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Multicultural Competency: Verbal and Non Verbal Communication


Multicultural Competency: Verbal and Non Verbal Communication Verbal Communication Language & Culture: The Essential Partnership If we spoke a different language ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Multicultural Competency: Verbal and Non Verbal Communication

Multicultural Competency Verbal and Non Verbal
Verbal Communication Language Culture The
Essential Partnership If we spoke a different
language, we would perceive a different world
(Wittgenstein). Language is the roadmap of a
culture. It tells you where its people came from
and where they are going (Brown). How would we
communicate without words? (There are over 6,000
Verbal Communication Language Culture The
Essential Partnership
What is language? Language is a set of shared
symbols or signs that a cooperative groups of
people has mutually agreed to use to create
Verbal Communication Language Culture The
Essential Partnership
  • Language Reflects Cultural Values
  • High and Low Power Distance (formal/informal)
  • Individualism and Collectivism
  • High and Low Context

Nonverbal Communication (The Silent
Language) Messages of Action, Space, Time and
Nonverbal Communication
  • Usually responsible for first impressions
  • Doesnt lie (a clenched jaw shows youre
    angry or stammering speech shows that youre
  • Is culturally bound

Nonverbal Communication
  • Two General Classifications 1. Those primarily
    produced by the body (appearance, movement,
    facial expression, eye contact, touch, smell,
    and paralanguage)
  • 2. Those combined with setting (space, time and

Nonverbal Communication
  • There is a story about the presidential debate of
    Nixon and Kennedy in 1960 where people listening
    via radio awarded the victory to Nixon while
    those watching the debate on television awarded
    the victory to Kennedy. This was explained by the
    fact that though President Nixon had very
    persuasive words during the debate, he was tense,
    sweating and seemed quite uncomfortable. On the
    other hand, President Kennedy was relaxed and
    able to convey a positive and convincing body
    language during the debate. Since that incident,
    researchers have demonstrated that a message is
    perceived in 3 different ways

Nonverbal Communication
  • Body Language (kinesics) --
  • are the physical cues that are visible and send a
    message about 1) your attitude toward the other
    person, 2) your emotional state, 3) your
    relationship with the environment
  • includes body posture, body motion, gestures,
    facial expressions, eye contact.

Nonverbal Communication
  • Kinesics Eye Contact
  • In American culture, we reveal whom we like and
    dislike just by the amount that we look at them.
    We generally look most at those whom we like . In
    general, people avoid looking at someone they
    dont like. 
  • As people increase their liking for one another,
    they increase the amount of mutual gazing that
    they do. (Mutual gaze is when two people are
    looking into each other's eyes). The most obvious
    example of this occurs along the continuum of
    relationships. Romantic relationships have the
    highest amount of mutual gaze. What about other
  • .

Nonverbal Communication
  • Sense of Touch Haptics
  • Who can touch whom, where, when and how Touch
    is culturally determined who can you touch?

Nonverbal Communication
  • Physical Appearance
  • Body artifacts (clothing, piercings, tattoos)
    and attractiveness
  • In what ways do you dress that reflect your
    cultural values?

Nonverbal Communication
  • Environmental Factors
  • Elements of setting that affect how we feel and
    act (color, temperature, lighting, room design)
  • How are your personal spaces designed to reflect
    your cultural values?

Nonverbal Communication
  • Space and Distance Proxemics
  • Personal space (intimate, personal, social and
  • Seating
  • Furniture arranging

Nonverbal Communication
  • Time (chronemics)
  • Informal time (how late is late?)
  • Perceptions of past, present and future
  • Monochronic (fixed) and polychronic (holistic
    time) (Edward T. Hall)

Nonverbal Communication
  • Paralanguage are the sounds that dont have
    written form that modify meaning or convey
  • Includes rate, sounds, murmurs, gasps, volume,
    pitch, inflection, laughing, high speed

Nonverbal Communication
  • Silence East vs. West What is real is, and
    when it is spoken it becomes unreal. (Buddhism)
  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease. (American

Nonverbal Communication
  • Artifacts
  • Elements of the environment that communicate by
    virtue of peoples use of them.

Multicultural Communication Competency
  • To be a competent intercultural communicator, one
    must be able to analyze the situation and select
    the correct mode of behavior.
  • Effective communicators are those who are 1)
    motivated 2) have a fund of knowledge to draw
    upon and 3) possess certain communication skills.

Multicultural Communication Competency
  • Guidelines
  • Know Yourself -- know your culture, (yes,
    whiteness is a culture), know your perceptions
    (attitudes, prejudices, and opinions), know how
    you act out those perceptions, and monitor
    yourself as a communicator (how do I communicate
    and how do others perceive me?).
  • Learn your communication style.

Multicultural Communication Competency
  • Develop Empathy-- we are imaginatively placing
    ourselves in the dissimilar world of another.
  • Hindrances to empathy constant self focus,
    stereotyped notions, defensive behavior.
    Improving empathy pay attention, communicate
    empathy, use culturally accepted behaviors, avoid
    ethnocentric responses.

Multicultural Communication Competency
  • Develop Communication Flexibility -- "become more
    like a willow than an oak tree
  • Learn to Tolerate Ambiguity -- delay a decision
    on how to approach a new person or situation
    until as much information as possible has been
    gained by observation. Use trial and error rather
    than the same formula each time.

Multicultural Communication Competency
  • Learn to Manage Conflict -- Conflict usually
    happens because participants perceive
    incompatible goals or threats to their ego. When
    you add culture, it becomes even more complex.
    How we respond to conflict is culturally
  • Learn About Cultural Adaptation -- acquire
    knowledge about the host culture and increase
    contact with the host culture

Multicultural Communication Competency
  • The communicator cannot stop at knowing the
    people he is working with have different customs,
    goals, and thought patterns from his own. He must
    be able to feel his way into intimate contact
    with these alien values, attitudes and feelings.
    He must be able to work with them and within
    them, neither losing his own values in the
    confrontation nor protecting himself behind a
    wall of intellectual detachment (Roger
    Harrison, 1966)