According to Samovar, Porter, and McDaniel (2009, pg. 384), being a competent communicator means having the ability to interact effectively and appropriately with members of another linguistic-cultural background on their terms. Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in awkward communication pauses or feel as though we are not being understood in the way that we mean to be. This is a result of our competency as communicators. In order to become a competent intercultural communicator, knowing ourselves and our personal biases are crucial (Samovar, et al., 2009, pg. 387). In order to do that, we must learn to know our culture, know our perceptions, know how we act out those perceptions, and monitor ourselves. It goes without saying that knowing ourselves and knowing our culture is critically important in order to become a competent communicator. We all see people and the world through our own “lenses” and identifying what those lenses look like helps us see that other people have very different lenses. As an example, my boyfriend comes from a very different culture than me. I have a specific lens and understanding of the concept of “racism” that does not really match up to his. He comes from a place where people are not identified by their skin color, race, or ethnicity on a regular basis so he has a hard time grasping the fact that when we identify people by their specific race or ethnicity we are not being racist. It is just what it is culturally accepted here in America. Knowing that about my own culture has increased my sensitivity as well as the effectiveness of my conversations with him. By learning to know my culture I can now have a more productive conversation and hence become a more competent communicator. Knowing our perceptions and how we act out those perceptions is paramount as well. These perceptions are important because they are the basis of our attitudes, behaviors, and relationships. If we see the world in a distorted way...
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