By Paola Pascual & Simon Kennell on Mar 1, 2022 10:01:06 AM
When she was in high school, Einat struggled to understand words in English. Today, she's not only perfectly fluent, but also hilarious in English. In this episode, she shares what worked for her in terms of gaining the confidence to communicate in English at work and effective tools that helped her become fluent in English.
Einat Avraham is based in Israel and works as a Systems Engineer at Salesforce. She has worked in several positions within the tech industry, such as a testing engineer, technical specialist, project manager, and systems specialist. She has deep experience in the field of software engineering and as well as working in and leading teams internationally. English plays a pivotal role in her day-to-day job, so she decided to take her communication skills to a whole new level with Talaera.
How to become fluent in English
"Improving my English makes me a better person," Einat says. And this is true. Learning a new language helps you get to know yourself better and learn about your own culture. It helps you understand that oftentimes people have good intentions, even if their words sound harsh. It pushes you to be an active listener and to foster diversity and inclusion around you. Listen to Einat's English learning adventure and check out the highlights below. These actionable tools will help you in your journey as well.
Learning vocabulary, improving your grammar, writing professional emails... That all contributes to your overall level of English, but what does it take to become truly fluent?
English fluency refers to your ability to speak smoothly and easily at a natural speed. It involves being able to express yourself spontaneously and in an articulate way.
The most common challenges students face are the lack of confidence to speak up at work, cultural differences, and the fear of making mistakes. Now, how do you overcome them? How do you become fluent in English if you don't live in an English-speaking country? Here's our advice!
1. Enjoy the ride
"When you enjoy it, you do not need to prioritize it," it happens naturally.
English is a powerful tool that will open you the doors to meeting interesting people, getting a great job, or better understanding art, such as books, movies, or songs. And you should see it as such –as the key to that door.
Forget about boring school lessons and look at English through a different lens. Think about what you're passionate about and use the language to access that world. If you're into artificial intelligence or culture, read news or papers related to it in English. If you like action movies, turn on the English subtitles and/or listen to it in English. If you enjoy museums, read the descriptions in English.
2. Make it part of your everyday life
One of the most frequent questions we hear in terms of English fluency is: "Can you be fluent in English without living in an English-speaking country?" Great news - you can! English is an easy language to learn in the sense that it's everywhere. You can listen to a podcast while hanging the laundry, watch a YouTube video while you cook, or listen to English songs on your commute to work.
Find out what resources work for you and make them part of your everyday life. Immerse yourself as much as possible (including having your phone and computer settings in English!).
Immerse yourself in English as much as possible. Schedule coffee dates with colleagues overseas. Meet coworkers and friends abroad for virtual calls outside of work. Without any other aim than to bond with them and speak English. When you talk in English, try to use the new idioms and phrases you've recently learned and ask questions.
3. Believe in the long-term process
"With English learning, the sky's the limit. I can never say I know everything in the English language and it's time to move on to the next language," Einat says.
Learning English should be a long-term goal. That's why it's crucial that you enjoy speaking it, listening to it, and learning how to use it better.
Similar to being a parent, or being a good leader, or a good friend –there's rarely a point where you learn everything you need in life. It's an ongoing process that helps you be better and progress in life.
4. Learn how to say things in different ways
One of the most effective ways to become fluent in English is to learn how to say things in different ways. Being able to *convey your message* / *present your ideas* / *share your thoughts* / *get your point across* is on itself a major confidence booster.
Whenever your mind goes blank –which it will sometimes–, you know you are equipped with other options thanks to your paraphrasing skills.
5. Lose the fear of making mistakes
The fear of making mistakes is one of the main hurdles on the road to fluency. It holds you back and makes you question yourself. Many students are insecure because they think that their accent is not good enough. However, more often than not, their colleagues understand them perfectly. So it's more of a psychology hurdle than a real one.
Don't be afraid of making mistakes. We are all human, and we all do –even native-English speakers. Accept that there will always be room for improvement and that mistakes are part of your learning process. In fact, based on research, they are critical to skill development. Making mistakes also shows that you're pushing and striving to get better.
Instead of letting them stop you, identify your common mistakes and work on them. Understand that focusing on small errors only makes sense once you have a solid foundation and that you can be fluent even if your grammar is poor.
