10 years have passed since I lived in Germany. Now I live with my German husband and child and enjoy living abroad and communicating with foreigners. I am currently working for an education-related institution in Germany, but at first I was exposed to various culture shocks for working with foreigners. Here are some tips for working happily with foreigners who have experienced themselves.
Greeting with a smile
It’s natural, but…
You may be told that greetings are natural with a smile. However, a smiling greeting in a workplace where I work with a foreign colleague is more natural than a Japanese workplace, especially for me.
Because it is a foreigner, it is natural.
In order to lift the alertness to the Japanese
Many people are white here, but I am one of the few Asians. Therefore, when they recognize me as a foreigner, they are thinking, “What is the culture and lifestyle of this person’s country? There will be many.
Therefore, it is important to act in a way that makes you feel good without relying on words. When I meet my face in the morning, I smile and say “Good morning,” and the other person will greet me with an eye.
It is important to have a good feeling
If you find out that I am not a strange foreigner, you may now get a “good morning” voice from a foreign colleague. Then I am also happy.
If we can get a good feeling for each other, we will feel like working hard today. Even if you have never spoken, it is important to behave so that you can have a good feeling from that moment.
Be friendly and simplify what you are saying
You can ask a question or give a negative opinion
I have worked with foreigners in more than 10 countries at my current workplace. Through this work, I feel that Japanese people are still not good at asking questions and expressing negative opinions compared to foreigners.
Still, in order to get the job done, there are times when you have to listen to things that are difficult to hear, and you must also express negative opinions that you feel may be difficult to accept.
It is important to communicate in a friendly, clear and concise manner
So I try to be friendly, clear and concise. By doing so, you can implicitly convey the message “I have a question or a negative opinion that is difficult to hear because it is necessary for my job, but I am not denying your personality”.
Actually, this trick was taught by an English colleague. I have been asked many times by her, and I have been told negative opinions. However, in fact, I never felt bad.
It was even more fun to work together with her, as she actually taught me these tips, respecting the personality of the other person, empathizing with her attitude to improve the work content. I feel that it is important for people from different cultures to work comfortably with each other.
Share your happy feeling if you succeed!!
Communicate gratitude to others
I place great importance on communicating to my colleagues when a project I worked hard at work succeeds or when I feel that the trouble has been cleared. Germans often go home as soon as work is finished, so they cannot talk at a drinking party like in Japan. For this reason, I try to find opportunities and express my gratitude in a short time.
Remembering the feelings of gratitude can make the next communication much smoother. Regardless of your nationality, if you feel that your work has been recognized and understood by your colleagues, you will try to do your best. I am very happy when my colleagues say, “Thank you for your help.” I would like to work harder with my colleagues who say so.
Seldom out of work
However, in Germany, just because you are a colleague at work doesn’t mean you have a personal relationship. Therefore, I think it is important to tell the other party during working hours.
If you don’t have time to speak slowly, for example, you can just assort a small bouquet or candy and prepare a present, or just add a card that says thank you. After myself spending a lot of effort, my colleague gave me a beautiful flower pot and when I said “Thank you,” I cried. I think this kind of consideration is also necessary for working together.
No language barrier!!
I think the above three points are important in any country. Of course it is also important in Japan. In other words, the most important thing for working with foreigners is not to speak the language of the country fluently.
However, there are still language barriers. As a foreigner, I didn’t know the nuances, and sometimes used strange expressions to make the other person a phrase. Therefore, if you are using a language that is a foreign language for you and a language that is native for you, it is important to talk while looking at the other person’s face.
If the other person’s facial expression is cloudy, you will realize that you may have said something strange. I feel that this is also a trick to get along with foreigners.