This page is designed to answer the following questions:
- 3.1 Explain how people from different backgrounds may use and/or interpret communication methods in different ways (Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care, Promote communication in care settings)
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To communicate effectively, it is useful to understand and appreciate that individuals from different backgrounds may use or interpret communication methods in different ways. An individual’s background can include their culture, traditions, country of origin, upbringing and local customs.
For example in many cultures, eye contact is important during a conversation but in China, if a young person looks directly into the eye of an adult then it is considered rude. Different cultures can have different views on appropriate greetings (e.g. handshakes in the UK, kisses on both cheeks in France etc.) Some individuals from particular backgrounds may talk in a manner that seems harsh, blunt or rude.
An individual that has been abused in the past may be very averse to any touching, even a handshake. Many Muslims believe that any physical contact between different genders is unnecessary and so will avoid shaking hands with members of the opposite sex.
Some individuals may have been raised in an environment where swearing is commonplace and use that language in day-to-day conversation. They may not even realise that others may consider it inappropriate.
An individual that has been raised in an environment where feelings were not discussed very often may find it difficult to open up about their wishes and emotions.
As you can see, different people communicate in different ways, which is why it is essential to gain as much information as possible about their communication needs, wishes and preferences.