Mastering the Art of Connection and Influence
The first session for the forth cohort of Facework Ukraine training programme took place on Thursday, 1st of February, and we met with new training participants.
We kicked off the training with our Speaking Club "Tea & Talk," where participants had the opportunity to engage in English conversations with native speakers, warming up their interest and building confidence in speaking the language.
A series of sessions started from Effective Communication on workplace session. We delved into the intricacies of British eloquence and deciphered the literal meanings of complex expressions. How can we become more attuned to the British way of communication?
With ESOL Lecturer and Employability Coach Zoryana Burmas, who conducted the session on Effective Communication, we have learned all about diplomatic language.
Understanding the British
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you comprehend all the words your conversation partner is saying, yet struggle to grasp the meaning? For example, what do they truly mean when they say, "Would you mind reading that document through when you have a moment?" Is it "important," "urgent," or "unimportant"?
Becoming Understood by the British
On the other hand, our Ukrainian directness and frankness in communication are often perceived as rudeness and impudence by the British. How can we address this? During our sessions, we explored polite constructions and learned how to incorporate them into our communication style.
What are your challenges in English communication? - Zoryana Burmas asked a new cohort of Ukrainian participants.
Let's see what they answered:
If you have a fear about having accent and being misunderstood for native speakers, calm down. Of course, sometimes you don't understand the British people, sometimes they don't understand you. It happens. Even the British do the same. For example, Tory MP fails to understand Glaswegian accent of SNP's David Linden.
Remember, people shouldn’t feel offended if someone asks them to repeat or clarify what they have said.
What does your accent say about you? Learn more about reference models for pronunciation such as Received Pronunciation (RP) from British Council.
In English, politeness is considered to be very important. While it is ok to be direct in informal situations or with friends, it is very important not to come across as rude in formal situations or with strangers.
Requests, suggestions and questions:
We soften requests, and suggestions and questions by using past forms, continuous forms or both.
Direct: ‘Pick me up on your way to the party this evening!’
More polite: ‘I was wondering if you could give me a lift later.’
We can also make requests softer by using a negative question with a question tag. ‘You couldn’t give me a lift later, could you?’ or ‘I don’t suppose you could pick me up tonight, could you?’
How to soften your English. Improve your English speaking by learning 4 ways not to offend people by being too direct.
We use verbs like reckon, guess, feel to make your opinions less direct. You can also use vague expressions like ‘sort of’, ‘kind of’, ‘a little bit’.
Direct: 'You're too young to get married!'
More polite: 'I reckon you're a little young to be getting married!
It also helps if you make it into a question: ‘Aren’t you kind of young to be getting married?’
Giving opinions and talking about mistakes. Find out some ways you can be less direct.
Listen to the language for discussing advantages and disadvantages.
Listen to the language for giving advice and practise saying the useful phrases.
We introduce problems with verbs like seem and appear to soften them.
Direct: ‘You've made a mistake in this report!’
More polite: ‘You seem to have made a mistake here.’
You can also use these to introduce your own problems. ‘I seem to have lost those reports you wanted’.
Learn some useful expressions for dealing with problems in English in speaking skills video
Listen to the language for dealing with a problem and practise saying the useful phrases.
We find it really hard to say no! So instead we use tentative language to soften it.
Direct: ‘No, I'm not coming to your party this evening.’
More polite: ‘I’m not sure I'll be able to make it to your party this evening…’