当前位置:首页 >> 文学研究 >>

The Cultural Difference Of Nonverbal Communication


B.A. Thesis of English (Normal) Major (2006---2010)

The Cultural Difference Of Nonverbal Communication in Cross-culture Business Negotiations

Chen Si
English (Norma

l) Major (2006~2010), Sanming University, Sanming, Fujian 365004

Abstract : Ever since China joins to the WTO, international business increased a lot. However many business negotiations end with failure. The most important factor which affects the success of business negotiation is cross-cultural communication. The study of cross-cultural communication includes language communication and non-verbal communication. People usually pay attention to verbal communication in general during communication. They believe that language is the only way to transmit and comprehend information, while ignoring the importance of non-verbal communication. This paper attempts to introduce the basic ideas of non-verbal communication and apply relevant principles to account for some cross-culture business negotiation skills through case studies. This paper aims to make people understand the importance of non-verbal communication and the non-verbal language difference which is influenced by different social backgrounds so as to avoid business negotiations failure. Key Words:nonverbal communication; business negotiations; culture difference

1.

Introduction

With the development of social economy and high technology, China's exchanges with other countries become more and more frequent, the study of cross-cultural communication is also developed. Ever since China joins to WTO, international business activities increased a lot. For businessmen who engaged in international business communication, it’s necessary to understand cross-cultural communication
1

Chen Si:The Cultural Difference Of Nonverbal Communication in Bussiness Negotiations

knowledge and skills so as to reduce or eliminate misunderstanding of non-verbal language which may caused friction and conflict. The study of cross-cultural communication can improve the communication efficiency which is of great practical significance. It will affect the success of international business communication . The cross-cultural communication study includes the verbal communication and non-verbal communication. According to a survey of interpersonal communication by Rey ? L ? Bodekesi: During the process of communicating of two persons, the information conveyed through language is only 35% of the total, while the remaining 65% is transmitted through the movements, posture, distance from each other and other non-verbal behaviours.[3] (155) However, during communication, people usually only pay attention to verbal communication in general. They believe that language is the only way to transmit and comprehend information, while ignoring the importance of non-verbal communication.

2. A Brief Introduction to Nonverbal Communication

Burgoon and Saine define "Nonverbal Language"as follows: Nonverbal Communication is all the communication movements except the language behaviour. Nonverbal communication refers to the actions which are sent out purposely, received with consciousness and may have a response.
[2](1)

Since nonverbal

communication contains too many things and can be divided into many different systems, it’s impossible to deal with all non-verbal communication theories in details. So this paper will just focus on three major strategies of nonverbal communication which are devided by Bi Jiwan. The three major strategies are body language,paralanguage and environment language.[2](6-7) 2.1 Body language According to Ekman and Friesen's body language classification, the body language can be divided into five categories. That is embloms, illustrators, affect

2

B.A. Thesis of English (Normal) Major (2006---2010)

display, regulators and adaptors. The classification is based on the causes of the behaviour, the usage, and the code. [1] (13-18) First, emblems. Emblems is the type of action which has a clear meaning, often used replace the language acts. Emblems often have a clear cultural identity. Second, illustrators. Illustrators is a type of action which can illustrate the meaning of the conversation with the help of language. It can be used for stress, description, characterization and so on. Third, affect display. Affect display is a type of action mainly displayed through some facial expressions or other body parts’ movement which will reveal the speakers’ emotion or mood. Fourth, regulators. Regulators is a kind of movements which can be used to maintain or adjust the conversation atmosphere. People can advice the speaker to continue to talk, to repeat, or to further explain with the help of regulators. Regulators can be used in Turn-taking. Fifth, Adaptors. Adaptors can be divided into three types: self-adaptors, alter-directed and object-adaptors. Under normal circumstances, people will have many self-adaptor actions when they suffer from nervousness, such as eyes movements or perspiration. Alter-directed adaptor actions often occur when people have conversation with others. It often happens unconsciously, such as step forward or backward. Object-adaptor actions usually relate to the use of some objects, such as smoking, writing, graffiti and so on. [2] (15) 2.2 Paralanguage Paralanguage is the voice which often accompany with language. Samovar define "Paralanguage" as follows: paralanguage is a kind of sound behaviour which can accompany, interrupt or temporarily replace the language. It can accompany the language through the tone, volume, speed, clarity and parlance. It can interrupt the conversation with the voice such as “uh, umm, uhhuh”. It can replace the language, for example, use the voice “brr” instead of “I am cold”.
[3] (177-178)

