Are you holding yourself back from career opportunities and advancement because of your English communication skills?
First, congrats for having the courage to be working in a language that’s not your native tongue. That alone is amazing!
Second, don’t fret. It’s not as overwhelming to improve these skills as you might think.
You may be thinking that you’re stuck where you are because:
- You haven’t dedicated enough time to reading, watching videos, or listening to TED talks and podcasts
- You haven’t found the right resources to help you improve your English
- You haven’t mastered the grammatical rules of the language yet
- You haven’t got enough opportunities to practice with native English speakers
- You haven’t had the chance (or time!) to work on your accent
But that’s not it.
Maybe you haven’t been learning English the right way. Maybe you’ve been thinking of learning English as a language. But that’s probably not how to approach it. Instead you should be focusing on learning English communication as a skill. This little shift of how we think about English skills changes everything.
As you know, when we learn new skills we have to be systematic in our approach. And since communication is a skill, just like any other skill, we need to be systematic about how we go about improving it.
This analogy might help you understand what I mean. Can you imagine a person just stepping on the field (in the Olympics) and expecting to play a great game of soccer or hockey? That’s not how it works, right?
You’re not just suddenly able to play in a game. You have to be systematic:
First, you have to have a foundation of fitness, and strength, and a passing knowledge of the basic rules.
Then, you can move onto learning some skills that are needed for players in your position and some of the rules that are relevant to the position you play. And then, of course, you have to work on those skills until you can do them well in practice.
Only then can you expect to be able to play well in the game and, maybe eventually, be in a position to add even more skills. Maybe you can be on one of the specialty teams – taking the penalty kick, possibly.
Likewise, if you want to improve your English so you can “play the game” and open doors to unlimited opportunities for advancement in your company and in your industry, you need to follow these three steps.
1. Build a Solid Foundation – Expand and enhance your vocabulary and understanding of the business culture and nuances in business
- Expanding your lexicon of phrases and words and combining that with a greater understanding of the cultural components of communication will allow you to make excellent connections with others, resulting in more effective relationships at work, both within and outside your office.
- Learning these phrases and practicing them in the typical contexts that occur in your working life will help with retention and confidence when implementing in real life.
- Learning the language skills and tricks that allow you to speak with eloquence and authority and in a diplomatic and tactful way will help you build great working relationships and keep them strong.
2. Learn and practice the skills for effective communication in the typical scenarios you encounter at work
Learn the skills to become more comfortable and effective in all sorts of communication settings, from formal and informal one-on-one conversations, to work-social situations, to formal meetings, to presentations, to negotiations, and whatever else you typically do at work.
- Different sorts of meetings and conversations require different sorts of skills. By learning how to navigate different types of conversations with different types of people in your work life, you will establish the kind of relationships that lead to greater effectiveness in all aspects of your career.
- Learning these skills in the context of the usual situations you find yourself in at work will make this learning impactful, relevant, and effective.
3. Expand your skills even further by learning and practicing how to write quickly, clearly, and effectively
Learn how to write clearly and effectively so that your written communication leaves a great impression too. This will help you earn respect, credibility, and authority with your very first contact.
- Often your first communication with someone is in writing, and it is important to make a great first impression. Your writing has to be clear if it is to be effective.
- Learning how to create the types of correspondence and documents that are typical for you in your job will ensure you can produce effective, clear written communications efficiently, not taking more time than it should.
Remember, you’re not learning a language, you’re learning a skill. These three steps – from building a solid foundation, to learning and practicing the skills required to manage the types of scenarios you encounter regularly at work, to learning how to write clearly and concisely – will raise your English communication to the next level, open up opportunities, and take you far.
Please reach out if you want to learn more about how I can help you achieve your goals, raise your confidence, and help propel you to the next level!
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