Cross-Cultural Communication Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What is cross-cultural communication and why is it essential in business? This lesson plan introduces and exemplifies cross-cultural communication using a video lesson. An activity explores communication patterns from several different cultures.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, students will be able to:

  • define cross-cultural communication
  • list the types of behaviors that must be accounted for within cross-cultural communication
  • distinguish between high-context cultures and low-context cultures
  • explain the role nonverbal communication plays in cross-cultural communication
  • summarize the roles played by language barriers and power distance in cross-cultural communication
  • describe effective strategies for addressing cross-cultural communication


45 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.


Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.


Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.


  • Paper copies of the worksheet from the associated video lesson
  • Assorted lists of common communication patterns for several different cultures


  • Begin by writing the following two terms on the board: 'communication' and 'culture'.
    • How are these two things related?
  • Play the video lesson Cross-Cultural Communication: Definition, Strategies & Examples, pausing it at 1:24.
    • What is cross-cultural communication?
    • What types of things must be accounted for in cross-cultural communication?
    • How has technology spurred the need for cross-cultural communication?
  • Play the video lesson for the class again, pausing it at 3:03.
    • What are the hallmarks of low-context cultures?
    • How are high-context cultures different from low-context cultures?
  • Play the video lesson. Pause it at 4:27.
    • What are some examples of non-verbal communication?
    • What are the cross-cultural concerns with non-verbal communication?
  • Play the video lesson and pause it at 5:16.
    • How can language barriers be minimized in cross-cultural communication?
  • Play the video lesson again for the class and pause it at 6:03.
    • What is power distance?
    • Why is it important to account for power distance in cross-cultural communication?
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson for the class.
    • What strategies are important for cross-cultural communication?
  • Answer any remaining questions.
  • Distribute the worksheet to the class, one to each student.
  • Have students work independently to complete the worksheet using what they learned about cross-cultural communication from the video lesson and classroom discussion.
  • When all students have finished the worksheet, review each question and answer from the worksheet with the class as students self-check their work.

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