Often, in the case of international visitors and migrants who do not speak fluent English, you need to use other methods to make communication possible. You may also have to use some of these methods when conversing with people with hearing disabilities.
- Sign language may look funny but does work.
- Colleagues or other customers may be familiar with the customer’s language (including signing for the deaf).
- Interpreter services can be provided.
- Diplomatic services may be available.
- Local cultural organisations may be able to help you.
- Long and difficult words should be avoided.
- Do not use company jargon and acronyms with any clients!
When you are working with people from diverse backgrounds, it can be useful to look for similarities. For example, your goals and dreams may be similar to those of a person raised in a different culture. It is important to challenge your own biases and try to educate others by raising awareness and promoting fair treatment for all people.
(Adapted from Nulph 2002)