Language barriers in the workplace are a usual reason for many misunderstandings. Workers usually come from many cultural backgrounds where different languages are spoken, and this could be a problem in the workplace. Language barriers are the obstacles that can represent the differences, but these differences can also be a meeting point for cultural exchange and diversity.
Below we present to you 10 ways to bridge language gaps and there are also some communication gap examples that you can consider. Let’s see what makes successful communication in the workplace.
1. Use body language more
When you present your ideas, you can use body language that could be very efficient. Use your mimics, facial expressions, and hands to describe the tasks to the workers. There is also an important tone and the way of using language as a successful communicator. You should be very expressive and the overall communication language should be clear to all workers who come from different language areas.
2. Apply visual communication tools
When words are not enough to explain the concepts, you can use visuals such as photos, infographics, and diagrams. You can encourage other workers to use these visuals in emails and presentations. In this manner, the difficult concepts can be better understood and you will have more success in the workplace.
3. Respect the cultural differences
In every workplace, there are cultural differences that are necessary for the creation of a good working environment. You should encourage every worker to show their best side and apply cultural diversity at work. In this manner, you create a more cohesive bond between the workers and the communication becomes better as a result.
4. Employ the language assistant
In every workplace, the language assistants could play an important role. In the U.S. there are more than 40 million Spanish speakers and these workers represent the majority when it comes to non-English speakers. You may need to hire a language assistant to translate different documents or to assist the workers in their work. In this way, you create a more successful environment where the language barriers are better overcome.
5. Be ready for repetition and clarification
If needed, you may repeat the things twice or three times in order to be better understood. Most employees who have language barriers need clarification of the concepts, which is done by repetition of the important subjects. Be ready to say things more than once and be open to achieving better communication.
6. Be patient
One of the most important things in overcoming language barriers is being patient. The more time you invest in successful communication, the better results you will have. At the same time, your employees will be happier at work when they see that you try to clarify to them the things that are relevant for business success.
7. Learn about different cultures
Sometimes, nodding and body language do not mean that a person understands the concepts clearly. There might be things that should be better explained, and that is why you should learn more about the different cultures that are present in the exact workplace. The more you know about your workers’ backgrounds, the more you will understand their needs and preferences.
8. Speak slowly
When you speak slowly, you increase the chances that you will be understood better. Use simple language and explain to the workers what should be done in a concise way. By using simple language and when speaking slowly, you can create better communication.
9. Translate important documents
It is always good to translate important documents into different languages. In this manner, you create better solutions for the workers and they can understand the concepts better. Once they see the relevant documents in their native language, they can create more successful strategies to perform better at work.
10. Create smaller groups
In large groups, the communication gaps come to life, and you do not want to see these obstacles. People tend to hide and they are very reserved when they need to speak in front of a large number of people. For this reason, create smaller groups and combine different people with different language backgrounds. This will empower the members of the team to be more open and more ready to complete the tasks successfully.