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Cross Cultural Communication

Given the cultural diversity in United States, it is extremely important to understand the different aspects of communication in order to recognize and overcome the barriers of cross-cultural communication. Communication is the attempt that makes people able to tell about what they are feeling and what they mean; we can say communication is the exchange of meaning. Cross-cultural communication is a process, in which people receive or send the messages; people background may be change from each other’s. However, people talk to each other, no matter what background culture they have, mostly people in U.S and across the countries are using verbal and non-verbal signs to communicate.

Cross-cultural communication is important for the cross border movement of the people; people are more globally connected, communication include the behaviors of the human being, that are perceived and interpret, cross-cultural communication is therefore complex, as it is the dynamic process through which meanings are exchanged. In every communication there is a sender and a receiver, communication have a symbolic behaviors, in which there are share of ideas, information and feelings. Ideas or information cannot be properly communicated, if there is no externalized and symbolized, before communicating.

There are uses of different language across the U.S; the understanding of every language is difficult, communication across the culture boundaries is difficult for everyone, the people of dissimilar background often face difficulties while talking to each other’s. Most of the communications are based on the symbols or manifested through symbols, communication capabilities are depends on the understanding the cultures, if cultures are misunderstood then there could be various problem. Every culture has its own style of conveying messages to others, the stereotyping and wrong concepts about the people often create conflicts between people or societies.

Language is one of the most crucial elements of communication and can cause confusion between people from different countries. Languages are the methods of how people communicate among themselves and how they communicate across cultures, either spoken or written. In United States of America people speak approximately 381 languages, that means there are different cultural behind each group of people. Although, there could be cross-cultural miscommunication occur, when there is greater difference between the sender and the receiver. Communication not always results in necessarily understanding, there could be misinterpretation of one’s communication (Ryan).

Cross-cultural communication usually involved the misinterpretation, misevaluation or misperception, because people from different culture come together to perform the communication. When a sender is from another culture and a receiver is from another, there are very less chances of accurately transmitting of a message. Various societies are affected by the cross-cultural communication, as communication can vary culture to culture; there are many challenges, which one has to face in cross-cultural communication, miscommunication can lead to conflicts within the people or societies, cross-culture communication is more depends on the one idea, behaviors or attitudes.

The people from different background can easily miscommunication each other because they do not have the same backgrounds and their thinking and view to see the societies are different. People from various backgrounds are conservative, however, some are from liberal thinking background, and there could be misunderstandings, if knowledge is not accurately shared (TANNE).

Another aspect of communication that affects our understanding is the use of non-variable signs and symbols. Non-verbal communication is highly important in any interaction, or communication with others, when verbal messages are not cleared or understandable by each other then non-verbal communication takes place. In cross-cultural communication, the behaviors are arsis from, common sense that what is appropriate and what is not. There are different symbols that promote the non-verbal communication, between the people from various backgrounds, the symbols or different systems includes the postures, gestures, touch, special relations, eye contact, silence, emotional expressions, physical appearances etc. There are also other non-verbal clues that participate in understanding of each other communication.

Facial expressions are most common source that are used in non-verbal communication, in all cultures, existing in U.S, facial expressions can participate to tell the receiver that a person is happy, angry, sad in fear. Facial expressions are hard to understand sometimes, that what is person trying to convey, cross-cultural communication involve a lot of facial expressions because the people who are not literate or are from other countries, in U.S, do not able to talk in English, they use facial expressions the most (Asante, Miike and Yin).

In many cultures, eye contact is also a valuable source of communicating with each other, however, little eye contact, may be seen as negatively, because the receiver may assume that there is lack of interest from the side of sender. If there is no eye contact then there could be feeling of mistrust or inattention, in U.S handshake and eye contact is considered as a basic source of non-verbal communication. However, in some parts of the world like Asia, Latin America and Africa avoid the eye contact.

Body gesture is also another technique that is uses in non-verbal communication, people generally use this method of doing conversations while cross-cultural communication, there are visual signals to greet people, often of the researchers said that handshake is process, from which friendship and business relationship get strengthen. In some culture, people wave their hand to good-byes.

Americans moderately express the feeling by body language and they freely gesture as compared to the Asians or Arab cultures, American use or touch hands and arms while communicating, however, in other cultures body touching is not a good thing, touching might create discomfort for them. The signs of non-verbal communication are different in cross-cultural communication; cultures have different signs to communicate with each other. Like in some countries or cultures, nodding their heads means “yes”, and in other cultures nodding their heads means “no”.

In cross-cultural communications, communications are often non-verbal. Cross-cultural communications are verbal also, the people who understand English, mostly communicate in English, especially in U.S, moreover, people from other backgrounds, often know to read and write English but they are unable to communicate with each other’s in English. For them non-verbal signs or symbols are best processes or techniques to tell their feelings, or express their emotions. Non-verbal communication is specific to one culture or backgrounds, and can be misunderstood in other cultures (Norales).

Every culture has the different perspective about the conversations or negotiations, like the people of North America prefers the large amount of space, Europeans are more close to each other’s while they are communicating or talking, they want smaller personal space.

