Taking risks of any kind is uncomfortable for many people. Speaking a foreign language, adapting to understanding different accents and styles of speaking, as well as not knowing what is appropriate to say, and what is taboo, can cause you to doubt yourself. Within intercultural business contexts you can begin to lose confidence in your ability to communicate well.
Like many of my clients, what Pierre needed to learn was an alternative, simpler method for choosing and organizing what he wanted to say and adapting it to the needs of his intercultural colleagues. I told him that learning new communication habits would initially add to his discomfort. Changing embodied habits is challenging, and requires time and effort. He agreed to make as his objective changing how he presented interculturally and to accept the discomfort that went with that.
How Pierre Improved his Skills in Spite of his Discomfort
A few months after we ended our one-on-one sessions Pierre phoned me. He told me that he had just returned from an international conference. He was very satisfied with what turned out to be the shortest, yet most effective, presentation he had ever given. His manager had apparently congratulated him on it afterwards. This had never happened to him before. He also confessed that while he was still not entirely comfortable when presenting in English, it bothered him less. I was not as surprised as Pierre, because I see such positive improvements repeatedly with my clients. All it takes is the willingness to try something new, which can feel risky. However, in the end it’s worth it in terms of personal satisfaction and professional recognition.
I Do What I Show Others How to Do
Has it always been comfortable? Of course not. Would I do it again? You bet! I am always confident that I can rely on my communication competences to bridge cultural and language gaps. And I bring what I know how to do personally and professionally to my consulting and seminars. I enjoy helping people to become clearer and more confident intercultural communicators. Since I know first-hand that this works effectively for me and for my clients, I am confident it can work well for you too.
I Invite You to Stay in Touch
My hope is that you will learn how to become a clear and confident intercultural communicator, with the help of this site, my Dance of Opinions book, and my seminars. I also regularly post new articles and actions, which you can be informed of via Twitter or Facebook.
So until the next time — don’t be afraid to take intercultural communication risks.