Monday, April 25, 2016

U is for Understanding

     Working in retail, I've learned that there is more than one way to be able to communicate and understand each other. Of course, speaking the same language helps quite a bit, but that's not the only way.

     I often have people who don't speak other languages come shop. In my store, they have to ask us for a size for us to get from the back room. They can't just pick up a box and bring it to the counter, unless I've brought that box to them. We have to be able to communicate.

     Since I'm the only one who's not bilungual, my boss was talking to be specifically. He said, "Knowing some small things like numbers and colors can help, but it doesn't matter. All that matters is smiling and being welcoming because they'll feel more comfortable coming up to you to begin with. Be their friend without speaking their language."

     And he got me thinking about why it's so hard for people to understand the simplest things. Even in the same language.

      And then it hit me.

     Not everyone is willing to smile and be welcoming to other people. They won't try to make you more comfortable so that you can understand each other. And those are the people I want to avoid.

     Make friends with the people who smile. Make friends with the people who listen. Make friends with the people who try to make you feel welcomed in and comfortable. Because those are the ones who will understand you.

10 comments:

  1. Well I only speak one language but I find a smile is universal just saying

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  2. This reminds me of two co-workers of mine from the '80s. One was deaf and though she spoke, she was very, very difficult to understand and most of the other worker would get frustrated and encourage her to write down what she was trying to say. My friend and fellow co-worker could understand her much more easily than everyone else. I asked her her secret and she said, "I listen to what she is trying to say. Not how she is saying it." She was more patient and read body language and other cues rather than focusing on the language itself. It was great to see.

    Nice to meet a fellow A-Z Challenger! :)

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    1. That's so brilliant. I try to learn minor things, like how to say "Thank you" in other languages, just so that they feel more comfortable at the end. I've actually asked people how to say it while they're shopping, including a deaf lady. Well, I asked her daughter. The daughter taught me and the mother had tears in her eyes that I took the time to even try.

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  3. How true. I always make an effort to communicate in some way with everyone. I use my Spanish when I can so I don't forget it. A big mistake I've seen is to shout at someone who doesn't understand the language or doesn't hear well. Shouting doesn't help. It's hostile.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Shouting and talking louder just scare people. You're using the same words, just angrily. Smiling and using hand motions are much better.

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  4. Well said. It doesn't take much to make people feel welcome and there's no reason not to do it.

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  5. I majored in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), so I spend a great deal of time around people who do not speak English. It's amazing the tricks that get picked up to communicate when language just isn't going to cut it.

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    1. I would like to learn more tricks but I think just being willing to try is the first step that everyone should take.

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