The greatest barrier to communication is our ‘fear of looking stupid.’ The Hirn Family had jumped that hurdle when we lived on the Texas border. Every good doctor must first understand what his patient needs, and Ron was determined to offer the best to his Spanish-speaking patients by communicating with them in their native tongue. And, as social as I am, nothing was going to stand in the way of my getting to know people. We all speak Spanish pretty well; problem was, we hadn’t chosen Spanish-speaking countries to visit!
American’s pride ourselves in the fact that English — the International Language — is understood almost everywhere in the world. But unless we are forced into a situation, too few of us find it important to learn another language. Why not? Communication is a powerful tool.
Before you leave for your trip, pull up the website: Omniglot http://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/ Great tool for learning a few phrases!
People are generally quite forgiving, but occasionally a blunder causes a large problem: In the 1960’s Pepsi took it’s “Come Alive with the Pepsi Generation” slogan to China, which was not well received. The Chinese translated the slogan to: “Pepsi brings your relatives back from the dead.”
Clairol attempted to sell a new curling iron in German markets, dubbing the product a “Mist Stick.” “Mist” in German means “manure.” Who wants a hot roll of manure in their hair? www.fluentin3months.com
If you’re selling a product, do your homework. Otherwise, get out there and practice. The people we met loved helping us.
Check out my Blog Thursday for some great communication tips I brought back. We’ll have you ready to go in no time!
Talk to you Thursday! Dawn