6. Use new words in context, over and over
For you to learn a new word, it needs to be relevant to you and you need to use it more than once. Learn in chunks (phrases, instead of isolated words) and use them in a real-life example. Use those new words when you tell anecdotes or talk with colleagues and friends. Use them over and over again, as repetition will help you consolidate new knowledge. Listen to the same podcast or song more than once to make sure you absorb all the information and enjoy the ride!
7. Pay attention to how native English speakers communicate
Being fluent in English also involves being able to react in different situations without previous preparation. For that, you need to know what's customary in the culture you're communicating with. As Einat's anecdote goes, the word "interesting" is not always positive. In some contexts, it can mean "disastrous".
There is often the value layer (the fact or actual meaning) and, on top of it, the behavioral response (how people react or go about it). Being able to identify both will help you navigate conversations more easily and smoothly.
8. Find a course made just for you
Learning how to communicate can be done in different ways. One of the most effective ones is living in a country where the language is spoken. The other one is having a personal instructor who can create a training program just for you. This will allow you to follow all the tips we've mentioned so far –you'll enjoy the ride with a teacher you connect with, you'll learn only what's relevant to you, you'll focus on your challenges, and you'll be able to develop your English through things you're passionate about.
If you're interested in learning more about Talaera's communication training, explore our programs here.
9. Make it a priority
If you are able to enjoy your learning journey, you'll be able to effortlessly make it a priority. Decide on a well-defined learning schedule and stick to it (make sure it's non-negotiable). You can start with something easy that you can commit to, like 5 minutes a day or 1 hour a week, and build up from there. Block that time on your calendar and tell those around you.
Einat usually schedules one hour a week for her one-on-one sessions. When the time comes, she sets her Slack status to "Learning English" to let her colleagues know that she'll be busy for an hour, and her family is also aware of the fact that this is time she's investing in herself.
Believe in the process and before you are able to realize, you'll start seeing improvements.
Listen to this podcast episode and implement all these actionable tips to improve your English fluency. What are your favorite ones? Tell us in the comments.
This article works as supporting material for our podcast episode 38. You can read the transcript below. Make sure you check out all our other Talaera Talks episodes and subscribe to get new episode alerts.
Keep improving your communication skills for the workplace
Continue improving your communication skills for professional situations - get in touch with Talaera. If you wish to take your professional English communication skills to the next level, here are some valuable resources:
- Personalized English training - 1:1 sessions, group courses, or company webinars tailored to your needs
- Free webinars - monthly live sessions with one of our communication experts
- Free communication guides - keep developing your skills with our free ebooks on business English communication
For any additional information or questions, you can also reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested in getting the best offers and receiving free content on Business English communication? Subscribe to our newsletter and we will keep you in the loop with offers, free events, and development materials!
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Talaera Talks - Transcript Episode 38
If you are learning English, including new English words and expressions will help you with effective communication. Remember to check out our other episodes on how to make small talk, how to deliver engaging presentations, how to speak English fluently, and many more: visit the podcast website. Listen to it on your favorite platform.
Welcome to Talaera Talks, the business English communication podcast for non-native professionals. My name is Paola and I am co-hosting this show with Simon. In this podcast, we're going to be covering communication advice and tips to help express yourself with confidence in English in professional settings. So we hope you enjoy the show!
Simon Kennell 0:24
Welcome back to another episode of Talaera Talks. My name is Simon and wherever you are, I hope you're having a great day. Today is a very special episode one that we haven't done anything similar to this one before. And yeah, I think it's one we've been looking forward to it. We do have a guest today. And it's a guest that I think Paola, you and I are pretty excited about now.
Paola Pascual 0:55
We are very excited about this episode.
Simon Kennell 0:58
Yeah, yeah, great. And so I'll give a little introduction for our special guest today. Einat Avraham is a Systems Engineer at Salesforce, having worked in several positions within tech, such as a testing engineer, technical specialist, project manager and Systems Specialist. Einat has deep experience in the field of software engineering, and as well as working in and leading teams internationally. Einat's been working with Talaera for almost now, for two years. She's been taking lessons from one of our very special trainers, and at this point has almost 60 sessions, or I think a little bit over 60 sessions at this point. So today is just going to be such a great opportunity to speak with one of our very own students, and for everybody to kind of get a sense of number one the types of awesome students that we get to work with. Because, Einat, I think that is exactly in a nutshell, who you are, as just you know, our typical awesome student that we get to work with. And yeah, it's a great opportunity for all of us to hear what has worked for you, your journey with English, and we're just yeah, very excited to have you on the show. So welcome, Einat, if you don't mind telling us a little bit about yourself.
