The bilingual advantage
I recently read in the New York Times about research touting the benefits of bilingualism. The research showed that speaking regularly in two languages makes brains stronger, facilitates multi-tasking, and inhibits such diseases as Alzheimer’s. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/science
Most of you reading this initial blog post are bilingual (or trilingual), so congratulations on your advantage! To quote the researcher in the article, “You’re sitting on a potential gift.”
However, in the 25+ years I’ve been training and coaching non-native English speaking professionals, I often hear people focus on the disadvantages of not being fluent in English – a strong accent that is misunderstood, an inability to influence decisions or participate in meetings or present under pressure, and frustration at not fully grasping the idiomatic and cultural English that is integral to conversations and humor at work.
This blog aims to turn those perceived disadvantages on their head – with practical communication tools and tips for speaking clearly at work. Furthermore, the blog is a forum for sharing questions, suggestions, challenges and successes, all with the goal of developing more effective speaking skills in English.
What you’ll find on my blog
Over the course of the coming weeks and months, I’ll offer tips and information to help you speak clearly and confidently at work.
· Stay current with American idioms and cultural expressions used at work and in the media – to help you grasp the subtle messages of what your colleagues are saying, and to expand your own spoken vocabulary.
· Polish your presentations and status reports with engaging openings and concise closings, winning organization, confident delivery, and behind-the-scenes strategies for succeeding in your particular high-pressured business environment.
· Learn simple tips and techniques for contributing to and leading meetings – those important venues where decisions are made, lasting impressions formed, and where your influencing skills are put to the test.
· Improve your American English pronunciation through short audio and video clips of me as I demonstrate correct diction and intonation – so that you are always understood, the first time.
Join a community of professionals
I invite you to add my blog to your RSS feed, and to follow me on Facebook Business, where I’ll announce new posts and other information related to Jolinda Osborne Intercultural Communications. Or visit my website, www.jolindaosborne.com, and sign up for my newsletter. Feel free to pass on the blog to colleagues and friends in other organizations.
Please leave your comments, questions or suggestions for blog topics, or feel free to email me. What compelling communication topic do you want to hear about?
This week’s closing communication tip
Exercise your “bilingual advantage” by joining your English-speaking colleagues for lunch in your workplace cafeteria or at a nearby restaurant.
Yes, I know it’s much more relaxing to hang out with friends and speak your native language. Yes, I know you want to “unwind” after a morning of attending meetings in English.
However, if you stretch yourself, even once this week, by sharing lunch and casual conversation in English, you’ll pick up American idiomatic expressions, and you’ll also feed your “bilingual brain!”