HR Professional - July/August 2012 - (Page 22)

C O M M U N I C AT I O N S B Y K AT H Y K E Y I J I A - J O N E S 10 TIPS TO HELP INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED PROFESSIONALS IMPROVE PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS ith their talents, abilities and unique perspectives, internationally educated professionals (IEPs) are making significant contributions to our multicultural workplace. However, in a new language and cultural environment, they also face challenges. The biggest challenge for many, as our research and experience attest, is public speaking. Many come to Canada with wonderful technical skills and knowledge of written English. The difficulty occurs when they speak in front of their bosses and colleagues, or give a presentation to their clients. Internationally educated staff may be reluctant to speak in front of their bosses or clients because they feel their accents are too heavy; that they speak too fast or too slow; or that they use too many filler words such as “ums” and “ahs.” These are valid concerns; an accent is not necessarily a bad thing—some people like certain accents because of the distinctive flavour or because of a link with a mother tongue. However, when an accent is too heavy, listeners may have difficulty understanding what is being said. A similar confusion may arise due to improper sentence structure or unusual rates of speech. W These factors can all hamper career progress, affect the company’s communications and productivity, as well as customer relations and sales. Our experience working with IEPs shows that the best way to improve business speaking skills is through the concerted efforts of both those individuals and the organization. Here are 10 practical tips for both to consider adopting: Five tips for organizations: 1. Create a supportive and safe environment for the practice of public speaking skills. English is a complex language, and learning it can be intimidating. Public speaking for an ESL (English as a Second Language) person can be scary—when all of their “inadequacies” will be revealed in a public forum. Encourage employees to step out of their comfort zones. Support interactions between first language and second language English speakers; organize parties and activities so employees can talk more freely about topics 2. 22 J u l y / A u g u s t 2 0 1 2 HR P R OF E S S I ON A L

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HR Professional - July/August 2012

Editor's Letter
Leadership Matters
The End of Reviews as We Know Them
Coaching: Blazing Your Own Trail
Mentoring the Future
HR 101
Interview with an HR Hero: Sheila Rider
Off The Shelf
Technology & Privacy
The Last Word

HR Professional - July/August 2012