*** Thanks Lil for sharing the beautiful Rose photo!***

Communication Continuum

A few weeks ago my son came home from his evening Marketing class very inspired and eager to share the subject matter which they had discussed in class. He told me that I might want to blog about it, and he was correct. He had learned academic terms for communication styles: High Context and Low Context, and he quickly gave me a crash course in just how these communication styles differed and which cultures used which styles.

Leaving my blog to the last second like I have been doing lately, forcing me to rush through my research and regurgitate prior to cogitating, I only just now ( 10 PM Sunday night ) got around to reading up a bit on the topic. I was delighted to see that one of my Linguistics professors from Cal State University Northridge, Ed Hall, was the man who coined the terms! I recall him as being very passionate about his subject, and some 30 years ago, I had the pleasure of taking several courses taught by him. I will never forget having to prepare a presentation on the challenges of computer voice recognition, and how computer programmers were faced ( ha ha- computers don't have the privilege of taking "faces" into account ) with the daunting task of correctly converting spoken words into written words which attempted to convey the same message.

This was ground breaking work, and there was scant evidence available. I found what I could and used my brain to add filler. I just remember being scared half to death regarding the prospect of presenting the info I had prepared to my classmates. I figured it would help my comfort zone if I could deflect the attention from myself, so I prepared transparencies to use with the overhead projector which involved turning down the lights. I am really dating myself here- this was pre Power Point! Prior to the presentation, I rehearsed and rehearsed, drank a bit of wine, went to class and quickly delivered my speech touching upon the inherent difficulties computer programmers had programming computers to be able to correctly discern which homonym or homophone to transcribe ( homographs presented less complications ), dialect issues, etc.

Flash forward 30 years and we now have touch screens, Siri, voice to text and doggone it, they are pretty darn accurate. But we still need to dictate where to place the punctuation marks. Hubby is a master at this. I prefer to type my text messages.

So I shall share with you the tidbits I gleaned from my cursory perusal of the explanation of High Context and Low Context communication. Communication is the imparting or exchanging of information or news, and context is the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed. In order to convey an idea, we use words- written or spoken, tone- sincere, sarcastic, bombastic, etc., body language including facial expressions and hand gestures, and oftentimes we use props such as PowerPoint Presentations, costumes, etc. Each person has their preferred method of communicating and, per the research I reviewed, many of these preferences can be generalized into common styles of communication which vary from culture to culture. Since I cannot say it better in my own words, I will borrow from The Articulate CEO:

"In an increasingly connected and interdependent world effective communication not only becomes more important but also much more difficult. Ironically, it is often not dissimilar languages that cause the greatest problems but rather much more mundane and harder to detect cultural differences. One such difference is that of a high context culture versus a low context culture.

A low context culture is one in which things are fully (though concisely) spelled out. Things are made explicit, and there is considerable dependence on what is actually said or written. A high context culture is one in which the communicators assume a great deal of commonality of knowledge and views, so that less is spelled out explicitly and much more is implicit or communicated in indirect ways. In a low context culture, more responsibility is placed on the listener to keep up their knowledge base and remain plugged into informal networks.

Low context cultures include Anglos, Germanics and Scandinavians. High context cultures include Japanese, Arabs and French.

The implications are obvious. Interactions between high and low context peoples can be problematic. For example:

Japanese can find Westerners to be offensively blunt. Westerners can find Japanese to be secretive, devious and bafflingly unforthcoming with information.
French can feel that Germans insult their intelligence by explaining the obvious, while Germans can feel that French managers provide no direction.

High context cultures are vulnerable to communication breakdowns when they assume more shared understanding than there really is. They are strongly inclined to indirect methods of communication. This is especially true in an age of diversity.

Low context cultures, on the other hand, are not known for their ability to tolerate or understand diversity, and tend to be more insular. The explicitness with which they communicate can often cause offence and resentment.

The point, of course, is that in an age of diversity these cultural differences are just as likely to appear across a desk as they are across borders. Don't assume a common geographic location guarantees a common heritage."