In a word, it is

necessary to pay attention to different attitude of silence, turn-taking and non-verbal sound in different culture during the process of international business communication.
3

Chen Si:The Cultural Difference Of Nonverbal Communication in Bussiness Negotiations

In fact, sometimes people will use silence instead of words as a response during their conversation. Brosnahan states that “Chinese people like to remain silence. They often treat people with silence and refuse to answer questions.”
[2] (182)

However,

people in English-speaking countries will feel insulted in such situation. So the Chinese businessmen should remember that it’s better to response others in conversation while listening. The second way to response others is turn-taking.Turn-taking in paralanguage refers to the voice or words that the speaker uses to suggest the audience that he will give up, return or maintain the topic. It will help to avoid the embarrassed situation caused by science. The third way is nonverbal sound. Non-verbal sound is the voice which has no language meaning but can transmit some information. The sound mainly relate to volume control, body sounds and onomatopoeia. 2.3 Environment Language Environment language is the study of the environmental impact in cross-cultural communication. It includes time and space in this paper.. 2.3.1 Message of space. Hall believes that space change would have an impact on communication. It can enhance the effectiveness of communication
[4] (180)

. Hall divides space into three

types: fixed-feature space, semi-fixed-feature space and informal space.Fixed-feature space is the space which is comparted by walls or other objects, such as the meeting room. Semi-fixed-feature space is the space which is comparted by by larger objects such as meeting table. Informal space refers to the bubbles of personal space which is maintained by people during communication. The bubble of personal space includes space、territory、territoriality and proximity. “People will protect their bubbles of personal space during the process of communication by instinct.” [8] (180) 2.3.2 Message of time. Hofstede divides time into two categories: monochoronic time and polychronic time. Monochoronic time emphasizes on "an effective Itinerary" and "speed". People in western countries, such as the North Americans, Swiss, Germans and so on tend to
4

B.A. Thesis of English (Normal) Major (2006---2010)

use monochoronic time. While polychronic time emphasizes on " multi-purposes at the same time". In the Middle East and Latin American countries, many people are accustomed to the polychronic time and have relaxed timetable and information feedback extension.[6] (186)

3. The Case study of Cultural Difference Of Nonverbal Communication

Through the practice, people find that "cultural mistake" is much more serious than “language mistake”. As a result, the words don’t transmit the ideas clearly if people make language mistakes. While the cultural mistakes, might lead to a serious misunderstanding between the natives and the aliens. Sometimes it will cause hostility between each other.[16] (255) 3.1The Culture Difference of Body Language Case 1: At an international airport in an Arab country, a Chinese engineer wanted to express his appreciation attitude while checking the luggage. As he knew no Arabic, the only way for him was to shake hands with the officer. Both of the engineer’s hands were full—his left hand was holding a small traveler’s bag and his right hand a piece of luggage. For the sake of convenience, the engineer quickly put the bag into his right hand and extended his left one to the officer—he was expecting a hand shake with the officer. Something happened unexpectedly. The officer’s smiling face turned pale and the smile disappeared at once. Instead of a courteous handshake, he slapped that engineer’s extended hand and walked away. [7](63) Analysis: Personal body movements and facial expressions can convey information which sometimes can cooperate with the language, and sometimes even can replace the language to convey information. What is wrong with the Chinese engineer in the case above? The point is that: he extends his left hand (instead of his
5

Chen Si:The Cultural Difference Of Nonverbal Communication in Bussiness Negotiations

