How Can You Bridge Language Barriers In Your Working Teams?
Global communication and trade have made the world more multicultural. Although this has led to the establishment of long-lasting and beneficial partnerships and collaborations, it has brought about the issue of language barriers. With a recent study showing that many multinational companies are based in the US, it is most likely that your business may have employees from different backgrounds, cultures, and non-English speakers— which can affect work results.
So, how can you remove these language barriers for more effective communication?
Here are a few ways.
Be sure information has been well understood
It is normal for employees to not pick up on information the first time hearing it. They may need to hear it twice or more to fully understand it. This happens to most employees irrespective of whether there is a language barrier or otherwise. Therefore, where there is a language barrier, it is vital to ensure that they have understood the information communicated.
When your employees are nodding and not asking questions, there is a chance that they do not understand what is being conveyed. Encourage them to ask questions for more clarification and ask them too. It is also vital that you are patient to ensure that you are all on the same page.
Build from the other side
A fast and sure way to bridge the communication gap is to organize short courses to enable your English-speaking staff to learn more of the language spoken by the non-English speaking staff— and vice versa. Conducting an activity in a language your competent English-speaking employees do not understand to explain the experience can be an eye-opener and behavior-changing exercise.
You can also look for courses similar to TERL, which has shown its effectiveness for developing decoding skills among the younger audience with little or no prior English language skills. Such solutions are also effective for helping your non-English speaking staff improve their English proficiency. Building both sides is a sure way to allow for more effective communication.
Encourage staff to explore their differing cultures
Language is an essential cultural component, and being in a multilingual setting can be a terrific place to start. You want to encourage your staff to learn words and idioms in other languages, try new foods, and so on. You may also want to encourage discussions on various themes, for instance, how other cultures handle particular holidays or situations. This allows your staff to advance professionally and personally. Knowing about your individuals and the cultures is a fantastic way to broaden your horizons and learn more. You’ll be surprised how this appears fun to your working teams.
Mind your gestures
There are verbal and non-verbal ways to communicate. However, the use of the latter can be confusing or misinterpreted. For instance, gestures used by Americans may wildly differ from other countries and may appear offensive or inappropriate. So it is important to be mindful of the gestures used in the workplace and take appropriate steps to educate your working teams.
Many people don’t think before gesturing with their hands. Unfortunately, this can lead to anger or serious hurt feelings, which is the last thing you need in your workplace. When everybody is aware of what is appropriate or otherwise, you will enjoy a conducive work atmosphere.