Since 1998, Montreal Communication Coach, Berel Weiner has been helping Quebec senior managers, consultants, coaches, professionals and business owners become stronger communicators and have more confidence and comfort in their second language. He has identified some of the main challenges business people and professionals encounter when they try to communicate in their second language. In most cases, their personality needs to be assessed and their overall mindset needs to be coached in order to reach a level where they are comfortable speaking their second language.
Berel Weiner comments, “You often have to work on the person’s mindset and assess their personality. For example, many entrepreneurs and business people are perfectionists. Perfectionists typically are very self critical regarding their speaking skills. They do not like making mistakes in front of other adults and this restricts their progress. They need to lower their standards when they are learning their second language. Young children will pick up a second language quickly because they don’t care if they make mistakes. They put themselves out there and are not embarrassed about speaking in front of other people. Perfectionists need to go through the ‘child-like’ process of making lots of mistakes and not worry about it. Once perfectionists do this, their progress accelerates rapidly.”
The American journalist, Flora Lewis once said, “Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.”
Nelson Mandella stated the importance of being comfortable in a second language when he said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
Berel adds the following, “Learning a second language is throwing yourself outside your comfort zone. You have to take risks. I have identified more than twenty difficulties a person may encounter when trying to learn a second language to a level where they are comfortable. Some of these difficulties include:
- Fear and embarrassment -feeling inferior, not at ease, insecure, lacking confidence
- Fatigue: Feeling tired, taking too much energy, exhausted, resistance, pressure,
- Hesitation: Looking for words, taking too much time.
- Thinking in mother tongue and try to speak in second language: end up translating.
- People do not correct you: So you keep repeating the same errors over and over again.
- Hybrid language: mix the two languages unconsciously. Learn to keep the two worlds separate.
- Accent and pronunciation: Learn the proper way to say things, to be understood and to sound almost the same as native speakers.
- Nuances of the language: When we understand the purpose of each verb tense, it helps us to get our message across better.
- Learning the tools of native speakers: Idioms, phrasal verbs
Traditional language courses often fail to identify these difficulties and that is why people struggle with languages. Anyone who strives to learn a second language well, may face several of these type of difficulties at the same time and a language coach will identify these difficulties and coach the person through them so then they can progress rapidly with their learning and speaking comfort level.
People who are coached through their language learning difficulties will often express great gratification with the comfort level when speaking in the second language. They feel accepted by their peers and no longer feel inadequate or insecure. Their confidence returns and they perform much better in the business and professional arenas.
To find out more about the many difficulties people encounter when learning a second language and what they can do to overcome them, visit Berel Weiner’s website at: http://www.BerelMWeiner.com.