Short lessons from Human Diversity today, paraphrased: 1 To improve intercultural communication remember that you are looking at people through your own eyes and not seeing them exactly as who they are, 2 we all play by different rules in communication, 3 we all value different things, and 4 communication itself is one of the best things to use when solving communication problems.
- When I think of someone’s name, I think about their body shape, their skin color, their eyes, gender, family culture, language and religion. I put labels on them, titles and names by which to call them and refer to the idea which I hold in my mind to be them. Those aren’t correct, how could they be?
- If I were to talk with someone who is comfortable getting physically closer when talking than I feel comfortable getting, they aren’t doing it to be mean and by stepping back I am not trying to be mean, but we both are sending negative messages about our communication together. If I do not share the same rules as others in communication, whether gesticulation, word usage or proximity when talking, it is better to understand and recognize that and then work to a solution rather than simply judge it as bad or unavoidable.
- This also includes value systems which I may not agree with as being correct for my own life. Whether religious or family values, local, state, country or regional values, I am likely in any given day to find dozens of people who I strongly disagree with (in broad system values). Moreover, everyone I meet every day of my life will have values that do not match mine in their entirety or likely even within ten percentage points.
- Communication then, the challenge and the solution, presents itself as a method through which I may become closer to people. Closer friends might mean friends who I can be close to and how many of those could I have? If I work hard and stay alert, I could begin to close the gap every time.