Einat Avraham 2:27
Hi, Simon, hi, Paola. Thank you so much for having me here today. I'm super thrilled and excited to be here. And yeah, I would really like to share about the tips, how it worked for me with my learning English adventure. So let me start with thank you so much for the introduction, you did it very, very well. So I am a Systems Engineer at Salesforce. And I'm part of the Business Technology Enterprise operations team at Salesforce with 70,000, over 70,000 employees, everything is so huge and so big. And this is a global company, of course, and I'm part of a global team. And what we do is we support internal departments wherever they use Salesforce for the in their need. So we do kind of Salesforce on Salesforce and we play the role of customer zero. And we make sure for example, I'm part of the supporting the support engineers and managers. And our responsibility is to make sure that just an example of a support ticket since it is raised by the customer and through its lifecycle. And until the very end of it hopefully with a satisfied happy customer. Everything is... works smoothly. And we are in charge of the technical aspect as well as I am in communication with the SCRUM team, the developers and product managers, business analyst... So I have so many wide audience that I am in contact with day in and day out. And my team I am the only team member who is located in Israel. So I live in Herzliya, which is 15 minutes by car without traffic from Tel Aviv, northern to Tel Aviv.
Simon Kennell 4:22
Good point there - without traffic.
Einat Avraham 4:24
Yeah, exactly. And, yeah, so as part of this global team, I have no one to speak to in Hebrew. I have no one to exercise my Hebrew with. It's only it's only English. I have a lot of team members colleagues in India and in America. And since we are supporting the support department, I am getting into one on one calls. I wouldn't say every day but very very frequently. And I'm talking to people Japan, Australia, UK, AMER, of course and India. Yeah, so in my role, English plays a key key role for my day to day work. Everything is in English. It's not like, Okay there is a presentation to deliver, ah, would it be in Hebrew in English? It's not a question. So in order to get through my day to day I use English and the tools and I'm very, very happy that as part of being a Salesforce employee, I'm getting everything covered because we have this amazing benefit of educational reimbursement where I get everything covered. I mean, the company pays for it. Because you can use you can use this budget annual huge annual budget for anything that makes you do your job better. And, as I mentioned, for being part of this global team, English is a very, very commonly used, maybe the the one of the most commonly used for me. So yeah, this is I think this is for the professional, and I can share with you that I'm happily married with three kids. And I love yoga, I exercise yoga, yeah, and meditation. And recently, I started a new hobby, where I paint very, very poorly skills, but I really enjoy it, I find it like a flow. Kind of. So this is, this is amazing. Yeah, I believe this is about me in a nutshell.
Simon Kennell 6:45
Wow, that's, I mean, does so so I think it's so fascinating. Number one with the the professional side of, I mean, everything that you're doing, I think you're like the job title was so long that teams title is so long, and all of the different, you know, important points of contact that you have to have that are all in English. That's I mean, that's amazing. And then number two, it seems to me that and correct me if I'm wrong, but I get the feeling that you're like a continuous learner, if you're just jumping into painting, you know, and just kind of going with it. I think that's, that's really cool. That's really cool.
Einat Avraham 7:25
That's right. I'm a long term person. And I see things as a process and not in one shot. I can listen to a specific Talaera podcast, chapter four, five times event. I really like to get all the angles and I'm not the same person as I listened to it five weeks back, right. I'm checking in and listening and getting more and more practice. And yeah, you're right.
Simon Kennell 7:56
Very cool. So So I'd love just to kind of rewind a little bit and just to kind of talk about your English learning journey, you know, what was? What was it like? For you to start off maybe in school learning English? And then what was that jump? Like getting into the professional world? And what was your what do you feel like your English level was like, at that point?
