International Training in English for Professionals

LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY WITH AMERICANS AND OTHER NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS IN LAW AND BUSINESS

Anyone who works abroad knows that learning a language is not the same thing as understanding how to communicate effectively. Lawyers and business professionals who have studied English as a second language may speak and write with near-perfect grammar and an advanced vocabulary. Yet in business and legal settings with American and other English speaking clients, customers, and colleagues, they may often find, through no fault of their formal education, that they still lack the ability to connect successfully with their audiences. This is a series of writing and speaking courses that offer a new cultural approach to communication to bridge the gap.

Americans in particular can be notoriously hard people with whom to communicate. Part of the problem is that part of the non English-speaking world is still taught “the Queen’s English” or some antiquated version of British or American English concocted by local academics or government officials rather than more natural contemporary English. Yet the larger problem is that effective communication with Americans and other English speakers is about a lot more than simply words. It entails understanding the unique way these speakers think and approach the legal, political, and business world.

To Japanese and Chinese, learning to be as direct as an English speaker can involve nothing less than a kind of personal transformation, at odds with the essence of their own native cultures. Danes or Swedes can be surprised to learn that in the US, it’s often considered quick rather than rude to interrupt a speaker in an informal conversation. Even reminding Italians that hand gestures will be less useful in getting their message across (let’s face it—gestures are not of much use in telephone conferencing) entails an understanding of why, for example, Americans think Ronald Reagan communicated far more effectively than Winston Churchill ever did, why Oprah Winfrey annually wins the national survey of the “most admired American,” or why Bill Gates is as recognized as he is. In an ideal world, most would incorporate some of the civility and eloquence of other cultures. But in reality, many English speakers assume without realizing it that everyone understands their unique way of communicating.

In this unique series of courses you will learn:

Writing

Speaking

The Instructor

Steven Stark, the instructor, has a vast background in the field of communication and inter-cultural studies and has taught writing and speaking to thousands of lawyers, government officials and those working in business all over the world. A former Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School where he gave several upper-level courses on writing and speaking (including a workshop to international LLM students), he is the author of three books, including the highly-acclaimed “Writing to Win: The Legal Writer” (Doubleday), and one e-book. He has been a radio commentator for CNN, National Public Radio, and the Voice of America (where his role was to try to interpret American culture to the rest of the world), and he has also appeared frequently on the BBC. A former speechwriter and issues aide to Jimmy Carter, he has been a columnist for the Boston Globe and Montreal Gazette and has written extensively on American culture in such publications as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Atlantic Monthly. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.

Who Should Take These Courses?

These courses are intended for two types of audiences. They are designed in the U.S. for those international lawyers and professionals who have been transferred to the United States. They are geared in the rest of the world to professionals and lawyers who are somewhat proficient in basic English and work in English speaking businesses or firms, or deal frequently in their work with English speakers.

One-day courses can be taught separately on writing or speaking, or can combine the two. In-house courses for law firms, consulting firms, or in corporations that work in specific areas such as pharmaceuticals or information technology are tailored to the particular needs and expectations of the participants in those fields. In corporate workshops or in-house settings, the usual arrangment is to solicit samples in advance from as many participants as possible so the course can be geared to the specific needs of the firm. After the group session, personal meetings are scheduled individually with as many lawyers as possible to go over their writing. Follow-up by phone and email is provided as necessary.

Learning to Communicate Effectively with Americans and Other Native English Speakers (PDF)