When You Don’t Speak The Language, Try This
Sales professionals meet people from all walks of life and make connections with people all over the world. Sometimes, they must travel to another country to make a pitch or close a deal. While this is exciting and good, what happens if you don't speak the language of the country you are visiting?
Travel expert John DiScala says don't sweat it. There are several strategies you can use to communicate effectively and make the most of your visit. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight a few of DiScala's communication tips to eliminate the stress and make a good impression.
Keep notes on your phone or in your wallet. When you don't speak the language, having an address that has been translated can make your travels much easier. You can ask airport officials for assistance if needed and can give the address to a taxi driver. DiScala also recommends downloading ride share apps ahead of time when possible.
Download translation apps. You can translate text by simply placing your camera over it when you use apps such as Google Translate. If you can't get an app or your phone to load and need to point something out quickly, you can always use the emojis on your phone.
Know who to talk to. DiScala notes that the airport tourism or information center is a good place to stop at for any assistance you may need. If you are not near the airport, stopping at a hotel is another option where people are more likely to speak English.
Plan ahead on how to initially get around. When you're in a destination where your native language is not common, a little planning can make a huge difference and save you time, stress and even money. Look up how to get from the airport to your accommodations and write down or take screenshots of your journey. You can also ask your colleagues or the people who you will be meeting with about their recommendations for local transportation.
Get a business card and a map from your hotel. At check-in, ask for a business card with the address of your hotel. If you get lost or take a taxi, you can share the address in a way that can be understood. DiScala also recommends asking one of the hotel staff members to highlight the hotel and the place where you will be working on the map. This way if you get lost, you can point to the map. It's also a good way to get an idea of how the city is laid out.
Learn a few words. Learning a few words of the local language will not only help you get by while traveling, but it may also impress your colleagues. A few key phrases and greetings will help show that you respect the culture. Usually making an attempt to speak the language yields better treatment, according to DiScala.
Watch out for making social blunders. DiScala suggests learning what is and isn't acceptable in the culture. Things like pointing, rubbing your nose or even smiling may be offensive to others. Plus, knowing what to avoid can help you make a better impression on the people you are hoping to do business with.
If you're traveling to another country, don't let the language barrier derail you. Follow the guidance above to make your trip smooth and productive.
Source: John DiScala writes about how to maximize your credit card points, find travel deals and cheap flights and benefit from insightful travel tips. He has hosted a television special on the Travel Channel and was named one of Forbes' Top 10 Travel Influencers.