How HR Managers Should Approach an Employee who Needs Accent Reduction Training

Do you have a talented employee with poor English skills?  Do you wish you could help him or her but are afraid of coming across as insensitive or discouraging?  Here are five tips for helping your employee get the help they need:

  1. Begin by emphasizing the employee’s value to the company.  If your employee feels that they are valued, they are more likely to embrace constructive feedback.
  2. Ask the employee how they feel about their English skills.  Often, people with poor speech know they need to get better.  If your employee is capable of accurately assessing his or her deficiencies it will be easier for you to get their buy-in for training.
  3. Avoid using the phrase “accent reduction” –  the term tends to put people off.  Begin by suggesting “articulation courses” or “speech enhancement”.
  4. Make the lessons voluntary.  It’s never a good idea to force training on an employee who doesn’t want it.  Your employee will become bitter, and the training will not go well.
  5. Offer to compensate your employee for lessons.  Think about the added value your company will have when your top talent can truly express themselves in important meetings!

Madonna’s Aretha Franklin Tribute from a Public Speaking Persepctive

Madonna is getting slammed on the internet for her recent VMA appearance, a “tribute” to Aretha Franklin. Here’s a snippet:

The obvious problem is she spends a lot of time talking about herself, and not a lot about Aretha Franklin.  She has tried to clarify recently, saying that MTV asked her to “share an anecdote” about Aretha, not “give a tribute” but that hasn’t quelled the backlash.  Here’s my take; if you think that your speech has the possibility of being misconstrued, ask the organizers for a clarification!  When you take on a speaking event, it’s important to think very carefully about your material and your audience, and this is doubly true for solemn events like tributes, funerals and the like.  Madonna would have done well to ask directly if her speech was meant to be a tribute beforehand, and then tailor her speech accordingly.

What do you think about her speech?