Regardless what industry you are in or what your business is, you are providing a product or a service that people want. Your customers are not industry experts. You are! The trick is figuring out how to communicate your products and services in terms and expressions that your ideal customers already use, meaning, it is talking like your customers think. Speaking your customer’s language means paying attention to manner and speech. Are you excessively technical in your communications where a straightforward approach would be much more effective? If your audience is technical, allow yourself to take on that voice. If you are an IT company and want to speak directly to the C-suite, you had better make the business case and speak to business ROI. Speaking your customer’s language also means not hitting them with a barrage of industry-speak in an effort to look smart. Don’t let your message get lost in a sea of buzzwords or technical jargon. We often become so accustomed with our products and services that we lose sight of the layman’s terms that our customers are using. You will earn the trust of your audience when you can communicate with them the similar way that they communicate with each other. To speak the language of your customers you’ve got to learn it and master it. Speaking.partners will help you to be better liked by your customers. Be ready to: 1. Listen Your customers may not be an expert in your business, but they’re an proficient in their own. Every business has its own lingo. Your customers approach problems from their perspective and experience. They have a way of talking about their business, their clients, and their services. Therefore, do your best to understand their language use and familiarise it to your business. How do your customers describe your products and/or services? What words and phrases do they naturally use? How do your customers refer to your competitors? How do they describe their products, services, and approach to business? A fast and effective way to gain these insights is to talk with your customers. Get nosy about their business. Find out how they approach problems. Ask them to describe how they deliver value. Ask questions and listen. As you listen take note of the words, phrases, examples, metaphors, and stories they share. This is their language. Adapt it into your own. 2. Interact You can’t learn a new language if you don’t use it. I studied Italian through university. I can conjugate verbs, but I can’t speak much of Italian. I didn’t use it. Immerse yourself in your customers’ environments. Interact with them in their terms. The more you “talk shop” with your clients the better you will become at speaking their language. Reaching your customers and connecting with them where they are is only half the battle. Once you’re there, you must speak their language too. 3. Feedback Loops Build feedback loops into your marketing. You need to pay attention if a message is working or not, and where to refine it. Follow a client meeting, fill out a survey on what worked, what didn’t work, and other qualitative details. Gather customer insights. An outbound call centre calls new customer the next night with the purpose of getting to know the previous performance, the calls help to reinforce your brand. Stay vigilant and keep asking, “Are we communicating clearly? Are we speaking in the language of our customers?” When you make the effort to be liked by your customers what you’re really doing is demonstrating your value.
I want to be able to listen in on tourists' conversations on the train
Well, to be a bit more serious, that, and to read literature in the original, watch tv without subtitles and generally have a better insight into other cultures and to have a lot of languages on my resume. Honestly, the listening (in) when native speakers are talking, and being surprised by how much I understand, really is something worth striving for!
I realize that one can get so much more out of vacations if you speak the local language and this has been a huge motivator for me ever since. Indeed, you’re less likely to miss the tram or end up paying through the nose for souvenirs, but the most striking difference you’ll recognize is that you feel like at home in new environments. Everything may seem unfamiliar, still you’ll be able to navigate your way around with help from the best guide there is — human interaction – a local partner. Try it out: speaking.partners
Multilingual people often report feeling different, even to the point of having distinct personalities in different languages.
The languages we speak shape the way that we see the world. Not only does a new language bestow new perspectives, but it also enables you to reflect on your own language and understand how it works. This is one of the things that makes acquiring further languages significantly easier.
Fun is the first reason I ever learned a language. The presence of a learning buddy and the immediacy of people’s jubilant responses to my challenges were all I needed to convince me to keep going.
Humour can surely be considered a pillar of personality and it is one of the hardest things to convey when you’re not fluent in a language.
People sometimes compensate by being a bit more slapstick and self-effacing, or becoming a little more introverted, and sometimes people say they feel liberated from inhibitions they have in their native language. Language acquisition constitutes a genuine journey of self-discovery. You may surprise yourself with sudden bursts of Mediterranean flamboyance or German directness; if you want to call yourself fluent in Italian, for example, you’ll have to master the language’s myriad gestures.
Speaking more than one language can improve your job prospects even if you don’t work in the areas of teaching, translating or proofreading. For every highly specialized language expert, there are hundreds of non-experts using a second language on a daily basis at work. While the ability to express oneself is certainly desirable, there’s room to improve one’s language skills on the stimulating environment of a foreign workplace when grammatical and lexical exactitude isn’t a necessity. Furthermore, the acquisition of a foreign language makes you a more rounded and employable candidate wherever in the world you end up planting roots.