right one) to the Arab officer for a handshake. What that engineer do not know is that, in Arab culture, left hand is dirty, and it is regarded as an insult if someone uses it for a handshake. [7](64) It is true that a business person could not have a complete knowledge of all other culture and customs. However, as a business person, he should learn as much as possible. Actually, more and more Western business magazines and journals have become more and more interested in study on cultural differences and teaching their business people how to behave accordingly in another culture. People of different cultures will have different understanding about body language. Business Communication is not only the exchanges and cooperation in the economic field, but also the exchange and communication between cultures, and cultural factors always play a crucial role. The same movements or expressions in different cultures may stand for different meaning. For example, Americans use thumb and index finger to make a circle instead "OK" as a symbolic gesture.But, in Japan, it is stand for "coin", the shape of "money". So in Japan the gesture means the money. In France, in most cases, the gesture means "zero" or "no value" . Use the same gesture on the same occasion can means different kinds of meaning in different culture and cause different kinds of responses. The same gesture, the Americans means "OK"; the Japanese means "money", they want to know something about the price; French means "no value". In a word, in the process of business communication businessmen should know some cultural habits to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding. 3.2 The Cultural Difference of Paralanguage Case 2: Some Japanese businessmen went to the United States for a large trade negotiation.At the beginning of the negotiations, U.S. representatives spoke a lot. They want to reach an agreement quickly. However, the Japanese representatives kept silent. They did’t response except listening and recording. When the U.S. representatives try to talk with the Japanese, these American managers confused and felt frustrated. Because the American managers sometimes just got a "Hay" or a nod as the answer, even sometimes they got nothing but the silence. Finally, the U.S.
6

B.A. Thesis of English (Normal) Major (2006---2010)

manager concluded: "The Japanese do not want to do business with us.They are so rude, they even do not have a willing to talk with us !" This trade negotiation ended with failure. Analysis: More often the American-Japanese business communication runs into

a loop: the more the American talks, the more silent the Japanese will be—they need time to digest what the American has just said; and the more silence the Japanese respond with, the more the American will talk. For those American managers, perhaps the saying “ enough is enough” is the best expression to describe their irritated feeling or frustration. This helps to explain why the American manager in the case above finally said :" The Japanese do not want to do business with us. They are so rude, they even do not have a willing to talk with us !" [7] (278) What makes the American-Japanese business communication runs into such a

loop is the cultural difference of the two countries. They have different understanding of silence. Americans believe an eloquent speaker is regarded as a good communicator. For that reason, many Americans assume that one should be eloquent, and this should be the standard applicable everywhere in the world. However, what they do not know is that such a standard does not fit into the Japanese context. The Japanese culture, on the contrary, takes silence as an earnest way to think about what others have said (or are saying). Moreover, Japanese distrust “speakers”. As the Japanese proverb goes intosilence, “he who knows does not speak, and he who speaks does not know.” That’s the reason why many Japanese often remain silent or pause for a long time before they say anything. As far as silence is concerned, Japanese have all kinds of silence, each of which carries different meanings. And this is something many American managers have little knowledge about. [7] (277) In a word, we must pay attention to the turn-taking skills during business conversation. In English-speaking countries, silence is the worst response during the communication. Because they believe response is a expression of respect and attention. We must use non-verbal signals from time to time to maintain a context with others during business communication. 3.3 The Culture Difference of Environment Language
7

Chen Si:The Cultural Difference Of Nonverbal Communication in Bussiness Negotiations

3.3.1 Message of space Case 3: An American went to an Arab country to meet his Arab counterpart for a business talk. The talk went on smoothly and both sides felt pleased. At the break, both stood talking casually. However, the Arab manager considered they knew each other quite well and that , therefore, they should stand closer to show their closeness in their bilateral relationship. So he moved closer to the American manager. The American manager was surprised by the move. Then he thought maybe that action was unintentional on the Arab manager’s part. He showed no sign in understanding the Arab’s move, and just stepped back a bit to keep the distance. Unfortunately, the Arab manager’s further move made the American manager feel uncomfortable. However, as that was his first trip there, he did not want to spoil the nice talk by a trivial matter and make both sides embarrassed. So he quietly stepped back. This action was repeated several times until finally the American manager’s back touched the wall—there was no more room for him to step back any further. Both the American and Arab managers felt frustrated by the situation, yet none of them could make out why the other side would take the adverse way for the distance between them. [7](68) Analysis: “People will protect their bubbles of personal space during the process of communication by instinct.” [8] (180)The bubble of personal space includes space、 territory、territoriality and proximity. Different people will have different sizes of bubbles. Americans recognize “social” distance, covering people who work together or are meeting at social gatherings, tends to be kept 1.3 to 2 meters. However,the Arabs get used to standing close to each other, but that would be the last thing the Americans will do as they don’t want to take the risk of exchanging breath with other people.
[9] (115)

