Sometimes people from different cultures and in different age groups don’t have enough knowledge of each other’s language to communicate fully. But don’t worry. Let your body do the talking. A smile, a nod and – if culturally appropriate – a touch on the arm or hand will say volumes.
We’ve been volunteering as English teachers at a school for children from low-income homes in Zihuatanejo Mexico. Today was Valentine’s Day, so the kids (7-13) were busy making Valentine presents to exchange with each other. We joined in.
We taught them to say and write Happy Valentine’s Day, for the letters they were writing to the school’s founder. (This school runs on donations). Then we all admired each other’s work. The children were excited, so concentrating on English was out of the questions.
Instead, as they spoke to us excitedly in Spanish, we smiled and hugged them and told them in English how good they were. We knew they didn’t understand all the words – but they got the message. Their proud smiles said so.
Neil Everton has distilled a lifetime’s experience with some of the world’s top news organizations into his Media Mastery training aids for anyone worried about talking to reporters. The video, books, e-books and workbooks are available in the Podium Coaching online store.