Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Nonverbal communication includes many different factors such as body language, facial expressions, hand gestures, and tone. - Essayabode


Here is 2 examples of students discussing their opinions on the topic of examples where culture can cause a misunderstanding through nonverbal communication. Please respond to each student supporting their responses.


Nonverbal communication includes many different factors such as body language, facial expressions, hand gestures, and tone. Nonverbal communication is just as, if not more, important as verbal communication. Sometimes the things left unsaid spell out a completely different picture than what is initially being presented. High-context cultures are those that rely more heavily on non-verbal communication. Countries such as Japan, China, Korea and many Middle Eastern countries are considered high-context. Direct communication is often seen as aggressive and disrespectful so a most of their verbal communication leans heavily on implied, ambiguous language. Communication seems to tap dance around the point instead of getting straight to it. This style of communication places more emphasis on how things are said and the context surrounding it rather than what was actually said. High-context communication requires an intimate knowledge of cultural norms for effective communication. In contrast, low-context cultures tend to be more direct in communication. The verbal communication leaves very little room for interpretation and is more so a “I said what I said” style. North America and Europe tend to use this style more frequently.

Intercultural communications can be tricky to navigate so it is important to explore and learn about various cultures’ distinct differences. With Western cultures placing more emphasis on direct communication, conversations between an American businessman and a Japanese businessman may have some hiccups. Whereas the American businessman may offer a strong handshake and speak in a strong, direct tone, the Asian businessman may be more inclined to speak softer and rely more on “understanding” rather than words. A misunderstanding of non-verbal language can have detrimental effects on relationships and hinder communication efforts from moving forward. It is imperative to understand non-verbal cues in order to effectively communicate and be received. Although non-verbal communication is more ambiguous and leaves more to be interpreted. Learning the nuances behind non-verbal communication can help bridge the gap between cultures and also allow for more effective leadership.

2. Reply from Judnel Marcius

We are all different in our culture, and sometimes there is some misunderstanding through nonverbal communication. That happens all the time in some summits, and business meetings. Let’s consider in Haiti a handshake is a common form of greeting between men and a hug is a common form of greeting for women. Bowing is the customary greeting in other cultures in the Middle East. As I said, imagine a business meeting where Haitian people and Middle Eastern people are participating. In this scenario, a Haitian man can extend his right hand for a handshake to greet someone from the Middle East. However, a person from the Middle East where bowing is the norm may interpret the extended hand as a gesture of rudeness until putting people in an uncomfortable situation. The Haitian man offering the handshake may interpret the lack of reciprocation or see bowing as a sign of disinterest. This misunderstanding arises from differing cultural norms regarding nonverbal communication and greetings. To understand nonverbal cues as they operate in human communication, we need to consider the roles they play when people interact. These roles become most apparent when we consider nonverbal cues as they relate to verbal messages. (Patricia Hayes Andrews, 2005)