Business Talk: More Than Words

There’s a little-known anecdote of someone who came to the US to work as a nurse, one I personally heard from someone who had direct knowledge of it. One day, an accident victim was brought in to the hospital. After a while, in came his very worried, hysterical relatives demanding what happened. Smiling kindly, she told them, “Don’t worry…he will not live today…”

You can just imagine how this was received. What she really meant: “He’s okay now but we cannot discharge him today.” In other words, he was not to leave. She mispronounced the word “leave” so the reactions were inevitable. It’s funny, yes, if we’re not the relatives.

This is one very good example of a big miscommunication. You think you know, but an effective communication skill is more than just using words. It’s also in how you say them. Do you study enough to widen your vocabulary especially of work-related terms?  Remember, the nurse gave the right message using the less appropriate words. Do you pronounce words properly, is your diction correct? “Leave” is not “live” and the incident, unfortunately, made it to the incident reports.

Miscommunication is really not funny especially if it involves work. Here’s an epic Public Relations failure: The Chevy Nova was brought to Latin America, where “no va” means “it does not run.” Let us not anymore wonder how it fared in the market.

Now, maybe you are a new employee with not much opportunity to work with a computer before – and surf the Internet – for some reason. No, you can’t eat that cookie, catch a computer virus, see an Internet spider, or find a Google Panda in the zoo. It never hurts to update yourself occasionally so as to keep up with your work peers.

Stay competitive. Stay out of the joke radar permanently. Be an asset. Study, research, update. Practice.

 

RESOURCES: stjohns.edu, blogs.hbr.org

 

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