High- and Low-Context Cultures in Communication
High-context culture communications are where formal and indirect styles are used in communication. It involves the use of both verbal and nonverbal techniques to put the information across. Excellent observation and listening skills are paramount for one to understand the information and interact effectively. The culture takes the responsibility of explaining unsaid things because exceedingly few words convey complex information. It is common in Asia, South America, Africa, and the Middle East. Low-context cultures depend on the literal and accurate meaning of the statements they use. The use of words rather than nonverbal communication is common. The communicator must be extremely explicit because the use of a single word is valueless. This communication style is common in Germany, United States, Scandinavian, and Switzerland. Understanding the difference between the styles of communication in culture is crucial.
Ability to understand the high-context culture communication will enable an individual to communicate effectively within that culture. People in high-context cultures will be able to interpret the meaning of phrases used to convey information. One will be able to make skillful use of gestures and other nonverbal communication to understand the meaning of the information. The ability to ask out questions from a few individuals is strength in succeeding in this culture. This is because answers are required to fully understand the meaning of few words used. One will be aware of the frustrations to expect when immigrating into a low-context culture from high-context culture. One will experience neglect because low-context culture people are highly independent. This communication is common in Collectivistic cultures.
Understanding low-context culture will enable an individual to adopt easily by becoming independent in finding solutions to the problems. People will be able to communicate by writing because nonverbal communication is not preferred. One should know that communication is direct, and points are put clear and straight to the point. Speed is valued in this culture, so one will be able to adjust the speed of communication, and communication is just a way of exchanging information and ideas. A person will be able to uphold the individualism philosophy of achieving one’s target.