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    Welcome to Authentic Journeys - ഓതെന്റിക് ജെർനീയ്സ് - US-India Cross-Cultural Training

January 7, 2021

3 Tips to Speak Confidently in English in Virtual Meetings

Most likely, you're a non-native English speaker looking for strategies that you can apply to communicate more effectively with confidence in a virtual business environment, is that correct?

Well, I hope so, because you have come to the right place. I'm Jennifer Kumar from Authentic Journeys, and I'd like to share three strategies with you that you can apply today to communicate with more confidence and clarity in virtual business environments with native English speakers from any country. Although, I specialize in helping you work with your counterparts in the U.S. In this video, I'm going to talk about those three points. I'm going to list the points first, then I'm going to elaborate on each of the points, and then I'm going to summarize this video.

3 Tips to Speak Confidently in English in Virtual Meetings

  1. Prepare in advance
  2. Speak clearly and articulately 
  3. Breathe and listen
Watch and listen below. Follow the script underneath if you are getting used to the American Accent.

[00:00:58] Are you a service provider providing a service to a U.S. client? Well, this puts you in a very unique position because you can prepare more things in advance.

Strategy 1: Prepare in Advance
[00:01:14] You should be driving the engagement.

[00:01:16] You should be the one scheduling the meetings, sending the meeting invite, setting the agenda and coordinating and facilitating the discussion in the meetings. If you're not doing this as a service provider to a U.S. client, we can help you change that around because that will allow your team to set a better, more trusting relationship with your U.S. client. Now, let's say you're not a service provider or you're not coordinating a meeting, but you're just coming in to a meeting and you need to discuss points. You need to discuss your status update or some other information during that meeting. Well, regardless if you're the meeting facilitator or not, you can do a few other things to help you to prepare in advance.

[00:02:09] One is you do know some of the things you need to discuss. Take a few notes, write it down. In a virtual meeting, the good thing is nobody sees that you have any notes. See, I have some Post-it notes here. You can have your Post-it notes on the side. Nobody will even know. Also, beforehand you can practice by talking into your voice recorder and then listening back for your pacing. And- are you talking too fast or are you talking too slow? You can listen to yourself so you can be prepared. Now, when you have your Post-it notes or your notes around your laptop, on one hand, one side, you can put your... your outline like I have my three points today, prepare in advance, speak clearly and articulately and breathe and listen. I have it right here. Right. It's easy. I can't... I don't really have to memorize anything and nobody knows because we're in a virtual environment. So, hey, why not right? And then on the other side of your screen, you can list some words that you would like to try to insert into your conversation or into your talking points. You can also have another notepad ready to write down some phrases and words that are said by your native English speaking counterparts that you want to look up later.

[00:03:29] If you don't understand a word or phrase, the best thing to do is ...when it's your turn to speak, you can summarize what you have understood and then ask for clarity around what you missed. So you're not asking them to repeat anything nobody likes to be asked to repeat. So this is point number one to prepare in advance.

Strategy 2: Speak clearly and articulately 
[00:03:52] Number two is to speak clearly and articulately, like what I'm trying to do. We don't want to speak too fast and we don't want to speak too slow. Again, your recording device, what can you do? Write down a couple sentences and then try to see them at various speeds. 

For example, in my spare time, I like to go on hikes, walks and go swimming. That's pretty slow. We don't want to talk this slow. 

So then we take it that same sentence or a similar sentence and say a little bit faster. In my spare time, I like to go hiking, ride bikes and go for walks. Then we try to say it really fast. In my spare time, I like to go for walks, ride bikes and go swimming. I don't really like to talk that fast. That's really fast for me, although some people talk much faster.

[00:04:42] So then when you listen back, you can start kind of hearing your pacing, your speed and then you can try to slow yourself down. There are strategies to do that, which I can't really go into in depth in this video (check here). But, this strategy alone has helped some people by just recording and listening back or you can even just record your normal meetings, your voice, only because of confidentiality, obviously, and you can listen back to your own presentation voice, how does that sound? Then you can analyze it and try to tweak it and improve it for your next meeting.

