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Differences in Cultures

Essay by   •  July 20, 2011  •  Essay  •  768 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,918 Views

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Some people say why is it important for us to study intercultural communication? Nowadays, many companies are conducting business more globally with foreign countries, from buyer to seller or distributor to supplier .Nonverbal communication then plays a very significant role in regards with this matter. There can be many miscommunications that can occur due to kinesics, proxemics, oculesics, haptics, and chronemics. If my company were to transfer me to Italy, nonverbal communication skills would be highly significant to get across different barriers along the way.

Where business takes you, learning the culture of the country would lead you to success. Kinesics is the use of human movement, gesture and posture in communication. Emblems are gesture that has a direct translation and substitute for a given word. Usually emblems are understood meanings in a given culture. The Italian culture has an extensive emblems vocabulary which may cause confusion if you are not from there. Italians use body language and hand gestures to punctuate an expression when word or phrase lacks which are also known as illustrators. Italian culture is rich in the use of kinesics. Italy and America are similar in regulating communication for example to show avoidance, Italians and American cross arms, lean back avert eyes. To show interest, both cultures lean in, raise eye browns, and keep eye contact.

Space can be a very mysterious concept when it comes to interpreting body language across cultures. Italians stand much closer to one another than Americans do and it is common for men to walk down the street arm and arm and also women to walk down the street arm and arm. High-contact cultures maintain smaller relative distances when interacting. European cultures are more comfortable with a shorter amount of personal space. Americans are low-contact cultures which prefer no contact. Sometimes Americans perceived contact as an invasion of space which can create misunderstanding with high-contact cultures.

Oculesics is the way eyes are used during a communication exchange. It is often associated to depict how honest one is. Italians are one culture that relies heavily on eye contact. Intense direct eye contact is common as well as looking away is a sign of disinterest and being rude. Also, if you look away while talking, it is seeing as if you are hiding something. In the united states, women feel embarrassed at being looked at for too long and feel that they are violated their intimate space. When doing business, one should keep eye contact to be seeing as trustworthy and loyal.

Touch is one of the most powerful forms of non verbal communication. A kiss on the check when first meeting a friend is most common in Italy. When meeting an Italian for the first time, be ready to shake hands, but if they come at you be ready to air kiss. The air kiss is simply pressing your cheek to someone else's, starting with the right cheek and moving to left.

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