The American Culture and Communication
The American Culture and Communication
Culture represents a code of values and conduct held by a group of people. These values determine how this group acts and thinks, and most importantly, how people in this group judge each other. Codes in this culture place certain behaviors as wrong or strange and others as right and normal. Every one of us is comes across people from different cultures daily. Cultural differences act as barriers for effective communication. These differences sometimes prevent us from getting messages across or receiving messages from others in full (Slembek, 2011). In particular, the American culture is one that has major impact on communication (Lewis, & Goldstein, 2003).. Upholding appropriate skills and attitudes encourages positive communication in the American culture.
When culture comes to mind, one thinks about a group of people, and in particular, its food, pattern of behavior, art, and customs. These represent external manifestations of assumptions, values, and beliefs. Cultures come forward as when a group of people deals with and react to challenges. Successful responses to these challenges is then shared among group members and thereafter passed on to later generations. Distinctive characteristics of culture in America lay with competition, equality, individualism, self-help concept, materialism, informality, and action orientation (Butcher, 2006). These American beliefs and values are distinct to those in other countries. The unspoken cultural assumptions in America are different compared to other cultures. As such, cross-cultural misunderstandings occur when people with different values and beliefs run into each other.
Other factors also lead to cross cultural misunderstanding. These include misuse of power, lack of empathy, and lack of trust. As such, this understanding challenges my cultural assumptions. My personal assumptions hold that cross cultural misunderstandings lack an effective solution. However, conducting further investigation reveals skills and attitudes that can assure effective communication cross culturally. The first aspect of these skills and attitudes involves knowing oneself. In this case, there is need to identify personal opinions, attitudes, and biases (Hoggart, 2012). It also involves understanding personal prejudices, likes, dislikes, and the extent of ethnocentrism. The other aspect involves taking time to consider other people’s perspectives and allowing them to carry out their purpose. For example, people have a tendency of cutting other people short before they finish speaking. Non-verbal styles of the American culture call for long periods of silence and pauses.
The third aspect involves encouraging feedback. In this case, feedback gives communicators a chance to adjust and correct messages. In the American culture, reaching an agreement is impossible without feedback. It is therefore important to establish an environment that encourages others to give feedback. Developing empathy is yet another skill that alleviates barriers to communication in the American culture. Lubis (2008) states that huge differences between people make it hard to empathize. Acknowledging other people’s perspectives is the first step towards developing empathy. Acknowledging the goals, needs, and values of other people is an effective tool for overcoming ethnocentric tendencies.
across the world are defined by a set of values and beliefs. These cultures
determine how they behave and relate to each other. The American culture is no
different. However, with distinct cultures come misunderstandings due to the conflicting
values and beliefs. Ultimately, conducting this study challenges my cultural
assumptions. In this regard, I found it necessary to embrace appropriate skills
and attitudes to enhance my communication skills. These skills and attitudes I
identified are bound to help me communicate effectively with people from
different cultures in America
and other regions.
Butcher, M. J. (2006). The American culture. New York: Knopf.
Greenberg, J. H. (2011). Language, culture, and communication. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.
Hoggart, R. (2012). On culture and communication. New York: Oxford University Press
Lewis, D. L., & Goldstein, L. (2003). Communication and American culture. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Lubis, M. (2008). Interaction between culture and communication. Paris: UNESCO.
Slembek, E. (2011). Culture and communication. Frankfurt: Verlag für Interkulturelle Kommunikation.