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Cross - Cultural Communication Matrix

Cross- cultural communication is the form of communication between people from different cultural backgrounds. Each country in the world has its own form of communication from the normal life communication to business communication norms. Cross-cultural communication helps people interact and socialize better especially if in a foreign country. The below matrix compares cross-cultural communication styles from three different countries in different regions of the world.

Cross-Cultural Communication Matrix

Country Preferred communication style Non-verbal communication practices Business communication norms Strategies to increase cross-cultural communication




-Oral communication-It is done using the two main languages English and Swahili whilst

informal language or mother tongue is normally

used for familiar and close relations. A question about one's family, health and any other relevant news is seen as good manners.

Formal communication is used for newly formed relationships.


Handshakes-They are the common greeting and are normally short for people meeting for the first time and prolonged for familiar people. It is respect to lower your eyes when shaking a person's hand if you are meeting for the first time.


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Hugs and a peck on the cheek are very common amongst close female friends and hugs are general amongst males and females.

Waving is common with just a simple "hallo" or "hey"

Written materials-They are commonly used like the exchange of business cards, contracts or agreements in business meetings to ensure effective passing of the message.

Formal short talk and brief history of business background is given for visitors to have familiarity of their hosts and vice-versa is also recommended

Use of both hands to present or receive business materials is very common in business meetings and asking of questions is done for clear understanding and proceeding.


-Use of e-mails or any other relevant internet sources for communication between business people from different cultural backgrounds also known as online communication.

-Use of audio and video streaming to communicate with people from different cultures has been introduced like the use of teleconferencing in business meetings.

-Introduction of foreign language studies in all learning institutions curriculums and syllabus.



(South America)


-Handshakes are common in men whilst women kiss on both cheeks. When shaking a woman's hand, the man waits for the woman to stretch out her hand first.

Hugs and embracement are common amongst close friends.

Use of first names-titles are common but used if one is allowed to do so.

Talking face to face especially to foreigners and use of formal language to address foreigners.

Use of thumbs up to show satisfaction or to show "its okay" or something is happening as expected.

Touching of arms and elbows is common in Brazil especially for newly formed relationships because close friends embrace.

Patting on the back is done to show appreciation to someone or pinching of ones earlobe using the thumb and middle finger. This sign is common when a Brazilian is presented with a gift.


Use of appointments which are booked several weeks in advance. Unarranged meetings in Brazil are never entertained

Exchange of business cards which is done casually after the meeting is done. Also in meetings, the host talks first and then the guest is allowed to talk. Interruption is also allowed in Brazilian meetings.

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Writing of legal contracts is termed as a long term resource in business and so it's done to establish strong relationships.

Negotiations are done with individuals not companies since face to face talk is encouraged in Brazil thus they recognize the individual more.

-Use of a translator to those who their Portuguese is not fluent.

- Education on the need to conform to other cultural backgrounds and the realization of how cross-cultural communication can be used for a positive impact.

-Introduction of formal meetings and communication styles since most meetings in Brazil are casual, begin with chats and sometimes never start on time.




Bowing or nodding is the most common also accompanied with a handshake and normally wait for the Chinese to offer his hand first.

Clapping when greeting a crowd or vice versa and the same is expected back

Use of titles to address a person and nicknames for foreigners.

Uses of facial expressions so it is important not lose face at all time nor do something that will make someone else lose face.

Avoiding eye to eye contact when talking to someone shows respect especially in meetings. Silence is used to show disagreement of an opinion. If a Chinese agrees with something they nod.


Use of intermediaries for business negotiations is crucial especially for introductions.

Use of presentations aided by visuals and before choosing the color for your screen it is good to consult first because all colors have a meaning in china so a certain color could work against you.

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Introduction of cross-cultural training workshops in all business premises to adapt all employees on different behaviors in different culture.

Provision of knowledge on the effects of cross-cultural communication in business and negotiations as this will benefit the business people at large. China believes by adapting cross cultural communication a lot of potential lies ahead in business.



In conclusion, the key to effective cross-cultural communication is knowledge. If people understand the problems of cross-cultural communication and make an effort to overcome them, then communication between individuals whose first language does not match each other will be made easier. Also, awareness of one's individual culture is more important and should be embraced first before getting to learn about cultural diversity.



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