Einat Avraham 8:26
Yeah, so going back then to the high school, my English was very poor. I almost couldn't understand what the teacher was saying to us. Like, what was the instruction? I remember I'm asking my friend what is up to what is this what is this i, i It was very poor these days and getting to the university the need got more and more important, but it was still like nice to have like more of a reading skills of articles that I needed to use. And yeah, I understand and my inner voice was telling me like that, whatever I choose to do in life, English will be there and will have will play a pivotal role. And this was correct. So I knew it is going to be a long shot. And I I didn't give up. This is something Paola told me - I didn't throw in the towel. And I I really knew it is going to be a long journey and I love it. I mean, yeah. So coming to the to the high tech world in the IT world. Then the the need became more and more crucial as I as I went, and being part of a team which some of my colleagues were there in AMER, or had to travel to a customer site to deliver training in English. Then it became Yeah, more and more crucial. And as a back wind, I live in Israel. And in Israel you can get, you can consume every written texts in English as well say museums if you are going to the zoo, or signs on roads, and I'm trying to not to be tempted to go to the Hebrew side, but at least even read both of them. This is how I started I, back then in in the university I, I felt like it's not enough like the professional terminology in English was not enough for me, I wanted it to be more generic and more wider. So I head to the library and borrowed the one book in English and Hebrew. And I read it in parallel. So it was The Client by John Grisham. And I read it very thoroughly, like, the paragraph in English, and then the same paragraph in Hebrew. So I'd make sure I got the gist of it. (Oh, wow.) And this was a great, great exercise. And as you mentioned, this is the long term like I hopefully, or Luckily, I have this, this patience .
Paola Pascual 11:18
That's awesome. It's almost hard to believe that you're saying you know that your English wasn't that great when you were in high school, because now we listen to you. And you're obviously able to convey literally anything you want to, but then you start listening to your story and your learning journey. And that's you have the, the exact, you know, the perfect personality to, to actually make it because then as you said, you went to the library you took, it's amazing that that thing that you did where you went to the library and started reading this John Grisham book in parallel and always taking the chance to, to keep improving and getting getting better. So it's awesome. What are some... I'm super curious to hear. So when when you started working in an international environment, your English was already pretty good. Right? You just said that you were lacking that, that click that made you really feel confident in professional settings? What were some of the challenges that you encountered? In terms of communication?
Einat Avraham 12:18
Yeah, I believe speaking up is something that it's, it's not, I didn't feel confident, because I think objectively, it's not a straightforward thing to do. But as, as I build the confidence, and Paola, I said this many times to you, thanks to your 1000s of tips and tricks and tools, I would say that they're the feeling where you can convey my message or present my idea or share my thoughts or getting my point across or shed some light on a specific point. This itself forced me with so much confidence, and I cannot tell you even the feeling because you know, in Hebrew, the word 'to define something' is like you put a fence around it. So it is limited, but my feeling is unlimited. Like I can say if I if I'm missing any word, or I'm I got a blackout, then I have so many others option, other options. And I keep learning as you I'm echoing you, Simon at the end of every podcast, keep learning. This is what I'm trying to do. I'm echoing so many of your tips, and I have to hear it so many times, then it's fun, I totally recommend on enjoying the ride.
Simon Kennell 13:43
You know, so there, okay, so there's kind of two things that I'm thinking about. Where we, when we work with so many people who are working in intense jobs, and it's high pressure, and they're very busy, and they work so many hours a week. And it's like, well, you know, one half of me says, Okay, you need to find the time you need to find the, the motivation to to keep, you know, keep going and now you've done like, over 60 sessions, you know, with Talaera, which is awesome. And, like I sometimes I wonder what is the mindset that students that that's worked for you? It seems like it's been more kind of, okay, I'm taking the long view, I'm taking the kind of systematic step by step view. And this kind of patience of not comparing myself with English speakers that are that are more advanced because I see that I hear that all the time is like, this person in my team, you know, she's just so much more advanced than me and it makes me feel like that and it it can hurt the confidence. So was your mindset this kind of step by step like how do you take that in everything this kind of long term like let's just, you know, build slowly
Einat Avraham 15:01
I think yes, the answer is yes. And like on my yoga mat, I do not compare myself to anyone like the yoga mat is a makeup microcosmos of my world, right? So, see, well, on the day, I have a session with Paola, this is like a celebration for me. I wake up, and I'm so excited. And I'm looking forward to it. And I'm telling my husband at this at this hour, I am on on my English session, I need the quiet. And I think that the mind set to be curious and unlearn thing. And think of even to learn about my culture. When Paola told me Einat, we are going to be some we are going to record some sessions about "How to communicate with", then I looked up for some articles about the Israeli culture. And I learned so many things, it was such a like a reflection, for me to learn things about my own culture, which was awesome. Total awesome. I really enjoyed that. And you say that you have to find some time to learn. While hanging the laundry. I, I am listening to the podcast, while walking to the yoga studio, I am listening to the podcast. So I'm trying to do as we said, time is very crucial, not a limitless resource, so we have to smartly use it. I'm trying to do it in between. And one other thing is like be me being a parent. I'm playing, like an example plays by the example for my kids, and to tell them and show them how crucial is English. And one little victory is my teen went last week to the library and said, Mommy, I want to get better in English. So she borrowed an English book and she started reading it. This is like...
