How Childhood And Cultural Experiences Impact Communication

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childhood and cultural communication barriers

How you were raised; your childhood and your cultural experiences can impact how you communicate as an adult.

When you were growing up, there is a very good chance that you were raised to “be a good kid”, to not interrupt an elder, or even to simply do whatever an authority figure asked you to do no questions asked.

childhood and cultural communication barriersAnd while these “rules” of childhood served a purpose growing up, they don’t translate well as an adult in the workplace.

In order to succeed in the workplace, you will have to break free from some of the beliefs that you grew up with.  This isn’t to say that all lessons taught should be thrown out the window. It is more understanding what those childhood and cultural communication barriers lie and how to overcome them when appropriate.

Cultural And Family Influences

Thinking back to when you were a kid, are there common themes about how you were expected to communicate? Or perhaps the way you were spoken to didn’t always feel positive?

These examples, and many others, can have an impact on how you communicate in the workplace today.  Many of these expectations are ingrained in us. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to break free.


How You Were Spoken To

Did you know that how you were spoken to as a child directly impacts how you communicate today?  You may have grown up in an environment where you were constantly being compared to your peers. Or maybe you were criticized a lot.  

Or perhaps, you did not receive a lot of positive reinforcement.  All of these combined can become ingrained in our way of thinking which can negatively impact our ability to communicate and succeed in the workplace.

Expressing Yourself In The Workplace

Though these may have been past experiences, the key here is: it’s the past. It’s so important to express and showcase yourself in the workplace.  If you are not seen and heard, it will be more difficult for you to be considered for that big promotion. 

So how can you express yourself in the workplace when your childhood and cultural values have perhaps conditioned you otherwise? 

You first want to identify the influences of your childhood and practice skills to help you overcome what you were taught early on.

1.  Identify Cultural And Family Influences

Think about why you have a communication barrier.  Was it because of one of the “rules” you were taught?  Perhaps it was how you were spoken to as a child. Whatever it is – identify those thoughts and reimagine them in the workplace. 

Many times, those “rules” won’t live up because the environment now is completely different. Break free of the ties that are holding you back.

cultural and childhood communication barriers2. Practice Skills For Success

You can help yourself overcome some of these barriers by practicing different communication skills so that you are confident when the time comes for you to implement them in the workplace.

For example:

  1. Being More Direct 

    Being direct can be a difficult skill to practice especially if you were taught being direct can come off as too aggressive.  However, giving yourself the freedom to be a bit more direct and succinct can help you become a better communicator. This means being short in your sentences and ending them with a period. If you are unsure of how it’ll come off, state your opinion, pause, then ask a question. “I believe we should go with option A. What do you think?

  2. Build Credibility

    You can also build your credibility. This means starting off your talk with a previous experience that showcases you know what you’re talking about. If you practice this skill, you will build confidence in yourself and your abilities.

  3. Prepare Your Message

    Prepare what you want to say and practice how you want to say it.  The more you do this the more natural it will sound and the less likely you will fall into the trap of adhering to your childhood and cultural influences. The key: prepare and practice talking out loud (not just in your head!)

The key to success is separating your previously taught communication skills with practical workplace communication skills.  


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