[00:05:21] The basic thing is we're not telling you or suggesting that you have to get rid of an accent necessarily because everyone has one. I have an accent. You have an accent, right? Everyone has an accent. The the thing that we need to do is be able to communicate effectively. So we need to articulate clearly and we have to use the right vocabulary and we have to use our industry specific vocabulary to be taking... taken more seriously and with more authority. So that's the second point. To speak clearly and articulately.

Strategy 3: Breathe and Listen
[00:05:57] And, the last point is to breathe and listen, breathe and listen. What do I mean by that? Well, I'm breathing while I'm talking here.

[00:06:07] I'm not speaking too fast. We want to say only a certain amount of words in each breath. And we want to ensure that we're pacing based on the punctuation, as if we were writing out what we were saying. So where we have commas, where we have full stops or periods or exclamation marks or question marks, we're pausing at different lengths of time for each of these... these punctuation marks. Of course, I don't have to do any listening here because I'm the only one here in this particular video.

[00:06:39] But you want to listen. When I say breathe and listen, it's not just breathe before you talk or breathe while you talk. Breathe from your abdomen so you get that dampness of English when you speak the resonance in your voice, you don't want to speak from here because if you speak from here, you can then talk really fast is another way to try to speak fast that's why you really can't speak fast when I'm speaking from my abdomen, for example. But we want to really listen with intention when we.... when the others are speaking, when the native speakers of English, our colleagues are speaking, try not to worry about what we're going to say next or that we won't understand their accent. All of those thoughts actually get in the way of true listening. So I always suggest to stop talking and stop thinking, to listen better. And there's a lot of other awareness strategies we can envelope or wrap around that, but I don't have enough time to go into all of those during this video. Breathe and listen. Very important. You want to have your awareness up so that you can be ready to respond appropriately to what is actually being discussed. Because sometimes if we're thinking about other things, then what the person we are talking with is saying when it's our turn to talk, we suddenly, as we say in American English, are like a deer in headlights.. we are just stunned. We stop.

[00:08:09] It's OK to pause. A lot of people I coach say, hey, Jennifer, when I pause, does it sound like it's too long of a pause? Because... because native speakers just speak real fast. Native speakers have to take a pause sometimes, too, before they speak or while they're speaking to gather their thoughts. And most of the individuals I coach are intermediate to high level English learners. And most of the time their pauses are not too.....  they don't feel very out of place. It depends on how you're pacing yourself again. One way you can improve this is by listening to a lot of American English or North American English programs. I suggest radio. You can stream radio, especially U.S. morning time, morning radio programs. Why? Why this specific thing? Because it's unscripted. Most other things are scripted. TV shows are scripted, movies are scripted. Radio morning shows are not scripted. Yes, they will speak fast.

[00:09:18] But I suggested this to several professionals in Bangalore to do. Now,  anyone who knows about Bangalore, especially before the lockdowns, the traffic was horrendous. People would be stuck in traffic at a minimum of one hour to get to any place for going to work. So they would passively listen to these radio shows. Passive means just you're not really active. You're not really putting all your effort into listening to every single word. And that passive listening just two hours a day improved so many professionals' ability to listen to their Native American English speaking counterparts, sometimes by one hundred and fifty percent. I would I would be so impressed, not just in the understanding of what was being said, but other types of conversational interaction behaviors like when is it OK to interrupt or how do I know when it's my turn to talk? All of that was answered by passively listening to these radio shows.

[00:10:20] I know this video has become very long. So now I'm going to go into the summary in this session or this video. We've talked about the three points that you can apply to comfort more confidently communicate with your native English speaking counterparts, prepare in advance, speak clearly and articulately and breathe and listen. As I'm summarizing this, one more point I need to add that's really important is did you notice how I structured my presentation? I had an opening like an introduction where I told you about what I was going to talk about. And then I summarized the three points I was going to talk about and then I went into each point one by one.

