An Introduction to Intercultural Communication

Topics: Culture, Cross-cultural communication, Intercultural competence Pages: 77 (29180 words) Published: December 13, 2009
An Introduction to Intercultural Communication

Intercultural communication is of importance to international businesses as it examines how people from different cultures, beliefs and religions come together to work and communicate with each other. Demands for intercultural communication skills are increasing as more and more businesses go global or international. They realize that there are barriers and limitations when entering a foreign territory. Without the help of intercultural communication they can unknowingly cause confusion and misunderstandings. For these intercultural businesses to breach the cultural barriers encountered when stepping into foreign grounds it is vital for them to fully understand the cultural differences that exist so as to prevent damaging business relations due to intercultural communication gaps. There are many theories that set principles to help interpret the basis of intercultural communication. These theories help to iron out possible ripples of misunderstanding by giving a basic guideline on how to address situations. These guidelines help prevent clashes between different cultures groups caused by misperceptions.

The basic skills of intercultural communication are fundamentally general communication skills that can be used universally by all cultures and races. These skills are simply tweaked in a direction that takes the cultural limitation into consideration. An example of such communication skills in the intercultural environment is to listen without judging, repeat what you understand, confirm meanings, give suggestions and acknowledge a mutual understanding. In a nutshell the main purpose of following such theories is to earn respect from others. Respect in all cultures in the world is a common language and by earning it through respecting other peoples culture and religion; the favor is returned. Cross Cultural Communication Consultants

Cross cultural communication consultants have come a long way in the short period of time such specialists have been in demand. No longer are they expatriates with a few years overseas experience and the capability to impart their knowledge onto others. Cross cultural consultants now bring expertise that is founded upon a number of key factors. Cross cultural consultants generally have a broad knowledge and experience of two or more different cultures. This knowledge is then employed to assist companies and individuals overcome challenges brought about through cross cultural differences in business. Areas in which assistance is needed may range from relocation briefings to company mergers or management techniques. The ability to diagnose and treat cross cultural problems is developed through their experience in a number of different fields. Academic Knowledge

Cross cultural consultants will generally have an academic background either in specific courses such as 'Cross Cultural Communication and Trade' or 'Cross Cultural Psychology' or in related courses such as 'International Relations' or 'Business Studies'. Their studies will equip them with the academic skills and knowledge of the field that will later be applied in the business context. Business Know-how

It is critical for cross cultural consultants to have considerable business experience. If this is lacking then academic knowledge is not usually sufficient to understand the mechanics of business operations. In order to understand how things work and the different challenges facing managers and staff it is critical to have experienced it first hand. Training Experience

Through courses and practical experience a cross cultural consultant will have knowledge of training techniques. This will include communication skills, presentation methods, the use of activities and utilization of different technology and media. Living Abroad

Experience of living abroad, mixing with different cultures, speaking different languages and working in foreign offices is vital for any cross cultural...

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