It’s now over 10 years since I virtually work up one morning and decided to book myself on a holiday to Japan. My original plan was to go by myself , however, a friend intrigued by the idea asked if she could come along and we went along together.
I must say, I was really and truly pleased that she came because aside from the fact that she is generally good company, it was the first place that I ever visited where most of the people I encountered spoke very little English. Whilst her task for the trip was to make all the arrangements and decide on the must go places to visit, for some reason I was given the task of learning Japanese. I task that I failed miserably at achieving. As a result we spent a lot of time bowing to people, smiling and pointing to things.
The exception was when we were introduced to people who were referred to as English experts. Then we had the opportunity to speak English, the only thing is sometimes the expertise of the experts was quite limited.
Under such circumstances I found myself adopting a very bad and to be honest rude habit – I would speak louder or speak slower as if that would really make any difference.
I was reminded of this recently during a conversation that I had with an associate when I got frustrated at my inability to get my point across and ended up having a rather frustrating conversation.
There were three key points that I learnt from this conversation:
• People have different communication styles. Adapt your communication style to your audience. You have more of a responsibility of communicating in a manner that is clear to them than they have of interpreting and understanding your message
• If the person that you are speaking to does not agree with or understand the point that you are trying to make, no matter how frustrated you may be, repeating the point several times will not make any difference. Neither will speaking slowly or shouting.
• No matter how important your message is, if the person you are speaking to is not receiving, don’t try and force it down the person’s throat.
Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.