Intercultural Communication In The Lebanese Culture

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Cross-cultural communication occurs when a person from one culture sends a message to a person from another culture. The chances of accurately transmitting a message are, therefore, low during this type of communication and misunderstandings often arise as a result of misperception, misinterpretation, and misevaluation. People of the Lebanese culture perceive, interpret, and evaluate messages differently to people of the Australian culture, leading to the emergence of communication barriers between the two cultures.

Contrasting cultural orientations commonly limit effective communication between people of the Lebanese culture and people of the Australian culture. Lebanon is considered a collectivist culture, with its population focusing on
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Approaching intercultural interactions without considering another culture’s norms or nonverbal cues can create great conflict for all involved, as misunderstandings are more likely to occur. Non-verbal communication is prominent in the Lebanese culture, with Lebanese people often described as being “touchy-feely”. This was reiterated through my primary research, with my interviewee explaining that “In Lebanese culture, it is common to see two meet and greet each other with a kiss on the cheek.” This is because direct eye contact, with a lot of physical contact, is the cornerstone of Lebanese communication. Hence, touching someone when talking is very common in the Lebanese culture and may include tapping the person’s shoulder or holding their hand. This is particularly common between people of the same gender and merely reflects friendliness. In the Lebanese culture, it is also important to maintain eye contact as this conveys trust, sincerity and honesty. When communicating with elders, however, prolonged direct eye contact is considered rude and challenging and therefore should be avoided. Whilst eye contact is also important in the Australian culture, physical contact, on the contrary, is not. This was further supported by my primary research, with the subject of my interview acknowledging that a kiss on the cheek, as a greeting, is “not so common in Australian culture.” As a result, Australians may feel uncomfortable when communicating with people of the Lebanese culture, especially if they are unfamiliar with the culture’s

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