As the professional world becomes increasingly global and interconnected, having clients, colleagues, and employees from around the world become the new normal. While this diversity can be great for business, it can also come with some complications in terms of communication. Communicating with people from different language backgrounds requires special considerations to avoid miscommunication and maximize understanding. Take a look at these tips to make sure you deliver your message with greater clarity and impact. These tips are important for all speakers whether English is your first, second or third language.
Say All the Sounds: When speaking in your native language, it’s very common to run your speech together and drop sounds from the ends of words. Although this should be avoided no matter who you’re speaking to, it’s especially problematic if your listener isn’t a native English speaker since it makes it difficult for them to determine where a word begins and ends. Be sure to say all the sounds in every single word, especially the consonants at the ends of words. Look at simple words such as: trade vs train and tax vs tack. If the final sound isn’t clearly stated your listener may not understand which word was actually spoken. While the listener tried to puzzle through your message, you keep talking and that message may be lost.
Don’t Rush: Even if your listener is extremely fluent, processing speech that is not in your native language takes more time. Slow down your speech a little, and pause in between thoughts to give your listener time to digest your message. Remember to deliver your message with greater impact using the strategic pause.
Watch Your Phrasing: As a native speaker, you use idioms and figurative language constantly throughout the day. Think of all the phrases we use which don’t mean exactly what they say: “Let’s call it a day.” “On the other hand…” “Hang in there!”. If your listener looks confused, think about what you just said and use the most literal language possible.
If you happen to be a non-native English speaker, you can help prevent misunderstandings too! Don’t be afraid to ask your conversation partner to slow down or to repeat themselves. If you are unsure of a point, restate it to your conversation partner to make sure you fully understand their message.
If you want to take your communication to the next level or help one of your employees improve their professional communication skills, make sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. In this free resource, I break down the myriad factors that contribute to confident communication and guide you through how to use each aspect to your advantage.
Give us a call and see how Corporate Speech Solutions can improve your professional life! Call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!