Diversity Sensitivity

People are surrounded by various cultures: e.g. age, gender, profession, religion, nationality, family and organization. The surrounding cultures have a great influence and can cause misunderstandings in the communication. However, using cultural knowledge only to tackle
these misunderstandings has the risk to reduce people to their national, ethnic or religious identity. In interactions and conversations, Edwin Hoffman recommend to zoom in on the communication, the interlocutors and the concrete situation. According to the TOPOI model
developed by Edwin Hoffman, in conversations, the diversity can be found in five communicative areas. These are language (Tongue),  Order, Persons, Organization and Intentions.

When misunderstandings emerge, all five areas can be considered and you can reflect on:

What is each person saying in words? In their mother tongue?
How is each person’s body language? How is the interpretation of each
other’s verbal and non-verbal language?

What is the view and logic of each person on the issues at hand?

How do the persons involved present themselves; in which
role, identity? How do they perceive each other? How do the persons
experience the relationship? Is there a hierarchy? Does social status
play a role?

How do organizational and societal factors play a role?

What motivates each person? What purpose, emotions,
needs does the persons have?