Cross culture Communication
Bhatt Ria N.
“The reasonable person adapts himself to the world,
while the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the
world to himself”
What is a culture?
• Culture is the "lens" through which you view the
• It is central to what you see,
• How you make sense of what you see,
• How you express yourself.
"Culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs."
– Tom Wolfe
What is different?
1. Communication Styles
2. Attitudes toward conflicts
3. Decision making style
4. Approaches to knowing
What is hidden below the surface?
Four Fundamental Patterns of Cultural Difference
Cross Culture Communication
Intercultural Communication is the process of
sending and receiving messages between
people whose cultural background could lead
them to interpret verbal and non-verbal signs
Why Cross Culture
Communication is important ?
◦ Business Opportunities
◦ Job Opportunities
◦ Improves the contribution of employees in a diverse workforce
◦ Sharing of views and ideas
◦ Talent improvisation
◦ An understanding of diverse market
Globalization: Cross border movement of people, goods and data brings more
and more cultures into contact with one another and increases the potential of
cross culture communication.
Verbal Communication Differences
High Context and Low Context Cultures
High Context Culture:- Cultures that rely heavily on non-verbal
and subtle situational cues in communication.
Low Context Culture:- Cultures that rely heavily on words to
convey meaning in communication.
Case In Point : Eye Contact
In some cultures, looking people in the eye is assumed to indicate honesty and
straightforwardness; in others it is seen as challenging and rude.
Skills To Overcome Differences
• Understanding Body Language
United States of America
•Americans tend to refrain from greetings that involve hugging and other close physical contact.
•When sitting, U.S. citizens often look very relaxed. They may sometimes sit with the ankle of one
leg on their knee.
•The left hand is considered unclean in the Arab countries.
•When sitting, keep both feet on the ground.
•The "thumbs up" sign is offensive throughout the Arab world.
•Bows are used for expressing appreciation, making apologies and requests, as well as for
greetings and farewells.
•When the Japanese want to give the impression that they are in deep thought, they will
sometimes fold their arms.
• Unwrapping gifts
Saudi Arabia - Gifts are opened in private.
USA - Gifts are opened in public
Indonesia - Gifts, such as tokens memento of your country or
your company logo
Turkey - Wine or liquor if you are sure your hosts drink alcohol,
Candy, pastries & Roses, Glassware, such as a vase, goblet, or decanter make
• Gifts to avoid
UAE - Alcohol / perfumes containing alcohol and pork and pigskin
products to be avoided
China - Do not give anything in sets of four or gifts that carry the
association of death, funerals such as clocks, cut flowers, white
How do you do it?
• The handshake should be firm.
• While shaking hands establish eye contact and
• The person who initiates the handshake is the
one who closes it.
Welcome Topics & Topics to Avoid
• Welcome Topics of Conversation:
Indonesia: Family, travel/tourism, sports, praising the local
cuisine, future plans and success of the group or
Germany: Sports--particularly soccer, tennis, current events,
politics, among those who imbibe, beer is often a good topic
•Topics to Avoid:
Indonesia: Politics, corruption, criticism of Indonesian ways, commenting on Indonesian
customs that you find peculiar, religion
Saudi Arabia: Middle Eastern politics and International oil politics, Israel, criticizing or
questioning Islamic beliefs, women/ inquiries or complimentary remarks about the
female family members of your Saudi associates
South Korea: Korean politics/local politics, The Korean War, Socialism and
Communism, Japan and your contacts in Japan, your host's wife, Personal family
Germany: World War II, personal questions,
TEN Pre-cautions in Cultural Communication
1. Slow Down
2. Separate Questions
3. Avoid Negative Questions
4. Take Turns
5. Write it down
6. Be Supportive
7. Check Meanings
8. Avoid Slangs
9. Watch the humour
10. Maintain Etiquette
Business in Today’s Scenario is not a
“National Match” but is a “Olympics”,
where there are International Players. Only
that Individual / Company can survive
which has done its homework well &
developed its uniqueness.