What are examples of barriers to intercultural communication?


Some of the barriers to intercultural communication are ethnocentrism, prejudice, stereotypes and anxiety. Intercultural communication is the exchange of information between people of different cultures, according to InterNations.

Ethnocentrism refers to the belief that one's culture is better than another culture. People with high levels of ethnocentricity have the most difficulty communicating with people in other cultures. They may feel suspicious of people from other countries or defensive about the cultures of their own countries.

Prejudice is a negative attitude about a cultural group that is formed with limited exposure to people in the group. Someone may develop a prejudice based on someone else's race or ethnicity. Stereotypes are generalizations about a particular group of people. People who rely on stereotypes may be reluctant to communicate with people of different races and ethnic backgrounds.

Some people are anxious about intercultural communication because they do not understand the differences between their communication styles and the communication preferences valued in other cultures. They may also lack fluency in a foreign language or worry about interpreting nonverbal cues correctly.

Business travelers often study the cultures of their destinations before they arrive. This alleviates some of the anxiety associated with intercultural communication and reduces the risk of saying or doing something disrespectful or embarrassing during a visit to a foreign country.

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What Are the Barriers to Intercultural Communication?
As people travel more for education or business, communication across cultures is becoming increasingly important. Although all humans may express the emotions of joy, pain, anger and fear with the same facial expressions, it is the cultural background... More »
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