Hall believes that any change of space would have an impact on

communication effectiveness. Sometimes it can enhance the communication effectiveness . [4] (180) However, improper handling of spatial information may result in misunderstanding of business communication and sometimes it may be understood as a violation of the personal sphere which will lead to business failure. In a word,
8

B.A. Thesis of English (Normal) Major (2006---2010)

businessmen should keep certain space with other partners to avoid such problem in the business communication process. 3.3.2 Message of time Case 4: Some American managers went to China for a large trade negotiation. In the trade negotiations meeting, U.S. representatives wanted to discuss the price, delivery date, transport means, warrantee, service contracts and other detail issues in several meetings, and then signed a contract. They want to finish the trade negotiations as soon as possible. However, the Chinese representatives related all the relevant issues as a whole at the first meeting, but did not draw specific conclusions. The Chinese representatives wanted to reach a long-term co-operation program, so they spent some time in drawing the beautiful picture of the future cooperation between the two companies and developing a good relationship of each other. However, the American representatives believed that those Chinese managers were

impracticably. They thought the Chinese managers wasted too much time in talking
about the future which did not happen yet. They hoped their partners would be efficient and practical. As a result, the United States representatives canceled the cooperation plan with the Chinese companies. Analysis: According to Hofstede, businessmen should pay attention to the design of business activities schedule according to different opinions of schedule plan between the East and West countries.[6](P186) The westerners, such as the North Americans, Swiss and German, tend to monochoronic time, which stressed that "an effective Itinerary" and "speed". In western countries, people (especially Americans) like to pursuit speed and efficiency. They will try to shorten the negotiations’ time, and strive to reach an agreement as soon as possible. For them, the efficiency of a negotiation depends on the number of the solved problems. When facing with a complex business negotiations, westerners often would break down large tasks into a series of small tasks and the final agreement is a summary of a series of small agreements. On the contrary, in the Middle East and Latin American countries, many people are accustomed to the polychronic time, which stressed that " multi-purposes at the
9

Chen Si:The Cultural Difference Of Nonverbal Communication in Bussiness Negotiations

same time". Chinese people like to build up a friendship first, because they believe a good friendship is the security for the future cooperation. For the Chinese people, it is normal to discussed several topics at the same time. So sometimes the Chinese businessmen will rediscuss the topics which have been discussed before.[6] (186) Conferring and agreeing upon all aspects of the agenda for the negotiation is the most important step in the long process of the relationship building. It’s necessary for a successful deal. In fact, sometimes the quality of the deal becomes secondary to that relationship.
[14] (65)

Therefore, businessmen must learn to design business schedule

according to different issues and different concepts of time.

4. Conclusion

Edward T. Hall believes that non-verbal communication is as invisible and difficult to be perceived as the culture. However, there is no doubt that the non-verbal communication is very important. Non-verbal communication is the best reflection of a person's real attitude, value and emotion.
[10] (88)

In fact, people usually use their

own cultural habits and rules to judge their own and others’ language communication and non-verbal communicative behaviour subconsciously. This will often lead to misunderstanding, doubt, even aversion and some bad emotions of the other side. And then the communication will result as a failure. Cross-cultural business activities require not only linguistic propriety, but also the propriety of non-verbal behaviour. It’s, of course, based on the understanding of different cultural backgrounds. In conclusion, it’s a very important to know the culture difference of nonverbal communication. It will not only help the businessmen make the cross-culture business negotiations successfully, but also help people from different countries understand each other and make a good friendship between each other. And it will enhance the relationship between countries and improve the international cooperation environment.

10

B.A. Thesis of English (Normal) Major (2006---2010)

