Speak Expressive English
Posted On: October 5, 2018
“When I can’t see their expressions, I do not know how to respond.”
This is typically said to me when I ask my clients who work on virtual teams, “What is the most difficult thing you face when speaking with your American colleagues over the phone?”
Many of my India -based clients speak English as a second language. For many, English has been segregated to academic and professional discourse. Many (or some) may not have much experience using English in daily conversation, for casual conversation or for brainstorming ideas. This mixed with a lack of interaction and understanding of American mannerisms and speech patterns, causes a lack of confidence while interacting with Americans.
Well, if we understand how Americans use their voice, stress words, vowels or use silence; we learn a lot more about the message. Cross-cultural experts may say that a majority of American’s communication is based on the words alone, being more of a direct culture. While there is no doubt that Americans do focus on words while conveying their message, the non-verbal aspect (or tone) of communication is equally or significantly more important. Since we do not have non-verbal cues to read while on a phone call, the non-verbal aspects become critical in understanding the entire message. Additionally, being able to add feeling into your message, will keep Americans more engaged in your message, interested to have a conversation with you, and help to create a pleasant working environment. Here, we look at the musical quality of English.
In this below podcast, I share with you how to reproduce a small paragraph on a travel experience. This kind of conversation could happen any day when asking someone about their vacation or their weekend; which is typical small talk among a majority of Americans. By studying this, you will not only tune your ear to these aspects of communicative English, but also have a chance to try to reproduce this yourself. Practice over and over. I challenge you to practice this, make a recording of the paragraph in the recording and send it to me to see how you’ve progressed in your accent and communication skills.
A cool path for walking and cycling near the Hoover Dam. This trail has been reconstructed from an old railway line. There are about 5 tunnels through the red rock on this about 4-5 mile trail. This photo was taken by blog owner, Jennifer Kumar in January 2020 on a cycling trip to the area.