“Individuals who fail to consider other cultural perspectives are said to suffer from cultural myopia, a form of nearsightedness grounded in the belief that one’s own culture is appropriate and relevant in all situations and to all people” (O’Hair & Wiemann, p. 45, 2012).
Along with that thought we were asked this week to examine the The Platinum Rule” (Beebe, Beebe & Redmond, 2011). Basically the rule implies that we should treat others in the manner in which we want to be treated. With those two thoughts in mind for this blog I will examine my own personal communication styles.
Around people I know really well that includes my family and inner circle, my posture is relaxed and animated. I feel comfortable expressing my thoughts and opinions. Because we have an established rapport, shared experiences and beliefs we can talk about anything and work out our differences quickly. At work, I have a professional courtesy that I extend to my colleagues and customers. My demeanor isn’t as relaxed but I display a smile and openness to be willing to exchange ideas without drama or conflict. When conversing with individuals I’m meeting for the first time again my tone is polite but I try to exhibit a body language that promotes a willingness to engage in conversation.
In every setting, I try to be an emphatic listener and look for cues, both verbal and non-verbal communication that helps me understand the message that is being conveyed. Sometimes it talks asking probing questions or paraphrasing the context back to ensure that we both are aligned with the topic being discussed. If I am familiar with the presenter, then I can adjust my response accordingly. On occasions where I’m not familiar with the presenter, I try to obtain as much information as possible to keep the lines of communication open, honest and continuous. I try to take into account that my cultural upbringing and background may be similar, but each of us has walked a different path to get to the same endpoint and there is always a lesson to be learned or shared.
Becoming an effective communicator and listener is a lifelong practice of self-evaluation. As we age and experience new life journeys, the people and events we encounter change how we view ourselves and others. Being aware of our cultural and social differences and making the necessary adjustments to learn and not prejudge others helps to keep conflict to a minimal when communicating, written or verbally with others.
Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Redmond, M. V. (2011). Interpersonal communication: Relating to others (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
O’Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2012). Real communication. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.