It is likely that in the workplace, you will frequently encounter individuals for whom English is not their first language. Although it is easy to make assumptions about people’s educational and socio-economic levels when you hear an accent, remember that they often speak two, and maybe more, languages fluently. Also be mindful that in their native language they likely communicate at a very technical and/or sophisticated level, although in English they might have difficulty finding the exact words, using grammatical forms correctly, or understanding idioms and figurative language, etc.
The following are some tips for making your conversations and work interactions as productive as possible:
- Make eye contact with the person.
- Use animated, but natural facial expressions and gestures.
- Speak at a slightly slower pace, and “chunk” information into shorter, manageable phrases.
- “Check in” toconfirm that you have been understood. Repeat, or paraphrase to clarify any messages that may have been confusing.
- Be patient and keep you sense of humor intact.
For more information on how to communicate effectively on the job, contact us.