References: [1]Knapp.M. Nonverbal Communication in Human Interation. 2nd ed. Holt, Rinehart & Winston. [M].1978 [2]毕继万著《跨文化非语言交际》[M]外语教学与研究出版社,1998 [3] Smovar, L. et al.Understanding Interculture Communication.Wadsworth. 1981 [4]Hall,E.T.The Slient Language.Anchor Books.1973 [5] Hofstede,Greet. 1994, Cultures and Organizations[M].London: Harper Collins Business. [6] 汪清囡.国际商务谈判中文化差异的影响及对策,[J].江西社会科学,2006.6 [7] 徐宗光著《商务沟通》,外语教学与研究出版社,[M].2001 [8] 石定乐,彭春萍编著《商务跨文化交际》(Cross-Cultural Communication in Business World)[M].武汉大学出版社,2008 [9] 石定乐,彭春萍编著《商务跨文化交际》(Cross-Cultural Communication in Business World)[M].武汉大学出版社,2004 [10] Edward T.Hall.The Hidden Dimension. [M]. 1966 [11]云贵彬著《非语言交际与文化》[M].中国传媒大学出版社,2006 [12]胡文仲主编,毕继万著《跨文化非语言交际》[M].外语教学与研究出版社, 1998 [13]邹芙林.试论文化差异对国际谈判的影响,[J].企业经济 2007 第一期 [14]全英主编,《国际商务谈判》[M].清华大学出版社;北方交通大学出版社, 2003.8 [15]林海.文化差异对中美商务谈判的影响[J].衡阳师范学院学报,2005 [16]吴玉梅.论学生跨文化交际能力的培养[J].商业文化,2008,第 11 期

11

Chen Si:The Cultural Difference Of Nonverbal Communication in Bussiness Negotiations

非语言交际在国际商务沟通中的文化差异
陈思 三明学院 2006 级英语(师范)专业 福建三明 365004

【摘要】跨文化交际学是从 20 世纪 60 年代发展起来的,中国对于跨文化交际学 的研究则是从 80 年代初开始的。自从中国加入 WTO,国际性的商务活动逐渐增 多, 而影响其成败的最主要因素就是跨文化交际学所包括的语言交际与非语言交 际。然而,在进行交际时,人们一般只注意到语言交际,认为词语是传递和领悟 信息的唯一途径,而忽略了非语言交际的重要性。本文将从体态语、副语言、环 境语三种不同的非语言行为的角度出发,探讨非语言交际在商务沟通中的差异, 进而认识非语言交际的重要性,了解不同国家不同社会背景影响下的非语言差 异,尽量避免非语言交际语用失误,保障商务活动的顺利进行。 【关键词】非语言交际;商务沟通;文化差异

12

B.A. Thesis of English (Normal) Major (2006---2010)

Acknowledgements I should like to express my deepest gratitude to all those kindness and advice have made this work possible. I am greatly indebted to my advisor, associate Prof. Li Menlan who gave me valuable instructions, and urged me to begin my paper as soon as possible. Her effective advice, comments and quick corrections have kept this paper in the right direction. She has improved me in language and has shown me into the fascinating world of international world. My gratitude is to my friend Cheng Shengnan who constantly encouraged me. I am grateful for Wang Yuqing’s constructive suggestions and careful reading of the manuscript.

13


相关文章:
The Cultural Difference Of Nonverbal Communication
The Cultural Difference Of Nonverbal Communication_文学研究_人文社科_专业资料。主要介绍非言语文化在商业沟通上的运用。B.A. Thesis of English (Normal) Major ...
有关身势语的毕业论文正文..
pay great attention to the acceptance and correctness of the verbal communication and overlook the influence and cultural difference of nonverbal communication....
中西方肢体语言的比较研究
pay great attention to the acceptance and correctness of the verbal communication and overlook the influence and cultural difference of nonverbal communication....
论文
Nonverbal Communication 浅谈中西方非语言交际中身体语言的特点对比及其在交际中的...Communication 论动物在英汉词语中的文化差异 On the Cultural Difference of “ ...
听Difference听Models听of听the听Cultural听Connotations听of
Difference听Models听oftheCultural听Connotations听of_文学研究_人文社科_...action in the process of creating is the major medium of communication. Meanwhi...
浅谈身势语
pay great attention to the acceptance and correctness of the verbal communication and overlook the influence and cultural difference of nonverbal communication....
Body Language
pay great attention to the acceptance and correctness of the verbal communication and overlook the influence and cultural difference of nonverbal communication....
毕业论文答辩记录
Presentation : The title of my thesis is “The difference of nonverbal communication in cross-culture communication between Chinese and Americans”. I choose...
跨文化中论文
the customs of the place and seek common points while reserving difference....Key words: nonverbal communication; cross-cultural communication; cultural ...
更多相关标签:
cultural difference | bankofcommunication | communication of acm | communication of | difference of | point of difference | the difference of | way of difference |