Live Minutes Communication to Break Through the Language Barrier — Organization i18n

We can Communicate in Different Ways

Human beings have multiple ways of communication. We can speak and listen. We can read and write. We can draw. We can convey our emotions by postures. Multi-modal communication is such an efficient way to communicate with people. This is important especially for people who speak a different language. Multi-modal communication helps people to convey their message even with less competency for the common language of the team.

Especially after the remote native era, we have many different approaches. This article introduces one of the approaches called live minute communication.

Live Minute Communication

A live minute communication is effective with people who speak a different language usually. You will prepare the agenda ahead of time and send that to the attendee. Then the attendee can prepare for the topic so that everybody can be prepared for the upcoming discussion. You would like to choose some live documentation solution like Google Docs or Confluence so that anybody can append any contents in addition even during the meeting. This will help all the attendees to keep track of the progress of the discussion even with less competency to the primary language of the team.

The presence of the minutes will encourage the people to speak the language. People can see all the keywords on the screen. It’s much easier to speak up with this help. Listening is also easier with the help of the minutes. You know that vehicle requires the maximum energy when it starts moving and requires less energy once after getting up to speed. People may be able to speak up even without minutes once the discussion is started.

The live minutes can also work as a shared “clipboard”. You can put anything including links, photos, proverbs, or local words. The following is the example from my one-on-one live minutes. I am discussing with some Chinese members to discuss the cultural change. I was talking about “Human wave attack” (or 人海戦術 in Japanese) but he could not understand the word. I just put my Japanese word to google translate into Chinese. Then paste it to the minutes. He could easily understand my intention after that.

Example from My Previous Live Minutes

Is Minutes Based Communication Redundant?

If we write down all the topics in the text, do we really need the meeting? It is a good question. You might think that slack or mail is more efficient. However, my answer is yes if the meeting attendee is the primary team you work with.

This is the ramp-up process for the team. Having the meeting can be a good opportunity for their learning. The team will be able to speak up with minimal support of the minutes. And even during the ramp-up period, having “the meeting” helps the teamwork better. There is a mere-exposure effect. If the team members can see each other often, they become to be willing to help each other naturally.

Let’s leverage this approach to build a strong team to communicate in a common language eventually.



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Yuichi Murata

Yuichi Murata


Global team builder from Tokyo. Engineering manager to build international engineering organization.