In conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020, Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim disclosed that police officers and personnel on duty at tourist spots will undergo English classes so that they can provide good friendly service to tourists.
Raising language proficiency will certainly boost the confidence and competence of our police officers when dealing with foreigners. However, it should be noted that words alone are not the most important in interpersonal communication.
Experts will tell you that the verbal element is given only 7% weightage, vocal element that includes tone of voice is rated much higher at 38%, and visual element that comprises body language, facial expression, gestures and others a whopping 55%!
In face-to-face communication, how you say is more important than what is said, as the same words can have opposite meanings by the tone of voice, which conveys the speaker’s feeling. Communication is not limited to information and good service requires goodwill.
As such, effective training is not limited to language proficiency. Trainees must learn to show courtesy and speak kindly in a caring manner. Such knowledge and skills are incorporated in Mesra Malaysia, a one-day training programme rolled out by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture for tourism frontliners in both public and private sectors.
The views expressed here are strictly those of The True Net reader YS Chan from Petaling Jaya.