Even if you now have your dream job in a foreign country surrounded by palm trees and happiness, it doesn’t necessarily mean you want to stop learning. Even people who have accomplished their goals and feel confident in their jobs feel the need to keep challenging their minds. Language learning is a common way to do this. Why?
Besides the obvious utility, it’s also relatively easy to fit around a hectic schedule, and if approached in the right way, it can provide those all-important mini-motivations to keep you hurtling towards new goals: the first time you correctly conjugate a verb in French without thinking, the time you guess a word through its compounds in Norwegian, or the time you subconsciously deliver an Italian gesture to accompany your words…
So… Which language are you going to learn?
Here are a few tips that can help make your Skype call much more effective:
Tip 1: Open Your Mouth!
The best way to make the most of your Skype language practice is to open your mouth and speak! Enjoy getting to know someone from the other side of the planet.
It’s amazing when you think about how technology is brings this world closer together. Thanks to this amazing software called Skype, you no longer need to travel thousands of miles to converse with a native speaker!
Tip 2: Use Video, Not Just Voice
To make sure your Skype call is as effective as possible, try to have a video call.
“Can’t I just have a voice call?” you might ask, and sure, while that is technically possible, I highly recommend you arrange a video call with your native speaker.
Over 90% of communication is nonverbal, so body language can play a big part of getting your point across, or understanding what the other person is saying.
Seeing the person also gets you used to observing cultural cues that people use when speaking in that language. How someone uses their hands or shows emotion on their face can vary from culture to culture. Seeing it first hand will give you insight into the cultural nuances of how people communicate.
Tip 3: Try the Bingo! Strategy
Another way to make the most of your call is use the “Bingo” strategy, which my partner Frank came up with. Essentially, Frank has a list of possible things to say, and plays a bingo game with himself to try and practise all the phrases on the list. If she does this, it’s Bingo! For each phrase she uses it gets ticked off the list. (You can read all about it on her 2 Week Russian language study update here.)
Tip 4: Use Technology to Your Advantage
Try recording your Skype conversation to review later on. (To do this, always get permission first from your teacher, and don't share the video unless you get permission for that, too).
If you record your session, you'll be able to look back and figure out that word you didn't understand, or watch again to remember all the words you wanted to say but didn't know how. This way, you'll be better prepared for next time.
You can also ask your teacher to incorporate Google Doc documentation, screen sharing, or other technologies into your lessons.
Tip 5: Review Your Notes After the Call
Lastly, don't close your computer the moment your Skype call ends.
Instead, spend an extra ten minutes looking back at the notes in the Skype chat box. What words did your teacher type out that you didn't know? What new phrases should you add to your study list? Were there any conversation topics that you struggled with during the conversation?
This “debriefing” time is so important to make sure that everything you just learned doesn't get lost, but gets reincorporated into your study strategy.
Now, I know that so many of you have still been procrastinating on using your languages on Skype. What's been holding you back? When will you pull the trigger?
When you attend a language school or learn a new languager, there are many benefits of having a friend or partner who speaks that native language. Learning goes far outside the classroom, and there are so many ways to progress your skills that are fun and easy. Why have a speaking partner?
You’ll have someone who can help with common mistakes. Those who have spoken the language all their lives are very familiar with the language, and can more easily identify mistakes and help you correct them.
There are so many topics you can discuss that aren’t only learning experiences, but interesting and educational. From the nation’s economy or cooking to various business topics, politics, or even football – no topic is off limits!
A speaking partner can keep things exciting. You don’t want to talk about the same things over and over again, and someone with a creative imagination can keep things fun. It’s important to have interesting or entertaining topics to discuss with your partner. From the latest movies to fashion or sports, imagine the language skills you’ll develop by scheduling regular sessions with a native English speaker!
Whether you’re a beginner or at a more intermediate or advanced stage in learning, your speaking partner is highly capable when it comes to communication and can communicate with you at any level – their patience is without boundaries, so you don’t have to feel like you’re being rushed.
Your partner’s objective should be to help you reach your goals. When you don’t understand something, your partner will explain it or give you an example. Have questions? Ask. A speaking partner will give you lots of encouragement and inspiration, making your desire to learn even greater.
You can imagine how helpful it would be to engage in communication sessions with a speaking partner, rather than someone who speaks your own language and is only a bit more skilled in that language than you are. It’s a huge benefit!
Speaking.Partners is geared toward learners of every age. Learn for your career, for general communication, or to become a Partner yourself - the possibilities are endless.