When I came to my current workplace almost five years ago, I saw several maps in different languages. “What would it be cool to be able to understand and speak them all”, I thought- and wished by myself. I started with Dutch (mother tongue), English and a very basic knowledge of French and German.
Then I had to take orders in Spanish, so I started to learn that language. Later I got Italian friends, thus I wanted also be able to speak with them in their mothertongue. It’s still surprising how fast you get rapport with people -at work or in privatelife- when you speak their mother tongue.
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. Nelson Mandela
I did it all with the colleagues, guests and of course my fantastic friends from all over Europe. They even started a Facebook group:”Also I have corrected the CrazyWaiter at least once in my life”. I also used magazines, music and a lot internet resources. (start with hospitalitywords.com of course!) I didn’t really work hard for it (in the sense that I closed myself in the library to learn lists of words) but it didn’t go automatically neither.
Today my manager handed me a little pinboard with four flags. (French isn’t given because everybody speaks it. And unfortunately they don’t have it for five languages – so my mother tongue is a separate pin ;)). A very tangible prove that my wish of 2006 has been fulfilled and yours will also become reality as long as you work hard for it and wish enough. Hey, didn’t I work in a place where dreams come true?