Effects of Non-Verbal Communication across Cultures Name Institution Date Abstract Many countries around the globe have different cultures with different values making cross-cultural communication a difficulty (Levine and Adelman, 1993). In an environment where people are deeply immersed in the use of expressions such as body gestures and eye contact that are unfamiliar with their own experience, frustration and disorientation is likely to be the outcome of their efforts to communicate…
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The ability for one to exchange ideas with another, understand one another’s opinions, and solve problems is highly dependent on the effectiveness of the communication process (Agliati, Anolli, and Vescovo, 2006). According to Kirch (1979), verbal communication refers to the message content, arrangement and choice of words while communicating nonverbally addresses the message sent using body language. Non-Verbal Communication across Cultures The most common of all forms of non-verbal communication is facial expression (Levine and Adelman, 1993). Nevertheless, interpretation of the different facial expressions across cultures is quite hard. Lists of expressions exist with respect to situations, for instance; those that indicate happiness, fear, sadness and anger. This makes it hard for one to identify what expression is being conveyed and for what reason. Carey (1998) reports that “facial expressions are the most obvious ones that can be quite misleading, because most are pretty good at covering a lie” (350). ...
A suitable example is the United States where eye contact and a firm handshake are considered a basic type of nonverbal communication whereas French people toss while looking at each other’s eyes as a symbol of respect and politeness. However, Kirch (1979) argues that other countries or rather other cultures consider avoiding eye contact as a sign of respect, for instance Africa, some parts of Asia and Latin America. Another common form of nonverbal communication used by people on a daily basis is body gesture (Carey, 1998). Good examples of using body gestures include greeting people using visual signals when initiating a presentation, and beckoning to a waiter instinctively. For instance, in a U.S bar, people walk over to the counter to get their bills while in Thailand, people snap their fingers to get their bills from the waiters in charge. In addition, Thai people greet each other by putting their hands together while in the U.S and with many Christians, people put their hands together while paying respect to the Lord God. In some cultures, bidding someone farewell is done by waving hands while in others it is done by embracing each other (Carey, 1998). Furthermore, people in other cultures hug and touch each other more. Habitats of Northern European countries do not fancy this type of bodily contact as compared to residents of southern countries. Some cultures have limited body contact between sexes to relatives only. Bulgarians nod their heads to signify rejection of a prevailing situation while other people in other cultures nod their heads to signify compliance (Carey, 1998). Culture and Nonverbal Communication The way in which people across different cultures communicate is greatly affected by the variations in
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