It was just a small mistake from somebody trying to be helpful but it had big consequences. I was part of an international group staying in a hotel in Dublin, Ireland and a few of us were at the reception desk trying to obtain our receipts. The receptionist was having problems and was getting more and more flustered. Finally a German from our group leant over her computer to see what was going on and started offering advice by saying, ‘You have to click here and then here.’ at which point the receptionist burst into tears…
No doubt there was something else wrong to make her so over-wrought but being commanded by a foreigner on how she should do her job was obviously the last straw on that particular day.
So people may laugh at how many qualifiers and softeners we use in English but it does help to smooth things along. So who knows if our receptionist would have reacted better had someone approached her saying.
May I have a look?
Perhaps you could try clicking on that?
Do you think clicking here would help?
Anne Fox

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 21st, 2010 at 12:07 pm and is filed under cross-cultural communication, General . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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