Indian Culture-Communication

culture-in-India

Table of Contents

Indian Culture-Communication

  • Indirect Communication: Indians typically communicate in a courteous yet indirect manner. To avoid disagreement or confrontation, they could attempt to talk in an amiable manner to someone they don’t know well. Negotiation is a common method of exchanging ideas or points of view rather than fighting for or against the veracity of one’s position. This kind of communication may come off as unclear. Direct communication should only be used in highly trusted relationships or in urgent circumstances. 
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  • Refusals: It’s possible that blunt rejections, such saying “no,” are too severe, and that voicing an open disagreement could come out as confrontational or unfriendly. Indians therefore frequently deliver evasive rejections and subtly convey their disapproval. Indians can say “no” by using expressions like “maybe” or “I’ll do my best.” Furthermore, the word “yes” has a variety of meanings that are distinct from how it is used in English-speaking Western societies. For instance, an Indian might reply “yes” to show that they are paying attention to what is being said, but their body language might also convey disapproval or rejection.
  • Silence: Rather than say “no” outright, some people will occasionally choose to say nothing. As a result, it is wise to listen to what is not spoken because disagreement may be expressed through a lack of agreement. 
  • Questioning: Some Indians may respond reflexively to direct queries that demand a yes-or-no response because of their cultural emphasis on modesty and decency. A firm “no” could mean that you want to break up with an Indian. Asking open-ended questions multiple times to get clarification is one method of getting around ambiguity. For example, it is preferable to question “Which way is the shop?” as opposed to “Is the shop this way?”
  • Hierarchy: In many situations, the communication patterns in Indian society are influenced by the social hierarchy. There are many methods to show respect and reverence to authority persons both inside and beyond the house, such as being tactful when turning down requests and voicing disagreements with older citizens’ opinions.

Non-Verbal

  • Physical Contact: Indians like to avoid physical contact if possible, however if two persons are of the same gender, they may touch each other’s hands or arms during a conversation. Across most of India, there is very little physical contact between the sexes. It is not common to hug, kiss, or hold hands, for instance.
  • Personal Space: When interacting, Indians typically keep an arm’s length apart out of respect for one another’s privacy. Typically, this proximity is comparable to what people in the West are used to. They could take a more distancing stance from people who are the other gender.
  • Eye Contact: Generally speaking, Indians would rather avoid making direct eye contact with people of the other gender or keep it to a minimum. Some ladies might completely avoid making eye contact. Making direct eye contact is generally acceptable as long as you sometimes look away. 
  • In India, winking and whistling are regarded as sexually provocative gestures.
  • Head Tilt: To express understanding and agreement, people may shake their heads from side to side or tilt them to the side. This head motion resembles the Western hand signal for “I don’t know,” which is a shoulder shrug and a sideways tilt of the head.
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  • Nodding: As a sign of courtesy, Indians frequently nod to acknowledge what is stated. This does not always imply that they comprehend or concur, though. 
  • Gestures: It is deemed accusing to point the index finger at someone. Using your entire palm, pointing downward, is a more considerate method of beckoning or addressing someone. Placing your hands on your hips while standing conveys a sense of anger or preparedness for a fight. Grasping or tugging at one’s ears is a sign of sincerity or confession.
  • Head: The head is regarded as the most sacred area of the body. It is considered impolite and rude to touch someone on top of their head. 
  • Feet: It is considered impolite to touch or show off one’s feet to others, as they are believed to be the dirtiest part of the body.

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