3 Ways to Slow It Down: Connecting with International Co­Workers

We’re living and working in an age of international connectedness. Your co-­workers or clients may actually be living overseas and speak English as a second or third language, connected to you through internet chats and teleconferencing. Or, you may work daily in person with non-­native English speakers who have been in the U.S. for several years or only a few months.

No matter the situation, you need to be able to effectively communicate with your team.

In my last article on communicating with non-­native English speakers, I outlined how to keep language simple in the workplace. Today, we’ll talk about slowing down.

Slow It Down!

Right now I’m going to ask you to stop and remember:

• A foreign language class you took

• A time you were shopping in an international market

• Any time you overheard a foreign language conversation

Do you remember how the other language sounded? Was it incredibly fast and jumbled to you? Did you wonder how they could talk so quickly?

An international worker can feel just this way when trying to understand our language as well.

Be Aware of Your Speech.

You know how it is when you get on a roll with an idea… your speech speeds up as you get excited, and your words can hardly keep up with your brain. Or perhaps you’re pressed for time, and you rush your message or instructions. Even the everyday pace of your language can be too fast.

Be aware small

When speaking with an international worker or client, take the time to evaluate how quickly you’re actually talking. Even asking your co­-worker, “Am I talking too quickly?” shows that you care that they understand you. However, be aware that they may answer that you are not, in order to not seem unintelligent or rude.

Slow Down, but Don’t Exaggerate.

When we slow down our speech, we tend to start over-­enunciating our words or stretching them out. Try to avoid this.

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Exaggerating words makes your listener feel belittled, and your speech no longer comes across the way English actually sounds. Again, just be aware of your pacing instead.

Slowing Down Saves Time.

It seems counter-intuitive, but we all know that taking our time on any project produces a better quality product and fewer headaches later on because of mistakes. Your language in the workplace is no different.

Miscommunication smallThis is especially true for highly technical environments, in which the precision of instructions and language is vital. Take a few extra seconds to slow your speech and make sure your message is clear, and you’ll be glad later that you did!

If you’d like more strategies on communicating with the non­-native English speakers in your workplace, or would like to offer your workers accent reduction classes or seminars, please contact Lisa Scott for a consultation… and visit AccentuateCommunication.com for more on how we can help you break down cross­-cultural workplace barriers.

The Most Important 10 Seconds of Your Career

Here’s the situation:

You currently have an excellent degree for your field and good job, but you’re looking to take the next step up in your career.

Or perhaps you’ve just finished an advanced degree that could land you your dream job.

And now with your great technical skills, you’ve made it to the interview portion for a job you’d love.

the most important 10 seconds of your career (1)

We all know that the first few minutes of a job interview are that all-important first impression.

But as a non-native English speaker, your interviewer may size up your communication skills in just your first 10-second greeting.

What does your first ten seconds say about you- (1)

Will those first ten seconds show that your English is strong, clear, and easily understood?

Or will that first greeting leave your interviewer wondering if they’ll be able to understand you through your accent on a regular basis?

A recent survey of over 2,000 hiring managers by CareerBuilder shows how important “soft skills”, including clear communication, are to employers:

Employer Survey

You’ve probably seen that “excellent communication skills” are overwhelmingly a top requirement in a job listing.

Furthermore, the National Association of Colleges and Employers says that communication skills are the number one thing employers are looking for – more than your technical prowess.

These statistics show what could be your reality: the person who speaks standard American English more clearly may be hired over the one who has superior skills, but is difficult to understand.

So what’s the best thing you can do to increase your odds in getting that dream job?

Improve your English communication skills!

Polishing up on your pronunciation – or even better, learning which sounds in English are giving you the most trouble – is the key to your future success.

Prepare for your next interview with my speech tips and free online accent screening at losemyaccent.com. Make your first ten seconds count!