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Verbal and non verbal communication styles in

Personal verbal and non verbal communication styles in only; commercial use is strictly prohibited for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice. It combines both language and nonverbal cues and is the meta-message that dictates how listeners receive and interpret verbal messages.

Of the theoretical perspectives proposed to understand cultural variations in communication styles, the most widely cited one is the differentiation between high-context and low-context communication by Edward Hall, in 1976.

Low-context communication is used predominantly in individualistic cultures and reflects an analytical thinking style, where most of the attention is given to specific, focal objects independent of the surrounding environment; high-context communication is used predominantly in collectivistic cultures and reflects a holistic thinking style, where the larger context is taken into consideration when evaluating an action or event. In low-context communication, most of the meaning is conveyed in the explicit verbal code, whereas in high-context communication, most of the information is either in the physical context or internalized in the person, with very little information given in the coded, explicit, transmitted part of the message.

These stylistic differences can be attributed to the different language structures and compositional styles in different cultures, as many studies supporting the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis have shown. These stylistic differences can become, in turn, a major source of misunderstanding, distrust, and conflict in intercultural communication.

  • We also inadvertently send messages through accidental touch e;
  • US Americans typically shift eye contact while speaking—looking away from the listener and then looking back at his or her face every few seconds;
  • In Japanese culture, however, people are expected not to smile because smiling at strangers is seen as inappropriate -- particularly for women;
  • Being aware of what we say and how we say it is the first step to successful communication;
  • Touching faces, holding hands, and full frontal embraces are examples of touch at this level.

Understanding differences in communication styles and where these differences come from allows us to revise the interpretive frameworks we tend to use to evaluate culturally different others and is a crucial step toward gaining a greater understanding of ourselves and others.

The communication styles of an individual, which combine both verbal and nonverbal elements, are shaped and reshaped by shared cultural values, worldviews, norms, and thinking styles of the cultural group to which they belong. Needless to say, understanding the fundamental patterns of communication styles as well as the underlying systems of thought that give rise to them will help to reduce cultural barriers that hinder intercultural relationships and collaborations.

This article begins by introducing major theoretical frameworks that have been used to describe culture. Next, fundamental patterns of communication styles will be introduced, along with a discussion of the relationship between culture and language. Finally, implications of cultural differences in communication styles will be discussed. Cultural Frameworks Culture has been defined in many ways.

Nonverbal Communication

Some commonly applied definitions view culture as patterned ways of thinking, feeling, and reacting, common to a particular group of people and that are acquired and transmitted through the use of symbols. Others view culture as a function of interrelated systems that include the ecology e.

It is fair to say that culture includes both objective and subjective elements. These interrelated systems do not dictate culture; rather, we can use them as a general framework to understand culture and its relation to individual and collective actions.

A number of approaches have been used to describe and explain cultural differences. This article focuses on two approaches that are most widely accepted and relevant to our understanding of cultural variations in communication styles: Value can be defined as an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct is socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct.

Values form the basis for judging the desirability of some means or end of action. Dimensions of Cultural Values Based on a study of 88,000 IBM employees in 72 countries, between 1967 and 1973, Hofstede 2001 identified four dimensions of cultural values: Later, Hofstede and Bond 1988 added a fifth dimension, dynamic Confucianism, with long-term orientation refers to future-oriented values such as persistence and thrift, whereas short-term orientation refers to past- and present-oriented values, such as respect for tradition and fulfilling social obligations.

The individualism-collectivism dimension alone has inspired thousands of empirical studies examining cultural differences.

More specifically, people in individualistic societies, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and most of the northern and western European countries, tend to emphasize individual rights, such as freedom, privacy, and autonomy.

They tend to view themselves as unique and special, and are free to express their individual thoughts, opinions, and emotions. Individualists also value equality; they do not differentiate between ingroups and outgroups, applying the same standards universally, also known as universalism. In comparison, people in collectivistic societies, such as most of Latin American, African, and Asian countries, and the Middle East, tend to view themselves as part of an interconnected social network.

They emphasize the obligations they have toward their ingroup members, and are willing to sacrifice their individual needs and desires for the benefits of the group.

They care about their relationships with ingroups, often by treating them differently than strangers or outgroup members, which is also known as particularism. In high power distance societies, such as many Latin American countries, most of African and Asian counties, and most counties in the Mediterranean area, people generally accept power as an integral part of the society. Hierarchy and power inequality are considered appropriate and beneficial.

