Sunday, June 8, 2008
Image via Viator
I keep thinking of an Austrian Cultural Gathering I went to back in February when full impact of the credit crisis was beginning to hit. It was at a little mid-town bar. People showed up in suits and little dresses, while I had on jeans with a black top. I was practically the only American, and everyone was using their very fluent (Austrian) German.
My German is wretched. I murder grammar and get by by employing the all-purpose response wirklich!!!??? (really?! Is that so?) whenever possible. But even I could tell that the main subject of the evening was the American credit crisis. And you don't need fluency in a language to get a reading on the "air" of a room. There was palpable, almost ring-side gladiator, excitement.
At one point, as the American in the group, I was asked for my opinion. I launched into a confused spiel on Science, Technology, Arts, and the Optimism of America's youth. The funny thing was that people took me seriously. And later, even as they lapsed into more arcane Austrian I couldn't follow, I could tell they were referencing back to what I said. They were like "See, she's optimistic." I was shy, ill-equipped to speak on the subject, and murdered the language and grammar. But the world still takes American optimism seriously.
--Posted in We Op-Ed
German vs. American sales skills