Everyone is unique. Diversity is a variety of different objects or people. Meanings can vary from being different to having different thoughts or opinions. It can be based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. The concept of diversity deals with respect and acceptance.
Types of Diversity
The types of diversity can be defined on infinite number of bases, as there are many characteristics that differentiate people. For example, people can have different hair or eye colours. In the workplace, there are seven types of diversity:
- Cultural diversity – Diversity depends on ethnicity
- Racial diversity – Physical traits differentiate people from one another
- Religious diversity – This type of diversity refers to the presence of multiple religions and spiritual beliefs
- Age diversity – People of many different ages and/or generations work together
- Sex / Gender diversity – Can be used in traditional sense, such as male or female
- Sexual orientation
- Disability – Disabilities such as mental or physical also distinguish people
Communication in Diverse Communities
We need to understand the importance of effective cross-cultural communication in today’s world with increasing globalization.
Some steps you can take to improve your communication with diverse groups are:
- Keep an open mind
- Have some understanding of the cultural backgrounds of people
- Practice active listening
- Watch your nonverbal communication
- Maintain a personal touch
- Eliminate figurative language
Communication between people is much more than just using words and the message they convey. Nonverbal communication also plays an important part in effective communication. Nonverbal communication can convey implicit messages. This includes facial expressions, voice tone and pitch, kinesics and proxemics.
Role of Non-Verbal Communication when dealing with diverse groups
Verbal communication only accounts for 80 per cent of communication. The remaining 20 per cent is intonation, or nonverbal communication.
Nonverbal communication allows you to understand human behavior better. These channels are more powerful than what people may say. Body language varies from one country to another.
Nonverbal communication is extremely important. The nonverbal component can highlight, refute, or even replace verbal communication, so we need to learn the cultural differences prior. An example of a culturally different hand gesture is forming an “O” with your thumb and forefinger. In the USA, it means “a-okay”, “perfect” or “got it.” But in some countries, it has an obscene meaning.
Not understanding the differences in nonverbal communication can be a source of misunderstandings, friction and annoyance between cultural groups.
Storytelling Presentation Style
Storytelling is a form of communication which is prevalent in every culture. It allows people to understand others’ backgrounds, experiences and beliefs. A good storyteller can capture people’s attention and emotions and can evoke sympathy with the characters by proving them a way to visualize the elements of the story. The listeners stay captivated as they are curious to know more about the journey of the characters. This helps in maintain their attention and keeping imaginations active.
In this presentation style, the speaker relies on anecdotes and examples to connect with the audience. This style is great for conference speaking, networking events, and sales presentations where you have adequate time to tell your stories without taking minutes away from questions.
Three storytelling styles that work with almost any presentation are:
- Tension & Discovery. You use elements of tension and discovery in your stories to capture the interest of the audience.
- The Heroic Journey. By telling the story of failure and triumph of a hero character, the audience will understand, relate and participate in the presentation.
- The Visual Journey. This involves explaining concepts using analogies. Visual metaphors break things down. They make ideas easy to understand. They put subjects in a relatable context.