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5 questions for a health professional about speaking in English

What do health pros say about speaking in English when it’s not their first language?

Gabi is a receptionist in a doctor’s surgery in Berlin.

  1. How do you feel about speaking in English?
    We have lots of international patients. This means when the phone rings I never know if I have to speak in English, which makes me nervous.

  2. What’s the hardest thing about speaking in English?
    Speaking on the phone is not easy. The patients are stressed, there is often noise and maybe the connection is not good. So it’s difficult, but I have to do it. I need to reassure them and help them.

  3. How do you overcome this?
    Since November I’ve been working with an English communication coach. In our FaceTime sessions we practise different situations. She shows me techniques how to speak more easily. Christina also calls me at work, like she is a patient. Then after the conversation, she sends me feedback and suggestions.

  4. What are your speaking goals?
    I want to speak in English on the phone without having butterflies in my stomach (feeling nervous).

  5. What’s your advice for others who need to speak in English?
    Find a coach who will help you with exactly what you need, not following a book but training for your situation. With practice and feedback, I’m now feeling more comfortable talking on the phone.

For more stories about speaking, see here, here, and here.

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© Christina Wielgolawski