The Importance of Being Understood

Posted on December 12th, 2014


Prejudice is an ugly thing, but yet it still exists in our culture. Using proper English in a business setting can be the difference between getting the job and getting shown the door. For many, having mastered proper English but having done so with a foreign accent, their frustration is extremely high. These people learn quickly that those hiring find hearing an accent is an instant turn-off, and they make the (often improper) assumption that this accent means one is uneducated and will not do a good job. The frustration for those who know they are qualified, potentially overly so, is that the person sitting across the desk has misjudged you. It is unfortunate to know this happens daily.

One of my many goals is to help those involved in the business world to feel more comfortable speaking in front of others. This could be a simple business meeting, a large presentation at a conference, or even just a phone call. When someone knows that they might struggle with the American accent, nervousness can creep in and affect the end the result of how one sounds. With our classes, confidence can be gained. In those intense moments, the tools you have learned will help you speak boldly and accurately.

In Susan E. Reed’s article, Do You Speak American?, about workers’ accent discrimination,Susan makes the point that it is up to the companies themselves to “enable their workers” so that they may be able to help their clients find solutions. Speaking with someone who is merely reading from a script with a hard-to-understand accent can infuriate the already frustrated client, in turn frustrating the worker as well. In that scenario, no one wins.

Together, you and I will create an opportunity for further communication in the business realm, and that is exciting!