I am really fortunate to be able to greet in over 90 languages and religions.
This has helped me tremendously, in my conflict resolution work, team building and diversity interactions.
I have not learned one of them in a class, or lecture room. I have improved 2 of my 6 languages in school. The rest have been learned through Walkipedia and Talkipedia!
What are those you may well ask!
It is simple really. We are surrounded by so much knowledge in the humanity, that ebbs and flows through our lives – that all we need do is ask.
To go into Walkipedia mode – and walk up to a person and greet. Then you go into Talkipedia and Hearopedia modes.
Ask:- Who are you? Where do you come from? What language do you speak? How do you greet, answer, say thank you and goodbye? Write it down, link it to the person who you asked, where you asked it and repeat – or read it as you move on.
I am often asked by people how to learn languages. There are many ways and some are formal. But until you start talking and listening to people who speak that language – it will not stick and you will not perfect it.
I started by not being willing to live in a language vacuum and by being curious. And I swiftly realised that people love to teach and talk about themselves, their cultures and their languages. They are always delighted when you come back and greet them – as they taught you! And that is where the learning begins.
I learned how to greet in Polish and say thank you – from an air host – on a RyanAir flight from Dublin to London. Two days later I greeted a Polish hotel receptionist and was allowed into my room 8 hours earlier than was booked. I then spilt wine in my room and delighted the lady who was sent to clean up – by thanking her in Polish.
As the MC at the Learning World conference, in Hong Kong – I opened each day by greeting all of the delegates, in their own languages. And I made many friends and built awesome business relationships.
Our small company has done business around Africa and Internationally. Invariably we won the contracts, because of the respect that we showed the interviewing team. Simply by greeting then and thanking them, in their own languages.
In Namibia we were told that we are “More Namibian than the Namibians!” and in Zambia we were seen as Zambians! That is absolutely awesome, because greetings open the doors to build amazing relations and we then learn tons more from everyone.
So get off your technology – go human, take a walk and learn from people. Get into the Social University of Life!
The benefits are incredible!
Brian V Moore
+27 79 643 4457
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