[00:11:08] And then I went into the conclusion, this is how you should organize your presentations when working with North Americans. Every culture has their own approach to understanding how a message is delivered. With North Americans it has to be very linear where you have an introduction, you have your three main supporting points. If you have more than three, then you have to coordinate those under three main headers, just like what I did. If you were to actually write out the outline of what I had said, you would know that there are three main points, along with several supporting points under each of the three main headers. And then you have to wrap up your presentation with a conclusion.

[00:11:51] I hope this was helpful. If you'd like more information, you can get in touch with me through authenticjourneys.info. You can WhatsApp me. I have an India WhatsApp number plus nine one nine five three nine three four seven five two nine. And a U.S. phone number. You can call me on country code plus one three eight five two one eight zero nine four seven.

[00:12:20] Thank you so much for listening, especially if you've got all the way to the very end. I hope it can be in touch. See you later. Bye.

January 2, 2021

New Year Wishes in 40 Languages

Thanks to my Facebook and professional online networks, I have compiled the following list of global new year greetings! 

In each line take note: 
The name of the language: The greeting in that language. Words in parenthesis (...) are the required transliterations for any scripts that aren't Roman. Blue bolded word are the translations. 

If there is no translation, the translation is "Happy New Year." 

New year wishes from different cultures.

Almost 50 Ways to Say Happy New Year in World Languages
  1. Afrikaans: Voorspoedige Nuwejaar
  2. Afrikaans: Ek wens u en u gesin 'n geseënde Nuwe Jaar vir 2021! I wish you and your family a blessed New Year for 2021 I wish you and your family a blessed New Year for 2021.
  3. Arabic: سنة سعيدة (sunat saeida) Happy year.
  4. Arabic: كل سنة وأنت طيب (kl sanat wa'ant tayib – for males) Each year and you’re good.
  5. Arabic: كل سنة وأنتِ طيبة (Koll sana wenty tayeba – for females) Each year and you’re good.
  6. Armenian: Շնորհավոր Ամանոր (Shnorhavor Amanor)
  7. Armenian: Նոր տարիv (Nor tari) New Year!
  8. Bulgarian: Честита Нова Година! (Chestita Nova Godina!) 
  9. Chinese: 新年快乐 (xin nian kuai le) 
  10. Czech: Šťastný Nový Rok 
  11. Danish: Godt Nytår! Good New Year!
  12. Dutch: Gelukkig nieuwjaar! 
  13. French: Bonne année!
  14. German: Guter Rutsch! Have a good slide. (Used on New Year’s Eve.)
  15. German: Ein gutes neues Jahr! Wishing you a happy new year!
  16. Greek: Καλή χρονιά κι ευτυχισμένος ο καινούριος χρόνος (Kalí chroniá kai eftychisménos o kainoúrios chrónos) A good and happy new year.
  17. Hellenic: Καλη χρονια
  18. Greek: Χρόνια Πολλά (Xronia Polla) Many years!
  19. Hindi: नव वर्ष की शुभकामनाएँ (Nav varsh ki shubhkaamnaein)
  20. Hindi: आप को नए साल की,बोहोत शुभ कामनाएं और मुबारक. आप का साल मंगल मय हो. (Aap ko naye saal ki,bohot shubh kamnaye aur mubarak. Aap ka saal mangal maye ho.) Wishing you a very happy new year. May your year be auspicious.
  21. Indonesian: Selamat tahun baru.
  22. Italain: Felice anno nuovo.
  23. Italian: Bonne santé. Good health.
  24. Italian: Buon Anno a tutti! A happy new year to all!
  25. Japanese: 明けましておめでとうございます (akemasiteomedetogozaimasu) A proper way of saying happy new year.
  26. Japanese: あけおめ (akeome ) How millennials say happy new year.
  27. Kannada: ಹೊಸ ವರ್ಷದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು (Hosa varShada shubhAshayagaLu) Good wishes for the new year.
  28. Klingon: DIS chu' DatIvjaj!
  29. Korean: 새해 복 많이 받으세요! (saehae bog manh-i bad-euseyo!) Best wishes for a happy new year.
  30. Latvian: Laimīgu Jauno Gadu!
  31. Macedonian: Среќна Нова Година и Честит Божиќ! (Sreḱna Nova Godina i Čestit Božiḱ!) Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!
  32. Malayalam: പുതു വർഷ ആശംസകൾ (Pudhu varsha Asamshagal)
  33. Morse code: .... .- .--. .--. -.-- / -. . .-- / -.-- . .- .-.
  34. Polish: Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku. 
  35. Portugese: Feliz año nuevo.
  36. Português: Os melhores desejos para 2021! Best wishes for 2021! 
  37. Romanian: Un an nou fericit!
  38. Russian: С Новым Годом! (S Novym Godom!) Congrats with a New Year and happiness that it brings with it.
  39. Serbian: Srećna Nova godina!
  40. Spanish: ¡Feliz año nuevo!
  41. Spanish: Les deseo un feliz y próspero año nuevo. Wish you a happy and prosperous new year.
  42. Swedish: gott nytt år
  43. Tagalog/Filipino: Manigong Bagong Taon!
  44. Tamil: புத்தாண்டு நல் வாழ்த்துகள் (putthandu nal vazhthukkal)
  45. Telugu: నూతన సంవత్సర శుభాకాంక్షలు (Nuthana Samvatsara Shubakankshalu) New year best wishes.
  46. Turkish: Mutlu yılla. Happy Years.
  47. Tswana: Wa ga mosha
  48. Visaya: Maayong Bag-ong tuig!
  49. Xosha: Ndikunqwenelela uNyaka oMnandi wonyaka! I wish you a happy New Year.
While many cultures may observe or celebrate the New Year on January 1 every year as per the Gregorian calendar, there are many other cultures which celebrate local ethnic New Year celebrations as per their [solar] calendar. 

