Pronunciation frustration

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We talk often on the difficulties in communicating, one that I experienced recently was pronunciation frustration.  Have you ever experienced it? I was at a great café recently with a girlfriend having lunch and planning some business adventures. We had perused the menu and made our choice.

I was unsure where to order so I went to a friendly looking young man behind the counter and said “Excuse me, can you tell me where to order?” He looked straight at me and with a South American lilt said “right there.” And he pointed to a space next to the counter.

To say I was puzzled was a major downplay. I looked, saw no place to order and said, “Are you sure?” Again he responded with a big smile, “Yes.”

I took a step or two backwards, looked at the counter again and could not see a computer, till or anything else that looked like the place to order so again I said “I’m sorry but where do we order?”

Again like “Groundhog Day” he looked straight at me and said, “Right there.” Again he pointed to a space next to the counter. Again, I was puzzled, for the life of me I could not see where to order. I’m starting to feel kinda stupid now and wondering what to do, do we keep playing ‘misunderstanding tennis’ back and forth until we have a winner or what?

What do you do when you’ve been misunderstood or you are in a situation like this where you don’t really know what else to do to move forward?  Some people raise their voice like it’s a volume thing. I considered this but decided against it.  Some keep repeating, some just stop trying.

My girlfriend comes over and joins in, “Where do we order?” He points a little more energetically this time and says “here!!!” Pointing to a water bubbler. Finally I think I have solved the puzzle of the day and I say, “Order, not water.”

It’s now his turn to look perplexed, puzzled and then you literally see the light bulb go on and in his lovely South American lilt says “Ahhh Order, not water!” Both my girlfriend and I chime in together, “Yes!” With an even bigger smile and I am sure some relief he points us to the far end of the building.

I walk down to the end of the building and order. I am still shaking my head, thinking man, how can something so simple become so hard?

You see it’s not only communication styles that get in the way of our connection but also things as small as pronunciation. In our beautiful and very multicultural nation we come across this everyday.

Now I could have listened to this fellows beautiful South American lilt all day long, but it doesn’t mean I missed the meaning of a few of the words he said, and vice versa.

So I encourage you all, persist, work for that connection and understanding, be kind to each other along the way and you too will have that awesome connection. You may even get to order your lunch!!

Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.

Share a comment

Your email address will not be published.