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Culture influences the way people behave. It is thus important to understand it in relation to global work place where professional communication is employed as well as at personal interactions.
Every country that has Multinational Corporation and other businesses dealing with international firms should recognize the fact that cross-cultural differences have a negative impact on the business communication (Hall, 1976). This paper is going to study Americans communication style and how it affects verbal and nonverbal communication style of other cultures.
In addition, it is going to look at how their communication patterns are evident in the workplace and in the personal interactions. Moreover, the similarities between American culture and other communication cultures will be discussed. Finally the paper will conclude by giving recommendations on how to deal with cultural differences in the business and personal interactions.
The Cultural Patterns Attributed to American Culture
Direct communication is one attribute associated with American communication culture. Americans believe that an individual ought to say what they mean and mean what they say. For them, the conversation whether formal or informal should be direct to the point. Reading between the lines during conversations is discouraged. In addition, people should uphold honesty in any communication. To them, other people’s feelings are not concerned; their concern is usually the truth.
American communication culture is the low context culture, that is, it is usually individualistic in that in the conversation, they believe that people are not very much conversant with the agenda. The conversation should thus be explicitly spelled out. In addition, they prefer verbal communication more than nonverbal communication. To them, nonverbal cues result to misunderstanding. For this reason face and its expressions are less important in communication.
They believe that giving and receiving information is the ultimate goal of the communication. They also encourage criticism and confrontations during conversation. Unlike other communication cultures, American values the purpose of communication or the task rather than the person. This is to mean that they don’t emphasize on the establishing personal relationships but they dwell on getting the job done.
The American Business communication style encourages them to discuss issues directly. They believe in talking less without wasting time. Moreover, the Americans are polite and friendly but do not keep relationship for a long time. They also use a lot of protocols in their language.
The Americans communication culture is comprised of verbal communication. It is usually task centered and involved the key personnel only. They meet to make decisions and do not consider relationships at all. They do not consult wide sources of information and thus the process is fast
Cultural Patterns in the Workplace and Personal Interactions
The American cultural patterns are normally evident in their work place and at the personal interactions. In the work place, the Americans do not like discussing issues openly. For this reason, they are seen as aggressive and rude by other cultures. Time management is also valued in their communication culture.
They thus discourage verbosity in their speeches in both the workplace and personal interactions settings. This is because they see it as wasting of time. Their culture is also evident during business meetings. That is, they usually tackle the agenda or the issue at hand directly. To them this is a sign of positive progress while to other cultures it is seen as meaningless discussion. In some occasions it may be seen as a way of brushing off the discussion (Hofstede, 1980).
When you meet the Americans for the first time either in formal or informal setting, they are usually friendly and polite. This is seen in their language in which they are usually concerned with the other party’s welfare. However, at later stages one realizes that it was just a protocol and they are not seeking long time relationship.
Moreover, Americans ask more personal questions in conversations. This is to mean that when it comes to private affairs they are open as compared to other cultures. This may sometimes be problematic since when involved at young relationships, other cultures may interpret it as intrusiveness.
Similarities and Differences
My cultural behaviors conform to that of Americans when I employ both verbal and nonverbal messages when conveying a meaning. In this way, there is no miscommunication since the Americans understand messages effectively in presence of words.
The two communicating cultures get along when I use direct and informal methods of communication. This is because they are not forced to read between the lines to understand the meaning. To them an effective communication entails putting everything on the table and speaking openly about an issue.
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Ineffective communication is also evident when dealing with the Americans. For instance, when it comes to saving a face, for my communication culture, face is important. This means that at no any time does my culture allow confrontation or criticism. This is because it is seen as embarrassing the other person. This is unlike the Americans behavior. To them, face is not important. Their concern is on the task of communication. They thus confront or criticize hence embarrassing others.
My culture also communicate in groups especially to those people they are close to. The communication is always intensive. That is, it is usually comprised of wide and detailed information. This is not the case with Americans. Their communication is basically at personal or individual level.
They give information that is only necessary for their work environment. The professional communication in my culture is thus effective. This is because we are formal and plan our meetings on time. Moreover, we attend meetings once we have agreed on something. The Americans are informal and usually meet without having made the decision on a particular issue.
In intercultural environment, effective communication can be attained by understanding other people’s culture. This means that they know what is expected of them while communicating. This includes the tone, language in terms of formality and body posture when talking to different people. The key point in having an effective communication in a cross-cultural environment; is to understand other people’s cultures and the things that make the difference between your culture and theirs (Moran, 1991).
An individual should be aware of differences that are as a result of different cultural background. First, one should be aware of contextual differences. These are brought about by different cultural contexts. They are associated with interpretation of messages during communication. In such a case, an individual should be able to differentiate a high and low culture context. For example my communication is high context.
For this reason we value and emphasize on non verbal communication unlike Americans who prefer verbal communication. Secondly, one should be aware of social differences as well as non- verbal differences. Socially, one has to know how to behave while communicating. In addition, one should be able to understand the meaning conveyed by non-verbal communications. This depends on different cultural environment.
Hall, E. T. (1976). Beyond Culture. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday.
Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values.Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.
Moran, R. T. (1991). Successful international business negotiations. Houston: Gulf.