Whilst the concept of relationship building is now widely understood, it is important to remember that communications and relationship development are tasks undertaken by people, not organisations. So, whilst we may talk of businesses working with other businesses, what we really mean is that people from one business work with other people – either from another business, or with individual customers. The basic difference between this and Chapter 8 is that in this chapter we examine personal (as opposed to corporate) communications. A personal communication is a message is sent by one or more people to one or more receivers. These receivers are generally known to the senders, and the message is usually intended to form part of an on-going dialogue, or conversation, perhaps part of a negotiation process. This is different to the corporate communications examined in the last chapter, which were basically non-personal, and dealt with the ways in which a company can communicate with its market (consumers) – in particular, the use of advertising. In this chapter we examine the basis of language and the ways in which it underpins international business activities at the personal level. Personal communication generally (but not always) forms part of a face-to-face encounter and as such, the socio-cultural aspects of cross-cultural encounters assume great importance and must be taken into consideration when examining the various communication inputs.
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