Chinese Communication Style (High Context)

As I mentioned in my post earlier I was really looking forward to the session about Chinese communication.  It totally met my expectations!  The most important thing that I got out of the session was the importance of high context communication within Chinese culture.

The speaker gave two examples which I thought explained her point very well.

Example 1
The Chinese professor may be hot and want the window opened.  Instead of asking her student to open the window she may ask the student, “Are you hot?”   Hopefully the student understands that what she was really asking in an indirect way was, “Will you please open the window?”.

Example 2
An American visitor goes to a Chinese coworker’s house for dinner.  The American guest compliments what a beautiful painting that’s on the wall.  The next day the American finds the painting on her desk.  The Chinese visitor thought that the American’s compliment was a subtle request for the painting.

That’s exactly the type of critical understanding of a different culture which I think helps get along in new environments.

Has your experience in China been the same?

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