As international business relationships become the norm, more and more professionals find themselves speaking with colleagues and clients from different language backgrounds. As a corporate communication and accent reduction specialist, I work with many clients who don’t speak English as their first language and want to modify their speech to increase clarity. However, communication is a two-way street. The responsibility of clear communication in a culturally and linguistically diverse environment doesn’t only lie with non-native English speakers. Native speakers also need to develop the speech skills to communicate effectively, particularly when speaking with someone whose first language isn’t English. Take a look at our three strategies to take your professional communication to the next level:
Power up your voice: Vocal power not only gives the impression that you are a confident leader, it also makes your message much easier to understand! One common mistake is dropping your volume at the end of a sentence. Maintain strong volume throughout, and make sure your message comes through loud and clear.
Speak with clarity: Clear speech and articulation are essential to any professional communication. However, it becomes even more important when your listener isn’t a native speaker of English. Make sure you pronounce each letter in every word, and don’t run your words together as you speak.
Use the power of the pause: Well-timed silence can be a very useful tool in communication. Regular pausing when you speak can keep you from rushing or speaking too quickly. It also gives you a moment to take a deep breath from your abdomen for better breath support and a stronger voice. You can also strategically place longer pauses to emphasize important points of your message and give your listener time to absorb your message.