This year the number of instant messaging (IM) users will reach 4.3 billion - a growth largely driven by an increased need for remote communication during the COVID-19 crisis. The benefits of using Teams, Slack and Zoom are well documented. But many of our workshop participants have commented on the impact of cultural differences in their use of, and communication style on, IM.
Culture and communication are closely linked. One cultural dimension referred to a great deal is low- versus high-context communication. Context being the information surrounding a situation or event. The Chinese, Japanese, Arabs, Brazil, people from the Mediterranean are high-context cultures meaning the information needed is in the nature of the situation and relationship held with the sender, not in the explicit communication. These cultural groups typically have intersecting networks, long-term relationships, strong boundaries and maintaining the relationship may be more important than the task. If they seek information, they will turn to their personal network.
"I enjoyed learning how to deal with situations emerging from cultural differences within the USA (dialects, accents). Some really helpful insight into the American mind-set, especially business life. Also, the ability to phrase things in a way that US clients understand. Now I understand that there are some things here in the EU that US citizens never use so cannot understand."
American Cultural Training
“I often proof-read our International Magazine for grammar/ typos. Now I will also consider the Global English v Native English impact in the future.”
Exploring How We Work
Computacenter - Hatfield