Communication and Culture
When I first started corporate training in 2002, I believed that better language skills lead to better communication. My focus at that time was emphasis on improving the speaking and writing skills of my participants. It did not take me long to realize how wrong I was.
This realization came to me soon after my first trip abroad. I was in Singapore visiting my daughter who had taken up a job there. We were in a market when we met her Australian colleague. After introductions, my daughter’s colleague asked me, “ So, how are you going?”. I was perplexed and replied, “ I suppose by MRT.”
My daughter quickly clarified that it was a polite greeting and her friend was just being polite.
A similar thing happened on my visit to the United states a year later. I was shopping in a Walmart store in Campbellsville, Kentucky. A lady came up to me and said, “What a sexy dress!”.
I was confused. It took me some time to realize that she was not referring to my silk sari; rather she was trying to be polite and make me feel comfortable.
Again, it took me some time to add ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to the expressions ‘yes’ and ‘no’. It was in a Starbucks in the US that I learnt to say. ‘yes, please’ and “no, thank you’. I would not have to add these expressions in India.
This and many other instances have made me understand that Cultural differences play an important part in communicating across geographies. The literal meaning of words may leave us floundering in interactive communication, especially in a multicultural workplace.
This leads me to the third section of this website – Travel. Travel has made my experiences richer and today I feel that I can communicate better mainly due to these experiences. Travel is relaxing and a great educator.
This website hopes to cover these three areas- Communication, Culture and Travel.
Do feel free to connect with me; you could share your experiences, ask questions, or simply disagree!!