About this sample
About this sample
Words: 1263 |
7 min read
Published: Aug 4, 2023
Words: 1263|Pages: 3|7 min read
Communication is a term that has numerous definitions. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “communication is also the exchange of information and the expression of feeling that can result in understanding”. It is widely known that culture has huge effects on a large group of people who are related to each other. Therefore, it is clear that culture also can affect people’s communication style, people in the same culture have the same way to interact with others, to some extent. In this paper, I will analyze the way I communicate with different types of people, who have different relationships with me, and in different contexts: formal and informal to understand the effect of culture on communication style.
I am Vietnamese and I have been living here for 21 years; therefore, my communication style is mainly influenced by Vietnamese culture. However, I also got influenced slightly by Western culture since my major in college is English, and I have interacted and learned about it a lot. This means that my communication style will have some differences from common Vietnamese way. In this paper, I will point out some major characteristics of my way to communicate with others, as well as, how my style is different from other Vietnamese ones.
There are dozens of ways to classify cultures variations. The two most famous classification system are ones that belonged to Hall and Hofstede. Firstly, based on Hall’s taxonomies, Vietnam is a high-context culture. The characteristics of a high context culture are “convert and implicit; messages internalized, much nonverbal coding, reaction reserved, distinct ingroup and outgroup, strong interpersonal bonds, commitment high, time open and flexible”. Typically, the Vietnamese prefer the face-to-face talk as they can see the listeners’ emotions, non-verbal codes and understand the implicit messages easily. I do prefer to talk to my friends and my parents in person. When we see the other, it seems easier to express feelings and ideas, compared with other channels like texting or telephone. My parents and I often have face-to-face conversations online by Facetime or Messenger as I go to Hanoi for college and they stay in my hometown. Despite the geographic distance, I would love to see my parents in order to know that they are healthy, and it is more convenient for me to explain my story to them. However, talking in person is not my preferred communication channel in the workplace. When I communicate with my co-workers, who I only meet in my part-time job, we often use emails and texting to keep in touch. I think this is more comfortable for all of us because we do not have much time to talk to each other at work, which is the only place that we have the chance to meet. I work part-time as a teacher assistant at an English center, so most of my working time is in a particular classroom. Our job needs us to be really strict with the time, there is no room to do other work. I have to spend the whole class time to observe students and note their strong and weak points. In the break time, I have to check student’s homework or prepare handouts for teachers. I do not have much time left to chat with other teacher assistants.
A noticeable aspect of Vietnamese culture is the high power distance, based on Hofstede’s taxonomy. People have to be really careful when talking to people who are older or have higher social class. For example, I often nod my head or wave my hand to greet my friends without a word. However, in Vietnam, where the power-distance is high, a silent greeting like that can make people feel being disrespected, especially in family or in a formal environment like workplace. My parents often tell me to greet the older loud and clear instead of bowing to them. In my center, I also avoid waving to my colleagues as I worry they think that I do not respect them, even though they are at my age. Another way high power distance influence the Vietnamese’s communication is our pronouns system. People are expected to use the correct pronoun for each person, wrong using can make the listener feel disrespectful. When I was on my first day of work, I decided to consider all my co-workers older than me, to avoid unsatisfaction. However, I found that most of my colleagues are at my age or younger than me. This issue is more complex and important in the family. I am expected to know all my relatives and their relationship with my parents so I can not use the pronoun “bác” for all relatives. I did use the pronoun wrong once, and I can see that both my parents and the relative were uncomfortable. However, I do not feel angry or upset if someone addresses me with an inappropriate pronoun, which, I think, is somehow influenced by my major English.
According to Lustig and Koester, in the book “Intercultural competence: Interpersonal Communication across Culture”, in Vietnam, an Asian country, people appreciate the ‘value of silence”, which mean that people are comfortable with silence. When having a conversation, I am often the listener I prefer remaining silence all the time in all context and often use nonverbal communication.
Based on Hofstede’s cultural taxonomy, Vietnam is a collectivist cultured country. Therefore, people tend to prefer the decision of group, or people often depend on their group. In communication, this issue is shown when people tend to follow what many people think is right and avoid argumentation. I have been through a lot of situations when I decided to agree with others even though I disagreed. I remember that in my first part-time job as a teacher, I strongly disagreed with the working time table. The job did not assign to me as I expected, I often have to ask the teachers if they need an assistant in the class so that I can finish the expected working hour amount. However, I did not have the courage to ask for the system change as I was new there and everyone else seem to be comfortable with it as that system help them gain more extra money and that they can work with their favorite teachers. If I had raised my voice, I could have been isolated from my co-workers. Argument avoiding also appears in an informal situation like in the family. In my family, I often avoid arguing with my parents. When I am angry with my parents, I often try to remain silent and calm down until I can think of a solution to our problem.
My preferred topic of conversation often changes when I am in different groups. When I talk to my parents, our main topic will be my study process at school. In my workplace, an English center, my colleagues and I often discuss the topic about students, their learning process and how to help them obtain knowledge better. The topic I use to talk with my friends is various, but mainly about shopping and clothes, things that we have in common.
In conclusion, personal cultural profiles have significant impacts on my communication styles in both informal and formal settings, especially the impacts of power distance, collectivism, and high context culture. However, the levels of influences are diverse as Vietnam's living environments have changed gradually. Therefore, some aspects of communication style may not be realized clearly.
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