No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Speaking and listening exercises to use with an overseas employee


I have been asked to deliver additional training to a lady who works in a Call Centre who is not a native English Speaker.  She is struggling to relay her message accross to our Customers.  She can also sound quite blunt and we have had a few complaints from Customers and now she wil always try to transfer the call to a Team Leader.  I would be most grateful if you have has any previous experience or speaking /listening exercises that you have used before in a similar situation to drop me a line with your ideas.

4 Responses

  1. Speaking and listening exercises to use with an overseas employe

    I would use a coaching approach to increase the lady’s self awareness with a view to raising her confidence and her skills – asking a series of questions: what is she trying to convey to clients?

    how does she want to come across?

    how she would like to be spoken to?

    etc and working with her responses.  This will give you both an insight into her thinking as well as tools to start to improve her skills.  Happy to discuss in more detail if you want to contact me directly.

    Karen Greenwood (Executive coach and OD consultant) [email protected]

  2. English as a foreign language

    I have a little experience of teaching English for speakers of other languages and I’m not sure I’d quite agree with Karen’s suggestions.  You don’t say the way in which she is struggling to relay her message – is it her vocabulary, her grammar or her pronunciation that’s a problem? Each of those would involve a different approach.  

    As for sounding blunt, in my experience this often happens because English contains an awful lot of niceties which often don’t translate directly from other languages – for instance, we’re one of the few countries where someone will apologise to you if you stand on their foot!  

    If you could provide a little more information, I’d be happy to help – feel free to drop me a line. 

  3. The cultural implications

    To follow up on Steve’s reply, this person’s cultural background can be coming into play. In some countries, it is very acceptable to be direct. In the UK, that doesn’t happen as much and understatement is often used in communication. An example. In one country I lived in, it was acceptable to say a very swift goodbye at the end of a phone call and you hung up. A very quick end. In the UK, people often say goodbye 3-5 times at the end of the phone call. The end is longer. If I were to do the former here in the UK, I might be perceived as a bit rude. But in my mind I would be doing something that is completely normal to me.

    So what can you do. Keep the cultural implication in mind when working with employees from other countries. Find out where this person is coming from, what is going on with her when she responds to customers, giving balanced feedback and supporting her to make changes. It may end up being a series of conversations rather than training.

    11+ years in the UK and still learning the art of understatement,



  4. English is a difficult langauge to learn

    English is a difficult langauge to learn, I’ve heard its harder to learn than Chinese. I don’t have SKYPE or MSN but I do have instant messenger, I am a college graduate English major but would be happy to help you with the basics of verbs and vocabulary.

    I was an exchange student to Italy when I was in high school and I found the easiest way for me to learn the language was to watch TV shows in Italian that I was already familiar with (like Friends) and watch movies I knew alot of the words to. If you have any movies you like in your home language, go buy the English version and watch it a few times. You will pick up on vocab words and sentence structure if you pay attention.

    Atty. Diana Dupree, Tampa injury lawyer

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!