Logo: Work Talk Logo: Immigration NZ

Test your skills

Difficult talk at work

Refusing, disagreeing and complaining.

Maybe we could...

Suggestions and advice at work.

Getting things done

Requests and instructions at work.

The Lift

In New Zealand workplaces being able to communicate and interact with colleagues and the boss is very important if you want to fit into a team. Most new migrants find this a challenge, especially when it's the boss who greets them.

If you were John, what would you have done in this situation?


  • Nothing. If Robert can't manage a simple conversation he's not going to fit in very well.

  • Tried to do a bit more to put him at ease - asked him about the weather or his plans for the weekend.

  • Mentioned to someone in Robert's team that Robert shouldn't be frightened of him and it's OK to speak to him.


If you were John, what would you have done in this situation?


  • Feedback

    John should keep trying. In some cultures there is a clear hierarchy and it is unusual for employees to speak to managers. Robert may just not be used to talking to superiors in an informal way.

    This would be a good idea. In some cultures there is a clear hierarchy and it is unusual for employees to speak to managers. Even if a migrant does not respond at first, keep trying. They do not mean to be unfriendly; they may just not be used to talking to superiors in an informal way. Give them time to adapt.

    This would be a possible strategy. In some cultures there is a clear hierarchy and it is unusual for employees to speak to managers. They do not mean to be unfriendly; they may just not be used to talking to superiors in an informal way. John could check with the people Robert is working with to see if he is fitting in alright.


Switch to
employee

How well are you communicating?


Videos covered in:
Fitting in


  • The Lift
  • The Lunchroom
Start this section over


In a hurry?


Download a printable series of communication tips for both migrant employees and managers of migrants.

Download the PDF