My starting life in America makes me have a deeper understanding of intercultural exchanges; Not only because America is the second Multicultural country in the world after Canada, but also because I learned from my past experience of working in a multicultural environment as a Communication Trainer in Cameroon and Uganda that it could be very challenging. This is because everybody does not necessary communicate well in the official language of the country or the environment.
In this article, I am sharing with you 4 tips to understand others and be understood in a multilingual milieu. “Effective Communication in Multicultural Teams” is an interesting videoconference that gives you a broader look on multicultural environment teams.
- Know your communication style. It’s important for you to know how you communicate easily. Are you a visual or listener learner?
My first job in America made me better understand my learning and communication style. Despite all the videos and the comment done during training sessions, I needed practice to understand what they were talking about. I discovered that I was a pure visual learner. It means that I easily grasp written informations but also demonstrated information.It also means that I easily express myself by writing.
- Enrich your vocabulary. One of the key difficulties in communicating in a multilingual milieu is a poor vocabulary. Associating objects with their names when asking questions or transmitting information could help communicate better.
A friend of mine used to walk in conference rooms with a small notebook. He will write every new word he hears in his different interactions with people of different languages. He could now use those words properly in any conversation.
Maybe you can’t write everything but you can easily pick-up a word from a direct conversation and re-use it immediately. There is no better way to memorize new words and make rapid progress in intercultural communication.
- Communicate with actions and images. Do what you say. This is how I can summarize the idea of communicating with actions. Even with no knowledge of your learning style or a poor vocabulary, you can easily be understood if you make good use of actions and images.
I remember a situation where I could not express a request clearly. I just took a piece of paper with the images of what I needed and show it to one of my managers. He quickly understood what I wanted and helped me find a solution to the problem.
- Practice! Practice! Practice! Finally, I can simply say that language improvement comes with practice. Take every opportunity to interact with someone who masters the language you learn. You’ll be amazed by the rapid progress you’ll make both in listening and speaking.
In Uganda, the only way to communicate was English. I had to download an English dictionary on my phone to have accurate translation. My communication in English grew so fast that I was able to write articles in English.
Did you experience different strategies to successfully communicate in a multilingual environment? I value your experience and I would like to hear from you.Writing a short story of your language learning journey will enrich many.
Write to me at email@example.com or call me at : 240 361 7919
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You can also watch the following video to learn more about Communicating in Multicultural environment: Cross cultural communication | Pellegrino Riccardi | TEDxBergen