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Do you adapt your speaking to fit the situation?

Talking to your family and friends is different to speaking with your clients and colleagues.

We change automatically in our native language, but it’s trickier in another language.

And as Mark noted, this can cause problems at work, especially when you have to deal with a range of people and circumstances.

To come across well to your patient, client or colleague, how you speak depends on whether it’s:

  • an urgent vs a routine situation
  • someone who’s anxious vs someone’s who’s angry
  • a first encounter with someone vs someone you’re familiar with
  • a teenager vs a senior citizen
  • a native vs a non-native English speaker

And what’s your purpose?

In healthcare, explaining conditions, reassuring patients, instructing them how to take medication and giving general health advice are all different.

So what do you have to adjust?

Your choice of words, expressions and structures, such as everyday words vs jargon and how strong your modal verbs (should or must) are.

How formal your tone is: neutral polite or quite relaxed.

Plus your speaking speed.

That’s a lot to think about.

But if you want to be the most helpful when interacting at work, it’s vital to adjust how you speak.

Want to figure out how so you can perform to your potential in professional English? I can help you.

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© Christina Wielgolawski