Mini seminar hs192 How cultures affect interpersonal communication

Mini seminar hs192
How cultures affect interpersonal communication.

Culture affects interpersonal communication in diverse way. For instance, culture affects how people interpret gestures and signs, racism, female genital mutilation, gender, gay and others in communication. Interaction between people on these issues are predominately influence by their cultural background. However, we shall concentrate on the use of gestures and sign in interpersonal communication and how diverse cultures understand and interpret them.
What is interpersonal communication?
Interpersonal Communication is the act of mutually imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium, example sign and gestures. There is message sending and message receiving. Communication is by definition interactive and always takes place within a relationship (Koprowska, 2014).
Interpersonal communication can verbal or nonverbal interaction between two (or sometimes more than two) interdependent people. (DeVito, 2015). What DeVito meant was that for communication to take there must people involved to relate information to one another. It can be done through speech, writing text or gestures and must be mutually intelligent. This means the non- verbal communication could be in the form of gestures and signs. Interpersonal skills therefore allow a person to use physical gestures to processes mental habits to succeed in personal and professional relationships.

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Use and interpretation of non-verbal gestures in communication by diverse cultures
Culture are ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society: the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits. Culture evolves at a stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period:
Culture impacts the ways in which people communicate as well as the strategies they use to communicate. The different life experiences people have based on cultural norms also affect the interpretation they have of messages delivered by others. Culture therefore forms a paradigm through which a person views or experiences the world.

Someone in the United Kingdom may communicate from a different perspective than someone from an undeveloped nation, for instance. A British may complain about job pressures and social constraints, while an immigrant worker from Ghana talks about opportunities and freedoms provided by work. Such different points of view can make it difficult for the two workers to share openly. However, we will only concentrate on how cultures influence the interpretation of gestures and signs in communication. People from diverse cultures always understand gestures and sign in their own cultural perspective.

According to estimation, people can do up to 270,000 types of gestures and movement. The meanings of so many gestures and movement are enormous and complicated. Some of the meanings are definite, some are vague; some are used in communication, some are only self-expression; some express emotion, some reflect personality and attitude. For this reason, communicating non-verbally to a person of different culture is difficult and complex. In the study field of intercultural communication, the most common classification of body behaviour is put forward by Samovar. He divided body behaviour into: general appearance and dress, body movement, posture, gesture, facial expressions, eye contact and gaze, touch, smell, paralanguage, etc. The following part will indicate body behaviour according to Samovar’s classification.

People have always known that action communicates. The study of how movement communicates is called kinesics. In general, kinesics cues are those visible body shifts and movements that can send messages about (1) our attitude toward the other person, e.g., standing face-to-face with a friend, or leaning forward may show that we are relaxed. (2) Our emotional state, e. g, tapping on the table or playing with coins can mean we are nervous, and (3) our desire to control our environment, e. g, motioning someone to come closer means we want to talk to him or her. However, these actions are interpreted and understood by people base on cultural influence.

Role play
Members to explore sign and gestures shown then in their own cultural perspective.

How do you interpret a person looking at your face in you are giving them information?
Fold your four fingers with the thumb up?
Look away in receiving in information

It is evident that non-verbal communication is important to interpersonal communication. Now we all know it is impossible to list all the non-verbal behaviours, for nonverbal communication is so complicated. Because of the differences in culture and so on, the messages and meanings of non-verbal gestures become more complex. Especially the effect of culture, in diverse cultures, the same non-verbal behaviour, sign and gestures even transmits just opposite messages and meanings. Therefore, the study of intercultural nonverbal communication is imperative, especially as social workers it would be helpful to harmonize our relationship with clients and service users.

B. D. Ruben. (1992). Communication and Human Behavior (Third Edition). New Jersey: Englewood Cliffs, 213. E. T. Hall. (1959). The Silent Language. New York: Fawcett. Julius Fast. (1988). Body Language. New York: Pocket Books. Larry A. Samovar, Richard E. Porter ; Lisa A. Stefani. (2000). Communication between Cultures (Third Edition). California: Wadsworth publishing company. Larry A. Samovar. (1981). Understanding Intercultural Communication. California: Wadsworth publishing company. P. Ekman, R. Sorenson ; W. V. Friesen. (1969). Pan-Cultural Elements in Facial Display of Emotion., Science, 64, 86-88. P. Ekman. (1975). Face Muscles Talk Every Language. Psychology Today, New York: September, 35-39. Rag L. Birdwhistell. (1952). Introduction to Kinesics. Kentucky: Univ. of Louisville Press.


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