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Intercultural communication

Intercultural communication refers to the interaction between people from different cultural backgrounds. This applies to exchanges between individuals as well as between groups. The basic prerequisite for successful intercultural communication is mastery of a common language, but awareness of gestures, facial expressions, posture and other cultural characteristics is also necessary.

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Intercultural communication in everyday life

Encounters with people from foreign cultures have become normal during the course of globalisation. Whether at school, in leisure time, or at the workplace, international interdependencies are increasing even in our own country. One of the most important insights in the field of intercultural communication is to understand cultural contexts and to be aware of the similarities and differences between cultural groups.

Misunderstandings of intercultural communication

Intercultural communication between members of different cultural groups is prone to misunderstandings. This is because people use signs such as speech, gestures and facial expressions to communicate. It can happen that members of different cultures use completely different terms or gestures for the same information or show different reactions. This leaves room for misinterpretation.

Intercultural communication in the workplace

Intercultural communication plays an important role, especially in internationally operating companies. It is not only the teams that are becoming increasingly international in the course of globalisation; business partners are also often based in distant countries such as the USA, China or Australia. It is essential to be aware of cultural differences to ensure successful exchange.

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FAQ: More questions on intercultural communication

What does interculturality mean?

Interculturality describes the encounter of different cultures. The word part “inter” indicates that it is an exchange between people.

Why is intercultural communication important?

Intercultural skills are a prerequisite for interpersonal interactions. Raising awareness of the cultural diversity of members of a society contributes first and foremost to treating other people with respect. We also learn to communicate our own values and views in an understandable way.

What does intercultural communication mean?

According to the definition by American ethnologist Edward Hall, intercultural communication means “the interpersonal response of people belonging to different cultures”. Hall is considered the founder of intercultural communication.

How does intercultural communication work?

Effective intercultural communication is only possible if all participants treat each other respectfully and accept the cultural differences while also believing in their own values.

How can intercultural misunderstandings be avoided?

Intercultural communication problems happen where different cultures meet. Those who raise their awareness of cultural differences show a willingness to reflect on their own communication patterns and to engage with diversity.

How can intercultural skills be promoted?

In both private and professional environments, it is worthwhile to enhance one’s intercultural skills and become interculturally competent. Those who engage in the learning process, treat other people with tolerance and acceptance and perceive the foreign culture as such will quickly make progress.

What does transculturality mean?

Transculturality describes the blending of different cultures across national and linguistic boundaries. During the course of globalisation, this concept of culture is becoming increasingly important.

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