Communication is very important because it enables different people to understand one another. Without it, it would be impossible for people to socialize at their workplaces, in social gatherings and other meetings. However, communication barriers emerge when the people involved come from different cultural backgrounds. Different cultures are associated with unique assumptions with regard to face-to-face communication and this makes effective delivery of messages difficult. Communication barriers necessitate the need for individuals to know how to overcome them and engage in meaningful communication.
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I once experienced a cross-cultural communication problem with my Chinese friend. He spoke very fast, so I urged him to take it slow in order to enhance our interaction and understand each other. He spoke so fast such that most of the times I did not understand what he said. This was a major problem within the first few days of our meeting because I kept on requesting him to repeat his words. Urging him to slow down for me to understand him was a tip that proved to be useful since it enhanced our interaction. Whenever he spoke very fast, I requested him to moderate his speed for me to understand him well. I also moderated my speed and eventually, we interacted without any communication barriers.
Another important tip that I applied effectively as I interacted with my Chinese friend was active listening. Whenever he said something that I did not understand, I restated it to ensure that I understood well. In addition, I asked frequent questions and this gave me a chance to get clarification from him. Being active in our interaction enabled me to capture everything he said. In addition, I sought more details on anything that was not clear. This changed my attitude towards our discussions since I understood every bit and they become enjoyable. Initially, they were boring and tiresome because I struggled to understand.
The most persistent block that seemed to hinder our interaction in terms of understanding each other was cultural assumption. My Chinese friend constantly used slang, phrases and jokes that were unique to the Chinese language. Since I was a non-native speaker of the language, I always urged him to refrain from the use of phrases that I did not understand. Ideally, non-verbal and verbal communication highly relies on shared attitudes and cultural beliefs. This implies that for effective interaction, the speakers involved must be familiar with the sets of cultural beliefs and attitudes.