Many people use English to communicate with foreigners. English is said to be a common language in the world, so it feels like a language that everyone can use. However, talking to an English-speaking person who intends to speak English can lead to misunderstandings. Here, I will talk about the importance of non-verbal communication based on my experience.
If you think it ’s okay because you’ve learned English…
I was talking to a friend who is from England and is an English teacher. As his friend came to Japan, I was consulted to see if there was any good restaurant.
I recommended a restaurant and tried to tell in English that “it is better to make a reservation because it is a popular restaurant”. At this time, I said “You’d better reserve a table”. However, wrinkles were in the eyebrows of friends.
Meaning of had better
I thought it was too funny, so when I asked my friend, “I told you something strange,” my friend told me what had better. In Japan, this expression is different from the meaning of “It ’s better to do it”, but it is actually an expression that the superior uses for the current person. For example, this is the term used when a mother says “Sleep” to a child or when a school teacher says “Study”.
In other words, I was talking to my friend from above without knowing. It’s no wonder that your peers make disgusting faces. He is a friend and understands my English, so he laughed and forgave me. But what about business English?
The expression “It ’s better to do” is often used in business. If such a misunderstanding occurs in a place where sensitive communication is required, it will be difficult. The excuse that English is not your native language does not work.
Understanding English isn’t Enough
Importance of non-verbal communication
There are two types of communication: language communication that uses language and non-language communication that uses facial expressions instead of language. In actual communication, non-language communication is said to account for 60% to 70% of the total.
I mentioned earlier that even if you intend to understand English, if you don’t understand the nuances, it can be misleading. It’s very important to choose who you speak, what language you choose, and where you talk. There is a possibility of making the other party feel uncomfortable in a place that you do not know.
It is important to inspect the feeling
However, even if you don’t really understand English, if you know what the other person thinks and what the other person thinks, you can communicate. You don’t have to know English for sure.
When talking to someone, it is important to be able to see what the other person is thinking and what the other person is trying to say. For example, this is true not only when talking to foreigners but also when talking to Japanese people. The words that appear in the conversation are only hints for communication.
In order to improve communication skills
I don’t really accept the other party’s words
Let’s actually do it. For example, if you are talking to someone in Japanese and you do not know what the other person is talking about, listen to the words coming out of the other person’s mouth and what the person is thinking I’m imagining whether you’re talking.
For example, let’s say that your subordinates say, “Thank you for your hard work”. This is not an appropriate expression because it is a word that uses the word hard work for the current person. But if you know the subordinate well and know that the subordinate is a person who has a few words but respects you well, I think you can see that you are actually trying to say “Thank you so much”.
Suppose you talk to a foreigner who is studying Japanese in Japanese and tell you that you have a cold. If the foreigner said “Please be careful” when parting, it can be easily imagined that it means “Please take care”.
In this way, it is important not to capture a single word but to imagine the person’s personality and the person’s way of thinking.
Show a sincere attitude
Obviously, when you speak in English that you are not good at, you need the other person to imagine. When I made the English mistake I mentioned earlier, my friend knew me and laughed and forgave me.
However, if you were a person who didn’t know me, you might have ended up thinking “What a rude Japanese.” I really want a little more English, but there is nothing I can do in the current situation. In that case, it is important to show a humble figure as much as possible and have the other party inspect it.
In addition, there is no way to avoid speaking English because of misunderstandings. In order to communicate with the other party as smoothly as possible, it is important to use English words that you know as much as possible and make trial and error.
Remembering about it is important
Investigating the feelings of the other party is not limited to Japanese or English, but I think it is important to keep in mind whatever language or scene. That is why not only when speaking English, but also by thinking about what the other party normally thinks about and communicating with them, would you be able to talk to people from any country?
Instead of catching the bottom of the word, focus on what the other person is trying to say. It is also important to show a sincere attitude in order to understand your incomplete English.