When I look at my friends and neighborhood, I see cultural diversity. There are different races of people around us. African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, Indian, Asian. We also have different religions amongst us like Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hinduism. I would say I am myself when I communicate with the different races of people who are my friends or neighbors but I try to speak in the language they understand and there are certain gestures or diction I would refrain from using when I’m around different cultures because they might be misread or taken in the wrong context. I would also communicate to my children and their age group differently from the way I would communicate with my age group and the people who are of my culture, the diction, gestures and even the body language would be different when communicating with these different groups because the times in which we grew up were different. Common expressions are different depending on the place and the time of the person. When my children use certain expressions, I get confused as to what they really mean and vise versa.
Three strategies I could use to help me communicate more effectively with people are strategies I learned from this week’s reading resources.
The first is to develop knowledge by actively seeking information. Listen and ask questions, create a third culture. Learn about the world view of someone from another culture. Reduce uncertainty by asking for clarification and listening to the answer. Create common ground by merging aspects of both cultural traditions to develop a common understanding.
The second is to develop motivation, tolerate ambiguity, be mindful and avoid negative judgments. Take your time to expect some uncertainty. Be conscious of cultural differences, rather than ignoring the differences. Resist thinking that culture has all the answers.
Third is to develop skill by being creatively flexible. Become other oriented and adapt your communication. Learn as you interact and be willing to adjust your behavior to others to ethnically accommodate differences and expectations.
Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Redmond, M. V. (2011). Interpersonal communication: Relating to others
(6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Chapter 4, “Interpersonal Communication and Diversity: Adapting to Others” (pp. 85–114)