When communicating, with a person from a community-based background, it is important to be at their level.
It has been the traditional way, in African cultures, to immediately get to the height or below that of other people. When entering a home, a person will sit down and wait to be addressed. When going into an office, the first natural step, is to sit down.
If a person is more senior to you, it is respectful to sit below the height. And it is a general courtesy for people to maintain the same level when communicating. It is uncomfortable, even scary, when somebody stands above you and gives instructions.
This is obviously not the same, in the more Western cultures, where a person stands up speak. They effectively take the floor, whilst everyone else remained seated. And therein lies the cultural confusion.
So, if you stand or hover above someone, your body position can be seen to be threatening.
Take the time to pull up a chair and sit down. This will make the person feel far safer, and open to communicate.
In terms of friendly communications, sitting down with your team may build awesome relationships.
Brian V Moore
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