Oct 20, 2011

Did you communicate?

In my company, we sometimes have the great opportunity to travel and go to conferences or other kinds of events. Sometimes we're presenting, but often simply participating in these events. We meet people from many places, and the majority of them are communicating in English, which is a second or third (or even fourth or fifth) language for them. In my opinion, what's really important at these events is communication, and usually people do well with it! So, if your goal is to communicate, how do you know you're successful? Here are a few questions you could ask:
Did people understand me in general?
Did people ask me questions?
Did I understand the others in general?
Could I ask questions and pay attention to the answers?
Was I able to do the things I needed and wanted to do, like order food and drinks, find my way around, buy things, etc.?

If you can answer yes to most of these questions, I think you communicated! Even if you made mistakes, you were able to make contact with people, and do the things you needed to do. It's important to reflect on how well you did, and not only on the things you'd like to improve. Of course you can always improve, and you will! But if you're communicating, you're doing the most important thing right now!