All communication is cultural, but we also find that cultural communication differences are hard to deal with. The term “culture” refers to a person’s language, family rituals, their lifestyle, attitudes, beliefs, and often provides a general identity of that person to a group of people. The ways that we learned to speak verbal and nonverbal has to do with cultural communication. We do not always communicate with people the same way from day to day because certain things come up in our every day busy lives. Things such as context, mood interaction, and individual personality with the variety of cultural influences we have internalized that influence our choices. When interacting with people of diverse cultures, they bring with them a multitude of assumptions, values and cultural beliefs of their own.
Interaction communication is an important influence of its own and its effectiveness affects our relationship with others of a different culture. Do people of a different culture hear and understand what you are trying to say? Are they paying attention to what is being said? Are they listening well in response? Do the responses of others, from diverse cultural backgrounds, show that they understand the meanings behind the words that were said? Is the mood of that person positive or negative? Are there any signs of trust between them and us? Are there any differences that relate to ineffective communication, divergent goals and interests? Are there any fundamentally diverse ways that they see world? The answers to some of these questions will give us some insight about the effectiveness of our cultural communication skills and the ease with which we may be able to move through conflict. There are moments during communication where words and phrases from other parts of the world, or even the same country, can have multiple meanings.
The challenge of that is with all the goodness in the world, miscommunication is likely to happen. This is likely to happen when there are cultural differences between both people communicating. Miscommunication from one person to another can lead to conflict or aggravated conflict to the person that already exists. We make a decision about what was said and determine if the message was clear to us or not. There are multiple different meanings when speaking to a person of a different culture. Non-verbal communication such as a thumb up, a smile or frown, wink, a soft touch, and other bodily movements, can also have different meanings in a diverse culture.
As we become more familiar with the distinct types of cultural communication, it opens many opportunities as it starts cultivating our path to cultural fluency. Learning the many ways of other cultures and how they work in communication and conflict, can result with the ability to respond effectively to these differences with no miscommunication.