How to over-come intercultural communication barriers

How to over-come intercultural communication barriers
Tabani Mar 12, 2016 17:52

As human beings, we enjoy to talk, share ideas and express feelings. Since we are living in a global village, we have to work on our inter-cultural communication skills so as to communicate effectively with members of diffirent cultures. Here are some of the tips on how to deal with intercultural communication barriers:

Avoid ambiguity and slang

Most of the time, when people speak, they like to use metaphors,sarcasm and other devices to communicate a particular message and at times when members of different cultures communicate, these devices might result in information being misunderstood. A young man studying in Thailand from America went with his Thai friend to a dance competition that was held nearby and th Thai guy partook in the competition. After the dance competition, the native Thai asked his American friend "How did I perform?" the American friend responded "You nailed it " unfortunately the Thai guy took the words "You nailed it"as criticism since he didn't know their meaning. At the end of the competition he was surprised to hear his name called out as the best dancer of the competition. On their way home, he said to his American friend, "I am sure you don`t posess the good qualities of a dance competition adjudicator" "why do you say that ?" the American friend asked, "Because you said i nailed it, when i did well" ... So as you can see, if the American guy had just said "You did well" than "you nailed it" communication break down in this case wouldn`t have occured.   

Keep your misconceptions about a particular race or culture to yourself

We all know how media has played a pivotal role on our views towards some cultures. It is important to view each race or culture as equally important as yours and keep those misconceptions that you saw on the media or that you have been exposed to since yo were young to yourself. These misconceptions result in stereotyping which usually impede communication between members of different cultures. At times if one deliberately or mistakenly airs a misconception about a particular culture to a member of that particular culture, communication might result in unnecessary inter-personal conflict, therefore people should keep their personal views to themselves.

Avoid unnecessary body movement

At times when we talk, consciously or sub-consciously our body parts (hands etc) also try to convey the same message that our mouths are also conveying. Though the body tries to emphasis the message being put across, in intercultural communication, the body should not be used as the message being sent by the body might be misinterpreted by a person of the different culture you are communicating with, since different body movements have different meanings in different cultures.

Be patient and forgiving

 When you communicate with someone of a different culture, don`t be judgemental using standards of your culture.



Tags:Language & Culture


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You have describe great tactics. I also suggest new comers to become more adaptable and socialize here in China to overcome cultural barriers.

May 11, 2016 12:06 Report Abuse



great tips, i will bookmark!

Apr 18, 2016 16:00 Report Abuse