Paola Pascual 17:02
You're a good role model for sure.
Einat Avraham 17:03
Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Paola Pascual 17:08
and and I think just there with what you were just saying you've given two incredible pieces of advice for people to learn. And one is you really need to enjoy the journey you need to find. I mean, when when I hear people saying I don't like English, I always think English is just a tool, it's not something you should like or not like it. It's a very, very powerful tool that will open you the doors to, you know, meeting amazing people and getting a great job. So find something that you really passionate about, and then start start learning about how to say things and understand things in English. And for you, you know, we've talked about culture a lot. That's something I know you're passionate about. So we've really talked about it. And it's been it's been a way of, you know, okay, this is what I'm interested in. Let's talk about it in English. So that was one enjoy the journey. And the other one that you also mentioned is make it part of your everyday life. And I know apart from the job and you said everything happens in English, you also have and you've mentioned this to me in the past, but you also even make a point and in meeting and having virtual coffee dates with some of your colleagues and friends overseas. And that's a chance for you to bond but also to practice your English and doing the laundry and, and going to work so that's just great. I think it's...
Einat Avraham 18:33
thank you so much. Yeah, and lucky. Luckily enough when I enrolled in the course with Paola, Paola was so flexible to hear what I'm interested in and everything is so tailor-made to my needs. And Paola, can you tell what's Einat's favorite in English? Is easy, right?
Paola Pascual 18:57
Yeah, I would say idioms is pretty high up on the list.
Einat Avraham 19:01
You got it. You got it. So idioms are my favorite,
Paola Pascual 19:06
Which by the way, we have the webinar on idioms, we're doing it again. So for everyone listening, we'll also send some, some links so that people can sign up, you know, for it.
Einat Avraham 19:18
Amazing, cannot wait to hear that.
Simon Kennell 19:22
You know, that's one of those things, I think that you talked about, like, what's the thing that you really enjoy and then work with it like that and you know, if anybody has led to listening has done a sessions with Talaera that they know that that's kind of the approach we take right is like everything is we tried to make it as tailor made as possible. You know, what, what is interesting and what is relevant to you like the individual, you know, the individual learner, it's your journey. It's your, you know, what are you doing and so, aside from your sessions with Paola and and Talaera, and the resources and all of that, what have you felt like has worked for you? Kind of, you know, like that you talked about this kind of immersion right of, of putting yourself in English situations as much as possible. What else? Are you doing kind of outside of Talaera to, you know, kind of help with that, or, yeah, improve that even more?
Einat Avraham 20:23
Yeah. So, reading books, I'm trying to do this in English, which is, I don't have much time to do that. But when I have the time, I have this little inspiration, everyday inspiration that I'm reading. This is a book written by someone from India. So this is in English, and I'm trying when I watch again, very rarely watch any Netflix series. This would be either with English, the spoken language is English or subtitles are both. My kids know, if they want to invite me to watch with them, they know that one of the parts should be in English, and I'm trying to keep learning and spot - if I talk with Paola, about a specific video, I would see how other people use it. And I'm trying to be an active listener. On the weekly meetings, this is on my day to day job. And I'm trying to be there to play a dominant role as I can, again, my Israeli personality with the courage, directness and everything else we discussed. I think this helps me a lot. And this is like a kind of a combination of a mixture of all of these things, but everything if I can say I am going to the museum, I'm trying to read the science and English, I'm trying to consume everything, as you said, immerse myself in everything in English and, and practice, practice, practice, like celebrate this virtual coffees, and use the idioms with the my American colleagues and ask them how do you use it, I learned to say that I'm busy in so many ways, I'm in over my head. This is very, very nice. I really like it.
