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.
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...
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...