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Quiz: Ice breaking strategies

Everyone needs a few tricks for breaking the ice with new people, a way to start a conversation and make everyone feel included. Try our quiz and see how much you know about tried and tested strategies:
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Cross-kulturelle Kommunikation

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Intercultural communication
Interkulturelle Kommunikation

Universal communication strategies

Apart from expressions and gestures, the basics of which do not tend to vary widely across cultures, there are certain strategies (and yes, you may well need words to express them) that are used across cultures and languages.

Researchers at the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft have shown that there are three ways in which humans attempt to make sure that the correct message is being understood, and these three ways are the same across all languages. Also important to note is that the researchers found that one of these is used on average every 90 seconds, so do not be afraid of asking for clarification, everyone does it! The three strategies are:

  • 'Huh?' or a version of it. A simple noise, perhaps accompanied by an expression of surprise or a questioning gesture, indicating that the listener does not understand or is not sure that s/he understands, so needs the speaker to explain further.
  • A spoken question to obtain more information on a specific point: often using question words such as 'who?', 'where?', 'when?', etc.
  • Paraphrasing - a way of repeating the information in the listener's own words to prove to the speaker that their words have been correctly understood.

An interesting aspect of these three strategies is that the one that generally requires the least additional input from the speaker actually requires the most of the listener!

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Erstellt am: 16.02.2017 20:53, Letzte Änderung: 06.11.2020 07:22

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