Posted by Jayne Edmonds on January 30, 2013
Gandy Associates is excited to be working with the Rotman School of Management at U of T this spring to deliver a two-day seminar for the Business Edge program.
If you don’t already know about Business Edge, I’d strongly recommend checking them out (http://rotmanexecutive.com/businessedge). They’ve added tremendous value to the IEP (Internationally Educated Professionals) sector for the past three years with a comprehensive program that helps IEPs gain promotions and move into fulfilling roles.
Gandy’s seminar, which opens the Business Edge program in early March, explores intercultural dynamics in the workplace. This session is an important part of the Business Edge curriculum, as IEPs are often stretched to understand and adapt to Canadian workplace culture. This challenge is compounded by the fact that Toronto is such a multicultural environment where a typical workplace is comprised of professionals from all across the globe – many of whom have different styles of communicating, different perspectives on hierarchy, and varied approaches to working in teams. We’ll look at these issues in depth. Moreover, we’ll equip participants with actual tools and strategies to skillfully navigate intercultural situations and to present themselves as culturally competent leaders in the Canadian labour market.
Beyond the cultural component delivered by Gandy Associates, Business Edge also offers rigorous communication training and coaching on career management and emotional intelligence. Their approach to communication training is particularly noteworthy. Since Business Edge only accepts participants with advanced English skills, the focus is not on grammar or ESL training, but instead on fostering advanced communication skills that are sought after in the today’s economy. For instance, Business Edge graduates know how to give feedback in a way that conveys a message without damaging a relationship. They know how to convey the appropriate tone and style when giving presentations, leading a meeting, or writing an email or report. And they know culturally appropriate phrasing to use when disagreeing with an idea, following up with a networking connection, or proposing an organizational change. In a labour market where communication skills can mean the difference between getting a promotion or not, IEPs cannot afford to be without these skills.
Business Edge is a tremendous program that we’re thrilled to be a part of. Sessions take place during evening and weekend hours over a six-month time frame at the University of Toronto downtown campus. If you’re interested in finding out more about it, you can contact Adam Buckley, Program Coordinator, directly at 416.978.6803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also see what Business Edge graduates and facilitators are saying about the program by checking out their YouTube Video at: http://youtu.be/we6UFK5QELo
We hope to see you or your team members at the Business Edge program in March!
Posted in Partner Programs | Tagged: Business English, communication, communication skills, corporate training, internationally trained professional, leadership | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jayne Edmonds on March 29, 2012
What ensures a corporate ESL program is successful? The answer is commitment.
Success depends on commitment from three sources:
- A company’s commitment to employee development and to creating an inclusive, welcoming workplace.
- Employees’ commitment to self-improvement and to applying new skills.
- A training provider’s commitment to offering specific, relevant and interesting programming that addresses identified needs.
Shared commitment has come together in the new Talk English Café program, offered by TD Bank in partnership with Workplace Communication Advantage (WCA), an initiative of ACCES Employment Services and Gandy Associates.
TD recognizes that employees’ English language skills are important for ensuring full participation at work and in the community. The company has demonstrated its commitment by supporting a weekly, one-hour, on-site training program for employees who speak English as their second language. The lunch-time program is offered at locations across the GTA where employees can easily attend, and where they can relax and improve their conversational skills. Supporting Talk English Café aligns the principle of welcoming diversity with the practical step of offering English communication training.
It takes energy to remember new phrases, sounds and grammatical patterns, and it takes courage to try new communication strategies, particularly in a professional setting. By regularly attending training during their lunch hour, TD employees have shown commitment to developing their English communication skills. They apply their learning in everyday interactions and, with time, report easier communication and better relationships with colleagues, managers and customers.
TD selected Workplace Communication Advantage to design and deliver Talk English Café because it’s a training provider with a proven track record of providing successful English communication courses. The idea is for participants to learn a language strategy during a lunch-hour session and be able to use it during an afternoon meeting or telephone call. Sessions target everyday workplace communication techniques such as asking for clarification, giving advice or extending a conversation. Practice centres on topics colleagues enjoy discussing, such as travel, workplace dilemmas, giving good customer service, and favourite books and movies. In addition to increasing their fluency, participants improve their pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary with the guidance of an experienced instructor and through engaging in such activities as debates, role-plays and informal conversations with fellow participants.
