Why is it important to be aware of customs and practices of other culture when communicating?
Communicating in a diverse world is important in today’s age of global business. Effective communication in a diverse environment may require critical thinking. It may require people to study their surroundings and think critically about how to communicate effectively in situations, which can vary from culture to culture.
Communication is a two way process when we communicate with someone, we translate the thoughts and information we want to convey in messages to be communicated. These messages consists of the words we speak or write, the way we speak, our body language and so many other symbolism including things like road signs and traffic signals. Our message is than transmitted or conveyed to the intended recipient of the communication, who then converts the message back into the thoughts and information. This reconverted thoughts and information is what is understood by the recipient.
The way we convert information in messages and messages back into information is influenced heavily by background and culture of the person doing this conversion. I remember, nearly sixty years back, at the age of five, I was familiar with radio and with movies, but I had not seen a television at that time I thought of television as a radio that also shows movies. Many years later my three year old son, who was familiar with television but had never been to a movie, was amazed when he first saw a movie and remarked "Oh! so big TV". You would perhaps refuse to believe that some parts of the world wool grows on plants and honey comes out of reeds. But this is the way Marco Polo (1254-1324 B.C.), a Venetian traveller described cotton and sugar cane found in India to his countrymen.
Unless we are careful that the message that we transmit, due to cultural differences, may be interpreted by the recipient in way quite different form the way intend by us. This problem of communication increases with increasing diversity of background and culture between people. Therefore, wile communicating with people from other cultures it becomes necessary to understand their culture and background, so that we can design our messages to understood correctly.