Effective Communication, Essay Example
Effective communication with people who are different from us can positively impact our own personal identity. When we are able to communicate effectively with those who are different from us, whether the differences are because of gender, ethnicity, age, disability, or race, we always learn something new. What we learn can be as complex and groundbreaking as a new way of looking at life, or as simple as a new favorite food. It can be a new word for an old favorite, or a in-depth realization of life from another’s perspective. Whether what we learn is big or small, of great or of little impact on our day-to-day lives, it becomes a part of us and influences our own lives and personal identity. Another way of describing this is to say we gain cultural fluency. Reaching to understand others often requires reorganizing our thinking, and so our personal identity is affected. Effective communication with those who are different also gives us a greater self-awareness and self-knowledge.
The positive impact on our personal identity that comes from effective communication with people who are different from us makes it easier for us to understand other people’s communication. When we become aware of the lenses we ourselves view the world through, it makes it easier to identify and switch lenses when communicating with another person, in order to see through the other’s lense and better understand their motivation, point-of-view, or way of doing things. One example of this can be seen when comparing high context and low context societies. Conversations in high context societies include a lot of information about a topic, where conversations in low context cultures give out less information, relying on previous information and/or body language to be noticed and used to fill in the context. Direct vs. implied communication. When we can recognize what level of context a certain individual is likely to use when communicating and adjust our own context, the bridge of understanding is crossed much quicker.
Many of the articles on the internet covering the topic of cross-cultural communication are written from a business communication perspective. An ever increasingly global and more connected marketplace requires those who enter business professions to be able to communicate effectively with individuals from other cultural backgrounds. The article “Cross Cultural Communication Needs…” is located on Kwintessential Ltd.’s website, a contract company that provides cross-cultural communication training to groups and individuals in the business world.
This article discusses five requirements needed for effective cross cultural communication. These effective communication requirements are applicable not only in business, but to communication with those different from oneself in any context. The five communication needs covered in the article are listening skills, speaking skills, observation, patience, and flexibility.
Regarding listening skills, the point is made in the article that though speaking skills are often emphasized, listening skills are as and sometimes more important when engaged in cross cultural communication. Listening attentively is necessary in order for one to understand their communication partner’s meanings, implied information, and to allow for empathy with the speaker. Listening skills are most effective when used along with speaking skills that involve positive speech, clearly phrased requests, and sensitive deliverance of opinions. Observation of people’s clothes, body language, and behavior can also help to increase understanding between parties. Flexibility in the form of willingness to reorganize one’s thoughts and embrace cultural differences is also necessary for effective communication, along with patience in the face of misunderstandings. (Kwintessential Ltd. , 2012)
Kwintessential Ltd. . (2012, September 7). Cross Cultural Needs. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from Kwintessential Ltd. : http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&id=1191&lang=en&layout=edit&view=article
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