I was fascinated by a BBC Capital article I read recently about how English now dominates as the global language of business because of an increasingly multinational workplace (http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170317-the-international-companies-using-only-english). I was particularly struck by a quote from Kim Bedard-Fontaine, VP of Employee and Change Communication at Sodexo. She said that “Businesses are organised globally these days and that they must become more efficient by collaborating across geographies. English is an enabler of that and by speaking exclusively in a single language, leaders can communicate with each other around the world.”
My husband experienced this first hand working in a Scandinavian company in Belgium (official languages being French, Dutch and German), where business was conducted in English. He often found his colleagues asking each other to repeat themselves so they could understand each other’s accented English pronunciation. Many companies now require their employees to speak English as the common language of Business. Jia Lin Xie, a professor of management at Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, says that this trend will continue. Many well-known companies have already transitioned to English as their official language despite being based in non-English-speaking countries.
To be a successful global company, employers cannot overlook the important fact that they need to teach their employees how to improve their English pronunciation. Effective communication skills are critical to an employee and to a company’s success. Although English is often learned in primary school many people who are fluent speakers also have an accent which can significantly impact English pronunciation and lead to misunderstandings and even communication breakdowns. This can impact self-confidence, participation and may even negatively influence career success. In fact, an executive director of communications at ITT Motion Technologies said that many of her Chinese colleagues remain quiet until they’re asked directly for their input as they don’t want to lose face by pronouncing a word incorrectly.
Culturally sensitive and systematic accent reduction training from speech-language pathologists at Change Your Accent can empower individuals to become effective communicators. Having the skills to speak English confidently and effectively enables employees to contribute fully in the workplace, grow in confidence and maximize their potential.
So, at risk of sounding like the start of a bad joke: What happens when a Russian person meets someone from China at a company meeting in Saudi Arabia? They will speak English, the new global language of business. How best to join the conversation? Learn accent reduction strategies.
For more info about accent reduction and our program please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. JOIN THE CONVERSATION