Recently, I delivered a series of voice workshops for a manufacturing company in Leicestershire. My brief was to specifically improve communication between employees with multiple nationalities and accents. As messages needed to be understood easily to keep the production line flowing, it was essential that all the team leaders understood the science of oral communication and how to improve their own ability to speak with clarity and purpose.
So what happens when you are receiving or delivering information with an accent?
- The brain of the listener needs TIME to TRANSLATE the sounds being heard into words they understand.
- The speaker needs to be aware of how long this process takes – SLOW the delivery.
- Greater precision is needed in the formation of the speech sounds. This may require strengthening of the tongue and lip muscles.
When we learn a foreign language we also inherit the individual speech patterns of the teacher. This means that two people from, for example, Hungary who had learnt English from teachers who originally came from Canada and Wales, would sound different when speaking the same words.
There may also be a tendency to miss out some of our short linking words and this can also result in confusion.
So what are the key ways to help you achieve better communication in this work environment?
- Be prepared to LISTEN properly.
- TAKE YOUR TIME.
- Make sure your FACE can be seen as lip-reading may also aid understanding.
- OPEN THE MOUTH more to let out the sound.
- LISTEN for the correct TUNES in the English intonation to improve your abilities.
Why is this important? Well, we get annoyed when we can’t understand. We think people are not considering us enough. Most importantly – if a message is being delivered which affects the production process, it MUST be UNDERSTOOD.
Words are the start but do consider the VOICE TUNES too which give the words their precise meaning.
Consideration of this will help you:
Speak Loud & Clear!