Why You Don’t Need Another English Speaking Course To Get That Promotion.
Are you getting ready to sign up for a brand new English speaking/fluency programme?
Before you do anything, let me guess what’s motivating you to do this.
You have co-workers and clients with whom you communicate in English on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. This could be in meetings, during conference calls, negotiations or presentations.
You want to take the speaking course because you want:
★ To sound more fluent or smoother when speaking English, in other words, be grammar-perfect with seamless sentence structure when delivering a workshop to your team;
★ To speak without pausing to think of the right words when answering questions during a presentation;
★ To broaden your vocabulary, preferably with more sophisticated words to demonstrate your professionalism to your co-workers;
★ To be able to talk about a variety of topics during that coffee break at conferences;
★ To speak almost without having to think when participating in that conference call.
So, let’s imagine this is what you do.
You sign up for 1-1 speaking classes for an hour to an hour and a half once a week before work for the next 12 weeks.
The first couple of weeks start off well.
But then you start skipping classes.
★ One week you have an early morning meeting and have to cancel the class.
★ Another week, you have an emergency report to complete and simply don’t have the time to attend class.
★ You really wanted to attend last week’s class but your meeting to Oslo was brought forward and you had to catch that early morning flight.
★ You had to end one class early because you had to be at a client’s office for a key presentation.
By the end of your programme, you realise you’ve attended only 3 out of the 12 sessions you paid for.
And those 3 sessions are a blur because, quite frankly, you were too busy thinking of your day ahead to concentrate on the sessions.
★ Very little, if any, progress.
★ Frustration for not having completed the programme.
★ Resentment for your relentlessly busy schedule
★ Anger for having wasted your money.
★ A sense of hopelessness that you’ll never speak fluent, grammar-perfect and mistake-free English
★ A crushing feeling that the promotion you’ve dreamed of for such a long time will never be realised.
You walk away from this experience feeling wounded.
Pssst…Let me share a little secret with you.
Finding those extra 90 minutes in your weekly schedule was utterly pointless!
Because you already have plenty of speaking practice during your working day.
You don’t need more speaking practice.
Pause for a moment and think.
You speak daily and weekly in English with your co-workers and clients during conference calls, meetings, over the phone, when giving a presentation or negotiating a deal.
Isn’t that speaking practice?
Why do you need to find an extra 90 minutes each week to do more speaking when you’re getting more than enough speaking practice during your working day?
I have a sneaky feeling that deep down you came to the same conclusion after those first few lessons.
That’s why when you got too busy, this extra speaking practice was the first thing you abandoned.
Ok, so if you have all the speaking practice you need (and more), you’re wondering why your English isn’t improving.
And besides, doesn’t speaking fluently mean greater career opportunities?
Well, only if you use your speaking skills to build your communication skills.
You don’t need to speak more, you need to learn to communicate.
What you need is to focus on how you communicate with your co-workers and clients, how they communicate with you and finding ways to improve your communication skills.
★ Is your message clear and coherent? >> Does it have a clear goal and structure?>> Do you focus too much on how you deliver your message (speaking) instead of how your audience hears your message?
★ Do your co-workers and clients respond in the way you want them to? >> Do they need more information?
★ What is their level of English? >> Are they proficient speakers or are they international speakers? >> Do you adapt your language to their level? >> Do you use plain English or fill your talk with words they don’t understand because it makes you feel professional?
★ Do you pause to listen to them? >> Do you ask questions, sit back and listen carefully? >> Do you engage with them by actively seeking their opinion?
★ When you don’t understand something, how do you deal with it? >> Which speakers are easier to understand? >> Why? >> How do you overcome these issues?
And the best part?
It doesn’t need to disrupt your working day.
No need to find extra time in your busy schedule!
In fact, it becomes an integral part of your working day.
Here’s how you can get back your precious time and become an effective communicator in your next meeting.
★ Get yourself a journal and pen and keep it with you at all times.
Before your next interaction in English, take 10-15 minutes to:
★ Make a note of what outcome you want at the end of that phone call, conference call or meeting – an agreement, an action plan, clarity on both sides of what’s expected
★ Think of how you plan to get that outcome >> what’s your message? >> how are you going to deliver it?
★ Think of who your audience is.
★ Anticipate what difficulties your audience may have in understanding your message >> their level of English >> will they need to ask you questions? >> should you factor time for questions during that meeting?
★ Anticipate what difficulties you may have in understanding your audience and what you could do to overcome those difficulties.
After the interaction, take 10 minutes to reflect on how the interaction went.
★ What worked >> why do you think it worked? >> How did it make you feel?
★ What didn’t work >> why? >> What could you do differently next time?
★ Was it easier or harder than you expected? >> Why?
★ What lessons did you learn?
As you develop the habit of recording each experience, you’ll get quicker at journaling each interaction and you’ll begin to visualise your progress in your communication skills.
“A little progress every day, every week adds up to big results.”
If you’re still confused and lacking direction, then working with a coach will be a better solution than joining a generic Business English speaking course.
Here’s how business coaching is different.
The journey to becoming a courageous and effective communicator in English can be long, lonely and sometimes, disorientating.
There may be moments when:
➤ You have questions you’d like answered.
➤ You’d like to talk through an experience you’ve had with someone.
➤ You’d like to share a victory with someone.
➤ You’d like some guidance or encouragement especially when things feel hard.
➤ You’d like someone to give you some coping strategies and direction.
➤ You’d like someone to hold you accountable.
In these situations, hiring a coach who checks in with you once a month, who steers you in the right direction and with whom you can correspond during that month will be worth 10x more than any English speaking course.