Cross cultural communicationCross cultural communication

Understanding communication and how to communicate across cultures is fundamental to building cultural intelligence.

Open All | Close All


In this topic you will:

  • develop an understanding of communication
  • learn about cross – cultural communication
  • explore strategies for effective cross-cultural communication
  • begin assessment three


Understanding communication

Many modes for communication

In order to learn how to effectively communicate cross-culturally, you need to understand what communication is and how you use it. To begin this process, think about the following questions:

  • In your typical day, what methods of communication do you use?
  • Which methods are your main modes for communicating?
  • Do you have a preferred way of communicating?

draw a mind map of the different methods of communication you use.

  • Think about your academic, social and work life : which methods do you use most in each one?
  • This does not need to be posted; this is for your own learning and developing your ideas for assessment three.


Use the drawing tools introduced in week 1.

Drawing Tools

Why and how we communicate

In today's globalised society we communicate in many ways:from face to face, online to over the phone. Why do we need to communicate?

View our mind map opposite. How similar or different is this yours?


Communication at its basic level is about sending and receiving messages. According to Lustig & Koester (1999 p . 25) communication is “a symbolic process in which people create shared meanings”.

View the slideshow opposite for further information.


Verbal and non-verbal communication

Generally communication is classified into two broad types: verbal and non verbal.

Verbal communication includes:

  • using sound
  • attaching meaning to our words using emotion and understanding
  • the tone we use to deliver our words
  • 35% of all communication.

Non-verbal is:

  • 65% of all communication!

Did you realise this?

View the slideshow opposite to find out more about non verbal communication .

Communicating online

Social media is allowing more and more people; businesses and governments to communicate online.

Do you realise how quickly this has grown and how extensive this is becoming?

View the YouTube video opposite for more details.


With online communication rapidly expanding, it is vital that people understand how to communicate in this environment.

There are many benefits that social media has created, however there are also disadvantages to engaging with this form of communication. Can you think of what these may be.

About communication ...

The topic of communication is enormous. Only the very basic elements have been covered here.

To learn more, try the CDU summon database: type in theories of communication. See what you get. We got 798,085 results.

Back to top ↑





















Non verbal communication





Video snippet - the social media revolution





Cross-cultural communication

Defining terms

Cross-cultural communication refers to the theory of communicating across cultures.

Intercultural communication is the practice of cross-cultural communication .

Many of the readings in the field focus on the negative aspects of intercultural communication; however in this unit, the focus will be on some positive strategies for communicating effectively.

What is cross-cultural communication?

What do you understand about the term ‘cross cultural communication'?

Type your ideas here or write them down where you can save them: (2011)







Compare ideas:  Cross-cultural communication is ...

Your experiences of cross cultural communication

When you engage in CUC107 you are communicating cross-culturally:

  • internally you do this on a weekly basis in the face to face sessions,
  • externally you choose how much you engage through sharing ideas online (you may have even developed new friendships where you have not physically met the person).

Now share some of your experiences of cross-cultural communication.

TIP: sharing your experience

This experience should not be limited to CUC107. Many of  you would have cross-culturally communicated in your work, social and academic life

Reflect on your experiences and discuss this with others to gain an understanding of other peoples experiences.

Back to top ↑



Effective strategies

In this section you will be presented with some strategies for effectively communicating cross-culturally in the workplace or academic setting. This will be done through examining the face to face interaction and online environments.

Active listening

Is a skill that we must work really hard to acquire.

  • As humans when we are in conversation our brains automatically start to formulate our response before the speaker has finished.
  • Sometimes we also find ourselves finishing other people’s sentences in order to hurry them up so we can respond.
  • Another trait which we do is we start speaking before the speaker has even finished.

Active listening is about training our brain to stop, receive, reflect, formulate and then respond.

Watch the YouTube video and reflect on the different listening styles. Which one is more like you do you think?

Articulating and checking for understanding

To effectively communicate cross-culturally you need to be efficient in articulating your message and then use your active listening skills to check for understanding.

Have a go!

Step 1. Find a willing participant.

Step 2. Tell them in one minute what cultural intelligence is

Step 3. Ask them to repeat back to you, in their own words what you have just told them.


Remember you are not testing the other person’s listening or memory skills rather your own communication skills.


  • When your partner repeated your definition back to you, did you engage in active listening?
  • Was your message successfully conveyed to your partner?
  • How do you know your message was successful or unsuccessful?
  • Why was it successful or unsuccessful?

This exercise used a concept as the cultural barrier rather than different languages or accents.

TIP: Help for assessment three

This is good practice formulating and articulating your understanding of cultural intelligence


Have your heard of netiquette? Do you practise it? What is netiquette?

Nettiquette is the etiquette you display when communicating with people over the internet. How good are you at it?

View the YouTube video opposite that outlines 10 steps for Nettiquette. Are you guilty of breaching any of these?

According to Network Etiquette, when communicating in a professional and academic environment, there are guidelines which should be adhered to:

  1. Spell check and proof read all written internet communication because errors diminish the credibility of the message.
  2. Do not write in all capital letters because all caps are considered shouting when written on the internet.
  3. Do not do things online you would not do in reality. Be yourself, you are not anonymous.
  4. Do not flame or respond to flames because personal insults are uncivilised and netiquette is civilised.
  5. Be conservative in emails you send.
  6. Use discretion when sharing information online for personal and professional interaction.

These are a few strategies that you can employ to effectively communicate cross- culturally in an online environment.

Remember to consider the context in which the communication is taking place and the message you are trying to convey.

Back to top ↑

New York Public Health Training Center (2011)


Video snippet - I'm Listening


















Video snippet - Nettiquette rules

Developing your safe space report