Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication Across Cultures

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INTRODUCTION Objective The purpose of this paper is to analyze nonverbal communication and its subtopics, in order to avoid miscommunication between cultures. Contents and Methodology This paper discusses Chapter 8 of the book, Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication Across Cultures, 8th Edition, which is Nonverbal Intercultural Communication. In the book, there’s no given definition, and for this reason, I decided to add a chapter in this paper where I introduce nonverbal communication. And since the third subtopic in Chapter 8 was so short, I also added it in the first chapter. The first chapter begins with an introduction to nonverbal communication where a general definition and its enumerated functions, answered the…show more content…
The first thing people notice during interaction is physical appearance and it triggers a person to form their first impression of someone. Aspects of physical appearance include; body characteristics (i.e. skin color), body modification (i.e. tattoos), and body adornments (i.e. clothing). For example, Arab women wear hijab to convey modesty as per their cultural identity and religious beliefs as a Muslim. (2) Environment. Interpretation of a nonverbal message depends on how formal, warm, private, familiar, constrained, or distant the interaction takes place. (3) Body movements. Kinesics is the study of body movements (i.e., gestures, head movements, facial expressions, and eye behaviors). The five categories of kinesic behaviors: (a) Emblems are behaviors that have a verbal counterpart, e.g. waving instead of saying “goodbye.” (b) Illustrators are behaviors that illustrate the verbal message, e.g. pointing towards the direction a person is telling someone to go. (c) Affect displays are behaviors that display emotions, e.g. smiling to show happiness. (d) Regulators are behaviors that indicate a person when to speak or listen to someone they’re interacting with, e.g. direct eye contact when speaking then posture shift to signal someone to talk. (e) Adaptors are…show more content…
(Lustig, Koester, & Halualani, 2017) Being sensitive to the different nonverbal codes is important in intercultural competence. Lack of awareness to a culture’s nonverbal codes may cause miscommunication. To increase one’s intercultural competence, they must “be alert to emotional reactions to nonverbal messages, be tentative in interpretations of nonverbal messages, and practice to improve the ability in observing, evaluating, and behaving appropriately and effectively.” (Lustig, Koester, & Halualani, 2017)
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