... And how language learners do the same!
Communication styles have evolved over the past decade, and Covid19 has accelerated that trend. Efficient, straight to the point communication is a key attribute to lead conversations.
As messages and social media networks multiply and turnaround times shortens, getting to the essence of ideas is critical for professionals - and a particular challenge for language learners.
Succint replies, unifying voices!
Whether it is about capturing takeaways of a well-argued report in through an executive summary or a tweet in social media. To be read and understood, good communicators keep responses succinct.
In group meetings and videoconferences, to attract attention, influential contributors summarize and unify the most relevant thoughts expressed. By doing so, they are creating the space to bring forward their own views. Furthermore, they will decide on one thing that will really deliver value: An actionable item that people can walk away with, expressed in clear, simple language.
"Short, straight to the point statements are impactful and will be remembered, whereas long-winded answers will not. «
Expressing thoughts simply, as a language learner brings additional challenges. Communicating in a language different to one's mother tongue may be perceived as more cumbersome by the audience, sentences are longer, messages often-times diluted. The reason for this is a too narrow vocabulary and gaps in linguistic core competencies, expression and comprehension.
While language flexibility increases overtime, this is how successful language learners will sharpen communication:
1. Use automated language. Placing prebuilt, ready-to-use structures ("chunks") to summarize what has been said will give additional time to develop new thoughts. "Wie wir gesehen haben, ..." As a side effect, automated language puts speakers on solid grounds as to appropriate grammar and wording.
2. Express views and opinions. From a hesitant "I would say" to a firm "I am convinced that..." using a broad range of expressions to assess views with different intensity supports mindful, straight to the point communication.
3. Choose synonyms to summarize positions. Synonyms (words with similar or related meaning) or antonyms (opposite meaning) are a precious ally in expressing fair, just, objective, impartial and unbiased views. They enrich ideas and keep the dialog diverse and appealing.
4. Apply appropriate conjunctions to efficiently link words, sentences and ideas. The German conjunctions "daher, demnach, schließlich, sonst" are useful ties to keep messages succint and concise.
5. Stick to the basic idea. Foreign language learners have a limited vocabulary and a limited number of tools at their disposal, hence the temptation to engage in additional explanations. Replacing missing words or phrases with mother tongue expressions or asking the audience may be a better option to stay on track. In any case, good communicators keep the key idea to be expressed at the centre of their discourse, regardless of the language they use.