Common Language Challenges

Business success relies on effective communication and international teams often using English as the common language for working collaboratively.

These teams are often not based in the same office location or are geographically dispersed across different regions. This introduces different cultural biases into the mix. Phones and tools such as Skype, Face Time or Microsoft Teams allow remote teams to communicate with each other, but they also present language challenges for effective interaction. The potential for miscommunication is high.

Man holding world in his hand. Technology is making our world smaller but the barriers to effective communication from language challenges are ever present.
Technology is making our world smaller but the barriers to effective communication from language challenges are ever present.

Challenges to effective communication

At Optima Training we are often asked to help resolve problems caused by miscommunication. In our experience, the five most common language challenges to effective communication are:

  1. The English language used in the workplace was learnt at school or college and can be old fashioned, with vocabulary that just isn’t part of everyday English.
  2. English language learning isn’t refreshed. Language is like a muscle that needs to be stretched to keep it working effectively. Speaking English regularly but without any form of coaching input may actually embed language errors and make them more difficult to overcome in the long term.
  3. Unless you are bilingual there will always be a certain amount of internal translation when moving from your native language to English. This direct translation can often result in: incorrect words being used; the real sense of what is being communicated being lost; and frustration on the part of the speaker who can find themselves wasting time while they search for the right words.
  4. Intonation, word and sentence stress. Each language has its own rise and fall which can cause difficulties if they are not applied correctly. Not using the correct stress or intonation can easily result in miscommunication. Just listen to the difference between ‘thirteen’ and ‘thirty’.
  5. Culture can have a huge impact on how people use language. Many native English speakers will rely on tone to convey their message whereas other cultures may focus more on use of words or gesture.
    Optima has developed high level business English coaching to support international teams and individuals.

How can Optima Training help?

We offer coaching online or face-to-face. We work with individuals or, where there is a common requirement, with groups of students. Your English programme is bespoke and designed to fit your requirements and the language of your workplace.

You will use a range of learning activities. This will include: recording you speaking so that you can hear the progress you make during a programme; email reviews to ensure that the language delivered exactly matches what is used in your company; building up in-house vocabulary guides for reference; and delivering presentations with trainer feedback.

It all starts with an assessment. Book a call and we will take you through a speaking assessment as well as an email language review. We will then produce an individual report that will: highlight your linguistic strengths; identify areas for development that will impact on your professional role; and advise the best language coaching solution to fit your schedule.