Author Jennifer Kumar provides online live training programs to your international teams working with US Americans. If your team requires cultural and linguistic assistance to lead teams more effectively with US Americans, get in touch with us to see how we can help your team today. 

Related Posts:
#stayathome Hashtag in Different Languages

December 20, 2020

Checklist to Self-Edit Your Writing

Checklist to Self-Edit Emails: 

  1. Capitalize the letter I on it's own. 
  2. Capitalize the first letter of every sentence. 
  3. Capitalize the first letter of proper nouns (names, company names, your job title, days of the week, month names, country and city names, etc.). 
  4. Ensure there is a punctuation mark (full stop/period, question mark, exclamation mark) at the end of every statement.
  5. Ensure there is no space before a punctuation mark (comma, full stop, question mark). 
  6. Use a question mark at the end of a question. 
  7. Use an apostrophe for contractions or to show possession. 
  8. Use the correct article before required words (a/an/the). 

Let's look at some examples of the mistakes noted above.
#1 Capitalize the letter I on it's own. 
Wrong: When we meet tomorrow, i will have the demo ready.
Correct: When we meet tomorrow, I will have the demo ready.

#2 Capitalize the first letter of every sentence. 
Wrong: the website goes live tomorrow. are you ready?
Correct: The website goes live tomorrow. Are you ready?

#3 Capitalize the first letter of proper nouns. 
(names, company names, your job title, days of the week, month names, country and city names, etc.) 
Wrong: Our offices in india are located in hyderabad, indore, and kochi. The newest office in kochi opened on wednesday, june 7.
Correct: Our offices in India are located in Hyderabad, Indore, and Kochi. The newest office in Kochi opened on Wednesday, June 7.

#4 Ensure there is a punctuation mark (full stop/period, question mark, exclamation mark) at the end of every statement.
Wrong: Today I will go to the store
Correct: Today I will go to the store.

#5 Ensure there is no space before a punctuation mark. 
Wrong: We need to plan the kickoff meeting . Should I invite Jacob , Prema ,and Yash ?
Correct: We need to plan the kickoff meeting. Should I invite Jacob, Prema, and Yash?

Note: There will be a space after the punctuation mark.

#6 Use a question mark at the end of a question. 
Wrong: Can we meet tomorrow.  (incorrect punctuation mark)
Wrong: Can we meet tomorrow.  (lacking punctuation mark)

#7 Use an apostrophe for contractions or to show possession. 
Wrong: Lets go out of station for the weekend.
Correct: Let's go out of station for the weekend.

