The Importance of CEOs Speaking English with Feeling
As a non-native English speaking CEO, it can be challenging to speak English with feeling. It is important to remember that communication is key to the success of any team. While it is essential to focus on improving your English language skills, learning how to deliver your message clearly is equally crucial.
Effective communication is about more than just using the right words or grammar. It’s about understanding your audience, adapting your message to fit the situation, and being clear and concise. These skills can be learned and improved upon, regardless of your level of English proficiency.
In a business setting, it is especially important to clearly convey your thoughts and ideas to your team. By thinking about the best way to deliver your message, you can ensure that your team understands your instructions and can work effectively towards your goals. This can lead to increased productivity and success for your company.
So don’t be discouraged if your English skills are not perfect. Instead, focus on learning how to effectively communicate your message. As you continue to practice and improve, your English will naturally get better over time. It must be remembered that investing in this crucial skill can set yourself and your team up for success.
Why is it a Challenge for International CEOS to clearly communicate?
There are several reasons why non-native English speaking CEOs may have difficulty clearly communicating their message. These include:
- Lack of confidence in pronunciation. If you are not confident in your English skills, you may hesitate to speak up or express your thoughts fully. This can lead to misunderstandings and a lack of clarity in your communication.
- Difficulty finding the right words. Many global CEOs feel they only use simple words and cannot confidently use the same effective words they use in their native language. In this case, it is difficult to express ideas clearly. This can lead to misunderstandings or confusion among your team.
- Not able to express a feeling. Speaking without feeling makes it very difficult for your audience to completely understand your message. Being uncomfortable being able to use the right tone, pauses and emphasis will result in your messages not being communicated clearly.
According to a study published in the Journal of Business Communication, using natural tone, emphasis, and pauses is an important aspect of effective communication. The study found that speakers who used appropriate prosodic features (why can’t academics use easily understood words for the study of English instead of words like idioms, collocations, and now prosodic features??) were perceived as more competent, sincere, and influential. In contrast, those who did not use these features effectively were perceived as less credible and less persuasive.
This supports the idea that expressing your messages with feeling, using the right tone, pauses, and emphasis, is crucial for effective communication. When you are uncomfortable or unable to use these features effectively, it can result in your messages feeling flat or lacking in emotion. This can make it more difficult for your team to understand and connect with your message.
In summary, the ability to effectively use prosodic features is a critical skill for non-native English speaking CEOs to master to effectively communicate their message and lead their team.
How CEOs can speak English with feeling?
As mentioned earlier, effective communication is the key to business success. If you speak English without confidence, it is not going to have a positive impact on your stakeholders. You can improve your executive English speaking by focusing on the following three items discussed above.
It begins with pronunciation. Pronunciation is not about you. Pronunciation is 100% for the audience you are speaking to. After all, nobody enjoys working on pronunciation. Speak out loud. Get feedback from pronunciation tools such as an executive business English coach or an AI-based pronunciation tool like ELSA Speak. Becoming confident in your pronunciation is one step in delivering your message clearly.
Second, it is about finding the right words naturally.
Focus on building your executive business English vocabulary with words, terms, and phrases that a business leader would use. Reading relevant articles or books, listening to executive business podcasts, and watching leadership videos will help you identify words normally used by a CEO.
The key is to be able to find the transcripts for the podcasts and videos. Here is a video that explains how to find these transcripts.
After you feel confident in your pronunciation and vocabulary, you can then focus on the essential final step of being able to speak with feeling. English is a language that benefits from using emotions when speaking.
To speak with feeling, a CEO can do the following.
- Use podcasts and videos to find a good speaking model. Listen to different speakers and find those that use feeling in their speaking. Use the video from earlier in this article and find the transcripts. Then practice one sentence at a time and begin to feel yourself speak with feeling.
- Record Yourself Speaking. Learning to speak with feeling doesn’t happen by studying. It happens through practice. No one enjoys listening to themselves speak. But practice speaking out loud daily and recording yourself for 30 – 60 seconds. Listen to the recording and see where you can improve. You can use the model speakers, and transcripts referenced above and record yourself speaking to experience how you sound.
- Work with an executive business English coach: A language tutor or coach can provide personalized feedback on your use of tone, intonation, and pauses. They can help you identify any specific issues and give you exercises to practice these skills. As a CEO, it can be challenging to find a tutor that can relate to you, and this article can help: How Can a CEO Find the Best Business English Coach?
By implementing these strategies and practicing consistently, you can learn to use tone, intonation, and pauses more effectively in your English speech. After all, the key to success is effective business communication. In today’s global environment, English is the international language of business. Build your English confidence and be more successful