Intercultural Communication


Intercultural communication is not an easy subject in organisations and its worse for organisations operating internationally like my organisation YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association). It becomes important as it examines how people from different cultures, beliefs and religions come together to work and communicate with each other.
The demand for intercultural communication skills increases as there are more barriers and limitations when dealing with a foreign country, to cover the cultural differences encountered when stepping into foreign grounds is vital to fully understand the cultural differences that exist so as to prevent damaging business relations due to intercultural communication gaps.
According to N.Payne, Introduction to intercultural communication “there are many theories that set principals to help interpret the basis of intercultural communication”. These theories help to iron out possible ripples of misunderstandings by giving a basic guideline on how to address situations. These guidelines help prevent clashes between different cultural groups caused by misperceptions.
I agree with N. Payne when she gives an example of the basic skills of intercultural communication, “to listen without judging, repeat what you understand, confirm meanings, give suggestions and acknowledge a mutual understanding”. I believe that these skills can be used universally by all cultures and races and they are fundamental general communication skills.

Neil Payne, Introduction to intercultural communication, Cape Town

Effective communication with people of different cultures is especially challenging. Cultures provide people with ways of thinking, ways of seeing, hearing and interpreting the world. Thus the same words can mean different things to people from different cultures, even when they talk the same language.
Stella Ting Toomey, Cultural Barriers to Effective Communication, describes three ways in which culture interferes with...