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’ve gained a better understanding to cultural differences. I definitely suggest colleagues go on this to learn that something may be classed as ‘rude’ but it’s merely a misunderstanding.”
Cultural Diversity & Inclusion
"I have been having very intensive French lessons over the last 5 weeks in preparation for my expat move. Our tutor did a fantastic job of developing a lesson plan, prepping me for the essentials and covering the basics, giving me a strong French foundation on which I can build over the coming years. She was very flexible with lesson times, working around my schedule and always brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm, no matter how early in the morning or late in the evening it was!"
Intensive French Programme