Globalization in our professional world gets us working more and more with people from different nationalities. Assignees all over the world experiment how difficult it is to understand, communicate, work with collaborators from other culture. Cultural and language skills overlap each other, and sometimes it is difficult to know wether the miscommunication is due to language blind spots or lack of cultural understanding. Cross-cultural training and coaching is essential for assignees and teams to quickly reach the good level of efficiency.
Cross-cultural and language: Start here!
However, you cannot expect to be successful with your multicultural team or organization if you don’t understand each other when you speak together. Most of the time, even if the corporate language is French, Spanish or German, English is the common language for the international collaborators.
Yet, too many assignees all over the world are hindered by a bad level of English…
- Do you consider it is important to improve your legitimacy with the right level of business english?
- How do you evaluate your level of english today?
English Breeze is an English language training company in The Hague. They organize very specific workshops depending on your mother language : English blind spots for Dutch speaking people, French speaking people, or Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese… Focused on prononciation or specific pitfalls of literal translation, mixed with cultural tips, these workshops are particularly powerful to improve your credibility in English speaking.
I was looking forward to meeting Hayley Johnson, English Breeze founder in The Hague, to know better about her approach of cross-cultural skills improvement through language courses.
First of all, who are you? What is your background and how did you create English Breeze?
My name is Hayley Johnson, I am from the UK and my background is twofold; I have a masters in Sociology and Anthropology, plus I am a certified teacher of people with special needs. These two things combined gave me the drive and passion to meet people from all over the world and give them the unique treatment they deserve when trying to learn the English language. I like to celebrate differences and bring awareness of communication and relationship potential to all who are willing to learn. In this way I started English Breeze here in the Netherlands.
2. Who are the internationals you work with? What are their difficulties or needs?
I work with people who come from all over the globe. For some nationalities they need to find their own voice in English, they lose their personality when speaking English and this can be frustrating. For other nationalities they want to learn how to be more sociable in English and for others more professional. Sometimes a direct translation from one language to another can have the opposite effect we want it to have. It is this practical aspect of teaching the language that I really love. Allowing people to just speak and speak and speak until their confidence grows thanks to our guidance in accuracy and fluency.
3. What is your approach of cross-cultural skills? What are the difficulties in the organisation and for the collaborators?
Cross Culture is a very sensitive area. People are naturally proud and patriotic of their norms and values. And these things can be really shaken when they have to communicate with people from other countries. Therefore my approach is to remain sensitive and rather than insist on them changing their way, instead provide them with the information and knowledge empowering them to make a conscious decision of how they would like to communicate cross culturally. I am a big believer in that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, just different ways.
4. How can you help them and what are your different trainings?
I can help them by giving them the expressions, vocabulary and insight of English language that allows them to remain themselves professionally. The different training we offer can either be a full course including a practical grammar refresh, professional vocabulary and lots of practice. Or we offer weekend Blind Spot workshops for people who come from a specific language/country, this included typical language errors they make and also cultural self awareness. Apart from that we offer specific course options in pronunciation and writing skills for example.
5. To go further: A tip, an anecdote, an event, a special offer?
My mission with English Breeze is to help people live their lives comfortable in English language. That is why we provide a lot of social activities in English that are guided by a native speaking trainer. The best place to find these would be on our facebook page.
For readers wishing to get involved this summer I would like to offer you 25% discount on all of our courses taking place between July 3rd and August 27th. Feel free to contact us using the discount CODE:EBIG42.
The best tip is to silence the voice in your mind that tells you « you are making stupid mistakes! », keep practising and you will get there!