Global English-Speaking Skills 101

While it’s great to be an expert in law, pharmaceutical research, or finance, there’s another subject that may speed up your professional success in today’s global workplace: Global English-Speaking Skills 101. Those who speak English more effectively in the global workplace have an easier time accomplishing their professional goals. They are better able to connect with speakers of different language backgrounds. In addition, they are more likely to share their expertise & invaluable insights with more confidence.

In many English language programs, English pronunciation/Global English-Speaking Skills is typically not given as much attention as Reading & Writing Skills. This is unfortunate. In today’s global workplace, speaking effectively in spoken English is critical. It’s worth the time to develop this skill area even if you’re already a good communicator and are fluent in English.

Keep These Tips in Mind When You Speak English in the Global Workplace:

Control Your Speed

Insert holds or pauses between the idea chunks. This helps you go speak at a more controlled rate. Keep in mind: no matter how familiar your audience is with the topic, they are processing new information in the moment. You, on the other hand, have thought through what you’re saying more than once. Keep your speed controlled to give your audience time to process the information. In other words, talk like a stop sign!

Use A Steady Amplified Volume

Speak so that your listener(s) can hear what you say at the end of your sentences. In English sentence structure, the new information is at the end of the sentence. It’s better that your audience can hear the new information with ease so that they are able to more efficiently process the information. If the new information is garbled or simply difficult to hear, your listeners may catch the gist of what you’re saying in the moment, but they may not retain as much had they understood the new information with ease. Speak loud enough from the beginning to the ends of your sentences.

Articulate the Medial & Final Consonant Sounds

Produce these sounds in the key words of information. I.e., the nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, wh- question words. The medial sounds are in the middle of the words; the final, at the end of the words. Without them, the words tend to fall apart. The vowels run together. In addition, the peaks of information within syllables are more difficult to hear in real-time speech. In essence, the consonants are the spine of spoken English. (HT, Arthur Lessac)

Alternate the Stressed and Unstressed Sounds

English is a stress-patterned language. What this means is that the alternation of the stressed & unstressed sounds play a significant role. Linguistically-speaking, information is located at the peak of the stressed syllable sounds in English. Syllable Stress Alternation is key for the fluent processing of information in real-time spontaneous speech.

Vary Your Pitch

Use pitch variation at the sentence level. That is, use a little more pitch change for the words of information in the sentences. Such words include nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and Wh- question words. This may sound strange in your first or other first language. I’ve heard this a lot from clients. Just keep in mind that pitch variation can help your listener(s) to stay engaged. It may also help them to process your message with less effort.

I want to reiterate: You may be a good communicator and completely fluent in English but speaking English with clarity is critical in today’s global workplace. This saves people time in meetings. It also helps people to build better connections on video conference calls and in the global workplace.

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