Respect, it is said, is earned and not given. For many of us, being respected as a leader or colleague is hard-won and, in the early stages of a professional relationship, it can seem like a bit of an uphill struggle. Whether you’ve been newly promoted from inside an organisation or are taking on a management role in a new company, your new role as leader presents some challenges but, importantly, exciting opportunities where communication is concerned.
The English language is a peculiar beast. In what other language would you pronounce 'law', 'caught', 'sure', and 'poor' with the same vowel sound? Or pronounce all these words with different sounding 'o' sounds? ‘Stop', 'hope', 'London', 'now’?
How is it that some people seem to get exactly what they want at work, while others struggle to get anywhere at all? We all know the sort of people – they are often the recipients of promotions ahead of their peers; they negotiate their ideal salary while others jump at the first offer; and management often implement their ideas when they’re presented at meetings or in proposals.
I am willing to bet that when you’re tasked with giving a presentation at work, the first thing you do is load up PowerPoint on your computer. However, by presenting yourself with a blank canvas that you feel compelled to fill, you are giving yourself further hurdles to jump before you even know what it is you’re going to say!
Whatever line of work you’re in it is likely that at some point, you will be called upon to pitch something. Whether you are responsible for securing business for your company; or an entrepreneur looking for investment; or hoping to get your team excited about a new initiative, pitching is a skill which many of us will need to use at some point in our professional lives.
At LSW, we know that giving presentations can be some people's worst nightmare. We also know that many of you will have sat through boring presentations, wishing for the moment you see that final slide - 'Any Questions?' - and know that it's over.
Accents are important. They are an intrinsic part of who we are. They are part of our heritage. They tell the story of our background and our culture. So, why would we want to get rid of them? Well, as much as they are an asset to us, accents can be a double-edged sword, and for many they represent a conflict. For, while on the one hand, our accents are an integral part of our identity; on the other hand, for a non-native English speaker living and working in the UK, an accent can feel like it gets in the way of effective communication in English. And that can be a problem.
Your English is Already Great
Before we begin, it’s important to establish something really important: your English is great.
I mean it.
You are speaking a language that is not your mother tongue, and functioning very well. On a day-to-day basis you’re ordering food, getting from A to B, socializing and forging friendships. So, before we go any further, pat yourself on the back for your achievements. Functioning in a second language is more than many people will ever achieve. Well done.
We are delighted to be kicking off the new year with the release of a new eBook, in which our founder Emma Serlin shares her top 5 tools for making sure your accent doesn’t get in the way of your effective communication.
Every New Year, people around the world make resolutions; sweeping statements promising big changes that are, realistically, unlikely to happen and set the resolution-maker up for disappointment. So, instead of the usual grandiose commitments to quit chocolate; start working out, etc., why not take a different tack, and try making some simple changes to how you communicate? As we embark on the first few days of 2018 why not make this the year you take positive, achievable, steps towards more honest, authentic, communication?