Join Tatiana Kolovou for an in-depth discussion in this video Adapting communication style: Non-native English, part of Communicating Across Cultures.
- We could talk about communication style differences as they relate to native language for an entire course. Some companies accept English as the linguistic business best practice. But both native English speakers, and non-native English speakers need to be willing to flex their speaking style. Let's talk about how to flex across this continuum. Non-Native English Speaker Flexing. English is not my first language. When I first started working in America, meetings were often hard for me to follow.
To stay engaged, I needed to take notes, and push myself to ask questions. At first, I felt dumb. Why couldn't my brain function at this pace? Why did I have to stand out? But I eventually realized that asking for clarification and not making assumptions actually helped me to avoid miscommunication in the long run. Next, Native English Speaker Flexing. If you're watching this, and you're a native English speaker, try to imagine how difficult it is to communicate using a different language.
Someone once described it as a bad video conference connection. You catch some of it, you miss some details, you hope you picked up on the big picture, and you pray that you don't look stupid. So if there's one way for you to flex for non-native speakers, it is to be empathetic. Another thing I recommend, is to not make assumptions, that we share the same experiences. The other day at a meeting, someone made a funny joke about their high school prom.
I noticed the new international intern only smiled politely, and then realized that she had no clue of what a high school prom was, or why the joke was funny. Whether you're a native speaker of English or not, I hope these reminders are helpful for you. Flexing your communication style is crucial when you work across cultures. Be observant, be empathetic, and work on practicing these skills daily. You'll be much more effective in the long run.