  • Appearance has been noted as one of the most important attributes of an avatar designed to influence or motivate;
  • Verbal communication encompasses any form of communication involving words, spoken, written or signed;
  • In high power distance societies, such as many Latin American countries, most of African and Asian counties, and most counties in the Mediterranean area, people generally accept power as an integral part of the society;
  • I find hugging behavior particularly interesting, perhaps because of my experiences growing up in a very hug-friendly environment in the Southern United States and then living elsewhere where there are different norms;
  • These occupations required relatively little cooperation with others;
  • Touch is necessary for human social development, and it can be welcoming, threatening, or persuasive.

The superiors are expected to take care of the subordinates, and in exchange for that, the subordinates owe obedience, loyalty, and deference to them, much like the culture in the military. It is quite common in these cultures that the seniors or the superiors take precedence in seating, eating, walking, and speaking, whereas the juniors or the subordinates must wait and follow them to show proper respect.

Similarly, the juniors and subordinates refrain from freely expressing their thoughts, opinions, and emotions, particularly negative ones, such as disagreements, doubts, anger, and so on. It is not surprising that, except for a couple of exceptions, such as France, most high power distance societies are also collectivistic societies. In contrast, in low power distance cultures, most of which are individualistic societies, people value equality and seek to minimize or eliminate various kinds of social and class inequalities.

They value democracy, and juniors and subordinates are free to question or challenge authority. People from high uncertainty avoidance cultures, such as many Latin American cultures, Mediterranean cultures, and some European e. Deviation from these rules and standards is considered disruptive and undesirable.

They also tend to avoid conflict, seek consensus, and take fewer risks. On the other hand, in low uncertainty avoidance cultures people are more comfortable with unstructured situations. Uncertainty and ambiguity are considered natural and necessary. They value creativity and individual choice, and are free to take risks. In masculine cultures, such as Mexico, Italy, Japan, and Australia, tough values, such as achievements, ambition, power, and assertiveness, are preferred over tender values, verbal and non verbal communication styles in as quality of life and compassion for the weak.

In addition, gender roles are generally distinct and complementary, which means that men and women place separate roles in the society and are expected to differ in embracing these values. For example, men are expected to be assertive, tough, and focus on material success, whereas women are expected to be modest and tender, and to focus on improving the quality of life for the family.

On the other hand, in feminine cultures, such as most of Scandinavian cultures, genders roles are fluid and flexible: Men and women do not necessarily have separate roles, and they can switch their jobs while taking care of the family. Not only do feminine societies care more about quality of life, service, and nurturance, but such tender values are embraced by both men and women in the society.

Societies with a long-term orientation, such as most East Asian societies, embrace future-oriented virtues such as thrift, persistence, and perseverance, ordering relationships by status, and cultivating a sense of shame for falling short of collective expectations. In contrast, societies with a short-term orientation foster more present- or past-oriented virtues such as personal steadiness and stability, respect for tradition, and reciprocation of greetings, favors, and gifts.

The Geography of Thought The cognitive approach views culture as a complex knowledge system. From this perspective, the key to understanding culture is to know the rules and scripts that guide action—how do people make sense of their communication environment, and how does this influence patterned action? By comparing the ecologies, economies, social structures, metaphysics, and epistemologies in ancient China and ancient Greece, Nisbett 2003 proposed a Geography of Thought theory to explain how Easterners and Westerners think differently and why.

Verbal Communication Styles and Culture

According to Nisbett, the ecology of ancient China consisted of primarily fertile plains, low mountains, and navigable rivers, which favored agriculture and made centralized control of society relatively easy.

As agriculture required people to stay in the geographical region and collaborate with each other on tasks such as building an irrigation system that could not be achieved individually, complex social systems were needed to manage resources and coordinate efforts. The ecology of ancient Greece, however, consisted mostly of mountains descending to the sea, which favored hunting, herding, and fishing.

These occupations required relatively little cooperation with others.

  • They prefer dialectical arguments that apply the principles of holism, which assumes that the world consists of opposing entities and forces that are connected in time and space as a whole;
  • Specifically, this section will outline the use of gestures, head movements and posture, eye contact, and facial expressions as nonverbal communication;
  • By comparing the ecologies, economies, social structures, metaphysics, and epistemologies in ancient China and ancient Greece, Nisbett 2003 proposed a Geography of Thought theory to explain how Easterners and Westerners think differently and why;
  • Of the theoretical perspectives proposed to understand cultural variations in communication styles, the most widely cited is the differentiation between high-context and low-context communication by Edward Hall 1976;
  • To facilitate intergroup dialogues between two cultural groups, it is of vital importance to help both groups understand such stylistic differences as well as the underlying values and histories that shape them.

