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We say Chinese whispers, but it could be French, German, Polish or indeed any language if your business employs staff from other countries; indeed, if your team is largely made up of foreign workers, it could be English whispers that undermine productivity.

Whether you have played ‘Chinese Whispers’ at a party, where each person changes a word in a sentence before whispering it to the next and you all chuckle at what the final sentence ends up as, or have laughed at misheard song lyrics or mangled messages, the reality is miscommunication can seriously impact on business.

While you hope the obvious issue around health and safety would be tackled, sadly boardroom nuances can be lost in translation and banning a language in the workplace is simply not an option, so what can you do when languages are impacting on work?

Here at The VICI Language Academy in Newbury many of our students have come so that they can perform better in their professional life and we have coached corporate clients where a manager or director wants to master a language so they can communicate with a team and we have also worked with teams who need to learn a language to fit into the culture of an organisation.

We have native speakers teaching a total of 10 languages, including English, to a host of businesses and professionals, including multinationals and large corporates through to smaller businesses and all have recognised that good communication can involve learning a language in order to keep a business running smoothly.

Would your business benefit from a common tongue? Talk to VICI today to find out how we can transform your productivity with language training.

In the meantime, here is a likely apocryphal tale of miscommunication and Chinese whispers at their worst in a business that is hopefully nothing like yours…

Mail from CEO to Manager:

Today at 11 o’clock there will be a total eclipse of the sun. This is when the sun disappears behind the moon for two minutes. As this is something that cannot be seen every day, time will be allowed for employees to view the eclipse in the parking lot. Staff should meet in the lot at ten to eleven, when I will deliver a short speech introducing the eclipse, and giving some background information. Safety goggles will be made available at a small cost.

Mail from Manager to Department Head:

Today at ten to eleven, all staff should meet in the car park. This will be followed by a total eclipse of the sun, which will appear for two minutes. For a moderate cost, this will be made safe with goggles. The CEO will deliver a short speech beforehand to give us all some information. This not something that can be seen every day.

Mail from Dept. Head to Floor Manager:

The CEO will today deliver a short speech to make the sun disappear for two minutes in the form of an eclipse. This is something that cannot be seen every day, so staff will meet in the car park at ten or eleven. This will be safe, if you pay a moderate cost.

Mail from Floor Manager to Supervisor:

Ten or eleven staff should to go to the car park, where the CEO will eclipse the sun for two minutes. This doesn’t happen every day. It will be safe, and as usual it will cost you.

Mail from Supervisor to Staff:

Some staff will go to the car park today to see the CEO disappear. It is a pity, this doesn’t happen every day.

Remember, if your team isn’t working well because of a language barrier, The VICI Language Academy can help.

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