Communication Across Cultures

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Communication Across Cultures Group Members: Farah Ahmed Sahrish Darjat Umaima Siddiqui Urooj Sheikh

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Cross Cultural Communication We communicate the way we do because we are raised in a particular culture and learn its language, rules and norms.Different cultures ( & sub culture) may have different rules & norms. Understanding the other’s culture facilitates cross cultural communication.

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Uncertainty & anxiety Generally, in communication, we seek to reduce uncertainty. Communication with strangers involves relatively greater degree of uncertainty, due to the difficulty it predicting a stranger’s responses.

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Strategies to reduce anxiety One may passively observe the stranger. One may actively seek out information from other friends of the stranger or from books. One may seek information directly from the stranger by interacting with them & asking questions.

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Context Context in which the communication takes place affects the meaning and interpretation of the interaction Cultures are either high- or low- context

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Context In high-context cultures, feelings and thoughts are not explicitly expressed; instead, one has to read between the lines and interpret meaning from one’s general understanding. In low-context cultures, where personal and business relationships are more separated, communication media have to be more explicit. Feelings and thoughts are expressed in words, and information is more readily available.

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Comparative Management Focus: Communicating with Arabs Arabs are warm, emotional, and quick to explode The language experts communicates the Arabic culture as one of emotional extremes Contains means for over expression What is said is not as important as how it is said

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Comparative Management Focus: Communicating with Arabs The core of the culture is friendship, honor, religion, and traditional hospitality. Women play little or no role in business or entertainment – it is a male-dominated society.

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Managing Cross-Cultural Communication Cultural Sensitivity Careful Encoding Selective communication Careful Decoding Appropriate Follow-up Actions

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Cultural Sensitivity When sending a message make it a point to know the recipient Encode the message in a form that will most likely be understood as it is intended This means the manager must Be aware of their own culture The recipient’s culture The expectations surrounding the situation

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Careful Encoding The sender must consider the receiver’s frame of reference to make the best choice regarding Words Gestures Remember that language translation is only part of the process, consider the nonverbal language as well

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Selective Transmission The channel medium should be chosen after considering: The nature of the message Level of importance Expectations of the receiver

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Careful Decoding of Feedback Best means for obtaining accurate feedback is face-to-face interactions Best means for avoiding miscommunication is to improve your own listening and observation skills Three types of miscommunications: Receiver misinterpreted the message Receiver encoded response incorrectly Sender misinterprets the feedback

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Appropriate Follow-Up Actions Respect (eye contact, posture, tone, etc) Interaction posture – ability to respond in a descriptive, non-evaluative, and non-judgmental way Orientation to knowledge – understand that your beliefs and perceptions are only valid for you and not everyone else.

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Forms of Nonverbal Communication Facial expressions Body posture Gestures with hands, arms, head, etc. Interpersonal distance Body contact Eye contact

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Differences Between Japanese and American Communication Styles Japanese Style of Communication Indirect verbal and nonverbal communication Relationship communication Discourages confrontational strategies Strategically ambiguous communication Delayed feedback Patient, longer term negotiators Uses fewer words U.S Style of Communication More direct verbal and nonverbal communication More task communication Confrontational strategies more acceptable Prefers more to-the-point communication More immediate feedback Shorter term negotiators Favors verbosity

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Differences Between Japanese and American Communication Styles Distrustful of skilful verbal communicators Group orientation Careful while making decision. Softer, heart like logic Avoids decision making in public Promotes verbal communication. More individualistic orientation More confident, self-assured Harder, analytic logic preferred Frequent decision making in public

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Differences Between Japanese and American Communication Styles Makes decision in private venues, away from public eye Uses go-betweens for decision making Understatement and hesitation in verbal and nonverbal communication Frequent decisions in public at negotiating tables More extensive use of direct person-to-person, player-to-player interaction for decisions May publicly speak in superlatives, exaggerations, nonverbal projection

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Differences Between Japanese and American Communication Styles Uses qualifiers, tentative(unsure), humility as communicator Receiver/listening-centered Shy, reserved communicators Distaste for purely business transactions Mixes social and business communication Favors fewer qualifiers, more ego-centered More speaker- and message-centered More publicly confident Prefers to “get down to business” . Tends to keep business negotiating more separated from social communication

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Differences Between Japanese and American Communication Styles Utilizes matomari or “hints” for achieving group adjustments and saving face in negotiating. More directly verbalizes management’s preference at negotiating tables.

