EAWLC Personal Communication In Canada Workshop Excerpt by Eleanor James

The following is an excerpt from a workshop entitled Personal Communication in Canada for the East and West Learning Club held on October 29, 2019. Written

and presented by Eleanor James, to focus on personal communication – what we say to each other and how we say it – within a Canadian cultural context.

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Become A Member/欢迎成为学东西俱乐部的会员

We cordially invite you to join the East And West Learning Club as a member! It is free, and open to everyone who loves to learn about eastern and western cultures and improve public speech and communication skills, whether you are a professional, a student or a home-maker. We are a non-profit cultural group based in Scarborough of Toronto (see www.eawlc.org for details). Our weekly meetings are conducted in English. As long as you agree to take turns with other members to host club meetings, and treat all other members with respect and friendliness, you can become a member, and enjoy a wealth of learning and communicating opportunities for free. Your beloved ones will benefit, too! Please see below for membership obligations and benefits in details.  Continue reading “Become A Member/欢迎成为学东西俱乐部的会员”

What We Talked and Learned: An Incomplete Collection of Club Meeting Minutes 2018

We documented more than half of the club events held in 2018, summarizing what we learned and/or shared at the meetings.  All events were conducted in English except for the voice projection workshop and the lecture on leadership.  Some of the minutes are written in English, the others in Chinese.  Particularly, for the East&West Dialogues on October 18 and November 15, we used a thank-you letter and a follow-up mail to and from the guest speakers, respectively, as summaries because they were self-explanatory.  For a sketch of all the activities the East and West Learning Club undertook in the year 2018, please visit Our 2018: A Retrospect.

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Reading notes: Emily Post’s Etiquette — Common Courtesies

We learned Emily Post’s Etiquette (18th edition) Chapter 3. Common courtesies at our book club meeting on March 22, 2018.  Below is my reading notes.

Quotes from the book:

“Being courteous means taking personal responsibility for the way our actions affect others, showing respect for the space we share and the well-being of those we share it with.”

“Common courtesy starts with acknowledging those around you pleasantly.”

“• Notice, notice, notice. Say “thanks” when someone does you a favor and give compliments when you can.”

For gentlemen:

“• On the street, a man traditionally walks on the curb side of a woman—shielding her from the hazards posed by passing horse and buggies, now cars, splashing through puddles.

  • A woman precedes a man through a door, on an escalator (unless she needs help getting on or off), or in a narrow outdoor passageway.
  • A man precedes a woman into a dark street or building, down a steep ramp or a slippery slope, on rough ground, and through crowds, taking her hand or arm as necessary.”

Things not to do that I was not too sure before reading this book:

“Holding space in a line for friends who are paying separately from you.”

Some examples given in the book (17th edition, Chapter 4: Dealing with rudeness).  I think they are very helpful to people who are learning spoken English:

(Note: 1. Most of the time people just let it go – it may not worth the emotional energy you’d need to fight back; safety concerns; 2. You can also laugh it off – just chuckle, and switch the topic; 3. Take it to the higher authority instead of dealing with the offender yourself.  If you decide to speak up, be calm and polite.)

“Please don’t shout.  I know the space is tight, and kids will be kids.  But your daughter has been kicking my seat since we boarded.  I’d really appreciate it if you could ask her to stop.  Thanks!”

Reply to a rude comment:

“How kind of you to say so.”

“Many of us are trying to read.  So would you mind lowering your voice?  Thanks!”

“Would you please sit down so I can see?”

“Excuse me, but I guess you didn’t realize this is the express lane.  I’m just letting you know for future reference.”

To someone who cuts you off when a new check-out line is opened:

“I’m sorry but I’ve been waiting longer than you.  Would you mind if I go first?”

To a co-worker who always bring lunch with strong smell:

“Steven, are you trying to drive us all away so you can have a quiet lunch?  The smell of that broccoli just may do the trick!”

To someone who keeps gossiping about a co-worker in shared public space:

“Terrisa, I don’t mean to butter in, but if you want to speak ill of Virginia,  don’t you think you should do it in some place more private?  You never know when she might walk in.”

To someone who gives sarcastic comments on your son’s choice of university major:

“Like me, Jimmy thinks the real reward comes from loving what you do, not how much you make.  And I couldn’t be more proud of him!”

“Excuse me, but I’m not sure that you noticed there are children on the bus.  Could you please watch your language?”

To someone who puts a bag on a seat on a crowded train:

“Excuse me, but would you mind if I sit down?”

“Robert, I assume you’ve smoked in the car so you wouldn’t need  to in the restaurant. Would you mind if we move to the non-smoking?”, instead of “First you smoked in my car, then this (picking seats in smoking area)?”

New behaviours I’ve developed after I came to North America:

Say “Excuse me” when I encounter somebody in a narrow space, have to pass by, or move closer to someone.

Smile at strangers on the street and say “hi”.

Hold the door for people right behind me.

When waiting in line to check out in a grocery store, I learned to put a bar behind my items to make it easier for the person behind me to put his or her items onto the conveyor  counter.  I’d  also let the person behind me to go first if he or she has just a handful of items while I have a lot.

If I can’t make it on time, I’d call to let people know, and give the reason, especially the ETA.

Greet the driver when getting aboard a bus, and say “thank you” when getting off.

Unstrap my backpack when it’s crowded on a bus or subway, and stow it down.

Finally, here are a couple of articles I wrote in both English and Chinese about the cultural differences that are related to some topics mentioned above:

Chinese Saying “Thank-you” /中国人说“Thank You”

甜言蜜语 vs 良药苦口/Sweetened Words V.S. Bitter-sweet Pills

Author: Yang

北美职场老将分享: 要不要道歉?

“北美职场上,出了错要不要道歉?”这个问题一再被在北美工作的职场中人提起。它关乎职场文化,也关乎中西方文化的差异。有部分我采访的老师就此提供了自己的看法。我觉得非常有意思, 这里不再进行特别的编辑,直接跟大家分享TA们的原话,以便大家最大程度地获知TA们的心得体会和多方位的视角,对“职场道歉”问题有个心中大概。

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Social Etiquette Dialogue (Questions 1 – 10)

Social Etiquette Dialogue (Questions 1 – 10)

  1. Our company and another company share washrooms in an office building. One day, I was in a stall, and received a message from my friend. I replied to her in a very low voice. Then someone knocked at my door and said: “Are you using your cell phone in the washroom? You should not do that!” My question is: is it rude to use cell phone in public washroom? At the time, there were empty stalls from other people to use, and my voice was kept very low.

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