[SOUND] In this first part of the module we will be looking at what we need to pay attention to as we go about organizing a meeting. There are two lessons to this part. By the end of these two lessons, you should be able to, one, demonstrate a basic understanding of the differences between high and low context cultures. Two, match one's culture to one's possible perception of time. And, three, demonstrate an appreciation of the different perceptions of time as well as power distance, and take an appropriate course of action. All right, let's say you're making arrangements for a group meeting. The very first thing that you should have is, of course, the meeting agenda. Then you need to inform the parties concerned. The question is which mode of communication will you pick to inform the various parties about a meeting? Would you call, text or email? Now the choice is clear, isn't it? Of course, we will email. Why? Now, the email allows you to reach a bigger group of people at one time to convey the same piece of information. It also serves as a written record of communication commonly referred to as the black and white. Now, you can also attach the meeting agenda to the email. All right, let's say you have sent out the notification for the meeting to be held. Will the participants turn up, and if so, when? If they were to send you a reply, would you be able to tell if they were really turning up? It is at this juncture that I would like to introduce you to some cultural considerations that may impact how your meeting unfolds. We will be looking at high context and low context cultures, perceptions of time and power distance. Let us begin with the high and low context cultures. We have actually covered this in a previous module. Can you still remember? Let us do a quick recap. Generally speaking, a high context culture is one in which the meaning of one's communication relies heavily on the context or situation in question. It is implicit and indirect. Communicators rely greatly on the non-verbals to convey meaning, especially if it is a negative one. A low context culture on the other hand relies heavily on the meaning of the words used to communicate its meaning. It is direct and not implicit. What you hear is what you get. A high context culture is more collectivistic. One's identity lies with the group, and group harmony is highly valued. A low context culture, on the other hand, is more individualistic. One's identity lies with the individual, and individual needs are valued over and above the group's. As we can see in this example, Daryl has chosen to be indirect in the way he expresses his wish to meet before the meeting rather than after. This is typical of somebody from the high context culture where they find it difficult to actually say no, or they find it impolite to say no or to reply in the negative. So what are the implications, then? Why are we even considering whether the person is from a high context culture or a low context one? The point is you need to find out to ascertain that person's attendance because the person may actually not turn up for the meeting. Now, if you find that you are not too sure about the answer, or if you have merely guessed the answer from the person's reply but you suspect that the person is from a high context culture, it would be a good idea for you to just double-check for a more definite answer. Sometimes, the person may find it rude to say no or to reject a proposition. So, if you want a clearer answer, one of the things you may consider doing is to assure the person that it is all right to say no, that you need an answer, a definite one, to facilitate your planning. Now, people from such a culture generally do not like imposing on others or causing any inconvenience. People from a high context culture generally do not like imposing on others or causing any inconvenience. Therefore, you are very likely to be able to get a definite answer should you ask him or her to do you this favor.