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Why Others Can Not Understand Your Good English?

What are you talking about?

Have you ever spoken English to someone and thought to yourself, why does he or she not understand me? Many times your English is correct, but you forgot one thing. Americans and other Western people need lots of information and context before we ask them a question or tell them something.

You can greatly improve communication by giving more context (details). Western cultures do not use context as much as Eastern cultures. Asian cultures use language that relies on the context around them and background information about the conversation. Westerners need you to introduce a topic and speak more details. NEVER assume the other person is clear and knows what you are thinking. You must SAY everything to Westerners.

Please teacher, explain more!

OK, I will. Assume you have planned to meet someone at their office. You arrive to the office and walk to his personal secretary’s desk. You then ask the secretary in perfect English, ‘has Mr. Smith come yet’. His personal secretary stares at you and you wonder if the secretary has hearing problems. The problem is not her, but YOU. You assumed the secretary knew about the meeting and knows who you are.

confused secretary

The solution (the funnel technique)

You should have said this:

Hi, how are you today? (to let the listener tune in to your accent)

What a beautiful office! (to let the listener tune in to your accent more)

My name is Bo and I work for ABC company. (start general and wide)

Mr. Smith asked me to meet him today at 10:30 a.m. (get slightly more specific and move towards the question)

It is now 10:35 and I am waiting on Mr. Smith. (more specific and creating more context)

Do you know if Mr. Smith has come to the office yet? (the actual question)

What will happen when using this technique?

You have taken all guessing, assuming and confusion away from the listener. I can almost double guarantee you that you will be understood clearly.

How to use this more often

You should use this technique any chance you get, with individuals, groups or in meetings. After just a LITTLE bit of practice, this will become an easy habit for you and you will not even have to think about it. You will be using this technique naturally before you know it.

Parting words

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By: Luke 

ETO American English teacher

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