In cross-cultural communication, humor, laughter or smiling is also seen from different ways, in U.S; Americans are fun loving and are confident so they put stress on humor, they love to do fun to themselves and to others. However, in some culture fun or humor may see as an aggression or dominance. Humor can be consuming in many cultures, like in Asian culture there is “masking smile”, they use the polite way to smile or laugh, for them laughter may be a sign of embarrassment rather than a sign of humor (Carteret).

Often people have certain preconception and stereotypes about those of different cultures and this can influence the comprehension in communication. The stereotyping has categorized the people of different cultures; the stereotyping has the direct influence on the communications factors or in cross-culture communication. The stereotyping regarding communication we have in our mind is related to stranger’s culture, ethnic group or race etc. If one stereotyping about the other person is inaccurate then there will be inaccurate cultural-level predictions about the stranger, wrong or inaccurate stereotyping can result in wrong attributions about the strangers or their behaviors.

Stereotyping may lead to the ineffective communication, we are confirmed or we are expecting confirm unconscious answer from the person while we are communicating, there could inaccuracy in making predictions that can lead the people to face conflicts. Stereotypes are the natural products in the communication process; there is the degree of association and psychological attributes that we communicate on an automatic pilot (Kim).

If we are in aggression or anger, still we talk politely to the people from other cultures, as we know they can misinterpret us, and there could be problems, we know modern nation, is a complex society and difficult to understand, so we can’t be loud in talking to strangers. In stereotyping of others cultures, we know about the business etiquette that what should be done and what should not be done. It also involves the introductions, greetings and conversations, like the people of Saudi Arab, while they are attending business meetings do not talk about their wives or families. However, in U.S business get strong when families are concerned, every country and culture have its own stereotyping which need to be understood (Gudykunst).

In businesses relationship, communication plays an important role, mostly conflicts and disagreements take place within the parties or group of people, due to misunderstanding of languages or symbols. Every country have its own behavior or style to do business, the stereotyping in business environments could be explained as, that Americans are Germans directly and openly discuss or talk about issues however; Chinese and Asian are rigid in this way, because for them it is difficult to say no. There could be barriers in the cross-cultural communication regarding to the cultures (IRIMIAŞ).

Another thing that causes a lack of understanding in cross-cultural communication is the tendency to evaluate what someone is saying before others have accurately conveyed their thoughts. There could be conflicts or misunderstandings when a person assume or misinterpret cross-cultural communication. The tendency to evaluate other quickly can also become obstacle in communication, when people from different cultures immediately evaluates each other’s behaviors, regarding to own thoughts or cultures, the right or proper assumption sometimes prove wrong and people can face various problems. There is need to listen people, from various background properly, and then answers should be give, there should be no self-assessments, it may ruin the relationships so one should not be judgmental (Miladinovic).


Cross-cultural communication, the communication among the people across the countries; people vary from different cultures. Every culture has its own ways to talk and use gestures, the symbolic expressions vary from culture to culture, in U.S there are people from all over the world and from different cultures, people in U.S mostly use non-verbal languages to communicate with each other’s, there are need to understand the people and their languages to get safe form conflicts. Conflicts either take place between the people due to misunderstandings or due to misinterpretation of the behaviors or cultures.

Developing a cross-cultural mindset is important, there is need to demonstrate awareness and sensitivity, the non-verbal communication has unspoken codes, which are according to the cultures. The sense of smelling, touching, hearing and seeing is different in every culture, there are needs to understand the senses and there is need to observe the symbols, regarding cultures, like body movements, gestures postures etc.

Based on the stereotyping and self-evaluations about the other cultures can create differences and conflicts within the people, there is need to avoid the inaccurate stereotyping, there is need to control the anxiety, there is need to promote the effective way of communication with the strangers. A successful intercultural understanding, must be there, so there could be reorganization of the cultures; cultures cannot be same, every country and people have their own culture there is need to recognize and understand the cultures, and there should be acceptance of all cultures and their ways of communication.

Works Cited

Asante, Molefi Kete, Yoshitaka Miike and Jing Yin. The Global Intercultural Communication Reader. Routledge, 2013.

Carteret, Marcia. Non-verbal Behavior in Cross-Cultural Interactions. Nov 2010. 5 May 2016 <http://www.dimensionsofculture.com/2010/11/non-verbal-behavior-in-cross-cultural-interactions/>.

Gudykunst, William B. Cross-Cultural and Intercultural Communication. SAGE Publications, 2003.

IRIMIAŞ, Eugenia. “Behavioural Stereotypes in Intercultural Communication.” Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Philologica 3.2 (2011): 167-174.

Kim, Young Yun. Becoming Intercultural: An Integrative Theory of Communication and Cross-Cultural Adaptation. SAGE Publications, 2000.

Miladinovic, Milena. Overcoming Obstacles in Intercultural Communication. 27 June 2014. 10 May 2016 <http://www.afs.org/blog/icl/?p=4881>.

Norales, Francisca O. Cross-Cultural Communication: Concepts, Cases and Challenges. Cambria Press, 2006.

Ryan, Camille. “Language Use in the United States: 2011.” American Community Survey Reports (2013): 1-16.

TANNE, DEBORA. “The Pragmatics of Cross-Cultural Communication.” Georgetown University, Washington (1984): 1-7.

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