Simon Kennell 22:12
Were you ever shy to like to ask colleagues, you know, hey, what's, what's the right way to say this? Or what's the like? Did you ever feel? Hmm, you know, I would like to, but I don't want them to, to judge me somehow. I don't want them to maybe think that I'm not as high quality of professional as I am. Because did that ever into your mind? Or were you just like, I'm just gonna ask and see what they say. And then they'll be fun?
Einat Avraham 22:40
That's a great question. It depends on the audience. If if I'm on one on one, I feel I can ask almost everything that is not as we said, not religious. Politics or sex, but all others? Of course I can you see at Salesforce sometimes I'm part of so large audience meetings can be even over 40 people. Yeah, so they're I would never ask to speak up. It depends. Yeah, you're right. I have so many colleagues, that we have this virtual coffees and I can find the time the right appropriate time or set to raise my questions. And I always have Paola with me, right.
Simon Kennell 23:30
There you go. You always have your own private tutor there ready. Ready to help
Einat Avraham 23:34
you amazing. Can you imagine I have my own my own teacher, one on one over 60 hours. I'm so thrilled about it.
Paola Pascual 23:45
So am. I so am I. And so you've, you know, you've talked about how large Salesforce is and how international it is. And this is part of your day to day, job and life pretty much. And even if everyone speaks English, everyone comes from a different background. And they they have their own culture. And that's something we we somehow we bring it to our English conversations, our culture, it's still there. So have you ever noticed any differences that were perhaps at the beginning was shocking, in terms of how people communicate, you know, from different countries and different places around the world?
Einat Avraham 24:23
Yes, definitely. Yes. I remember one. It was in another company. One meeting we were in and the the spirit there was like, of blaming and you didn't do your job, and that's it. And then I had a fireside conversation with my colleague, American colleague who told me that this was an interesting call an interesting discussion. And then I said, Oh, that's nice. What do you mean by interesting? Is that interesting? Is this interesting, American word. I was totally shocked. Because it was like out of context interesting is something that I'm into. I'm interested in taking more sessions and listening to the podcast, right? This was I remember this one. Yeah, this was one of one of the shocking ones.
Paola Pascual 25:20
You mean, it was it was very indirect in the way the other person said it like, perhaps they meant that was a bit of a disaster. But they would never say that they said instead. Oh, that was interesting. Right?
Einat Avraham 25:31
Exactly. Exactly. Which for me is really like, cards are not not anywhere, but everything is transparent. And we write to the point and cut it to the chase. And he does not have time to talk in riddles, I believe.
Simon Kennell 25:50
You just say, yeah, that was a disaster meeting. Wow. Okay. Yeah, but no, that sounds like something exactly. I would say I'd say okay. Wow, that was that was interesting. And then everybody would know. Yeah, okay, that was a disaster. But and so even yet, even even points like that, do you feel like as your English has improved, you're the kind of the, maybe the vagueness or the fog has lifted on some of these cultural differences that you that you work with, like you're able to maybe decode many more things?
Einat Avraham 26:24
I believe, yes. Part of even understanding that there is the value layer and on top of it, the behavioral side of it, then there are things that we won't be able and we do not want to change not in ourselves and not in other people's culture, but behavior, even to understand why he mentioned in interesting for that specific meeting, it helps me a lot to understand that everything is good. I mean, our intentions are good. It's just a way to get there, or the tool that we use, or the it is deep down and rooted in our very core values. This is something amazing. I truly believe that working at Salesforce and improving my English makes me a better person. Even if we say inclusiveness and seeing see the other be active listener, all of these tools, which kind of fair like do it in English. Whatever I'm interesting, interested in and as Paola mentioned, it's it's a super exciting topic about cultural gaps and perceptions and all of that. Just consume it in English.
Simon Kennell 27:44
Yeah, so in a company like Salesforce, that's so global, I mean, we talk about sometimes in the learning and HR world, we talk about hard skills versus soft skills, you know, and what are the necessary skills that your employees should be learning? And it sounds like that these all these communication skills have really not they're not called so much soft skills, I guess, in your situation, but they're very, very helpful. Yeah.
Einat Avraham 28:14
Paola Pascual 28:18
Great. What else? So we have what what have been some of the some of the other challenges that you've seen among colleagues? Because for you, you know, you said at the beginning, it was hard to speak up the cultural barrier, sometimes it's a little bit hard to understand, but also to come across as you would in your own country. So those are some of them. Have you ever seen that perhaps accent or pronunciation were a challenge, or that's been less common?
