After familiarizing yourself with the language of your attendees and having done the necessary preparation, focus on what needs to be done inside your training room rental. Being proactive and providing information through different channels, responding to queries and cooperating are crucial to addressing the language barrier in meetings. Here are three more tips on how to do it.
1. Avoid using idioms or jargon
If you are a foreigner participating in a meeting in Singapore, it is advisable to avoid using idioms and slangs. Local attendees may not understand the meaning of those phrases that are native to your own culture. For instance, it’s common to use baseball terms in business communication in the U.S. However, if you use those terms in Singapore, it might lead to confusion and misinterpretation. Also avoid using jargon, and be as precise as possible. If you’re using abbreviations, explain what they mean in parentheses on the whiteboard/projector screen.
2. Repeat and confirm
Remember that you have a potential language barrier with your audience, so repetition is the key to ensure everyone is on the same page. Spell out a concept clearly, say the key terms out aloud, and have them flashed on the screen— to make sure your attendees don’t miss out on anything.
Also, it’s easy to assume the listeners understood everything you said. As an exercise, ask individual members to demonstrate what they grasped. Another good idea would be to print your key pointers and handout copies of the key notes to your audience. When you rent classroom or meeting room, make sure they provide a photocopier at the venue.
3. Have patience
Overcoming language problems in meetings doesn’t involve hacks or quick-fixes — it’s a continuous process that takes both partners to work together. Using long-terms tools like e-mail communication, marketing campaigns, newsletters and exercises, quizzes/surveys and discussions during meetings helps to gradually chip away the language barrier.