Business English Training Boosts Teamwork at Toromont
Posted by Debbie Rose on January 24, 2012
A famous saying in English affirms, “There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all.” Many newcomers to Canada are realizing that learning English is not just about vocabulary and grammar.
Ramil is a Customer Support Centre Coordinator at Toromont, a supplier of construction equipment, power, refrigeration and process systems. His work involves coordinating all aspects of customer support including speaking with customers to assist them with any concerns or inquiries they might have. Sometimes communication has been a challenge as Ramil speaks English as second language. He was unaware of how important it is to take the time to build good relationships with customers and team members and to adjust his communication according to the needs of his listeners. In addition, not having full confidence in his ability to express himself in English, Ramil felt shy about speaking up in meetings and interacting with his colleagues.
Recently, Ramil completed Gandy’s Speaking Strategies course and he has noticed significant improvements in his communication at work. “Speaking Strategies has helped improve my confidence in all aspects of my job responsibilities,” says Ramil. Now he takes more time to analyze problems and find more effective solutions for his customers. He is much more aware of the importance of enunciating his words clearly and he is participating more confidently in meetings.
Ultimately, for Ramil, the most important of all the changes he has experienced are the improved relationships he has developed with his co-workers. “Team work has improved…My coworkers notice that I connect with them more often…I am more conscious of a healthier work environment by engaging others in small talk and applying as much as possible everything I learned from the Speaking Strategies course.”
The Speaking Strategies training took place on-site at the company in weekly two-hour sessions. Over the ten-week program, nine participants delved into ways to develop good relationships with customers and coworkers as well as ways to clearly organize and present their ideas. When asked what he liked about the course Ramil said: “I love the interaction within the class. It opened up a lot of realization in terms of understanding other cultural backgrounds … [The instructor] ensured that everybody participates. Wrong grammar and pronunciation were caught and corrected on the spot in a very professional manner.”
Toromont’s Speaking Strategies participants are delighted with the feedback they are receiving from customers and colleagues. Yi Wang shared the following: “Before I took this course I had less confidence in speaking English, particularly in public. Now I am getting better and have built the confidence to speak in English through the course… Some of my co-workers said that now I speak more slowly, clearly…”
Yi’s manager, Cecilia Levy, has also noticed a difference. “More than anything, besides what [Yi] has learned about the English language, is the confidence she feels. She seems happier, more content; she has a certain glow because she feels she’s bettering herself.”
Toromont has demonstrated its commitment to developing its culturally diverse workforce by embracing Gandy’s Business English training as an integral part of employees’ development plan. Both Yi and Ramil expressed appreciation toward their managers and Toromont for the opportunity and the support that was given to them through the Speaking Strategies course. Yi believes that Toromont, in turn, will “benefit from the training”.
Debbie Rose facilitates business communication training in the greater Toronto area for Gandy Associates.