A client from China asked for coaching to become a better interviewer and presenter in English. He wished to express himself more creatively. I asked him how well he thought he expressed himself in Chinese. “It sucks!” he said.
Consideration: Do you possess the skills? It is not the language, it is you.
If you ‘suck’ at it in your first language, you will suck more with a weaker language skill set. Changing languages should not have a profound impact on ability, but language deficiencies expose skill deficiencies or can be seen as incompetency. The good news is communication skills are simply that – a skill set. But you must answer the question: “Do I possess communication skills?” Before looking at the nuts and bolts of communicating in a new language you must be able to do it in your first language
Communication skills are an invaluable asset. Words, both written and spoken, are the instruments of business. The person who can maximize those tools has the greater opportunity for success. A person with dynamic communication skills is often perceived as having a higher aptitude than a person with weaker communication skills. Though there are numerous books and courses on the market to turn you into a good presenter the final decider will be, “Are you creative and dynamic?” The number one skill of the great communicators is that they approach their material from a creative and dynamic perspective.
That is what separates a boring presentation on the annual census report from a forceful one on the relevance of demographics in economic and political decision making. Anyone working in a foreign language should have a forthright evaluation of their skill set in their first language to help understand the challenges they will have in a new language.
If one discovers or knows their first language skills are lacking, taking skills development workshops in the non-fluent language will provide the opportunity to pick up some new skills and practice them in a safe environment. Having the opportunity to practice and receive constructive feedback will help increase confidence.