Interpersonal Communication In An Intercultural Setting.

3530 words - 14 pages

Cultural growth in the twenty-first century has heightened theemphasis on interpersonal communication in an interculturalsetting. As our world grows, expands and becomes increasingly moreinterconnected by various technological advances, the need foreffective interpersonal communication among differing cultures hasbecome quite clear. Due to the advancement of technology intoday's world, a world in which some businesspeople are involved intransactions with other businesspeople in faraway countries, thecall for knowledge of intercultural communication within thissetting has become a reality. Interpersonal communication is aform of communication that involves a small number of people whocan interact exclusively with one another and who therefore havethe ability to both adapt their messages specifically for thoseothers and to obtain immediate interpretations from them (Lustig etal, 1993). Although interpersonal communication is usually thoughtof as being perf! ormed in small, centralized groups, a need tobroaden these groups and bring about a general feeling of culturalawareness has become apparent. To a certain degree, all communicationcould be called interpersonal, as it occurs between two or morepeople. However, it is useful and practical to restrict the definitionto distinguish those relationships that involve a relatively smallgroup of people, such as couples, families, friends, workgroups, andeven classroom groups from those involving much larger numbers ofpeople, as would occur in public rallies or among massive televisionaudiences. Unlike other forms of communication, interpersonalcommunication involves person-to-person interactions. Additionally,the perception that a social bond has developed between theinteractants, however tenuous and temporary it may seem, is also muchmore likely.Intercultural communication is a symbolic, interpretive,transactional, contextual processing tool with which peoplefrom different cultures create shared meanings (Berko et al,1998). When we speak to someone with whom we share little orno cultural bond, it is referred to as interculturalcommunication. Our need to communicate across culture can bevery beneficial personally and professionally. Within anintercultural setting, nonverbal and verbal communication areboth prevalent in emphasizing the differences in cultures. Theway we act and the things we say determine whether or not webelong in a certain culture. Nonverbal communication systemsprovide information about the meaning associated with the useof space, time, touch and gestures. They help to define theboundaries between the members and nonmembers of a culture(Koester at al, 1993). In order to fully enjoy and benefitfrom interpersonal communication in an intercultural setting,one must first gain a fu! ll, comprehensive knowledge of thedetermining factors of culture. There are several ways of definingculture. Webster's dictionary defines culture as " . . . a particularcivilization at a particular stage" or " . ....

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