Measuring communication skills in English

Measuring communication skills

Measuring communication skills in English 

The way you measure your English communication skills may not be accurate! In today’s multicultural workplaces, the ability to effectively communicate in English has become increasingly important. As English continues to be the lingua franca of international business and cross-cultural collaboration, using English at work has become a widespread requirement. Regardless of your native language, you are expected to be able to communicate in English. So, what way are you measuring your communications skills?

You may be a non-native English speaker using English at work, constantly trying to improve your communication skills. Languages are like that, there is always something new to learn and some area that you feel you could do even better.

The good news is that the traditional methods of evaluating communication skills no longer reflect your ability to communicate in English. Improving your English goes beyond language proficiency. In most cases, clarity and speed of communication are more important than grammatically perfect sentences. So, it’s time for a more open minded approach to assessment that considers real-world application, and an acknowledgement of the ongoing nature of developing language skills.

Goodhart’s Law states that “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”

1) Clear communication is more important than strict grammar rules

When you communicate clearly the other person understands what you are saying. While grammar is necessary to avoid confusion, there are situations where getting your message across is more important than strict grammatical correctness. For example, in business negotiations or urgent discussions, the focus is on being clear and understood. This avoids misunderstandings and facilitates timely decision making.

Non-native speakers should feel comfortable communicating without being overly concerned about making mistakes, as clarity is more important for meaningful interactions. Even so, it should be noted that it’s still important to keep a balance between clarity and grammatical accuracy. It is sometimes necessary in formal writing and professional settings where attention to detail is essential.

2) How do you measure your language skills?

Unfortunately, the metrics used to measure progress or skill level in many language learning environments can be unrealistic. The expectation of flawless grammar or a “native-like” accent may not show how much you actually can use English. Similarly, it isn’t realistic to expect you to completely understand everything at all times. But, if these are the only metrics you know, you tend to judge your own language skills based on these limited rules.

Additionally, it’s important to recognise that language learning is an ongoing process. If you only focus on perfect grammar or pronunciation, you can lose hope and stop trying to improve. Therefore, it is more beneficial to judge your progress based on your personal growth, increased fluency, and the ability to communicate thoughts and ideas.

3) Change your mindset when measuring your language skills

If you are measuring your skills based on conventional metrics, then it is likely that you often feel demotivated. Likewise, you may feel that you are never making any progress in English. Consequently, this can result in a loss of self-confidence which makes you less likely to speak up, take on new roles or responsibilities, and be proactive in the workplace. Remember, language learning is a slow process, and you should be proud of any progress you make no matter how small. You don’t have to have perfect grammar or sound like a native speaker. Instead, change your mindset and focus on being understood.

If you are working with non-native English speakers, don’t underestimate how much they will hold themselves back! This is mainly due to a lack of confidence in their own English skills. Be willing to reassure them and encourage them to speak up.

4) It’s time for a metrics and mindset reset when it comes to measuring your English communication skills!

➡ Rethink how you measure your communication skills.

➡ Consider how you bring value to the team and organisation (I bet it’s not grammar!)

➡ Make sure the goals you set for progress are realistic

At AllTalk Training, our goal is to help professionals to communicate in English with clarity and confidence. We believe nobody should hold themselves back from speaking up for fear of judgement of their accent, grammatical mistakes, or range of vocabulary. Equally important to us is creating a supportive environment where individuals can express themselves freely, without being judged. So, measuring communication skills in a different way is key. Let’s reset our mindset!

We hope this blog has been helpful. If you would like support in this area, please feel free to contact us anytime.

Have a look at some of our many courses and webinars related to the topics mentioned in this blog:

     ➡ Customised Business English Training

     ➡ Professional English Toolkit

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