This page is designed to answer the following questions:
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 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 – handshakes in the UK, kiss on both cheeks in France etc. Some individuals from particular backgrounds may talk in a manner that seems harsh or blunt.
An individual that has been abused in the past may be very averse to any touching, even a handshake.
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 things were not discussed may find it difficult to open up about their wishes and feelings.
As you can see, different people communicate in different ways, which is why it essential to gain as much information as possible about their communication needs, wishes and preferences.