Teamwork, Collaboration, and Conflict Resolution

Running head: COMMUNICATION Communication University of Phoenix Teamwork, Collaboration, and Conflict Resolution SOC/110 Ken West Feb 17, 2010 Communication The way in which people communicate is as varied as the languages spoken throughout the world. People cannot just exchange a few words, there must be an understanding and acceptance of these variations or there will be a breakdown in the communication process. This is shown in the interactions between men and women, people of different cultures and even when exposed to a new environment. Verbal communication is the form that is most easily recognized.
People can hear and see this form of communication without even physically experiencing a part of the conversation. When a person is sitting in a room and two people outside of that room are speaking that person can hear them and in one’s mind imagine what that conversation looks like. This does not mean that verbal communication is the most used form. Nonverbal communication is used constantly. People use it to show their opinions on political matters, whether or not a particular restaurant sounds good or if the dress one’s wife is wearing makes her look fat.
Nonverbal communication can go much further in expressing one’s needs, feeling, and wants to another person. If a person is taken to Germany and is ignorant to the German language that person would be able to obtain food, a place to sleep, and many of the other basic requirements needed to survive. Many of the expressions and gestures one can make are universal. If one points to their left wrist, one is asking the time. If one puts their hand to their mouth in a drinking or eating fashion, then those actions are conveyed to the other person. Examples of nonverbal messages which actually take the place of verbal messages are shaking a clenched fist, a look of disgust, shaking the head in disbelief, a look of contempt, rolling the eyes, a deep sigh and tone of voice. All of these can tell a person that he or she is incompetent, of low character, or can imply a threat” (Jones & Remland, 1993, 133) Although being taken to an environment in which one has no concept of the others language would be challenging it is nowhere close to the challenge of being locked in a room filled with those of the opposite sex.

It is not fair to say that two people of the opposite sex could not understand each other because nothing is absolute. When a woman wants to talk with a man about her problems and issues, she wants to share with him and in turn have him share with her. “When a man hears a woman wanting to talk to him about her problems and issues he assumes that she is requesting his advice and would like a solution” (Tannen, 1991, p. 96). In fact, the woman is wanting to draw closer to the man open up and share her intimate secrets, he just thinking of a quick fix and what time is dinner going to be ready.
A practice is to be aware of other cultures and their ways of communication whenever possible. In Arab countries, for example, the handshakes are not as firm as in the United States or Europe and although Americans usually will just shake hands at the first meeting, Arabs will shake hands every time they meet a person and leave that person. “Touching, long handshakes, grasped elbows, even walking hand in hand by two males is common place in the Arab world. A considerable number of Arabs touch more between the same sex, to show liking–not sex.
They hold hands, hug each other, kiss if close friends. As Arab customs and behavior condones the outward display of affection between male friends, one may see Arab men, even officials and military officers, holding hands as they walk together or otherwise converse with one another” (Nydell, 2005, p. 112). Were someone to act in this way toward a man here in the United States he would probably not enjoy the reaction. This is why when dealing with people from other cultures one needs to be aware of their beliefs and customs and not jump to conclusions immediately based-off their actions.
The United States is a wonderful place to experience diverse communication because there are so many cultures living so close together. The ability to immerse ourselves in the cultures that thrive in America is ours to take. Learning from them and growing one’s knowledge of how the world communicates is an essential part of ones evolution in this big world that grows smaller every day. Learning the verbal and nonverbal way that people communicate in one’s environment is the key to one’s success.
When one faces the challenges that the opposite sex can present to each other, and learn to communicate effectively with one another one can begin to see the world from a different perspective. This different perspective can oftentimes be a better way of viewing things then the same old way that has always been used. In the same respect gaining an appreciation and understanding of the way other cultures communicate can give one another tool to use when tackling problems. Sometimes good old American ingenuity might not be the answer. Being able to understand another culture may bring in fresh ideas that have never been implemented before.
References Jones, T. S. , & Remland, M. S. (1993, January 1). NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION AND CONFLICT ESCALATION: AN ATTRIBUTION-BASED MODEL. International Journal of Conflict Management, 4(2), 119-137. Nydell, M. K. (2005). Understanding Arabs: A Guide For Modern Times (4th ed. ). Boston, MA: Intercultural Press. Tannen, D. (1991). You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation (1st ed. ). New York: Ballantine Books.

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