MGT201. Communication and Soft Skills
2015 University of Management and Technology 1
1. In the book's Preface, Tannen states: "...all communication is more or less crosscultural." What does she mean by this statement? Why is it important to approach
communication among people as an exercise in understanding possible cross-cultural
differences among them? Illustrate your points with examples.
Tannen states in her book, page 14, “all communication is more or less cross-cultural:” What
she means is that the culture in which a person grew up has a great influence on how this
person will behave among others. Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular
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It is important to approach communication among people as an exercise in understanding
possible cross-cultural differences because it will diminish many communication barriers among
people. Understanding these barriers restores a sense of control over our lives, making it
possible to improve communication and relationships in all the settings in which people talk to
each other: at work, in interviews, in public affairs, and at home.
The first cultural communication barrier we encounter is that we assume others are like us;
therefore we want the same respect and feedback during conversations. However as people are
raised from different culture we approach people in “our way” and they react in a pattern we
would not expect. Accordingly, from a frustrated communication experience, we turn ourselves to
bias and even prejudices, toward the other person or specific groups. Also, from bad experience
animosities or fears usually arise including being judged, miscommunicate, and patronize or hurt
others unintentionally. At any moment that we're dealing with people different from ourselves, the
likelihood is that they carry a similar list of animosities or fears in their back pocket too.
A good example now a day is the Americans communication with the Islam world, the cultural
values among them are very different. At the Islam world women have to cover their heads
and faces, be extremely subservient, population are used to dictatorial and coercive
approach from their father, older brother and husband; there is no democracy; men are
raised to fight, must win until death; people are separated by clans and tribes. The Islam
culture raises people teaching that the rest of the world is wrong. What Western countries
see as freedom and democratic, the Islam people see as invasive, arrogant, manipulative,
and hypocrite. The failure to respect cross cultural differences among non-Islam and Islam’s
Cultures cause many misunderstandings on communication. When people from both sites
find the recipe to well communicate respecting cross culture diversities, the world will find
Other good example is the cross cultural communication barrier inside a husband-wife´s
relationship. Male-female conversation is always cross-cultural because culture is simply a
network of habits and patterns gleaned from past experience and family roots, and both have
different past experiences. From the time they’re born, they’re treated differently, talked to
differently, and talk differently as a result. Boys and girls grow up in different worlds, even if
they grow up in the same house. And as adults they travel in different worlds, reinforcing
patterns established in childhood. These cultural differences include differing expectations
about the role of talk in relationships and how it fulfills that role.
Another cross cultural communication barrier we encounter is the difference in
communication styles, verbal and non-verbal:
One aspect of...