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...
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 –...
Picture yourself in this everyday office scenario:
The staff is gathered for a presentation on a new company initiative.
The presenter passes out their information, and in a monotone fashion proceeds to plod through the slideshow presentation on the topic with seemingly little enthusiasm.
At the end they announce, “We really want everyone to get excited about this.”
Are you excited?
Have you bought into your company's new project?
Given the lackluster presentation, probably not!
Maybe this presenter really is excited about the initiative, but they don't know how to convey that to others... or don't even realize how their demeanor is being perceived by everyone in the room.
And what would the ramifications be if this had been a pitch to a client, or prospective investors?
The non-verbal communication in this situation was the difference between increased morale at the launching of a new project, and just another boring meeting!
The 7 Percent...
Have you ever listened to or watched a recording of yourself, and cringed at the sound of your voice? Perhaps when giving presentations, you know your voice isn't projecting the confidence you'd like... or maybe your company has realized it's time to give employees an edge with clients and shareholders by investing in their voice.
This component of your professional presence is called vocal quality, and it's a major factor in how your message is perceived by others. I'd like you to first think about how you'd describe a voice that you find irritating in presentations or meetings... one that distractsfrom the presenter's message. Your list may have some of these descriptors:
Now take a moment to reflect on what makes a voice sound pleasant to you – one that enhances the message rather than distracting from it. It may be easiest to think of an actor/actress, broadcaster, or other public figure whose voice you find...