Patty Azzarello writes many interesting pieces about maximizing one's career and effectiveness at work. In this particular post, Thrown Overboard, she makes a good point about how we all need to view language barriers as our problem, rather than the other person's problem.
This issue crops up more and more frequently with more international meetings and collaborative projects. I have had the same experience as Patty describes here, where I learned that many non-English speakers would prefer to have emails and text, than to have live conference calls and voice mails. It is easier to do the translation at one's own pace and with text, than it is to translate in real time and verbally.
She describes the excellent idea of hosting a live instant messaging "chat room" alongside a meeting or conference call, to provide the non-English speakers with a means to follow along or obtain definitions without disrupting the flow of the meeting. Perhaps this is one of the applications for Google Wave, that supports real-time edits and posting, and might allow participants to monitor different "blips" as the follow the meeting.
See Related Posts:
- You Have Been Asked to Run a Complex Collaboration Project... Now What?
- Managing Complexity in Collaboration Demands Rigor
- Cultural Assumptions and Challenges
- Use Visuals to Improve Collaboration Effectiveness
- Get Teammates to Move "Towards" Rather than "Away"
- Effective Collaboration Is More than Deliverables
- A Taxonomy of Collaboration Tools
- Avoiding a Bad Communication
- Tips for Effective Collaboration