Companies spend a lot of money on English training these days – and the trend continues to grow as multinational companies expand globally. Small to mid-sized companies also invest massive amounts of money to train their employees to communicate with the international world. After all it is estimated that around 2 billion people speak English at a “useful” level in the world – which is essential in international business.
So English training makes sense, both as a personal investment and an internal investment for any business with contact outside of their home country. As an English trainer who works in-company, I work with this global mix on a daily basis – and one of the most common complaints I hear from busy working people is that they are having big problems understanding the native speakers of English – be they from the USA, the UK, Australia, or any of the other countries that claims English as a first language.
Well then, perhaps they need further training or more practice? Sure, we all could benefit from further practice… but is that cost efficient for a company?
What about training for those native English speakers? Not English training – though we all could use a brush up on grammar rules! Training is not the right word. What about simple “Global English Awareness” raising? We all know we should speak slower and do our best to speak clearly when speaking internationally, but there is much more to speaking “Global English” than a simple change of speed and attempt to clear up your accent.
The financial Return on Investment (ROI) of such awareness raising would be far higher than any money spent on improving the English of the international employees.
When that American businessman becomes more aware of the English he is using when speaking to his international counterparts he will have saved:
- His own time in dealing with repetitions and misunderstandings
- The foreign counterpart’s time in trying to understand
Both parties have saved time, and therefore the company has saved money. A simple “Raising Awareness Workshop” or training for those native speakers should be an integral addition to all company language training programs. Helping the native speakers become more aware of the many small details that can help them be understood quicker is worth ten times the English training given overseas.
It’s not about training the native speakers how to speak English – it is about helping them get what they want faster – a message communicated.