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Identification of Intercultural Communication Style

To identify communication style we can use the following determinants:

  1. The way how communication partner starts their conversation:

The way how communication partner stars their conversation depends on the context and culture or subculture he comes from. He could start with questions regarding health, weather or family or go directly to the purpose of conversation.

 

  1. The priorities while communicating :

The focus of communication partner can be place on solving problem, fulfilment of task or developing relationships.

 

  1. The sequence of speech:

While trying to identify communication style it is useful to observe how information is transmitted. Communication partner could start with general context and slowly come to specific points or vice versa. It could also happen that communication partner states specific points without pointing out general context or he/she states general points without stating specific points. The differences in communication styles of the participants are visible when there is a clash of two different styles and one of communication partners becomes impatient or even confused when information is delivered in the way which he/she is not used to.

 

  1. The way how to learn information:

With reference to the overall structure of the conversation, speaker can apply an outline form in which the main points are followed by supporting points. Or listener is provided with a story from which he/she should derive meaning.

 

  1. Time devoted to preparation of communication:

The delivery of ideas also depends on the degree to which the speech is prepared in advance. Somebody could enter meeting with supporting documents having structure of his/her ideas in mind. Somebody could view negotiations or meeting as the occasion for exchanging ideas and finding solutions. When we consider the clash of these two styles we could predict the possible reasons of misunderstanding and deadlocks of many professional meetings.
 
 

  1. Tools to make communication more eloquent”, “persuasive” or “different”:

The various educational systems in connection with culture educate a learner to develop their speech in different ways to make it more “eloquent”, “persuasive” or “different”. Differences in communication and so consequently in communication styles are determined by the way in which data and experience are involved. The degree of emotions, relationship building mechanisms and usage of proverbs has also impact on achieving “differences”. Some educational systems encourage students to apply their experience, stories, parables and moral lessons while others place focus on data.

 

  1. Tone and rate of speaking:

The selection of formal or casual tone has a great impact on final communicator’s experience. With reference to formal or casual tone of delivering information, a final impression could be misinterpreted by listeners who have different interpretations of formal or casual tone.
Rate of speaking can be rapid and slow. It refers especially to the speech how words are delivered. A fast speed could be interpreted as enthusiastic or consequence of being under stress. A slow speech could indicate self-confidence on one side and boredom or lack of intelligence on the other side.

 

  1. Vocal sounds:

The meaning is transmitted not only by words and means of nonverbal language but also by vocal sounds. Vocal sounds such as ‘umm’, ‘ah’ or ‘shh’ could be interpreted by listener in different ways.

 

  1. What is loud? What is soft?

The perception of volume can have an important impact on final impression and conclusions from conversation. For somebody a loud volume could be perceived as an “aggressive style” while a speaker only uses a louder voice he/she is used to. A softer vocal level may indicate submissiveness or respect on one side or shyness on the other side. The final impact depends only on listener and how he/she assesses the communicator’s volume.

 

  1. Eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, proximity and touches:

Based on the research results, more information is delivered by means of nonverbal communication than by verbal communication. Regarding eye contact we could observe cultural differences in applying direct and indirect eye contact. What is expected and even highly appreciated in one culture, it is prohibited in other cultures. The ability not to reveal feeling via facial expressions is the goal to be achieved in some Asian cultures while others expect the use of facial expression to accompany their words.

 

  1. Meaning of silence:

Silence is one of the most crucial factors for observing cultural differences in communication styles. Silence has several meanings which could be inferred by listeners. In some cultures silence is highly valued, conveying a sense of respect, trust, and meaning. Silence can be a signal of approval or disapproval. In some cases silence can be viewed as admission of guilt.

 

  1. Turn taking

Observing some cases of communication we could discover that communication partner was not able to take their turn in conversation. Based on their culture, communication partner waited for a break in the speech while the second party continued, feeling necessity to cover silent points. There are several cases when people find a suitable time for turn taking. Somebody takes turn in conversation when they feel necessity. Somebody waits for a pause or for invitation to express their points of view.

 

  1. The end of communication:

Based on culture and context communication partner can just leave room after finding a solution. In other cases communication partner may ask for a particular solution and keeps on discussing alternatives to achieve a goal.

 

 
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