Note: It may be better to write out contractions to avoid this mistake. 
(Let us go out of station for the weekend.)

Wrong: This was Rithikas house.
Correct: This was Rithika's house.

Wrong: The mans name was Ronald. 
Correct: The man's name was Ronald.

#8 Use the correct article before required words (a/an/the) 
Wrong: I need to write an user story.
Correct: I need to write a user story. (or) I need to write the user story.

Wrong: Sam will join meeting 10 minutes late.
Correct: Sam will join the meeting 10 minutes late.

Author, Jennifer Kumar provides live online and asynchronous email writing courses to non-native English speakers working with US clients. This checklist was created based on the top mistakes made by a majority of the participants in our programs. Refer to this checklist to double check your writing before hitting send. For more on our email writing course, check out the course page or contact us today. Our program is available for individuals and teams.

December 15, 2020

10 Ways Native Speakers Can Be Understood by Non-Native Speakers

"But..." says the native speaker....."my colleague is fluent in "my" language, so we are speaking the same language." 

But, are we, really? 

Is American English the same as UK English? Is Indian English the same as Filipino English? Or, is the English spoken in Ghana or South Africa the same as the English spoken in New Zealand?

Is the Spanish spoken in Spain the same as Mexican Spanish, Moroccan Spanish or even Chilean Spanish?

Is the French spoken in France the same as the French spoken in Montreal or Benin? 

Is the Tamil spoken in Sri Lanka the same as the Tamil spoken in Tamil Nadu (India) or Malaysia or Singapore? 

Is the Arabic spoken in Qatar the same as the Arabic spoken in Somalia or Egypt? 

We can easily answer no to these questions. From personal work experience, as I have worked with clients from most of these backgrounds, I can also easily say these languages have their own nuances (intonation, pacing, accent), cultural implications and sometimes even grammatical differences. 

While there are several "mega languages" or languages that are spoken widely in various countries, we will look at how to "globalize" our mother tongue to make it more understandable to non-native speakers (as well as maybe those who do speak "the same language" but are from another region). 

Would you like to be more inclusive in how you approach those who speak "your language" in a different way, with different cultural implications, pacing, accent, and maybe grammar? The tips below will go a long way in building more trusting, collaborative international business relationships that will lead to more productive discussions. If you feel you are always at a loss to build understanding, applying any of the tips here will work wonders (I know from experience). 

Strategies to Improve Conversational Fluency with Non-Native Speakers

Slow down 
It is important to sound natural. When I moved to India, one of the first things everyone told me, even native English speakers of India, was to slow down. But, I did not want to sound like a robot so what I did was practice saying the same thing in different speeds - robot slow, medium, and fast pace. I'd record it and listen back to find a suitable slower pace that sounded natural and wasn't too slow (this also helps maintain a good pace in mixed groups with non-native and native speakers). This works wonders, because, many I coach to this day tell me that, "Wow I have no problem in understanding you, a person I just talked with once or twice, but I still can't understand my US client, who I have been talking with for months!" (Of course much more may go into that dynamic, but pacing is surely an important aspect.)

Use basic vocabulary and keep it simple    
Stay away from idioms and slang that are not understood outside of your region or country. Avoid too many corporate jargon or acronyms. It is also important to keep in mind that industry terminology is not always international. 

Listen actively  
Don't only listen with your ears! Use your eyes to listen to your conversational partners or audience, not just your ears. How are they reacting to you? Do you think they are understanding you? 

When possible, especially in virtual meetings, turn on the video, if not for the entire conversation, for the critical elements. Non-native speakers may appreciate and improve their conversational fluency with more context - which includes seeing you, your body language, facial expressions and other non-verbal cues.

