One should not aim at being possible to understand but at being impossible to misunderstand.
– Marcus Fabius Quintilian



Intercultural communication is a form of communication that aims to share information across different cultures and social groups.

It is used to describe the wide range of communication processes and problems that naturally appear within a social context or an organization, made up of individuals from different religious, social, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

Intercultural communication is sometimes used synonymously with cross-cultural communication.


In this sense it focuses on understanding how people from different countries and cultures act, communicate and perceive the world around them.

Many people in intercultural business communication argue that culture determines

  • how individuals encode messages
  • what medium they choose for transmitting them, and
  • the way messages are interpreted.*

Aside from language, intercultural communication focuses on social attributes, thought patterns, and the cultures of different groups of people.


Every person defines culture in her very own, personal way.


At Ute's International Lounge we consider culture as


"a fuzzy set of basic assumptions and values, orientations to life, beliefs, policies, procedures and behavioural conventions that are shared by a group of people, and that influence (but do not determine!) each member's behaviour and his/her interpretations of the "meaning" of other people's behaviour(Helen Spencer-Oatey, Culturally Speaking: Culture, Communication and Politeness Theory, 2008)


When we understand the multiple facets of cultures we can bridge between any culture and foster mutual understanding. (Ute Limacher-Riebold)





Intercultural communication plays a role in social sciences such as anthropology, cultural studies, linguistics, psychology and communication studies.


In my Intercultural Communication Trainings I focus on non-verbal (body language, gestures etc.) and verbal communication, and on the art of communicating effectively in intercultural settings


Please find an overview of my past trainings, workshops and talks here.




Lauring, Jakob (2011). "Intercultural Organizational Communication: The Social Organizing of Interaction in International Encounters". Journal of Business and Communication. 48.3: 231–55.

How to fill in names in forms in the Netherlands

How to deal with negative comments about one of our cultures

Multilingual Listening Skills

Finger-counting across cultures