If you want to learn a new language and be able to communicate with others – that’s great. Even when you know the language, effectively talking with others might be challenging. Here are tips on how to overcome language barriers.
Will I Face Language Barriers If I Speak English?
English is the world’s most spoken language. However, it won’t be useful everywhere. You might notice that nobody understands what you are trying to say in some countries where English is not popular. This is why learning an extra language is so important to communicate with others.
Remember that you might also face language barriers while trying to communicate with non-native English speakers. Be sure that you put an effort into overcoming them together and find a better understanding of one another.
Overcome Language Barriers with These Tips
While talking to others, try to speak slowly and articulate well. The clearer you speak, the better your chances are of being understood. Sometimes, while in a rush, you may feel like speeding up, but that may play against you and lead to miscommunication and confusion.
While speaking your language to a person that is a non-native and not an advanced speaker, and while talking in a language in which you have yet to become a pro, use as many simple words as possible. This way, you increase your chances of being understood.
Ask for Clarification
There is no shame in not understanding everything. If you are not 100% sure you understood a message, ask for clarification. You can also request for something to be explained in a different way.
Idioms are a great addition to any language and show off the culture and customs connected to it. However, they might be problematic while talking with someone with a lower language proficiency. This is why you should avoid idioms and similar phrases while talking with others. Someone can look very surprised if you say, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
When you try to communicate in various languages, you must be sure that you also consider cultural differences. For example, being punctual means something different in Germany when compared to Portugal.
If you talk to someone, especially in a business environment, be sure that you explain exactly what you mean. Even if something looks very obvious to you, it might not be clear to others. Instead of saying, “Contact me shortly,” say, “Contact me, at the latest, by 5 pm on the upcoming Thursday.”
Good communication is the key to success – whether you are doing it for business, when traveling, or when making new friends. However, it takes time to find common ground and see the effects of the effort you put into the process.
Be patient: even if you don’t see results immediately, you will surely notice a difference with time. Stay calm while explaining things to others. Remember that every person has a different language level and can feel intimidated while speaking. Show your support and understanding of the situation to encourage them.