Each of us is a product of our cultural background, including gender, ethnicity, family, age,
religion, profession and other life experiences. Our cultural inventory provides us with
valuable insights for understanding our beliefs, and attitude, our values and assumptions.
Thus, it is critical that we reflect on the various aspects of our own cultural identity and
examine their positive and negative impacts on our personal and professional development (Kim 2001, p. 306).
Source: Vuckovic, A. (2008). Inter-cultural communication: A foundation of communicative action. Multicultural Education and Technology Journal, 2(1), 47–59.
The manner in which we communicate differs in relation to the party we communicate with, and within the context of the relationship. Business communication sounds very different than communication with a friend, and communication with my family will be different than the business communication and communications with a friend. Nonetheless, communication will require respect for differing opinions, a level of mindfulness, and self monitoring.
When relating with colleagues, respect is the shared code that validates our roles and opinions in our communication. In business communication there is a specific purpose that requires input from varying sources, in order to identify areas of concern, opportunities for collaboration, and discuss concerns or dilemmas that may interfere with our ability to perform our duties. These communications often require jargon specific to the field, role play, mindfulness, and a certain degree of self monitoring. In this type of communication I need to be able to understand how the information will impact my service delivery to families and their children with respect to their own cultural values.
Communicating with friends is less stringent than the communications in the workplace, and requires simple language that can be understood by all. Jargon of any kind would lessen the messages of communication and may be insulting to those unfamiliar with it, who may also perceive it as purposed to alienate them from the conversation. In using plain language I am able to be more inclusive of the social circle, be mindful of the relationships, and thus self monitoring so that my non verbal communication is clear and intentional.
Conversations with family are also different, and may vary from one member to another. When communicating with the younger generation, the communication is inquisitive and purposed for understanding their point of view, and providing support and reinforcement for their endeavors. Self monitoring ensures that my communication represents heartfelt desires for their success and development, and my body language to be open and accepting of their views and opinions, not because they may be right, but because it is important to them. Communicating with the adults in the family is more challenging because of our competitive nature. Conversations are usually centered on our unique perspectives and personalities, and usually end up in debates, or in agreeing to disagree. Conversations are light hearted as we strive not to disrespect, self monitor as to not undermine, and be mindful of their struggles as to not offend or devalue.