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Absolutely. For years, professional development training has focused almost exclusively on how foreign nationals can improve their communication skills when speaking with their American counterparts. But does focusing on only one side of the communication street make sense? In our global workforce, wouldn’t it be better to create ways in which each of us can create more effective communication?

I believe so. That was my impetus for creating a patent-pending methodology and curriculum, code-named Building Bridges, for helping English speakers understand unfamiliar accents. Building Bridges also provides strategies to convey one’s message in ways that are more easily understood. Let’s face it: English isn’t exactly a logical language. We can look at the following example to see just how confusing English can be. In conversation, it’s common to start a sentence with the word, “who”. For example, “Who you need to talk to is someone in HR.” What? What did you say? If I were a non-native English speaker, that’s exactly how I’d reply! It doesn’t make sense to start a statement with a question word. If I’d had heard that, it would’ve put me directly into ‘I need to provide information mode’ rather than the exact opposite, ‘I’m being given information mode’.

The fact is, I don’t know anyone who likes to hear, or say, “Excuse me? Can you repeat that?” Whether you’re on the speaking, or listening, side of the equation, it’s not the best practice for relationship building. Building Bridges is being used in aviation, the Department of Defense, and in the corporate, commercial sector. It was recently featured in an AOL “Daily Finance” report. Feel free to check it out.

If you’ve had an experience you’d like to share, please reply. I’d love to hear it!