Avoid Repeating or Raising Your Volume 
Repeating word for word may offend those who can understand you (and your accent). Maybe they do not use English in the same way, they may require a rephrasing of what you said to understand you better. And, saying it louder is problematic, as well. Another approach may be to ask for clarity around what you said. Do note, that in some cultures, when you ask for clarity, your conversational partner may repeat back word for word what you just said. It takes some give and take to encourage a conversational culture of speaking from their own voice. It may not have been something they grew up doing, even if they grew up attending an [English] medium school. 

Expect a delayed reaction 
While we may need to consider internet connection speed as one possible reason for a delay, another reason you may experience a delay in interacting with a non-native speaker is that they they may be taking time to process what you said and respond. Especially if it's a voice only meeting, the lack of non-verbal cues can slow down response times for some.

Additionally, many non-native speakers may be translating between two or more languages. While initially, as a native speaker, it may feel like ages to wait for a response, and we may get inpatient, over time (sometimes within weeks or months depending on your frequency of interaction), you will see a decrease in this delayed reaction. As you give space for the non-native speaker to answer (in addition to using video), you are also helping them to be more confident with you. 

Do NOT speak louder.
It is not that someone did not hear you, but it also takes time to process everything that is being said, especially if they are not thinking in English, or they are thinking in multiple languages. For some in some cultures, if the information is repeated with a higher volume, the tone may change, which could be interpreted as shouting, which may not be interpreted in a collaborative way. (Keeping this in mind, it's important to note that some of your international colleagues may speak in a lower volume, as this is their natural speaking volume.) 

Be careful with telling jokes. 
Jokes do not always translate well between cultures or even subcultures in the same country. Jokes may not be understood the same way outside of your corporate culture or professional network. Keep this in mind when trying to lighten the mood.

Use visual aids. 
In addition to turning on the video (as bandwidth allows), the use of visual aids can help us to demonstrate different kinds of points. We can integrate images via screen share, videos on YouTube, or other sources. In addition, when we do use our video, our body language will be used to demonstrate or emphasize points, just as we would do in "in person" situations. Because we all have different bandwidth, there may be times only one person or several people have their videos on. In many cases, the ideal would be for the presenter at the time to have his or her video on to provide that non-verbal context to add flavor to the talking points. Go to this post if you are looking for more tips on how to effectively deliver sitting presentations or virtual presentations. 

Keep in mind that when body language is used as a visual aid, some gestures may not translate the same way from country to country. Additionally, try to ensure your visual aids are culturally relevant and not culturally offensive in any way. This may also be the case if emojis are used in the chat box as responses. It may be a better idea to assign a "rating" to an emoji, then use it as a response. Recently, we learned in some cultures, even the smily face could have multiple interpretations that do not mean "happy," and in some cases, mean the exact opposite of "happy."

Whenever possible, use local examples. 
Bands and celebrities do this very well. When they greet their audience, they say "Hi + city name of the city they are in." Do not use irrelevant stories to the national, corporate or local culture. This may take some research. presenting irrelevant stories or examples will disconnect your audience. They will no longer relate to you, and may lose interest in listening to you. This is especially true if you are speaking to English as Second Language speakers who may be trying to understand your accent and at the same time trying to comprehend an irrelevant story. While this type of example relates more to one-off presentations or speeches, if you meet regularly with the same international colleagues, try to learn their culture and use analogies that may relate to all colleagues  rather than just local examples to your culture or country.

Be humble, be open to learning and changing
As we gain awareness about where we may not be communicating clearly, we can try to ask our business colleagues what we can do different to be understood more clearly. Are we speaking too fast? Does our colleague think we use too many idioms or slangs? Do we give the impression we expect a lightening fast response?

Depending on the which national culture our business partner identifies with, their comfort level in "casual or small talk" (conversation that is not directly related to the technical aspects of their job), and other factors, they not feel comfortable to answer. But, I would surmise even asking these questions builds a new level of trust and friendship that wasn't there previously. It will help build your business and integrity when working with international stakeholders tremendously, I guarantee it.

A book on intercultural leadershipApplying these tips will help you speak "transcultural English." Any language can become "transcultural" by applying any of the above tips. For instance, I have coached Malayalam and Hindi speakers on these very same tips, which they have applied to speaking Malayalam and/or Hindi to speakers from various regions of India or the world. They reported back to me that once they applied these tips to their Hindi or Malayalam presentations in different parts of India, they were able to engage their audience with more ease and even get more clients and more sales!  