Goodness! I learned that true to my heritage, I am definitely a LOW CONTEXT Communicator! I want my words to convey my meaning and rarely beat around the bush. I don't have time for bush beating, and I am rarely concerned with "saving face." The only saving face activities I often engage in is applying nice smelling creams in the evening and glittery stuff in the morning. Though I believe I am a pretty decent decoder of High Context Communicators in that I believe I can decipher the hidden messages and read between the lines when needed, I prefer to take things at "face" value unless there is proof to the contrary. I oftentimes hear myself telling others things like, "oh, I don't think that's what so and so meant. That is not what they said." I am often called naive, but I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt whenever possible, and this has served me quite well.

When communicating with High Context Communicators, I catch myself paraphrasing what they tell me in order to clarify the intent of their message. And they often try to guess that I have an implicit non- verbal message hidden behind my words which I rarely do unless I am telling a joke. I also catch myself interpreting between High and Low Context conversations with others. It's almost like being contextually bilingual. Click here to read an excellent article on this topic and take the test to see where you fall in the High / Low Context Communication Continuum. I'd love to hear back with your scores.

Cauliflower "Hot Wing" Bites

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower broken up into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup water

dash of favorite hot sauce

1/4 tsp garlic salt

for the sauce:

1/4 cup of favorite hot sauce

3 tbsp melted butter

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 450º. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, blend flour, water, dash of hot sauce and garlic salt.

Dip the cauliflower in the batter and then place on the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the sauce. When the cauliflower has finished baking, remove it from the oven and coat with the butter sauce. Bake an additional 7 minutes or until crispy.

Serve with ranch if desired. We gobbled it up with no need for ranch.

More Quotes:

Not the fastest horse can catch a word spoken in anger. ~Chinese Proverb

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Does it seem sometimes that you are always the one to break an embarrassing silence — and always by saying something more embarrassing than the silence? ~Robert Brault

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Never miss a good chance to shut up. ~Will Rogers

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One way to prevent conversation from being boring is to say the wrong thing. ~Frank Sheed

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Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours. ~Benjamin Disraeli

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Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance. ~Robert Quillen

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Let us not look east and west for materials of conversation, but rest in presence and unity. A just feeling will fast enough supply fuel for discourse, if speaking be more grateful than silence. When people come to see us, we foolishly prattle, lest we be inhospitable. But things said for conversation are chalk eggs. Don't say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Letters and Social Aims," 1875, paraphrased over the years to the commonly quoted version "What you do speaks so loud, that I cannot hear what you say."

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Coolidge was known for his terse speech and reticence. A woman bet her friend that she could get Coolidge to speak to her, which was something he was reluctant to do. She went up to him and said: "Hello, Mr. President, I bet my friend that I could get you to say three words to me." "You lose," Coolidge replied dryly, and walked away. ~Author Unknown

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There is never an embarrassing silence that can't be turned into a regrettable conversation. ~Robert Brault

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The difference between a smart man and a wise man is that a smart man knows what to say, a wise man knows whether or not to say it. ~Frank M. Garafola

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I just wish my mouth had a backspace key. ~Author Unknown

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No man would listen to you talk if he didn't know it was his turn next. ~E.W. Howe

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He's a wonderful talker, who has the art of telling you nothing in a great harangue. ~Jean Baptiste Molière, Le Misanthrope

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The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech. ~George Bernard Shaw

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If you keep your mouth shut you will never put your foot in it. ~Austin O'Malley

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If everybody thought before they spoke, the silence would be deafening. ~George Barzan

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Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them. ~Adlai Stevenson

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The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. ~Author Unknown

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In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet. ~Winston Churchill

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The best way to keep one's word is not to give it. ~Napoleon I, Maxims

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Keep your words soft and tender because tomorrow you may have to eat them. ~Author Unknown

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Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use. ~Wendell Johnson

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Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand. ~Author Unknown

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Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference. ~Author unknown, attributed to Mark Twain

