Communication across people and cultures

Having reflected on my communication with others from variety of cultures and backgrounds, I certainly do communicate differently. Just as I communicate differently to the people in my work place and in my personal life. In China I find myself communicating a lot through body language, facial expressions or short, simple, verbal sentences to those who have a low level understanding and communication skills in English. Or at times, I speak some Chinese words I know in order to show respect to the Chinese people I interact with. However in my work place, there is a more professional communication tone and jargon used by myself and my fellow colleagues , which many of the Chinese co-teachers or classroom assistants have learnt and understand now. With my family, communication is with love, respect and care, whereas communication with friends is more relaxed, jovial and some slang can be used in conversations.

Upon reading and learning more about effective communication, there are three communication strategies that I was reminded of:

The first is to be mindful of the communication that is taking place around you, how you communicate with others and how they communicate with you. Secondly, to try your best to communicate in a balanced and respectful manner, not only requiring effective communication from others, but making sure you communicate effectively and respectfully to others by understanding and getting to know them, instead of assuming you know who they are, what they want, need or deserve. Lastly, I learnt that one needs to be culturally sensitive, where your personal or cultural perspectives are neither true or right for all situations and people, as others hold different personal or cultural perspectives, which are neither true or correct either for you or others.








2 thoughts on “Communication across people and cultures

  1. I really like the graphic that you included. I like the think twice and the be flexible points. I think a lot of poor and/or miscommunication could be avoided if people paused for a moment before speaking. Think twice reminds me to stop and process everything one more time before responding or commenting. Be flexible makes me think about how communication is always changing. It changes based on what group you are communicating with, the setting and the topic. Sometimes there can be more than one of these within the same conversation so you need to be flexible and adapt your communication style.


  2. Justine,
    Thanks for sharing. I often laugh as I watch people from different counties communicate when the fist and most significant barrier is language. They tend to go straight to the use of non-verbal communications with the hand motions, drawing diagrams, looking around for help and assistance from a native tongue. Why is this our first go to communication activity?


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