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The Importance of Cultural Intelligence in Communication

The world is constantly becoming more and more interdependent, and people need to react to these changes by developing cultural intelligence and flexibility. All the cultures have different cultural peculiarities that were formed throughout their history and development of the nation. It is necessary to consider and respect the cultural differences and similarities during the process of communication with people who have various cultural backgrounds. People should be curious, tolerant, and open to the representatives of other cultures in order to ensure safe and mutually beneficial communication. Hence, the development of cultural intelligence may be considered one of the most crucial and necessary things relating to the process of intercultural communication (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021). The development of cultural intelligence should start with the comparison of the native culture of a person with the culture of someone he wants to communicate with. This process targets the establishment of similarities and differences between the nations of those who are involved in the process and helps single out the direction and possible themes for further interaction.

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The present writing is aimed at comparing the American culture with the French culture since a lot of French people currently move to the United States for the purpose of work or studying. Hence, it is necessary to be aware of the cultural peculiarities of the French nation in order not to do or say something that may hurt or insult them. In addition, knowing French people’s cultural identities and background helps understand the way they perceive the world and different cultures, including the American one. Before meeting people of a particular culture in person, everyone usually has quite a stereotypical description of their image and culture, which usually does not match the reality (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021). That is why a lot of people are surprised or even puzzled when a person from another culture differs from a stereotypical image that was formed in their native culture. To avoid possible misunderstanding and embarrassment or to, at least, minimize the chances of their emerging, it is necessary to be open to interaction with the representatives of different cultures and treat them and their nation with respect.

When speaking about the prejudices the American people usually have towards French culture, it is necessary to begin with the fact that Americans perceive French as those who are less disciplined. Hence, American people usually work harder during the weekdays in order to leave all the worries and duties behind at the weekend, while French people do not pay much attention to the difference between weekends and weekdays. Apart from that, Americans tend to move to different places quite easily, while for the French, it is difficult enough to go far from their home region. That is why Americans tend to perceive French people as those who do not work hard enough for their well-being and are not ready to move far from where they lived for years. However, there is one thing about the stereotypes that is applicable to all of them, including those described above. It concerns the fact that the process of their formation takes years, while cultures change and evolve due to their influence on each other (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021). Hence, stereotypes may not relate to the actual cultural identity of a nation.

When communicating with a representative of a particular country, it is extremely important to pay attention to the similarities and differences between the cultures of those involved in the process of interaction. This aspect is vital due to the fact that every country has its own values and assumptions that may not coincide with other countries’ points of view on particular issues. To avoid possible misunderstandings and ensure safe and free communication, it is better for the interaction partners to consider the values of each other’s countries and respectfully observe them (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021). When speaking about the similarities between the American and the French cultures, it seems reasonable to begin with the fact that both countries support common values and share a democratic way of thinking. Both countries prioritize independence and freedom of speech and people’s expressing their opinions.

However, despite these similarities, there are far more differences between the two countries that should be paid attention to during the communication process between the French and American people. The most significant difference concerns the culture of individualism that is common for Americans (University of Portland, n.d.). While they support and value individuality, French people stick to teamwork, solidarity, and government help (Ensign, 2020). Apart from that, American people are more open and can easily communicate with strangers and even help them if needed, while French people are more reserved, and it is hard for them to speak with someone they do not know as with a friend. In addition, there is one more thing to remember for both American and French people during the communication process. It concerns the fact that some Americans tend to be wary of the French because historically, American land was the object of dispute between England and France. Hence, it is better to avoid history-related topics in the interaction between American and French people in order not to start any conflicts.

However, cultural intelligence is quite a versatile issue, so it is necessary to take into account many other issues apart from the stereotypes and cultural differences or similarities between particular countries to ensure safe communication. Managing emotions in stressful situations belongs to cultural intelligence as well because people of different cultures may perceive and endure stress differently. For instance, American people acknowledge that work stress is a significant problem that harms people’s mental health and general well-being, and it should be properly treated (University of Portland, n.d.). That is why psychologists and psychotherapists are quite demanded occupations in the American job market. It is typical of the American people to attend these healthcare providers in order to seek help in the struggle with stress. Apart from that, Americans tend to deal with their stress-related issues themselves without other people’s help because they think that it is rude to put their trouble onto others who may have their ones. Doing sports or public activities is also a good way to reduce the stress that is typical of American people.

When it comes to the stress management ways that French people use, it is necessary to state that attending psychologists is not as common there as it is in the United States. Though they still go to the healthcare professionals when they have serious mental health conditions, the best way to reduce stress after a long working day for them is to drink a glass of wine. This ritual helps a person shift from the working mode of thinking to the more relaxed and calm one (Ensign, 2020). However, French people may reduce stress by doing other activities like sports or walks.

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When people finally manage to develop cultural intelligence, it is necessary for them to incorporate all the skills and knowledge in real-life communication with people from other countries. The most efficient way to do it concerns understanding and acceptance of the cultural differences people from foreign cultures possess (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021). It ensures safe and free communication between the participants of the communication process as well as mutual respect. The next step concerns the constant studying the partner’s culture, since new phenomena may appear in them or the old ones may transform. The final way to incorporate cultural intelligence into the process of communication with people from other countries is to implement the practice of conflict-solving (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021). Cultural intelligence may help figure out the reason for the conflict and develop the strategy for their solving. The participants of the communication process should remember that cultural differences may become the reasons for the conflicts. Hence, it is necessary to be respectful and attentive to other people’s cultural values in order not to escalate the conflict.

To conclude, it is necessary to state that cultural intelligence is one of the crucial components of communication, especially when it comes to the interaction between people of different cultures. It is important to consider the differences and similarities between the mentalities of the participants of the communication process to make it safe and respective from both sides. Apart from that, it is better to avoid stereotypical thinking when it comes to cultural communications, as stereotypes may be old, wrong, or do not reflect the identity of a person one interacts with.

References

Ensign, A. (2021). French traditions and Culture. FamilySearch, Web.

Indeed Editorial Team (2021). Cultural intelligence: Definition and importance in the workplace. Indeed, Web.

University of Portland (n.d.). American values and assumptions. Web.

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