Overcoming language barriers at your workplace with the help of better English-speaking skills
Landing your dream job is always exciting. You had been hoping against all hope, anxiously pacing through your room and worrying about things you could have said differently during your interview. The much-anticipated letter finally arrives, and you’re ecstatic beyond measure.
After several days of nervous restlessness, it is time for you to join the office. But, uh oh, you find yourself struggling to communicate with your colleagues and boss as well as you would like to. Of course, you know exactly what you want to say, you can write everything down in perfect grammar, but when it comes to verbal communication, you believe you can do better.
Don’t let your English skills hinder you from developing connections at work and growing your career. With a few easy tips, you can quickly improve your speaking skills.
- Start at home
Your home is a place where you can be comfortable, surrounded by individuals whom you trust. Tell your roommates and friends that you would like to work on your speaking skills and hope to talk to them in English. Ask them to inform you about any mistakes you make while speaking and remember to correct yourself the next time you talk.
Keep this up until you feel like you can speak comfortably in English with those around you, and they have no issues understanding what you are trying to say.
Now, take this practice session to the next level and start communicating with others in the community in English. Use English while shopping, requesting information, or even searching for a book in a library. It could take you a bit longer to acquire the same level of comfort while speaking to strangers in English.
- Talk to yourself
You might feel a bit weirded out by this one, but you can easily do this on your own when no one else is around. Every time something passes your mind, translate it and say it out loud. Once you keep this up, the time required to convert your thoughts from one language to another will shorten. You will soon start thinking in English, making it much easier for you to communicate in this language. As an additional step, you can also record yourself speaking using an app on your phone. Play it, listen carefully and watch out for any mistakes you might have made while speaking. This is an excellent technique to correct your own errors and learn.
Writing down your thoughts in a journal is also a fantastic way to translate things much quicker in your head.
- Learn new words
You can become a much efficient communicator when you have a wide range of vocabulary at hand. Make it a habit to learn at least three new words each day. Write them down multiple times, learn how they are pronounced and understand how they can be used in sentences. Besides improving your English pronunciation and vocabulary, this habit will also make you sound more proficient when conveying information to your co-workers. You will no longer have to fear repeating yourself by using the same word over and over or struggling to find the right term for a specific context.
Additionally, you can learn idioms and common sayings in the English language to better emulate native speakers and sound more confident every time you say something. By using well-placed and easy-to-understand expressions in English, you are sure to impress anyone you talk to.
- Imitate native speakers of the language
If you are someone who grew up learning English from school or reading novels, you might not have had the necessary experience to cultivate the right speaking skills. Don’t worry, it is not too late to get started.
Begin by watching an English movie, an interview or listening to a podcast featuring native English speakers. Listen carefully and understand how the way they speak differs from the way you do. Once you have listened to its entirety, play it again and pause after the speaker utters each sentence or an entire dialogue. It is now your turn to say it out loud and try to imitate the way they spoke. You might have to transform the way you pronounce many words and how you stress different parts of a word or a sentence. Once you listen and speak a few times, you will understand the huge role that emphasis plays in conveying a certain message.
As you keep listening, you will also see that the rhythm they use varies from the one you use while talking.
Remember, you will not start to sound like a native speaker as soon as you repeat what they say. Keep practising several times a week, and soon your sentences will become much easier to understand, and you will sound more professional at your meetings.
- Set tasks for yourself
Many who are not confident while speaking in English also find themselves struggling when they talk to others on the phone using this language. The inability to read facial cues and analyze gestures makes it a lot harder to communicate adequately. To overcome this issue, start small. Talk to your friends and family in English while on the phone. After several days of this, you’ll be much better at understanding the message even when you can’t behold the speaker. Once you have achieved a proper level of comfort while talking to your acquaintances in English, take on bigger challenges such as asking for information or making appointments in English via your phone.
Another thing you can do to test and improve your English-speaking skills is to narrate your favourite childhood story in English to someone familiar with it. The one who listens must have heard the story before and be sufficiently proficient in the English language. Translating a story that you have only heard in your native language can be a bit difficult and the listener can tell you if you have managed to convey the message adequately.
The tips mentioned above can be easily integrated into your daily life and be made a part of your routine. By incorporating these learning techniques, you can quickly establish yourself as an invaluable member of your workspace and build strong relationships with everyone in the office
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