Monday 7 October 2013

Nameste or Oel ngati kameie?

An email sharing the Vietnamese word for thank you very much (cam on nhieu) in response to my blog on thanking people reminded me of this blog last shared over 2 years ago.

Nameste or Oel ngati kameie? Both of these are greetings and I wonder how different our relationships at work would be if we used them – although I would suggest that Namaste might be easier to say :-)

When you greet someone with hello what are you thinking about? I’d suggest very little. It’s often just a word at the top of an email or the start of the conversation and is simply a means to the rest of the conversation. I wonder if the other person even registers it.

When I watched the film Avatar I loved the Na’vi’s welcome “Oel ngati kameie” which translates as “I see you.” I see you feels to me like an appreciation of the person with whom we’re communicating. Surely such an appreciation would be a great way to start any conversation - in spirit if not word.

The Sanskrit word Nameste has a similar meaning. One translation I particularly like, although perhaps not strictly grammatically accurate, is “I honour the spirit in you.” On researching for this blog I realise there are other words that are used around the globe for hello which have similar meanings and these include Aloha, Shalom, Salaam etc.

I like that these start the conversation recognising and appreciating a connection between both/all parties. I just wonder what difference it would make if we used them more regularly at work - even just in our heads.

The responses to the blog at the time suggested that just remembering to say "good morning" could make as much difference and my response to that was:

It's perhaps not the word but the intent that matters. Hello can illicit the same response if said with meaning and a desire to connect as much as any of my other suggestions.

Au revoir (until we meet again here or in person)

Alison Smith
Inspiring change inside and out in purchasing and beyond

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