We all know that our success in life is largely dependent on what good communicators we are. New immigrants often believe that only the acquisition of vocabulary and grammar provides effective communicators in Estonia and solves all problems. In the long run, however, they realize that there are misunderstandings and conflicts everywhere. Considering the cultural differences in the communication style and practice of new immigrants in Estonia and other European countries, several cultural differences have been identified, which have caused conflicts and misunderstandings instead of success.
We have just seen a case in the media where an Arab group tried to change their driving licenses in Estonia but caused media events by threatening officials. The main reason for the conflict was that although the Arabs spoke Estonian, they used a completely different style of communication than Estonian. It was very interesting to see how officials tried to explain the rules in their own direct communication style, but since Arabs and Estonians have very different listening and speaking habits, the Arabs did not receive the message, but reacted with unfriendly behavior with a threat . For the Estonians, it is difficult to understand that loud speech and rising sound can show sincerity in other cultures and are therefore generally perceived as aggressive behavior.
Huge and high-level cultural differences are enormous in contextual communication, how to approach other people, how to tell what is relevant in body language, direct and indirect communication styles, and values and norms. Analysts said the Arabs did not listen to them talking about irrelevant things, not respecting the rules, and threatening officials. Customers generally argue that the Arabs do not understand the meaning of "no", they do not understand that it actually means "something is not possible". They seem to think that they only have to explain in the long run and come back with a larger group the next day and speak louder. In my experience, the Arabs use the same communication behavior repeatedly and again in different situations in Estonia, though they never reach their goals.
Arabic and Estonian cultures can be distinguished for direct and indirect communication styles. The cultural preference of Estonian is clear and direct communication, as evidenced by common expressions like "Ära keeruta!" As we can see from these two examples, the Estonians use these terms in less words than English speech, which means they are doing it as quickly as possible, without wasting time without feeling as if someone speaks too much "irrelevant" things in the context of high-context communication (such as Arabic) to "meaningful" In low-context cultures (such as in Estonian) it seems that the exact and thorough spread of oral or written messages is on the loudspeaker (Hall, 1976 ), the Estonians are not good at understanding or following the real goal. an indirect message and a period of time, I heard a lot of conflicts that only occurred because a person from another culture spoke for too long.
The direct style strives to accurately represent the facts, and emotional sounds and suggestive references. The indirect communication style, which is more common among the Arabs, is counterproductive, ambiguous, and emotionally rich. The desire for precision is not as important as creating emotional resonance. It is difficult for Estonians to understand that they can show sincerity in other cultures in loud and rising tones, and are generally considered aggressive and hostile.
Although Arabs are considered as representatives of indirect communication style, Arabic is in many ways more direct than English or Estonian. For example, in Estonian, you can not tell someone that "I want this!" or "You must do this". Instead, they often question or use a conditional mood: "Ma sooviksin …" (I would like to …), "Are you still a saint?" (Possible / Can I Do …?). In these cases, Arabs generally use the direct approach to the Arabic language structure, which in many cases shakes officials, customer service and all other people in Estonia because it is aggressive. In addition, as in German, familiar and polite forms are the expression "you" (Sina-Du, Teie-Sie), and in the official communication context of aliens only the polite form is always used, respect. This is obviously another reason why aggressive Estonians regard the Arab communication style.
To date, we have only trained officials and support staff on these issues to reduce cross-cultural conflicts in Estonia, but no new immigrants are more successful communicators. In standard language courses, language teachers do not know the cultural differences in communication styles and do not know how to teach these skills. Estonian language textbooks are not used to teach intercultural communication and how to be successful in business and life. That is why relevant bidding seminars and training materials for new immigrants to increase their cultural awareness and to teach their communication goals in Estonia.