On this week we were asked:
- Do you find yourself communicating differently with people from different groups and cultures?
- If yes, in what ways do you communicate differently.
As I look back and think of the different people who I talk to, I do find myself communicating differently to people of different groups and cultures. I know that when I am around my biological siblings, I can be crazy and energetic self and talk the way I want to talk. I can be myself around them and not feel guilty. I am one that does not like a lot of swearing and smoking around me and my family knows that and they do not do them things around me and if they slip and curse they hurry up and apologize. I tell them that it is okay and that it is their mouth and that I cannot tell them what they can and cannot say but they respect me and my Christian values to apologize. I am more comfortable and relaxed because I am around people who knows who I am as a person. When I am around my church family, I am more calm and mellow and we talk about God and how good he is, I help clean the church, I watch how I talk with my pastor and first lady who also happens to be my aunt and uncle through marriage. Although they are my relatives, I look to them as my spiritual leaders first then my relatives. When talking to my pastor I can talk to him about anything and know that he will keep it to himself. I speak to him in humbleness and truth.
I am comfortable in communicating with everyone no matter what race, gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation or age. I love to talk and I love to meet and greet new people. I do not communicate with families from other countries due to the fact the majority of our families are African-American. Even when I speak with those who speak Spanish, I am attentive and try to understand what they are talking about as they are talking in English. Sometimes they get so caught up that they start speaking in Spanish and then I get lost because I do not understand what they are saying. I do not stop them because eventually they will realize that I am lost by my nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and body language.
In learning about the components of positive intercultural communication this week has encouraged me to adapt three strategies that will enhance my communication while interacting with people from a different culture:
- Becoming other-oriented and following Milton Bennett’s Platinum Rule, “Do to others as they themselves would like to be treated”. What may be appropriate and accepted in one culture may be not be acceptable in another. Therefore, I need to be mindful of my behavior and the language that I speak.
- To expand my cultural horizon and broaden my world view (Gonzales-Mena, 2010). I can accomplish that by researching and collecting information from those who come from different backgrounds and cultures, and by developing my knowledge of their values, beliefs, and customs. This will enable me to understand what is important to them and avoid miscommunication that results from overlooking cultural expectations (Beebe, Beebe, & Redmond, 2011).
- Develop Motivation-In developing motivation I will be able to become a competent communicator through learning and improving on how to communicate. “Developing strategies to appreciate others who are different from you may help you appreciate different cultural approaches to communications and relationships” (Beebe et al., 2015, p. 104).
Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Redmond, M. V. (2011). Interpersonal communication: Relating to others (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2010). 50 strategies for communicating and working with diverse families. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. “Understanding and Appreciating Cultural Differences”