How feeling guiltless with your non-native English
©Photo Manuel Meszarovits
1. Your client is American or English
You already do better than he / she could ever do : communicate in his language while he/she can’t say a single word.
I learnt it while being in a meeting in NYC with a American Wedding-Planner that I adored. During this quite impressive discussion, I decided to begin the discussion with apologies. “I do hope you’ll understand everything I will say to you, as my English is not perfect” (Being that said, the sentence was quite elaborated as I repeated it quite often!).Her answer was so sweet : ” Darling, you do speak English while I don’t know any other words in French than Baguette s’il vous plait. So, believe me, you have a big advantage on me”.
Since then : I feel strong enough to launch any kind of discussions with people not being able to speak my mother language!
2. Speaking with non-native clients, peers and vendors
This is where misunderstandings could happen super easily.
We all learn English in our countries with our own culture, our own reference marks.
The most important things to do are to :
- keep on top of your mind that will be differences in your wordings and that most important is to have the same communication.
- rephrase and ask for clarifications as often as possible. This is key to success already when dealing with people speaking the same native language. So guess how important it is when dealing with people from other cultures.
- not being shy while speaking
- not trying to be a perfect English speaking person. Your value is not based on the perfection of the words you’re saying. Your value is on your ability to make great communication while delivering the service you’ve been hired for.
3. Learning proper vocabulary
It’s not easy to know every single words of a language while not living on the ground.
But, quite opposite, it’s super easy to learn and manage a technical and business English language as you always deal with the same topics.
This is where your knowledge and will to learn has to grow. Read it, speak it, learn it.
Whatever you join a room on Clubhouse, on watch Netflix, please treat yourself (and you English Power) while doing it in English version.
4. Make a point to learn American and British different wordings.
Absolute key to gain in confidence and understanding.
I remember I was driving with clients to a tasting meeting. They were British. Needless to say I was living several months a year in NYC at that time and so my accent, my words.. everything was absolute
American new-yorker ! While driving by a new area, I just said “hey, have a look at the mall on the left”. 4 times The groom-to-be asked me : the “what”?. Mall did not exist in his British language .. it was shopping center.
This happened so few times, enough to understand I really had to use different accent, different words and different idiomatic whether my clients or partners were British or American.
I then created a list with some vocabulary’s of difference. From emails, to wedding words.
It has helped me so much. And like an ABC, everything come very smoothly now.. even … naturally!
Do you also create your own tools to learn fast?