You Can Be a Good Communicator with Low English Level

Photo: Kampus Production on Pexels

VIDEO – Be aware to be on the point of reading an imperfect post from a French native. But if your English goal is just speaking, do you know that effective communication has more to do with behavior, than language level? World-renown Marianna Pascal speaks about it and global English for a TEDx conference


Take care of your attitude

Do you feel insecure when talking to someone? Are you listening, thinking about what you could respond – without, therefore, really listening? Sometimes, we feel a lack of confidence by interacting in formal or informal situations

Whatever we interact between natives, or in our mother tongue to foreigners, or in a foreign language to natives… We can face this discomfort in a broad variety of interactions, but which role plays in it the lack of English knowledge?

And if it had much more to do with soft skills than actually with language level?

Award-winning and world-renown “communication coach”, the author gives an answer in the introductory speech of a TEDx conference given in Malaysia:

I’ve discovered that how well somebody communicates in English has actually very little to do with their English level. It has a lot to do with their attitude towards English

Marianna Pascal, video at 0:38

In the context of coaching English in a global world, referring to her life in Malaysia, she invites us to focus more on discussion partners than on ourselves. It may be not so simple, but it can be a positive, inspirational tool to improve interactions


Video: Learning a language? Speak it like you’re playing a video game (15:30)

Watch the video – including transcription – or read the key points below

The author refers to video game, because, observing one day a player in a cybercafé, she suddenly understand the specific attitude to be a remarkable communicator like her student Faizal:

He was a factory supervisor – English level very, very low – but this guy could just sit and listen to anybody, very calmly, clearly, and then he could respond, absolutely express his thoughts beautifully

Marianna Pascal, at 0:52

The goal of this TEDx is sharing : what is different about Faizal and how to cultivate a good attitude to speak with “calm, clear confidence” like him ; why it is important for a whole community and Malaysia

How having the right attitude? Forget self-awareness or fear of mistakes, focus on your interlocutor and the result you want to get:

Marianna tells a personal interaction at the same place with each one of 2 foreign English speaker: the good speaker communicates less effectively than the bad speaker

Watch at 6:18:

Why it is important for a community? Because English conversations in the world today involved much more non native speakers – and we have to deal with all English levels:

Do you know the number of native speaker for non native? And how many conversations involve only native, or non native speakers?

Find the answer at 9:22

Marianna points also out the negative behaviors inherited from English classes: She complains about a discouraging English learning at school – or english exams – and the inadequacy to real, professional world:

Students are judged more on correctness, than on clarity (…) This student clearly understood paragraph four. But no, not correct! Because he left the letter “n” off the word “environment”.

In the real world, what would matter is did you understand the email, or did you understand your customer, that you can go ahead and take action?

Marianna Pascal, watch at 12:00

To get more confidence, she finally recalls the 2 important skills to practice : 1. focusing on the interlocutor, 2. focusing on the result to achieve. And she concludes :

Imagine a next generation (…), all with that wonderful confidence in communication (…). Because let’s remember that English today is not an art to be mastered, it’s just a tool to use to get a result. And that tool belongs to you

Marianna Pascal

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