Many of the tips in this article are based on advice given in the book Transactional Leadership by Carmen Vazquez (Author), George F Simons (Author), Philip R Harris (Author). 

Jennifer Kumar, author of this post has coached and trained almost 4,000 international business professionals to work with more efficiency across global boundaries. Contact us for more details on how we can help you! 

Original post date: 11/15, updated 3 and 12/2020

November 11, 2020

SEO Guide for Small Business

Have you ever wondered what is SEO? 
Do you want to know why it is important for a business?

  SEO Guide for Small Business

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It helps increase the quality and quantity of organic traffic to a website through search results. In simple terms, SEO makes a website more 'attractive' to the search engine. SEO boosts the visibility and searchability of a website making it easier to be found. 

How do search engines work?

Search Engines have 'spiders' or 'bots' (small pieces of codes) that scan or crawl your website. These spiders gather information about your website which they then save in databases. When someone searches for content similar to that found on your website, the search engine retrieves that information from the database and shows it to the searcher. 

The information gathered by the spiders helps the search engine understand what the website is about. This makes it easier for the search engine to deliver relevant content to the searcher.  

If I had SEO done for my website when I developed it, why do I need to do it again?

Conducting a SEO audit on a website, is like going to the doctor for a well visit. You go for an annual physical to the doctor, just to make sure your body is functioning as it should. Similarly, you have a SEO audit done on a website to make sure it is working as intended.  

In the online world, change is constant. Search algorithms change, Google rolls out upgrades round the year, newer devices are connected online every day, more websites are developed daily, more people sign up online and start using the internet. Sometimes all this change may adversely affect your website’s performance causing it to break, slow down or not show up in a search. To avoid that, it is recommended that every business should have an annual SEO audit done for their business website.

You have a SEO audit done, what next?

Once you have identified the problem areas that need improvement you can create an action plan to correct them. This is needed because it helps keep your website in up to date with the latest web development and ahead of the competition.

Coming back to the doctor’s visit analogy. Now that the doctor has conducted an exam and written the prescription, you need to implement the recommendations. Similarly when you get the SEO audit report, you need to have someone implement the recommendations. 

What are the benefits of SEO to a small business?

  1. Local SEO helps in increasing customer engagement - Local searches are rising. To make sure that your business shows up in a local search, it is important to list it correctly on Google. Google has made it easier for business owners to list their businesses online. This can be done using Google My Business. Google My Business is a free tool provided by Google which can help business owners create a business listing on Google, gain visibility on search and maps leading to increased customer engagement. 
  2. SEO helps increase visibility and brand awarenessSEO helps your website by making it easier to be found in search results. 
  3. SEO increases organic traffic - Organic traffic means the traffic you do not have to pay for. As your website becomes easier to find a search, the chances that more people will visit your website increase. This increase in traffic is good for the website.
  4. SEO leads to good User Experience - One of the areas an SEO audit checks a website for is responsive design. A website is said to have responsive design when the website adjusts smoothly to various screen sizes. When a website is viewed on a mobile or on the screen of a handheld device, the contents of the website should be easy to read. These websites are also known as mobile friendly websites. As the use of mobile devices increases, so does the need of mobile friendly websites. The easier to read a website is on a mobile device, the more likely a user is going to visit the site or read the site and its contents. 


The article aims to explain SEO and its benefits to small businesses. SEO is not a short term fix, but rather a long term strategy that takes months of dedicated hard work to bring results.

We would love to hear from you! You could reach the author of this article Anandi Merchant with questions about SEO and digital marketing.

To get a free SEO audit done for your website, click here.

Anandi has helped us at Authentic Journeys with SEO Audits, which have helped us with organic search results. See some of the SEO achievements we have noticed in 2020: 

Thank you for your guest post, Anandi. Take a look at the Top 7 Guest Blogs of All Time here on Authentic Journeys.

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Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.