This post offers a chance to evaluate our communication style and open our minds to understanding the British one.
Are you a product of your culture? Are you open to other cultural approaches and if you discovered another approach that is better suited, would you adopt it? Or perhaps you may be open to adopting different cultural approaches and become familiar and comfortable with a number of communication styles.
The Chinese rarely criticise a peer openly or in front of others, Germans are very up front, straight forward and concise, but what about the British? The British are very diplomatic, but their polite approach is often misunderstood. When a British person says “quite good”, they don’t mean that; what they are trying to say is “a bit disappointing”. If during a meeting you hear a British person say “Could we consider some other opinions?” what they really mean is “I don’t like your idea”, or when saying “I’m sure it was my fault” really means “it’s your fault”.
The British rely on indirect communication, and therefore students must learn to read between the lines to understand what they are really trying to tell them. This can be frustrating for many who come from different cultures as you have to be able to rephrase your thoughts in order to fit in with the British communication style.
This video offers some examples of rephrasing with politeness, rather than using the direct style other cultures might.