Select Page

Separated by a common language

August 2, 2018

By Dan Hammond, Chief Disruption Officer, LIW

While this was how Winston Churchill described the relationship between the US and the UK, it’s Americans and Brits who get it in the neck in a BBC article this week.

Apparently, native English speakers – through their use of jokes, abbreviations and slang – are the least understandable international groups: ‘you have a boardroom full of people from different countries communicating in English and all understanding each other and then suddenly the American or Brit walks into the room and nobody can understand them.’

Non-native speakers, ‘speak more purposefully and carefully’.

What does this mean for leadership?

Effective leadership is inclusive and creates clarity for everyone. If you are a native English speaker you may have to work a little harder to be clear.

It may mean relearning your mother tongue, much as your multi-lingual colleagues did.

Share this story: