Intercultural Communication Competence Development

Question

Purpose: To reflect on what you have learned in this course throughout the semester
Instructions:

1. Review the Intercultural Communication Competence discussed in Chapter Two (pp. 35 – 36) that focuses on the communication approach and stresses the development of skills in the following four areas: Personality Strength, Communication Skills, Psychological Adjustment, and Cultural Awareness. Then reflect on what you have learned this semester in the course and how this has already helped you and will help you in the future be a better communicator. Provide specific examples and make references to the course textbook and your experiences in the Conversation Partner Project this semester when 

2. Here is how to structure your reflections. Begin with a brief introduction. The body of the paper should address each of the four skill areas (Personality Strength, Communication Skills, Psychological Adjustment, and Cultural Awareness) and, in the conclusion, discuss why you believe it is important to develop effective intercultural communication skills.

3. This reflection paper should be about three pages long. Follow the MLA style for formatting the paper and proofread it for grammatical and mechanical errors before you submit it.

Answer

Name of Student

Name of Professor

Communications Paper

3 December 2014.

Intercultural Communication Competence Development

Contents

Introduction. 1

Personality Strength. 2

Communication Skills. 2

Psychological Adjustment. 3

Cultural Awareness. 3

Conclusion. 4

Introduction

In Chapter Two, the focus is on the notion of intercultural communication. Going by this chapter, competence in the realm of intercultural communication is of utmost importance. People with this form of competence are said to possess the skills required to facilitate the achievement of positive results in terms of how they assess the interaction process as well as the interaction partner. This may explain why numerous efforts have been made to determine the kind of skills that make effective communicators in intercultural contexts. The aim of this paper is to reflect on what I have learned throughout the semester in regards to the issue of competences and skills that can make me a better intercultural communicator. My reflections are based on four areas of competence: communication skills, personality strength, cultural awareness, and psychological adjustment.

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Personality Strength

            In this skill area, I learned a lot about the need for personal initiative in the quest for excellence in communication. My understanding of this skill area is that the power to become a great communicator particularly in intercultural contexts must come from within the person. I think this is a difficult (but not impossible) feat for me to achieve. According to the description provided in the chapter, I came to understand the meaning of a new term: “self-monitoring”. I understood it to mean that an individual must be ready to examine his progress during the intercultural communication process and understand the areas where he needs to make improvements.

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            During the Conversation Partner Project, I realized that I sometimes ended up speaking too fast. I think this was an indication of anxiety and lack of self-confidence on my part. Based on the description provided in this skill area, I feel that I need to develop a stronger self-concept. With a strong self-concept, I will be able to engage in self-monitoring. With time I expect to learn how to be socially relaxed during intercultural communication. In fact, I suspect that the reason why I was not confident was that I found it difficult to portray a friendly personality throughout the communication process. Consequently, I was constantly afraid of how the other person would perceive my personality. 

Communication Skills

            I understood communication skills to comprise of two components: non-verbal and verbal. I had already come across the term “communication skills” even before reading this chapter, and thus I did not pay much attention to it. However, I did not know that it would acquire a deeper meaning after personally participating in the Conversation Partner Project. After this project, I found myself rummaging through the chapter to find out what the author had to say about this skill area. When I saw the term “behavioral flexibility” I realized that I had overlooked a crucial concept. This concept is important in intercultural communication because it entails the ability to select a communication-related behavior that best suits a specific culturally diverse context.I understand this to imply that a person who has acquired the requisite intercultural communication skills should have a repertoire of behaviors that he can choose from depending on the type of culture and personality he encounters.

Psychological Adjustment

            I heard about this term for the first time when reading this chapter. I assumed that it had something to do with the mind and how it influences decision-making during intercultural communication. However, the explanation on this skill area did not contain any mention of the term “mind” although the concepts used are related in certain ways to the working of the mind. These concepts include stress, frustration, and feelings of alienation.

The most important lesson that I learned here was that intercultural communication is about acclimating to new environments. I think the reason I was nervous during the Conversation Partner Project was that I had not acclimatized to the new environment in which I was attempting to engage my partner in a conversation. I have no idea what the term “culture shock” as used in this skill area means although I suspect it to be the kind of personal disorientation that I would experience by migrating to a country with a new culture.

Cultural Awareness

            After reading the section on cultural awareness, I learned several things. To begin with, I realized that it is important to take some time to learn about the social customs, norms, and practices of the new culture. In my view, this understanding enables communicators to assess the cultural meanings of other people and to compare them with one’s own cultural meanings. In the future, I intend to learn more about the process of negotiating cultural meanings and using this process to choose the most appropriate communication behavior. I think I failed terribly in this respect during the Conversation Partner Project. I was in a hurry to explain myself instead of first and foremost taking time to understand the cultural meanings of my conversation partner.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I believe it is important to develop effective intercultural communication skills because they can enable me to become an effective communicator. In today’s global society, I hope to encounter people of diverse cultural backgrounds within whom I expect to interact within a meaningful manner. Without intercultural communication skills, I am likely to suffer from culture shock. In my view, acquiring intercultural communication skills is a crucial step in the process of becoming a global citizen who is best placed to exploit the opportunities that continue to emerge in today’s increasingly interconnected world.

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