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Hi Jorge (A) -- I saw this question on my social updates so I thought I'd share some links. Is that okay? Take a look at what this blog says about meta-conversation. It's about explicitly addressing conversational problems by saying things like:
Hey, I really want to understand what you're saying because I know you're an expert -- I didn't catch that last thing you said, could you say it again?
I'm sorry to ask you, but I didn't catch what you said before that last sentence. I understand you want me to send you the file again, but what did you say right before that?
I am sorry about my accent, I think we're not understanding each other -- did you say "accomplish" or "accomodate"
(even if the problem is THEIR ACCENT, you just say "oh, sorry, must be my problem / my accent / my hearing)
I'm having a hard time following -- that's my fault, sorry -- could you say what you just said again?
Let me stop you for a moment -- can I just check something? Did you mean that you're changing your address as of today, or, are you just calling today to let us know it's changing, and so, we should not send the package?
The formula is:
take some blame for the miscommunication to let the other person save face
explain your understanding of the problem
say clearly what information you need / what should they do
You can read about this in Business Communications articles ...
You can also google for resources on Assertive Communication (how to get business done without being too hard or too soft)
Here is a video: http://vimeo.com/63516884 on Meta-Conversation = stop to talk about how things are going.
For practical phrases to use for checking understanding, clarifying, see here:
Phrases for High Intermediate and Phrases for Advanced
what happen today
I had a phone call in the morning and we were talking about the current activities for the week, but I got some troubles dealing with the phone conversation. I was lost and I got distracted trying to understand what the other person was talking. It was a wee bit stressful and I perceived how the other caller started getting impatient, at the end we finished our phone call and I asked into myself... How can I become a better listener and understand another English speaker whose native idiom is not English? I get stuck trying to understand to other persons and I get sad when I can't sort this out. It's not always easy to be prepare for these sort of situations. There must be some specific things to count on when facing these problems in an particular context. After a while I noticed that when the conversation is not flowing as you expected I must have tried to sound more confident, even have avoided trying to understand every word from other speaker (it does not always work for me when I'm not used to an accent, It's hard , really =P), I'm aware if It really helps to listen to radio in another English accent from a non native speaker, It may help but I would appreciate your comments on that. What do you do to sort out this kind of situations that are not easily to go with?
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