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When you're arguing with a fool, make sure he isn't doing the same thing. ~Author Unknown

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Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. ~Ernest Hemingway

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"Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people." - William Butler Yeats

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"We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." - Epictetus

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"In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do." - Stephen Covey

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"The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them." - Stephen King

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"Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language." - Walt Disney

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"Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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"The two words information and communication are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." - Sydney Harris

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"Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing." - Rollo May

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"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." - Plato

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"Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot." - D.H. Lawrence

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"Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn't listening." - Emma Thompson

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"You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time." - Scott Peck

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"Give me the gift of a listening heart." - King Solomon

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Next Post date: May 5, 2014
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April 7, 2014

Quotes:

To speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks. ~Ben Jonson

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If you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it. ~Earl Wilson

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Two monologues do not make a dialogue. ~Jeff Daly

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Of those who say nothing, few are silent. ~Thomas Neill

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The older I grow the more I listen to people who don't talk much. ~Germain G. Glien

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Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness. ~Margaret Millar

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To be able to ask a question clearly is two-thirds of the way to getting it answered. ~John Ruskin

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By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach. ~Winston Churchill

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The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid. ~Author Unknown

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Talking is like playing on the harp; there is as much in laying the hands on the strings to stop their vibration as in twanging them to bring out their music. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

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People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say. ~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Cat's Cradle

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Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne. ~Quentin Crisp

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Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech. ~Martin Farquhar Tupper, "Of Discretion," Proverbial Philosophy

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The true genius shudders at incompleteness — and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be. ~Edgar Allan Poe

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The trouble with talking too fast is you may say something you haven't thought of yet. ~Ann Landers

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Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud. ~Hermann Hesse

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The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. ~Dorothy Nevill

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The easiest way to save face is to keep the lower half shut. ~Author Unknown

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Even a fish wouldn't get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut. ~Author Unknown

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Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken. ~Orson Rega Card

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Be careful of your thoughts; they may become words at any moment. ~Ira Gassen

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Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute. ~Josh Billings

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Foolishness always results when the tongue outraces the brain. ~Author Unknown

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The words you choose to say something are just as important as the decision to speak. ~Author Unknown

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Among provocatives, the next best thing to good preaching is bad preaching. I have even more thoughts during or enduring it than at other times. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage. ~Publilius Syrus

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An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind. ~Walter Bagehot

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It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it. ~Maurice Switzer, 1906

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I am annoyed by individuals who are embarrassed by pauses in a conversation. To me, every conversational pause refreshes. ~George Sanders

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Isn't it surprising how many things, if not said immediately, seem not worth saying ten minutes from now? ~Arnot L. Sheppard, Jr.

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It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood. ~Karl Popper, Unended Quest

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Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. ~Ambrose Bierce

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If something goes without saying, let it. ~Author Unknown

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Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing. ~Robert Charles Benchley

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A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker. ~Author Unknown

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Don't tell your friends about your indigestions: "How are you!" is a greeting, not a question. ~Arthur Guiterman, A Poet's Proverbs

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Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled. ~Horace

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Don't speak unless you can improve on the silence. ~Spanish Proverb

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One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. ~Will Durant

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If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf. ~Lemony Snicket

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The man was on his knees, trying to retrieve each of his ugly words that were now scattered on the floor. But, of course, it was too late. ~Dr. SunWolf,

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Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact—from calling on us to look through a heap of millet-seed in order to be sure that there is no pearl in it. ~George Eliot, Impressions of Theophrastus Such, 1879

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Calvin: Sometimes when I'm talking, my words can't keep up with my thoughts. I wonder why we think faster than we speak.
Hobbes: Probably so we can think twice.
~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

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Click on the picture below to view this month's mystery feature.

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LINKS:

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Just a little history.

Archive of past issues.

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A kindred spirit in the U.K.- fabulous website!

Free recipe of the month tested in my own kitchen.

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Slash your grocery costs in half like I did!

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Ideas Worth Spreading in short video format. Amazing!

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