Speaking and Writing Across Cultures

When talking with people whose native language is the same as yours, you can speak quickly and use idioms and slang without losing the meaning of your message. In fact, idioms and slang can highlight points you make. For someone from outside of your culture, who has learned your language in a formal setting such as a school or university, your conversational style can create confusion, misunderstanding, or complete bewilderment.

To enhance your cross-cultural communication effectiveness, build awareness of your speaking and writing styles. Pay attention to how you talk. Consider how your words might strike someone who isn't completely familiar with your language. Think about the medium: Are you writing a ...

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