The other day I was reading a blog post from the Guardian’s Mind Your Language Blog and was interested to learn that The Guardian is following in The BBC’s footsteps and has dropped most references to words like “today”, “tomorrow”, “yesterday”, “tonight” and so on from reports on their website. Many of their readers are spread out across the globe and such words will have different meanings for them, depending on which time zone they are in. These national newspapers feel that by including words like “yesterday” and “today” (unless a day is still relevant), they are in fact excluding a large sector of their readers.
This got me thinking about my role as a Project Manager at Cisco. One of the perks of working for a Global Corporation is that I get to work with so many different people from around the world. I am based in the UK and my team are primarily based in Brussels (with one of our team members situated in Israel) and between us we can speak 16 different languages including Somalian, Serbian and Telugu. I also work closely with the U.S., Japan and China on a number of projects.
One of the things that I have learnt working in such a diverse team is not to “ostracise” people through my language:
If I am arranging a meeting with someone who lives in a country, say Brussels, I try not to say “Are you free at 11am?” (meaning 11am my time). Instead, I will say “Are you free at 12pm your time which is 11am my time?” The same goes for when I am confirming a meeting. This can also save a lot of confusion later on too!
- My manager and his direct reports have a weekly meeting and we try to use Cisco Teleprescence to host these meetings to create a greater sense of interaction and collaboration within the team
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