Monday, 1 February 2010

We all smile in the same language

"All people smile in the same language". Unknown

In a previous post I commented upon the difference a smile can make when it comes to providing good customer service. It set me thinking about how we use language and communicate to each other, how we connect without even saying a word, perhaps by the way we nod, smile and gesture to each other. Recently I had an interesting encounter with an Italian gentlemen with very limited English who 'asked' me for a lift to the bank on a cold and wet January day. As an Irish lady, Italian was never one of my languages of learning, English yes, a little French but no Italian apart from 'ciao'. However after many gestures, dramatic use of body language, broken English, a little French and lots of laughter we understood each other. I chuckle even now thinking about how this conversation might have looked to anyone watching this encounter as an 'observer of life'.

Some years ago I met Nic Askew, a man with a camera and story who created Soul Biographies. In his work he captures beautifully the essence of human nature in different languages. Check out his piece on the language of smile.

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