What Is Culture?
Culture is a shared set of practices and values that are learned from the moment we are born – culture is not genetic, we don’t inherit our culture, we acquire it through all the influences and experiences. We can’t always anticipate every customer situation, but we can prepare ourselves by understanding what impacts how people think and act – and why. Understanding the “why” behind culture is essential.
How do Cultures Differ?
One key way that culture impacts our customer interactions. It’s a concept called High Context vs Low Context Communications. High and low context refers to how a message is communicated – whether through words or actions.
Low Context (Direct) Cultures:
In what are called low-context cultures, such as the United States and most Northern European countries, people tend to be explicit and direct in their words and communications.
High Context (Indirect) Cultures:
In high-context cultures, such as Latin America, Asia, and Africa, invest the physical context of the message with a great deal of importance. People tend to be more verbally indirect and to expect their communication partners to decode the implicit part of their message.
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