There is an ancient story about how men and women became too clever that one day, they were punished – to speak in different languages, so that they will not unite against the Heavens.
When I observe people, I noted that people are more cordial and open to collaboration, when you started to speak their languages – be it Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, French, Japanese, German and of course, English.
The only time when people don’t want to involve you in the discussion, is when they speak in languages – you are not expected to know.
We shouldn’t be angry and in fact, we should respect their privacy to discuss matters in front of you, instead of leaving the room and talk about your proposal. They want to communicate with each other to see if collaboration can work.
My former director who was working with me for 7 years, is a Malay lady.
Every year without fail, she would invite me for Hari Raya. I will try to attend even though I’m not a big fan of festivities – including Chinese New Year. But I do enjoy their cooking – rendang and ketupat.
This year, after an absence of 2 years, her grandma saw me and was so excited. She ended up speaking to me, oblivious to others – in chinese. Which is shocking to the guests and myself. 🙂
Wow, she can speak Chinese.
Then the older lady said, she picked up in the old days dealing with a lot of people in her life.
An additional language won’t kill you.
Malaysians should be proud that we’re able to communicate in at least 2 languages growing up.
In Europe as I understand, some countries have other languages in their education system and including Latin, which is a classic language which I’m not sure if its still in general use.
Sadly, one of the least spoken business languages I use – is chinese Mandarin or putonghua. I had tried picking it up during University days but without people to speak with in chinese, learning is as good as it gets.
Nevertheless, the moral of the story, languages brings people together, including business success.
Try it, by first saying, Hello in their languages.