Tell me if this resonates with you: you're comfortable in your workplace when it requires reading emails and going through written material... or writing to co-workers and jotting down notes.
But when needing to speak out loud to a co-worker, or asked to speak up at a meeting, you say as little as possible.
You've been misunderstood so many times, it's just easier to stay quiet.
If you learned English outside the U.S., you probably spent years structuring sentences, memorizing vocabulary, and listening to English. You excelled in reading and writing, and by all measures became fluent in the English language.
You might have been surprised, then, when you came to America as a scientist, researcher, or engineer, and found that others had trouble understanding you!
Accustomed to learning in a passive way rather than an active one, and without an emphasis on speaking, you prefer to listen instead of engage in conversations. You're...
I'm truly excited this month to be sharing with you how interacting with those around you is a major factor in reducing your accent. A major research focus for American SpeechLanguageHearing Association (ASHA) has been the overuse of technology and its effect on language and hearing development, specifically among children.
In a 2015 ASHA survey of 1,000 parents:
• 52% expressed concern that technology negatively impacts the quality of their conversations with their children
• 54% say they have fewer conversations with their children because of technology
• 52% are concerned that misuse of technology is harming their children's speech and language skills.
How does this translate to YOU as an adult professional?
As you work to reduce your accent, and as a professional who is probably using a substantial amount of technology at work and at home, I would ask this question...
Most of us recognize the voice of Siri®, the iPhone’s voice - assisted technology. But Siri® doesn’t recognize the pronunciation of everyone who attempts to communicate with her. Apple says that she handles 1 billion voice requests per week, but many non-native speakers have reverted back to text-based requests after Siri® failed to grasp what they were asking.
As an accent reduction trainer, I received a flood of new inquiries from internationals in the US when Siri® was first released. People who had thought for years that their pronunciation was good enough were suddenly faced with the fact that this new technology told them otherwise.
Granted, the technology itself is partly to blame. As analyst Jeff Kagan reported in this Fortune article, “[These technologies] are still in their very early growth." The software doesn't get everything right, but it is constantly improving.
Workplace interaction… It’s practically a nuanced art form to balance all the relationships and conversations we have in a work day with those around us. But this becomes even more pronounced when language becomes a stumbling block because of a heavy foreign accent or insufficient English language skills. And communication breakdown has a shockingly high cost for companies and personally for the international worker.
The U.S. Department of Labor just released its 2015 data detailing the demographics of the foreign-born workforce in America. Of the 26.3 million foreignborn workers, 47.4% are in environments that rely heavily on English language skills.
That’s a lot of people who probably do not speak English as their primary language!
The Cost for Business
When communication breaks down, it results in a hemorrhage of money – in the billions –...