Nor did they require living in the same stable community. Therefore, Ancient Greeks were able to act on their own to a greater extent than ancient Chinese.

In addition, the maritime location of ancient Greece made trading a lucrative occupation. The city-state also made it possible for intellectual rebels to leave a location and go to another one, maintaining the condition of a relatively free inquiry.

As a result, ancient Greeks were in the habit of arguing with one another in the marketplace and debating one another in verbal and non verbal communication styles in political assembly. As less emphasis was placed on maintaining harmonious social relationships, the Greeks had the luxury of attending to objects and people without being overly constrained by their relations with other people.

Over time, they developed a view of causality based on the properties of the object, rather than based on the larger environment. Hence, ancient Greeks were considered logical and analytical thinkers. Analytical thinking is field-independent.

Analytical thinkers attend more to focal objects and specific details; what is going on in the environment is less important. They also tend to place focal elements into a cause-effect, linear, or sequential frame, assuming that there is a clearly definable cause leading to the observed effects.

On the other hand, holistic thinking is field-dependent. Holistic thinkers tend to perceive events holistically or within a large context. They assume that there is a coherent whole and individual parts cannot be fully understood unless they are placed within the interdependent relationships. Metaphorically, whereas analytical thinkers view the world as a line, holistic thinkers view the world as a circle.

To provide support for his theory, Nisbett and colleagues conducted a series of experiments to assess whether East Asians would differ from Americans in their attentional patterns. For example, in one of the experiments, they presented animated underwater scenes to two groups of participants, from the United States and Japan, respectively, with a mixture of active objects e.

They found that a Japanese participants made more statements about contextual information and relationships than Americans did, and b Japanese participants recognized previously seen objects more accurately when they saw them in their original settings rather than in the novel settings, whereas this manipulation had relatively little effect on Americans.

4.2 Types of Nonverbal Communication

These findings provided substantial support for cognitive differences between Easterners and Westerners. Analytical thinkers also tend to be logical or polarized thinkers. They prefer logical arguments that apply the law of non-contradiction, which excludes the middle between being and non-being—something either exists or does not exist. A proposition can be weakened or falsified by demonstrating that it leads to a contradiction. In contrast, holistic thinkers tend to be dialectical thinkers.

They prefer dialectical arguments that apply the principles of holism, which assumes that the world consists of opposing entities and forces that are connected in time and space as a whole. Since everything is connected, one entity cannot be fully understood unless we take into account how it affects and is affected by everything else.

Unlike polarized or logical thinking that excludes the middle state, dialectical thinking seeks to reconcile opposing views by finding a middle ground. Dialectical thinkers accept grey areas, assuming that things constantly change. For example, Peng and Nisbett 1999 conducted a series of experiments and found that a dialectical thinking is reflected in Chinese folk wisdom, in that dialectical proverbs are more preferred by Chinese than by Americans; b in response to a conflict situation, a significantly greater percentage of Chinese participants prefer a dialectical resolution than Americans; and c when two apparently contradictory propositions were presented, Americans polarized their views, whereas Chinese accepted both propositions.

High-Context and Low-Context Communication Cultures A communication style is the way people communicate with others verbally and nonverbally. Scholars have proposed different typologies for describing communication styles.

Of the theoretical perspectives proposed to understand cultural variations in communication styles, the most widely cited is the differentiation between high-context and low-context communication by Edward Hall 1976. Bernstein hypothesizes that our speech patterns are conditioned by verbal and non verbal communication styles in social context. Restricted codes involve transmission of messages through verbal words and nonverbal intonation, facial features, gestures channels.

They rely heavily on the hidden, implicit cues of the social context, such as interpersonal relationships, the physical and psychological environments, and other contextual cues.

Code words used by doctors, engineers, prisoners, street gangs, or between family members and close friends are highly implicit in meaning and are known primarily to the members of such groups.

Elaborated codes, on the other hand, involve the use of verbal amplifications, or rich and expressive language, in transmitting meaning, placing relatively little reliance on nonverbal and other contextual cues.

Cultural Influences on Verbal & Nonverbal Communication Styles

The verbal channel is the dominant source of information for transmitting elaborated codes; context is not critical in understanding elaborated codes. Although restricted and elaborated codes are universal styles of communication, according to Hall 1976cultures differ in the importance they place on words, and one communication style tends to be more predominant in one culture than another.

Hall differentiated between high-context and low-context communication cultures and argued that low-context communication is used predominantly in individualistic cultures, whereas high-context communication is used predominantly in collectivistic cultures.