What is an element of cross-cultural communication that can impact on the effectiveness of the communication?I am to write an essay for school which requires me to discuss an element of...

What is an element of cross-cultural communication that can impact on the effectiveness of the communication?

I am to write an essay for school which requires me to discuss an element of cross-cultural communication that can impact on the effectiveness of the communication. Some elements of communication, in general, are for example..eye contact, facial expressions, personal space, tone/use of voice (Paralanguage), gestures/body language (Kinesics), assumptions/steroetypes, etc.

Now, in this assignment I have to tie one of those elements with the aspect of different cultures i.e. the potential cultural differences in the interpretation of facial expressions, for example (about 1 element of communication). So yeah, and how these cultural differences lead to an ineffective communication.

Umm so yeah, I just wanted to know if you guys have any ideas for me. Feel free to suggest any ideas you have since I'm only at the brainstorming part of my assignment. Thanks in advance :)

Asked on by jiggle-boi

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are many ways in which the sorts of elements that you mention can have an impact on the effectiveness of communications between people of different cultures.

For example, the culture in which I grew up frowns on eye contact.  This is especially true when dealing with a person "superior" to you.  It is deemed disrespectful to look a "superior" in the eyes.  In America, people think you are untrustworthy if you do not look them in the eyes.  This makes for ineffective communication between Americans and those from cultures like the one where I grew up.  One person is trying to be respectful, the other thinks they are being evasive.

The concept of personal space does this as well.  I have Japanese friends who are very much more conscious of personal space than most Americans tend to be.  If a person tries to get to what an American would see as a normal distance, my friends get nervous and uncomfortable.  Once again, this would diminish the effectiveness of communication as a Japanse would be wondering why the American is so pushy while the American wonders why the Japanese is so aloof and cold.  Neither would be able to concentrate on their communication.

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