I've been carrying out interviews for a series on my blog called Germans in the UK. The idea behind it is that some of my German customers want to move to England and I thought it would be interesting for them to read what people who have moved from Germany and who are now living in England have to say about living and working here.
As I talked to people and gathered more information, I noticed some recurring themes in terms of their experiences of communication with people in the UK. They spoke of misunderstandings and awkward situations, but it's not because my interviewees didn't understand the words. It's more about the fact that people in the UK don't always say what they mean, or mean exactly what they say. This can be difficult for people who have come from a culture in which people are more direct and say what they think. They take comments on face value and don't stop to question whether the other person may have been subtly trying to communicate something less positive.
In this article, I talk about some of these differences so that, whether you're planning to spend time in the UK or you have to speak with colleagues or customers in England, you can be prepared and have insight that will help you to understand what's going on.