Meetings are an important part of every business. From long, in-depth planning sessions to quick pre-shift team meetings, it’s important your staff members are engaged in the topic at hand. This applies to your employees whose primary language isn’t English, too. In fact, it probably applies to them even more. Employees who face challenges with language often feel less engaged than their peers, and this can lead to decreased productivity, poor teamwork, reduced safety, and lackluster compliance. So how do you increase engagement of your entire team during meetings?
Follow these tips:
- Use visual aids in training meetings to reinforce key points. When possible, demonstrate tasks rather than just explain them.
- Prepare a list of follow-up questions about key topic points that you can ask different people. Make sure your questions are clear, to the point, and relevant to the meeting topic.
- Keep an eye on your audience. Look for cues that employees are struggling to follow along or not comprehending the topic.
- Follow up with all employees. For important topics – such as issues of compliance or safety – give employees opportunities to implement new procedures with supervision.
- Have important key points translated if necessary. Some information just cannot be left to chance. Quick and easy translation ensures that every member of your team has the information they need to succeed.
- Reward participation and execution. Everyone wants to be recognized and rewarded. Thank employees for participation during the meeting – in their native language if you can.
To call or not to call on people…
Many managers and trainers struggle with whether or not to call on people rather than just asking for volunteers to answer questions. Most communication experts agree that it’s best to err on the side of asking people. Do this carefully, especially when calling on people for whom English is a second language. Use an inviting tone, and let people know their input is important. If you call on someone and they still don’t want to speak, don’t force it, but follow up with them individually later.
Workplace English Training
Even small improvements in language proficiency can improve engagement with all employees. Our Workplace English training is intended to increase the effectiveness of your non-English speaking employees to communicate with supervisors, management, co-workers and customers in English. Click here for more information.