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Interpretation of Hand Gestures The following slides will cover some of the common hand gestures with their meanings. You will be surprised to know that some gestures that you perform almost casually has a really different meaning in different cultures.

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Thumbs Up

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Thumbs Up The thumbs up sign in most American and European cultures meaning things are going according to your plans or something you approve of. In Australia, a thumbs-up is generally perceived as meaning "terrific“. In Brazil, thumbs up means ‘thanks’

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Thumbs Down

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Thumbs Down The thumbs down sign obviously means the opposite of a thumbs up sign. It is an indication of something that is bad or something that you do not approve of. It also indicates that something or someone has failed. The thumbs down sign is not used as often as the thumbs up sign. This is a rude hand gesture and an arrogant way to indicate failure.

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Thumbs Down Hand Sign Fingers Crossed

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Thumbs Down Hand Sign Fingers Crossed Crossing of fingers is considered as a sign of wishing for good luck or fortune. It also may interpret that someone is hoping for something good to happen. The cross may have originated from the Pagan symbols that means to ward off evil. Many times people cross their fingers before telling a lie, as it is believed to countervail the evil that comes of the lie. It is a positive and negative symbol as it interprets both luck or lies.

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Stop When one raises the hand up with the palm facing towards the opposite person, it means 'to stop' in America and British countries. In a stop sign, the hand is tilted forward. This means the person is in an authoritative figure and asking one to 'Stop'. If the fingers are pushing down, it will indicate that the gesture is indicated for the person to sit down or settle. This is not a defensive hand gesture and is in fact a gesture to take control over the person it is intended for. If you were to use this sign in Singapore or Malaysia, it would mean that one is trying to 'hail' someone's attention like a waiter or asking for permission to speak.

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Upside-Down, Empty Glass In an Australian bar, this is taken to mean that you can win a fight with anybody else in said bar In Arab countries, if an empty glass is an up-side down it is consider that a person is done with drinking otherwise they will keep on serving.

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The Moutza

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The Moutza While talking to a friend, you may open your palm and stretch out your fingers. But, if you were in Greece, the same gesture would be considered as a traditional manual insult. '. The moutza in American terms is similar to the hand gesture that means 'talk to the hand'. In Muslim Countries, this sign indicates an offensive gesture, which means ‘may God curse you’.

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The Dog Call The Dog Call

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The Dog Call The dog call is a gesture where you curl your finger and someone towards you. Philippines. This is because this is one of the worst forms of hand gesture that is to be used only for dogs. This hand gesture could get you arrested in Philippines or maybe even punishable by breaking your finger, so that you never ever attempt to try this offensive gesture again. In Asian countries like Japan, the dog call is considered a rude gesture. In Singapore, it is indication of death.

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Gestures CONCLUSION 37

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Fingers Snap

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Snapping Fingers Snapping fingers over and over may mean one is trying to remember something someone has forgotten. In Latin America, snapping fingers means asking one to hurry up. In Great Britain and America, one snaps fingers when one remembers something or gets an idea. However, in many cultures, snapping fingers close to someone's face is considered to be an offensive gesture.

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I am Running Out of Time

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I am Running Out of Time Many times when one is getting late or wants to indicate running out of time, they tend to watch their wrist. This is despite the fact that they may or may not be wearing a watch on the wrist. This is a subconscious gesture to indicate an end of conversation or a subtle way that one should take leave. However, do not attempt this gesture in Middle Eastern countries. It is believed that once a conversation starts, it should be allowed to take its time to complete. Gesturing to end the conversation is considered a rude insult.

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Pointing Fingers

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Pointing Fingers In America and European cultures, it is considered rude to point fingers at others. This hand gesture is an indication of dominance behavior in the professional world. It is considered a gesture to single out an individual from a crowd. This aggressive signal is not liked by many, as no one likes to be singled out.

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