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communication sunita 448

Hello, Bonjour, Namaste,

I remember when I first started working in Geneva I bought a great book called “Is that what you really mean?” by Paul Hancock. The book takes 50 common errors and illustrates them with humorous pictures....and this got me thinking…(yep it happens to the best of us sometimes). With the rise of non-native speakers of English increasing at a rapid rate, clear communications from native speakers to non-native is going to put the spotlight on us English mother tongue speakers and how we communicate..

So what can we do? How can we make sure that we are understandable and our message is understood?

  • Speak slower?
  • Avoid idioms and slang?
  • Check understanding?

Yes all of the above help and have been accepted as universal tools and well documented but in my opinion what’s really important is acknowledgement from native speakers.

Acknowledge that non-native speakers are functioning in a foreign language, a language they may not speak at home or socialize in. Recognize this fact that it isn’t always easy to be clear in our own language let alone a second, third or fourth language.

Secondly it’s central to any communication in a multicultural environment to be empathetic and to literally “put yourself in their shoes”...

Indeed recognition and understanding are the keys to stronger relationships and better interactions whether that is in a business context or with friends and neighbours.

So next time you are having a meeting at work or a chat with a non-native colleague, friend or neighbour just stop and think “Is that what I really mean?”

In the words of Pink Floyd ….Keep talking!!!

Ref: Is That What You Mean? 50 Common Mistakes and How to Correct Them By Paul Hancock

Bio

sunita blogphoto 150Sunita Sehmi was born in London and is of Indian origin. She has a Psychology degree and a Post Grad in the Development and Training for Adults from the University of Surrey.

She began her career in the recruitment industry where she worked in Executive Finance Recruitment in the city of London. Upon her arrival in Geneva, she completed the advanced level Cambridge University training certificate (CELTA) and thus began a career in teaching, training and development. She has taught English and Communication skills both in companies and in educational institutions for over twenty years. She is now the founder of Walk The Talk. www.walkthetalk.ch

Sunita lives Geneva with her husband and their two boys. She is currently studying towards a Masters in Career Management and Coaching at the University of Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchatel and Fribourg.