In this series we take a close look at individual learning challenges faced by our business English students and how they collaborated with their trainer to overcome it.
This quarter, Australian trainer Diana speaks about how she helped one of her students to strengthen and apply his knowledge of anglophone business culture when interacting with native English speakers.
Cristiano*, Partner in the Financial Advisory department of a Big Four consulting company in Italy
Cristiano has an international client base and his division recently merged with the equivalent UK branch, resulting in daily interaction with native English colleagues.
Already working at a high level of English proficiency, the challenge for Cristiano was to better understand the Anglo-Saxon approach to business communication and be able to apply this knowledge to his own communication style when working with native English speakers.
Potential career implications
Why was this so important to Cristiano?
Like most finance professionals working internationally, Cristiano has experienced how cultural misunderstanding can limit (or even damage) business relationships and dealings.
Developing a strong rapport with clients and colleagues is of paramount importance in his industry, therefore being able to interpret subtle nuances and manipulate language to his advantage, has real business implications.
Cristiano has been working in the international context for many years so we’ve been working on fine-tuning his existing skill set. He’s already a confident English speaker and at this stage it’s harder to see progress, so I knew that he would really have to apply himself. But I was confident that if I delivered high-demand teaching, we could make a tangible impact on his daily interactions with his new UK colleagues and client base.
The core areas we focused on were:
- Small Talk
- Interpreting and writing nuanced emails
Over the course of our lessons, I used some of our tried and tested techniques for high level students, such as making high demand recordings, leading dynamic conversations with other students on The Grid and utilizing the Local Lowdown area of the TLG platform to compare cultural nuances.
I challenged Cristiano to imagine he was speaking with a Deloitte UK colleague, not just his English trainer, and to lead conversations on a variety of topics. He was pushed to keep me engaged by asking interesting, leading questions, and to come off as natural as possible by incorporating idioms and common English expressions into his speech.
Through the pressure of high-demand teaching activities, Cristiano built his confidence in conversing with native Anglo-Saxon speakers. So much so, that he was able to easily strike up conversations with his UK colleagues at the Deloitte Central Mediterranean Rome Event last year. Most importantly, Cristiano felt that through his hard work, he attained positive, measurable results.
*The student’s name has been changed to protect his privacy