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The Intercultural Communication, Essay Example

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Intercultural communication involves the verbal and nonverbal communication techniques that are used amongst different cultures to express thoughts, opinions and concepts (“Intercultural Communication” 1).  This type of communication is present in our everyday life.  One of the fantastic benefits of living in the United States is the cultural melting pot that continues to grow, evolve and shift over time.  For instance, racial trends and statistics in the country have shifted greatly to the point where the Latino population is now the largest populations in the country.  The number of minority demographics in virtually every city have changed and shifted every single year the U.S. Census study is conducted.  Furthermore, business, recreation and social experiences have forced us to consider cultures outside what we consider the norm and begin to examine the ways in which each culture communicates – especially with one another.  To illustrate these changes and growing issues, this report will examine concepts that I have learned and how to apply them to my professional and personal life.

One key component of intercultural communication is that the customs of each culture and race that are considered to be acceptable and normal may be considered offensive and inconsiderate to another.  For example, people have arguments and altercations in every aspect of life.  The term “hate” is thrown around very loosely in the American culture; whereas, other cultures from Central America, the Middle East and India may consider this to be a very serious threatening word.  This is not always a threatening term in the United States.  We can say that we “hate that guy” but we do not actually mean that we emotional have hatred in our hearts for that individual.  Meanwhile, in other cultures some individuals consider the term “hate” to be just as a bad as a curse word.  Others believe that “hate” is a term used to wish harm upon another person.  It is amazing how a simple term, phrase or word that we hear every day can be viewed quite differently in another culture.

The second important concept regarding intercultural communication is the myriad of nonverbal communicatory examples that speak much louder than words.  The way that a person dresses, their facial expressions, their behavioral habits all speak very loud and are interpreted by other cultures much differently.  One example of nonverbal communication is from Latin American cultures.  Many individuals in Latin America will kiss cheeks with one another to say hello just as Americans would use a handshake.  However, in America a kiss on the cheek can sometimes be considered much more than that and can be viewed as a term of endearment which can be taken the wrong way (“How To Greet” par. 2).  It is important when communicating with other cultures to be knowledgeable of these customary behaviors and nonverbal examples that may be the cause for incorrect interpretations of their meaning.

By understanding these differences in intercultural communication, we can improve the ways in which we value intercultural relationships, conversations and interactions both verbally and nonverbally.  To improve my personal life, I now take the time to ask questions of people from other cultures.  I want to understand what it means when they say something, make a gesture or behave in a particular way.  Too often, I have found that we make incorrect assumptions of other cultures simply because they are “different.”  Oftentimes, it is difficult to speak with someone over the phone who is from a different country or has a thick accent – not only does it make communication difficult, but both individuals can often assume that the other person is incompetent or unintelligent.  Through becoming more educated about intercultural communication, we can work to defuse these incorrect assumptions and the dangers that they cause to break down effective communication and the opportunity for individuals of other cultures to have relationships with one another.  The United States is a growing intercultural community and we cannot fear change or differences just because of someone’s skin color, clothing or verbal accent.

Works Cited

“How To Greet Latin Women With A Kiss On The Cheek.” International Dating | Foreign Women | Foreign Brides | Latinas. 7 Apr. 2010. Web. 15 July 2011. <http://www.globaldatingrevolution.com/culture/how-to-greet-latin-women-with-a-kiss-on-the-cheek/>.

“Intercultural Communication.” Communication for Governance & Accountability Program. The World Bank: CommGAP. Web. 15 July 2011. <http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTGOVACC/Resources/InterculturalCommweb.pdf>.

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