This shared commitment to Talk English Café equips employees with bolstered confidence in their ability to communicate, and a feeling that TD cares about their professional development. In return, TD is rewarded with employees with increased abilities to participate and contribute to its continued success.
The results are in …Talk English Café is worth the commitment.
Jayne Edmonds is Program Director at Gandy Associates
Posted in Gandy Perspective, HR's Questions | Tagged: Business English, communication skills, corporate training, training | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Rob Leonituk on May 27, 2011
This scenario is no doubt familiar: the speaker has been talking for about ten minutes and the audience has been politely listening – perhaps a little too politely. They are saying nothing and providing no feedback. The speaker begins to lose confidence in his message, his audience and himself. What’s missing? Active Listening Skills!
Active Listening Skills can erase doubt and build momentum, rapport and trust in your workplace communication.
I don’t understand vs. I understand
If English is your second language, you have likely long ago learned ways to indicate you are not able to understand someone. You rely on key phrases such as: Could you repeat that? I’m sorry, I didn’t understand. Could you please explain? Without a doubt, these expressions come in handy, but consider the problem in the scenario above. What can you, as a listener, do to boost the speaker’s confidence by showing you have understood his or her message?
Communicating that you DO understand is a leadership skill!
Participants in meetings need to communicate to the speaker that they understand what is being said. It is essential to “show you know!”
Doing this builds momentum. Others are able to flesh out ideas. The speaker is able to carry on confidently.
To communicate to your speaking partner, your team, or your clients that you are following them, try paraphrasing their words and clarifying their meaning. Here are some fantastic expressions:
- So, what you are saying is the project scope may change dramatically next week.
- Okay, are you saying the photocopier is out for repairs?
- I see. You think we ought to set a higher price point.
- So, in other words we should consider another supplier.
- What I hear you saying is the client’s needs have changed.
Think about occasions when someone has skilfully used active listening strategies with you. Perhaps a manager or team lead paraphrased your concerns over a project, or maybe a mechanic listened and clarified a problem you explained regarding your car. How did you feel?
The key to successful active listening is to vocalize your understanding. In other words, if you are in a meeting or conversation, tell the speaker and the other listeners that you are following the stream of thought.
So, in your meetings and conversations today, commit yourself to demonstrating to the speaker and the other participants that you understand the key points. SHOW YOU KNOW!
Posted in Communication Pointers | Tagged: active listening, Asking Questions, Business English, communication, communication skills, communication tips, language for leadership, leadership, making meetings work, speaking strategies | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jayne Edmonds on March 2, 2011
When thinking of joining a business English program or bringing one into your company, you might wonder how you can be sure it’s a good program. What selection criteria should you use? These are important considerations when your company wants to fully benefit from its multicultural, internationally trained workforce. To address the distinct features of workplace language training and to make the right choice, I recommend you look for satisfactory answers to the following questions:
Are the teaching materials applicable in your workplace?
English-language training is an enormous industry that primarily prepares students, tourists or business people for study or travel abroad. Textbooks usually cover such topics as writing an essay; ordering food or giving a sales presentation. However, these programs are of limited use to those working in an English-speaking environment. An optimal business English program teaches the vocabulary heard in workplace conversations. Therefore, when selecting an oral language program, check that the exercises cover such interactions as colleagues discussing a technical issue, or negotiating a work plan. For workplace writing, instead of essay preparation, look for a course that builds effective email and report writing skills.
Does the program address workplace-related communication strategies?
Workplace communication is complex. Even with fluent language skills, understanding ‘between the lines’ is challenging. Communication strategies such as finding common ground, active listening, and building rapport are valuable skills for navigating team and client dynamics. A good business English program teaches these subtle, yet powerful, communication skills. Be sure the activities include relevant role-playing activities such as persuading a team member to accept a new idea or overcoming a misunderstanding.
Will the scheduling and location ensure attendance?
A unique feature of language learning is that skills are best internalized in small chunks over an extended period of time. A program that gives participants ample opportunity for review and practice over several months will ensure the most significant learning outcomes. On-site training is ideal to ensure maximum participation and attendance among busy employees
Teaching materials, communication topics and delivery logistics are but three variables that can determine the quality of a workplace English program. Companies that have found the right Business English program will tell you it can make a significant difference in their employees’ engagement and productivity.
Tell us about your personal or company’s experience with a Business English program or ask us a question about ours by leaving a comment below.
Posted in HR's Questions | Tagged: Business English, communication skills, Human Resources, program, training | 1 Comment »