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Tips for Communicative with Non-Native English Speakers

With globalization on the rise, the workplace is becoming an increasingly multicultural environment. Chances are, nearly everyone reading this blog has at least one colleague, customer, or work-related acquaintance who is a non-native speaker of English. When communicating with non-native speakers of English, many people try to compensate in ways which are not helpful to their listener—for example, speaking more loudly. These misguided attempts at enhancing communication often do nothing but make your listener uncomfortable. There are, however, simple ways to make yourself more easily understood when speaking with a person whose first language is not English:

Slow Down: It takes more time for a non-native speaker to process the words that are being spoken to them. Since missing one or two words can confuse the entire message, this is a significant problem. Slowing down your rate to a more leisurely pace will give your listener time to process and understand each word of your message

Speak Clearly: Native speakers of a language will generally run their words together in conversational speech, so that the end of one word blends with the beginning of the next. This can cause difficulty for a person who has learned to hear and understand words in isolation. If your listener seems not to understand, clearly separate the words of the phrase or sentence which is causing confusion.

Tune in next week for the second part of our series on communicating with non-native speakers of English!

Are you a non-native speaker of English? What sort of communication techniques help you when understanding others in the workplace? Share your story in our comments section!

If you have trouble communicating in the workplace, a corporate speech-language pathologist can help! To learn how a professional voice and speech coach can help you to communicate your best, visit us at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com and improve your communication today!

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