Lesson 3: Communication Styles
First, never beat around the bush.

I can read and understand an explanation about cultural differences.

INTRODUCE

People from different cultures have different communication styles. It’s important to know about these differences to communicate effectively with foreigners!

PRESENT

STEP A EXPRESSIONS

I. Go over the expressions with your tutor.

    1. If someone beats around the bush, it means he/she avoids talking about the actual point.

    Oh, you want to know about the report? So, um… Yeah, about that… I have something to tell you, and, um…

    Don’t beat around the bush! Did you finish the report or not?

     

    2. If someone tells it like it is, he/she tells the whole truth even if it’s not very pleasant.

    Natalie said that Erin was only dating Rick for his money.

    Well, that’s Natalie. She always tells it like it is.

     

    3. People who are blunt say things in a very direct manner even if other people’s feelings may get hurt. It’s the opposite of being polite or tactful.

    I told him that he was annoying.

    Seriously? Don’t you think that was a little too blunt?

     

    II. How do you relay bad or unpleasant news to someone? Explain using the expressions above.

     

STEP B PRONUNCIATION

When one word ends with a consonant sound and the next word starts with a vowel sound, they are often linked together.
Phrase Example

tell it like it is

/ teh-lit lai-kih-tiz /

Just / teh-lit lai-kih-tiz /.

UNDERSTAND

READING

After their get-together, Shouta sent Naoki an email.

Hey, Naoki!

Thanks for meeting up with me! Talking to someone from home was so refreshing. I don’t remember the last time I felt that relaxed. The culture here is really different, but I soon learned to do things the German way. When in Rome, right?

Anyway, since it’s your first business trip to Germany, I figured that you could use some tips too. First, never beat around the bush. People here prefer being direct. Even if what you’re going to say is bad news, you have to tell it like it is. Also, be careful about what you ask your colleagues. They value privacy a lot, so don’t get too personal. Lastly, people here tend to be really blunt. They may say some hurtful things sometimes, but it’s usually just their honest opinion. They’re not trying to make you feel bad.

Let me know if you ever need anything. Good luck with that promotion!

Best,
Shouta

TRIVIA

The phrase when in Rome comes from the saying when in Rome, do as the Romans do. It is used to say that when you are in a place with a different culture, you should do things the way people there do them.

PRACTICE

STEP A EXERCISE

Complete the conversations using the expressions in the box.

beat around the bush
tell it like it is
blunt

1.

The party was kind of okay, I guess, but the food wasn’t so good, and the music was a bit old… Um… So, yeah, it was all right…

It’s okay to say you didn’t enjoy the party. Just _____, man!

2.

She told me that she didn’t want to be my partner because I work too slowly.

That’s so rude! She shouldn’t be so _____.

3.

How did I do on my test? Well, um, I actually have a funny story about that! When Mr. Clark passed back our tests, he actually gave me Amy’s test, so then–

Don’t _____! Tell me how you did.

STEP B EXERCISE

Are the underlined expressions used correctly? If not, change the sentences.

ex. Janice is so blunt. She’s too shy to say what she thinks.

Janice is so blunt. She always says what she thinks.

 

  1. He doesn’t like beating around the bush. He always gets straight to the point.
  2. As a supervisor, Aaron always tells it like it is. He gives soft feedback in order not to hurt his team members’ feelings.
  3. My friend dislikes people who are blunt. She thinks they should be more careful with their words so they don’t hurt others.
  4. You’ll waste time if you don’t beat around the bush.

CHALLENGE

Challenge 1

Your friend has just moved into a dorm. He/She is unsure about how to get along with his/her German roommate. Read a blog about German culture. Then, tell your friend about it.

Today's Expressions

  • beat around the bush
  • tell it like it is
  • blunt

German Culture 101

One of the first things you’ll notice about Germans is how blunt they are. They will not hesitate to tell you if they think something is not right, but it doesn’t mean that they’re mad at you. They simply like telling it like it is. And, since they always say what’s on their mind, they also appreciate people who don’t beat around the bush.

Germans value order and organization. They try to keep different aspects of their lives distinct from each other, so they tend to keep their work and personal lives strictly separate. When talking to a German colleague, avoid bringing up matters not related to work. The opposite is also true—when you’re outside the office to have fun, never bring up anything work-related!

Challenge 2

Discuss your ideas.

If Time
Allows
1

COMMUNICATION STYLES

2

CULTURE CLASHES

3

BEING BLUNT

1

COMMUNICATION STYLES

  1. What communication styles are common in Japan?
  2. Do you feel more comfortable being blunt in English than in Japanese?
  3. When is it important to tell it like it is?
  4. When is it better to beat around the bush?

2CULTURE CLASHES

  1. In what situations are you most likely to experience culture clashes?
  2. How would you react if a foreigner accidentally said something that was considered rude in Japan?
  3. What would you do if you accidentally said something that was considered rude in another culture?
  4. Is there any way to prevent culture clashes?

3BEING BLUNT

  1. What are some cultures that place importance on being blunt?
  2. Why do you think some people prefer to be blunt?
  3. In what situations is being blunt necessary?
  4. If you had to be completely blunt at all times or never speak again, which would you choose?

FEEDBACK

I can read and understand an explanation about cultural differences.

LESSON GOAL ACHIEVEMENT

  • 4
    Very Good

    Could complete the task with ease

  • 3
    Good

    Could complete the task with some clarifications

  • 2
    Fair

    Could complete the task with additional instructions

  • 1
    Poor

    Could somehow complete the task with difficulty

PERSONALIZED FEEDBACK

NEXT LESSON

Chapter 1 Lesson 4 (Speaking) - Now I have connections in several industries!