Imagine you’re waiting for your luggage at the airport somewhere lovely. You need the loo, desperately (that flight didn’t go well) and you’re staring into the eyes of someone who doesn’t speak a word of English but is trying to tell you something about the facility you’re so keen to use. The combination of feelings of panic, fear, embarrassment and regret (you’d barely glanced at your basic language guide on the plane) give you an even bigger knot in your stomach. You panic, mumble something incoherent and push past the gesticulating lady to find yourself staring in horror at the ‘wrong type of toilet’.
British businesses are becoming increasingly multi-lingual and cultural. Staff expertise is drawn from a global workforce. Yet rarely is the person responsible for providing the induction training trained or experienced in bridging these linguistic and cultural gaps.
Helping our staff to communicate with a diverse audience is now more critical than ever. Teams are made up of people from a wide variety of cultures, language backgrounds and experiences. They may all speak English, but even so there may be a breakdown in communication due to cultural and linguistic misunderstanding.