It’s not all that difficult to get caught up in our own little world and forget that differences exist between us and our foreign colleagues with whom we interact and/or do business. I’ve been guilty of it and was it ever an awkward and embarrassing moment when I found out I committed an egregious faux pas. (I wanted to hide when I was calmly and tactfully corrected. Luckily, I had a forgiving friend.) Here are some terrific tips to help you understand cultural differences. They come from Rhonda Coast, who is an expert on cross-cultural training in the workplace. It’s a must read to help you to avoid making a mistake that leaves you embarrassed.Continue reading
When I work with an executive on diction and pronunciation, I always check their jaw/tongue/lips for signs of tension. Usually, it’s visible. The lips are clenched a little and the mouth doesn’t open very widely. It’s no wonder that they sound like they are mumbling and are difficult to understand. In the case of tension and “tongue tied”, we often work on relaxation exercises to realize the potential the muscles of our vocal tract have. We practice an exaggerated mouth opening on counting and other automatic speech tasks. (Most clients find their jaw exhausted after our exercises.)
Then, we find ways to incorporate this skill into everyday activities. If my clients have young children, the first thing that I recommend is to read, “Fox in Socks” by Dr. Seuss. Continue reading
With the US political campaign season coming to a close, you may have noticed that a stark difference in communication styles exists between the top two candidates. Each candidate resonates with some audiences but not with others. This fact verifies what you already know: you can’t please everyone with your style. Often times when I give examples of style differences at my workshops, I hear complete opposite reactions to the same voice. One person loves the way a speaker communicates and someone else hates it. This dichotomy presents an interesting challenge for you, because as an executive speaker who is trying to resonate with your audience, you know that there are audience members that you just won’t be able to reach. Continue reading
When I was first starting out as a professional, there were occasions that my employer wanted me to do some public speaking. I was absolutely mortified to have to consider this daunting task! First of all, it scared me to have to create a compelling presentation to a professional audience and secondly, I was afraid to speak and be in front of people who were judging me (as least, that’s what I thought). Because of my self-degrading thoughts, my voice sounded shaky and I didn’t project very well.Continue reading
Lacking vocal expressiveness is a common problem and sounding monotone won’t captivate your audience. Here is a solution to help you become more vocally expressive: Continue reading
When if comes to appearing competent, articulate and qualified, small changes in the way you speak can boost your potential for business success. Speaking well may influence the listener on whether or not he or she wants to pursue a business relationship with you. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:Continue reading
You are bright, extremely intelligent, and a great asset to your company. Everyone raves about your knowledge and expertise. People ask for your opinion but yet they don’t get done what you have asked them to do or you receive a lot of blank stares. Although English is not your native language, you know you have an excellent command of English grammar and perhaps you’ve even lived in the U.S. for many years. However, you realize that people have a difficult time understanding you and you notice that your colleagues seem to be avoiding you.
How is it that you have such a good command of the English language but are still difficult to understand? There are six potential problems to consider:
It’s that time of year again…holiday parties, festive decorations, and businesses competing for your money in an seemingly endless flurry of ads and discounts. I love this season despite a few hectic moments. I get to be with my family and sit down together to share meals and play games. If you are still considering gift ideas for your friends, colleagues or family, or perhaps you need ideas for games to play at the holiday party, I’d like to help you out by recommending some fun games that promote speech, language and cognitive skills. And these games are fun for both adults and children! Continue reading
When it comes to understanding someone who is from another culture who has a strong foreign accent, how do we listen more effectively to assure that the exchange is successful? Both the listener and the speaker are responsible for making sure that each party has understood. Both the listener and the speaker can use strategies to improve the situation. Here is a tip for the listener who is listening to the hard-to-understand person:
Be educated about the differences between languages. Certain languages have characteristics that are unique to that language. Since a language learner adapts what he knows about his language onto the new language, real differences in the way words are spoken occur. This fact can make the second language learner difficult to understand and can be a distraction to our ears.
There are many languages that don’t sound at all as rhythmic and melodious as English.
As a second language learner, have you ever wondered about the many intonation patterns of American English and how to learn to pronounce them?
What about those multi-syllable words that are intimidating just to look at? Have you ever looked at them and been completely dumbfounded by their pronunciation? So, you say the word as quickly as possible so that no one will notice.
Have you ever said something that even to your own ear, you didn’t recognize the word that just came out of your mouth? And when you are asked to repeat it, you cringed, knowing you won’t be able to say it correctly again.