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Tip

Acclimate, Adjust, Adapt - A Quick "How-To" on Entering Another Culture

High Context vs. Low Context

“The information that surrounds an event is inextricably bound up with the meaning of that event” - Edward T. Hall

In a high context message most of the information is already in the person or the culture. There is little explicit information in the verbal transmitted portion.

In a low context message most of the information is in the explicit verbal message.

Advice for a Low Context Individual Entering a High Context Culture

  • Expect more time to build relationships.
  • Anticipate behaviors that emphasize politeness.
  • Appreciate strong distinction between insiders and outsiders.
  • Appreciate that agreements are often loose and unwritten.
  • Appreciate thinking style will be intuitive and holistic
  • Try to act more politely and formally.
  • Expect to feel outside of your comfort zone.
  • Find someone to act as a mentor to provide background information on the situation.

Advice for A High Context Individual Entering a Low Context Culture

  • Move quickly to business related conversation.
  • Anticipate behavior that seems rude and blunt.
  • Observe little distinction between insiders and outsiders.
  • Agreements concise and written.
  • Try to act a little more informally.
  • Thinking style analytical and linear.
  • Try to be a little more assertive.
  • Expect a clear distinction between work and personal relationships.
  • Expect to feel outside of your comfort zone.
  • Take the lead in asking for information.