Managing Difference in Communication Styles & Emotional Intelligence Week 6

In the modules that we have been covering so far, we’ve looked in detail at a range of important communication skills as they relate to US. This week, we are going to move toward developing another very important skill in your ‘communication toolbox’ and that is beginning to understanding the impact of both difference and similarity in communication styles. We will look at:

  • Differences in communication style – self + others
  • Cross-cultural communication
  • What is emotional intelligence?
  • How does it relate to me in my personal and professional life?

It seems overly simple to state that:

"The goal of any communication is for the receiver to clearly understand the message"

However, you may be beginning to understand from the material we have been covering, the complexity that can happen in communicating with another person, and the room for misunderstanding… This is not only referring to people with English as their first language, but considering the significant impact of cultural difference as well. I’m sure you are now much more aware that individual communication styles are very different. For truly effective communication, we need to think about the communication style of the person we are communicating with and tailor our communication to suit.

Understandably, this would be very difficult to apply all the time, but it does become much more important in certain situations. For example, we might be justifying to our supervisor why we deserve a raise in pay due to recent performance or clarifying a new business procedure with an employee.

We will begin developing our understanding of this very important skill with the following clip. This clip will introduce you to the idea of difference in communication styles, using a framework that is closely linked to DiSC personality profiling – a very common workplace tool for understanding and working with difference.

As you watch this video, please take notes.

Understanding Different Communication Styles | 5:17mins

Now that you have watched the clip, I would like you to print out & complete this quiz and complete your own profile:

Once you have read about your own style and preferences in the quiz material, I would like you to watch the clip again and take specific notes on ‘How to get along with the other preferences”. This understanding is important material for completing the reflective exercises that are following.

Now, as communication is highly personalised, I would like you now to complete a second assessment and consider the implications from this review. Please print and complete:

Please take some time to think about and integrate the material from the two questionnaires, by answering the following questions:

1. Can you see someone that you work with that represents one of the different communication styles? **Note – you can consider both questionnaires for this answer.

2. What do you observe in a) your own style and b) their style that demonstrates this?

3. Has there been a situation where your different styles have either complemented each other, or created confusion/conflict?

4. To complete this exercise, please click on this link and print out + complete this template:

To complete this module on communication difference, I would now like us to consider the extra layer of consideration that cultural difference can require for successful communication outcomes.

Cross-Cultural Communication

Please begin your reading on this topic by the information in this link:

  • Have you had any experiences communicating with someone from another culture?
  • What was the context?
  • Was there anything that surprised you in the communication?
  • Is there anything you would be mindful of in the future if faced with that situation again?

We will now introduce a number of sub-points that all relate to cross-cultural communication:


Here is a funny clip to introduce this topic:

Cultural Diversity Examples: Avoid Stereotypes | 1:51 mins

One point to be mindful of is stereotypes when communicating around cultural difference. Stereotypes can be defined as:

“..a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing..”

OR, an alternative definition is:

A stereotype is used to categorise a group of people. People don't understand that type of person, so they put them into classifications, thinking that everyone who is that needs to be like that, or anyone who acts like their classifications is one.

As an example - Stereotype for Goths are black clothes, black makeup, depressed, hated by society.

Stereotype for Punks are Mohawks, spikes, chains, menace to society, always getting in trouble.

Norms of Cross Cultural Communication

Here is a clip, where you only need to watch the first point (there are seven in total) about a Finnish girl’s experience moving to the USA. The first point is a very interesting reflection of cultural norms around communication.

Culture Shock in the US |10:42 mins

High & Low Context Cultures:

The next clip is a very good explanation of norms of communication in high and low context cultures. Please look at the information contained in this link and I would like you to write definitions on:

  • Low Context Culture
  • High Context Culture
  • The way they are different
  • Three points for both high and low context cultures on how you would conduct communication in each.

What Is The Difference Between a High-Context and Lox-Context | 2:48 mins

Direct & indirect communication styles, Listening, Body Language, Tone:

Next, please watch this clip and I would like you to write down the points of learning that you could take away and apply to your own life.

Understanding Cultural Communication Differences | 3:00 mins


This last video clip is an explanation of norms around approaches to conflict from an Eastern and Western perspective:

Lastly, please review the information in this link and answer the questions (below):

I would like you to now:

1. See if you can identify yourself as more like one side or the other.

(Note: if you identify yourself as one side, it doesn’t mean that it is absolutely you, it just means that you are more likely to respond in that manner, rather than less likely).

2. Can you identify someone that you know as more like the alternative side to you?

3. For each section of the graph, identify both a situation and a solution for the communication where both people’s preferences could be accommodated

Emotional Intelligence

To begin, watch this introductory clip on Emotional Intelligence (E.Q) from the perspective of Daniel Goleman (a pre-eminent researcher and writer in this area). This clip is focused on the personal or individual aspects of EQ - please take notes on his five (5) elements of EQ and how he describes them. The idea is that you will create your own set of notes on this topic, so please watch and write in detail. The information in this week’s module is strongly linked to your final assessment – the Personal Communication Portfolio: a verbal reflection on understanding and responding to difference in communication style.

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman | 7:28 mins

The next clip provides a good overview of emotional intelligence in the workplace. Please pause the clip at 1:04 to write down an alternative definition of EQ and finish the clip at 1:45.

Leading with Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace.

We will touch on this topic again next week, so please consider this material an introduction to this topic.

In conclusion, here are two interesting clips to finish:

An entertaining and insightful TED Talk on cross-cultural communication | 19:57 mins

An entertaining clip on easy cultural ‘mistakes’ in other countries | 2:35 mins

I’ll look forward to seeing you all next week and as always, please get in touch if there is anything that you need – Anja


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