Understanding Each Other


Communication Between Contrasting Cultures

Communication is the foundation of our society, essential for building personal relationships, sharing ideas, and creating strong organizations. However, communication methods vary across cultures. Being mindful of cultural differences is crucial for successful dialogue.

Generally, cultures like Japan and China, where unspoken rules are prevalent, are considered High Context (HC), while cultures like the United States and Germany, with less implicit context or shared values, are referred to as Low Context (LC). In these two cultural types, approaches to dialogue differ: in HC cultures, human relationships are of utmost importance, whereas in LC cultures, content is key. For instance, in Japan, a phrase like, “Do you know Mr./Ms. X?” can quickly close the gap between strangers, while in LC cultures, bonding over common hobbies like sports is more common.

Moreover, communication styles also differ across cultures. In HC cultures, non-verbal aspects like facial expressions and gestures are often used to exchange opinions, while in LC cultures, direct and concise language is important for straightforward idea exchange. For example, in Japan, the concept of ‘reading the air’ (察する) is common, where people infer each other’s feelings and communicate accordingly, whereas in LC cultures, direct questioning is more prevalent.

In this newsletter, we explore the differences in communication across cultures and what true understanding entails in various scenarios.

How Does Culture Affect Communication: Exploring the Impact, Importance & Examples (Peep Strategy)

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