Speaking Good English at Work

higgins
Have you ever seen the old movie My Fair Lady? There’s Professor Higgins’ song at the Covent Garden scene. This was the scene where he castigated the English people for not speaking English the way it should be spoken. It is unfair to judge a person by the way he speaks, but that is what exactly most people do. We, in Asia, are not very different.

The only difference is that we are not so much concerned with the accent as we are with grammar. We are put off by bad grammar or language that is laced with too many colloquialisms. We are also turned off by people who overuse American slangs or punctuate their sentences with four-letter words.

When someone is ungrammatical, we usually classify the speaker as being poorly educated. When local slangs are used frequently, we think that the speaker is from a lower social class. On the other hand, someone who speaks grammatically correct sentences and uses the exact words to state precisely what he means, impresses us as being educated and well read.

The executive who wants his bosses to notice him should be more than just capable of stringing two words to make a sentence. When one can use a language well, one is able to communicate well. If he has difficulties making himself understood, how can he be trusted to lead other?

There is only one way of improving one’s English—by reading widely. This is not only help the executive become familiar with the usage of the language, it will also increase his vocabulary.

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