Oct 26, 2016

Are Communication Barriers Holding Back Your Team?

Managers are vital partners in helping employees improve their English skills at work, but communication barriers could be holding your team back. Without the guidance and feedback, it is extremely difficult for coaches to design lessons that will help team members make meaningful and noticeable improvements in their English and communication. Whether the entire staff in the Tokyo office is taking English lessons or you have identified individuals at the US headquarters who are being held back because of their communication practices, management’s participation is integral to success.

According to an article by Forbes Insights on reducing the impact of language and communication barriers, “The impact of these language barriers may be significant. Asked about consequences, nearly two-thirds of respondents (67%) said that miscommunications were leading to inefficiency. More than 40% noted that miscommunication made collaboration difficult, and a similar percentage noted that productivity was lower than it should be due to language barriers.”

Some questions to think about if you are considering if a team member would benefit from language training:

  1. Have you ever given “needs to improve his/her English” feedback?
  2. Is there a strong accent that is difficult for everyone to understand?
  3. Are verbal instructions often misunderstood but not written ones?
  4. Are presentations boring – monotone voice, poor eye contact?
  5. Are presentations have poor formatting or too much detail?
  6. Is extreme discomfort obvious when speaking in front of a group?
  7. Are Q&A sessions a struggle?
  8. Do they seem to lose track when many people are talking?
  9. Do they have difficulty socializing?
  10. Are their emails full of grammatical mistakes?
  11. Are blog posts grammatically correct, but meandering?
  12. Do they share great ideas after meetings, instead of during them?
  13. Do they attempt to talk, but hesitate or speak too fast or quietly?
  14. During brainstorming sessions, do they fail to bring up ideas?
  15. When challenged, are they unable to champion their ideas?

The list can go on and on, and will be unique to each employee. Please provide specific objectives—on their performance appraisals and for their English lessons. Remember, we are often not the best judges of what communication barriers we have and what we need to improve. If you can give your staff (and their coaches) a clear roadmap, we can help them reach their destination—to become more competent and confident English speakers.

-The Lingo Live Team

Interested in reading more by Lingo Live?

Check out What Your Inclusion Efforts are Missing and Impacting Career Growth with Lingo Live.

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