Two weeks ago:
We board a train in Macchu Picchu, Peru. Two women facing us are speaking Japanese tiredly. My friend and I nod politely to them, but we don’t exchange typical pleasantries due to the language barrier. I decide to try out my 6 months of private online Japanese lessons and her eyes brighten as I say some words in Japanese to her. Immediately she discloses that she studied in California and is excited that I am trying to learn her language. She even claps from the glee of it all!
Mutual Knowledge of One Another’s Languages Builds Trust & Respect
This mutual knowledge of one another’s languages, even though elementary on my part, completely transforms our train ride. In those 2 hours we build trust, share stories and laugh a lot. With just a few words in Japanese I had gained her respect and her trust much more quickly than if I had simply been an English speaker.
I tell you this story, because this is how relationships are built, whether it’s with a potential client or a new hire. Too often I walk into international companies and I see the Spaniards eating with the Spaniards, the Koreans with the Koreans and the Americans with the Americans. This is human nature, of course, but I hope that we can begin to make more of an effort to get to know each other’s cultures. And what better way to do that than to learn some of the language?
If interested in private language lessons at your company, email firstname.lastname@example.org.