This article highlights the intricacies of communicating with people from other cultures especially in a business setting. The author identifies culture and native language as the main causes of these differences in communication even in countries that use a similar language such as English. The article deals with various situations where an individual thought they were doing or saying the right thing only for it to be interpreted differently by people from other countries; the author attributes this to cultural differences.
Olfsoon points out that different cultures value different things, for example in Japan age, education and position in the company are highly valued while in America and Britain everyone is treated equally. This means that when communicating with the Japanese one has to use the appropriate titles, be formal and respectful.
Another aspect mentioned in the article is the place of small talk in a culture, in some countries such as Finland silence is preferred if one has nothing to say unlike in the UK where small talk is viewed as a way of ‘breaking the ice’. In some cultures such as in Indonesia direct communication is frowned upon and people do not say no but postpone or say maybe and the author advices people to learn to read between the lines.
The article contains valuable information about the communication styles of various cultures. It is especially useful as it gives a list of various countries and gives pointers on the common cultural pitfalls and how to avoid them which increases awareness on different global audiences.
The articles also gives pointers on how to give a presentation for a foreign audience and emphasizes on a lot of visual aids, speaking slowly and using clean language that is devoid of swear words, sexist or racist remarks a point that is supported by Dhanesh who states that “competent intercultural speakers need to choose words that will encode their ideas well and not will not offend the audience.” (16-9).
This article gives guidelines on how to deal with global audiences while pointing out the specific areas that are important in specific countries which increases ones knowledge on how to deal with global audiences.
Harty, Kevin. Strategies for business and technical writing. New York. Pearson Longman. 2008. 6th ed. Print.
Chen, G-M., & Starosta, W.J. Foundations of intercultural communication. Lanham, MA: University Press of America. 2005. Print.
Dhanesh, Ganga. “Speaking to a global audience.” The Public Speaking Project. N.d Web
“Speaking Globally”. ToastMasters International. N.d. Web