Culture affects communication in many ways. For example, culture can affect how we communicate nonverbally as well as verbally. It also affects the type of language that is used and what topics are deemed appropriate for conversation. This blog post will discuss culture and how it affects communication, so you can learn more about your own culture or others to understand each other’s perspectives better!

How Does Culture Affect Communication?

Culture is the total and increasing sum of social behavior and values present in a set of people. Culture at its highest level includes beliefs, laws, art, and many things. In an article titled Culture in Business communication, Morgan Rush told me that culture influences communication on verbal and nonverbal levels. For reasons described by a few sentences in the above article, we will focus on communication in the sense that business culture can encourage teams to exchange ideas. Next, we will review this page to identify some of our best options. Finally, try the Culture Comparison Tool Inside to understand better how your communication style might be perceived in other societies.

What is Cross Cultural Communication?

Culture in communication refers to the impact of cultural characteristics of communicators on this process. Cultural have a common feature of a group and are formed of habits and behavior norms. If a person’s culture is highly efficient in communication, it can also be detrimental to communication effectiveness. There are several benefits in learning about culture’s role in touch: learning about the part of the culture in communication. Read more: The Work environment: concept, features, and types.

Culture affects communication in verbal and nonverbal ways. Culture can influence how we communicate verbally via the words, phrases, metaphors, and culture-specific slang between two or more people. It also affects what topics are deemed appropriate for conversation based on cultural norms/values present within a culture’s social environment. For example, if someone within the culture uses profanity, this would likely be an appropriate topic of conversation among members of that culture. In Japanese culture, silence is often considered a more polite way to communicate than speaking one’s mind verbally [citation needed]. Cultural norms can influence how we use our hands while talking and body language when communicating verbally on a nonverbal level. For example, some cultures may use gestures that do not have a specific meaning when communicating verbally. In contrast, others may choose to display in what might be considered an indirect way.

High and Low Context Cultures

The research team identifies two fundamentally different styles of interpersonal communication: high context as well as low context. High-context cultures often depend on cultural knowledge and mutual understanding in communicating with each other. The reverse method of communication comes from a low-context culture from where information can be direct and presented. People in these cultures show you exactly how they think and act. Communication is about culture, and vocabulary selection is essential. Outsiders in a shallow context society may become overwhelmed to learn something more and sometimes feel like they do not like them because emotions or personal relationships do not drive communication. Sometimes it matters how you said it. This culture is also known as a low-context culture. It’s a culture that doesn’t use many words to convey meaning. Instead, it uses more direct communication methods. When working in this culture, you should try not to assume too much about the other person because they might become offended if they are misinterpreted by your actions or lack thereof.

Honor culture has a strong sense of values for social, cultural, and spiritual issues. Communication will be more formal in an honor culture where people are expected to show their best side rather than being themselves. People in these societies may think it’s better not to express personal opinions or emotions against what other members feel. In the culture comparison tool, you can compare two different culture’s communication styles.

In a High Context culture, people communicate to acquire information and knowledge, while in a low context culture, it is about exchanging ideas for decision-making purposes. This will be evident by short conversations with questions that require long answers or brief comments which convey an entire conversation without many words.

What Cultural Aspects Affect Communication? 

There are several elements of societies that influence how people communicate, including:

Beliefs

Beliefs tell you what is true. If you are in the same culture as someone, it is easier to talk with them.

Habits

Their cultural norms and customs control people’s everyday actions. While these habits are flexible and able to change in high-performing nations, they are less so in low-performing countries.

Geography

The culture of a country is determined by its geographical location, climate, and history. These factors can affect the culture in many ways, including language, communication styles, and values. For example, people who live at greater altitudes tend to have shorter breath durations which could influence how they communicate than those living near sea level.

Values and Norms

Cultural values and norms control what is essential for a culture to function well within that culture. They may include individualism, collectivism, power distance, and uncertainty avoidance. Understanding how these influence communication in different cultures will help you adapt your speaking style appropriately when communicating with characters from other countries or backgrounds.

Freedom

Individual liberty varies from culture to culture. This is because the customs, beliefs, and norms of behavior that make up a society instantly influence the freedom of those who live within it. While underdeveloped civilizations limit people’s freedom, developed choices safeguard individual liberty. Your information will be interpreted, comprehended, and addressed in a culture-specific way.

Frankness

In general, the First World is more candid and open than the Third World. For example, Americans and Germans are more upfront about their relationships than Asians. During communication, they provide all necessary information openly. At the same time, Asians handle little knowledge and remain introverted.

Customs

From the cradle to death, customs are observed differently across cultures. Customs vary significantly between countries and tribes in China and Japan, for example. Furthermore, our country’s indigenous culture differs from ours in many respects.

Tips for Effective Communication in Culture

The following tips can help you be effective when communicating with someone from a culture different from yours.

  • Listen and observe to understand the other person’s culture well enough to adapt your communication style appropriately before speaking or acting out.
  • Be sensitive, respectful, and open-minded about their beliefs, values, and customs that are different from your own.
  • Be aware of your culture’s communication style and values because this will help you understand others better when communicating with them.
  • Do not be too fast to make assumptions or judgments about another culture, people, or country because it may lead to misunderstandings in communication between the two parties involved.
  • Avoid making jokes about other culture’s customs because you could offend someone or be misunderstood.
  • Avoid pointing out negative aspects of different culture’s habits, values, and beliefs; focus on the positive instead.
  • When speaking with someone from another culture, speak directly toward them rather than turning your back to walk away as this is considered rude in some cultures like Indonesian culture.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed reading this article about how culture affects communication. You can find more of our blog posts by following the link below! Do you have any questions or comments you would like to share? We love hearing from readers, so please leave us a comment in the section below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reading!

Read also our posts about:
How Communication Affects the Flow of Work in an Organization
How Does Self Concept Affect Communication?
Why is Feedback Needed in Interpersonal Communication

Author

Professional consultant and project manager in software houses. He has over 8 years of experience as a project manager for key clients. Currently mainly works on business consulting and communication with strategic clients. Privately a fan of good food, board games, and cycling. He loves to share his experience with new people!

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