International and ESL employees who work in American and global organizations contribute valuable talents and diverse perspectives. When management makes English and pronunciation training available to them, these employees are better equipped to succeed, contribute to their teams, and strengthen the organization.
American English is the lingua franca of business and a fundamental competency skill. Fortunately, clear spoken English is a skill that can be learned, not unlike other interpersonal skills such as teamwork, presentations, and time management.
Clear, confident American English is achievable
I know many employees who have significantly improved their performance once their speech is clear, correct and confident: managers who run effective meetings and handle team conflicts; engineers who speak up on conference calls to offer good ideas and challenge the status quo; physicians who engage their patients and probe for subtle understanding; research scientists who present their inventions at international conferences.
These and many other professionals now possess a level of spoken communication that is commensurate with their expertise and achievements.
Employees are eager for communication training
Occasionally managers tell me they hesitate to suggest speech/accent improvement for fear of embarrassing an employee. Just the opposite is true. Employees realize that their poor speech and pronunciation put them at a disadvantage. They notice the “glazed eyes” of confused listeners; they feel their confidence drain away when others ask them to repeat themselves.
While these employees are eager to improve, some come from cultures where asking a manager for training seems impolite or disrespectful. Moreover, finding professional-level training is challenging; juggling a pressured work schedule to attend a class is nearly impossible.
Without confidence in their ability to communicate, employees might defer to others when asked to present their ideas, avoid taking on a leadership role, remain quiet in meetings, and lose out on opportunities to serve the organization and advance their own careers.
A resource for ESL and international employees
OpenSesame now hosts Sound American, a comprehensive, business-oriented speech and pronunciation video course designed for corporate learning systems and optimized for tablet/mobile devices.
Pro-active employees who are eager refine their American English can opt to study anytime, anywhere. Employees who are given the performance review directive, “improve your communication,” can now source a rigorous, comprehensive, and effective solution.
Jolinda Osborne, President of Intercultural Communication Services, Inc., has been a corporate trainer and coach for over 25 years, and is the author of “Sound American: American English for Success in Business.” www.jolindaosborne.com