Chapter Four
Kindness in words creates confidence
- Lao Tzu
The task of communicating with another culture is always deliciously daunting because of the sheer richness of contrasting emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence at play in the interaction. With cultures close in thought and communication styles, such as near neighbours within Europe, there is a comfort level of shared assumptions.
With China, however, we are looking at a highly contrasting set of cultural assumptions, and a radically different cultural filter. Our filter on spoken language comes from a whole series of definitions of what is normal, defined by our culture, way of life and values. This, in turn, is then put through the cultural filter of the Chinese listener who ‘ hears’ our words and conjures up an image of what a breakfast, friendship or contract might be, as defined by how he or she views these individual states, objects or feelings.
Meaning is determined by culture. So there are many clues, which we will now offer, about what helps us to be understood by the Chinese. These are mainly practical and will be invaluable cultural aids to building relationships well and adapting through a China - friendly, communicative style. Beyond this, however, it is important in the context of our theme to remember that language is the transfer of information, while communication is the transfer of emotion.11
Firstly, it is important to understand that since ...

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