the world around them. Some believe that the physical world is real. Others believe that it is just an illusion. Some believe everything around them is permanent, while others say it is transient. Reality is not the same for all people.” (Samovar and Porter, 2001, 29-30). Realizing that people “see” things different is key to intercultural communication. Knowing how to “see” as a member of another culture is difficult, because no two people are exactly alike, and therefore no two people communicate exactly the same way. If you can pick out the key elements to that cultures’ codes of conduct it will greatly increase the success rate of your communication attempts. Such differences in communication may include personal conduct such as how close or far away do you stand, is touching permitted, and if so, what kind of personal contact is permitted and what is expected. For example, because of the population density in Europe, people tend to stand very close together and touch a lot while conversing, while Americans, coming form a country with a relatively low population density tend to leave a great deal of space between themselves and others while they are speaking.

Another way in which people are different is their view of the world. For example the Egyptian worldview is based on Arabic culture. Businesses are closed on Friday because that is their holy day, as opposed to the Christian holy day of Sunday, when most American businesses are closed. The Hindus’ worldview, on the other hand, is based on a “set of interrelated assumptions and beliefs about the nature of reality, the organization of the universe, the purpose of human life, God, and other philosophical issues concerned with the concept of being.” (Samovar and Porter, 2001). As you can see knowing some of these differences will greatly increase your ability to understand and communicate more efficiently in an intercultural situation.

Knowing that “people are the same, and that people are different” is essential to effective intercultural communication. By learning to identify commonalties and adjusting them to the culture you are trying to communicate, and by learning the key communication codes of a culture you can avoid misunderstandings, and get your intentions across clearly.

References

Samovar, Larry A. and Porter, Richard. (2001). Communication Between Cultures, Fourth Edition. New York: Thomas Learning Publications.

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