Einat Avraham 28:49
I think this is less common. Maybe some of my Indian colleagues, but I meet them every day, literally, everyday and everyday. Again, it's something like I bring some other diversity to the team because it's located in Israel. I do not work Friday. I need to convey this message like 1000s of time and it's so funny when my kids come and ask me Mommy, why do you have to say that you're not working Friday in the work Sunday? This is how we this is, this is how the work goes like Sunday to Thursday, isn't it? So talking to my Indian colleagues every day, makes it very, like my ear got us to their accent and I'm, as of now I'm not working with anyone whose accent is very heavy, or it's like, I cannot understand it. And I had some challenges like this in the past. There was some specific person I talked to, not not daily, not even weekly, but from time to time, and their accent was very heavy. I just tried to summarize what they said, or use written text, just to make sure that I got the high level of what they they meant to say. So I believe that with a variety of tools I can I can get get through this as well. But yeah, these days, I'm not experiencing any such challenges.
Paola Pascual 30:28
That's great. It's a good piece of advice as well, you know, put it in text and try to rephrase what they've said and summarize it. As always great. It's one of the main challenges that we hear we had a webinar last week, where we talked about effective communication, and someone wrote in the chat, I'm scared that my accent will be you know, that people won't understand me because my accent is not good enough. That's usually sometimes more of a psychological trick, that we think that we are not good enough than what people actually get. So as long as people understand you, you know you're you're doing, you're doing all right.
Einat Avraham 31:04
Yeah. And one more tip that I can share with Paola's great support. And she always tells me a not, do not be afraid of making a mistake, you do not have to be afraid of that we are all human, and we make mistakes, and we can get better, we always have room for improvement. This is another thing, I believe it, it is referred to the long term process, where we've linked with language, and learning any language, the sky's the limit, and I can never say Simon, okay, I'm done with learning English. I all the idioms in the English language, it's always there. And this is another great, great opportunity to I always I keep telling Paola, I need you I'll ever, ever need you. And there will not be a point with which I can stop and say, Okay, I'm done with that. Yeah, we can go to the next language, yeah?
Simon Kennell 32:05
You know, that's so that's so interesting, because I'm just thinking about that a lot now around how are we viewing language learning? Are we viewing it as just this kind of more old school way of like a step by step kind of thing. And then you just get to this point, and then you're at this level, and then good, you get the stamp? And that's good? Or are we viewing it more as a skill as a type of skill development, right? Where you need to have targeted mistake focused practice again, and again and again, and you need to become comfortable with making those mistakes. And realizing that that's you're learning while making those mistakes is that you can't you can't learn a skill without mistakes. And that's, that's so important. And I love the mindset that you have around that that yeah, mistakes are good mistakes means that you're you're pushing and that you're not just staying in the same place. And I guess that kind of comes to one of the last questions that I have is just really around. What what do you feel like is next for you? When it comes to English learning? What do you feel like you what's what's your next big goal that you want? Or that you feel like, okay, I want to be able to do this or do that?
Einat Avraham 33:16
I think that's phrasal verbs is an area that I need to, to improve. There is a direct or indirect reference to the idioms with phrasal verbs you have to be very, very accurate. I mean, you can't mess with the words, right? Use them together. This is something that I'm not good about. And I would really like to use it more fluently. And yeah, then we can check and talk about literature, English, or songs that I like and take the word of it and and I think there is no limit to how I can make it wider the way that I convey any message, right? So this is like, an amazing, I feel like language is a muscle and they would like to keep it warm and practice daily. And this is what makes it so it's like like yoga like like being a parent being a parent to a teen. It's not something that I can say okay, I'm good at I know how to handle because life challenges are non stop. Right?
Simon Kennell 34:35
Exactly right. And I guess that's it right finding the joy in the in the value in continuing to learn and to do that. That's yeah, that's great.
Einat Avraham 34:44
I can recommend an excellent teacher if you need any.
Simon Kennell 34:47
Oh, yeah, no, no, Paola, Paola teaches me like everything every day anyway. So I just go to her for advice.
Einat Avraham 34:54
We have something in common, right? (Exactly. Exactly.)
Paola Pascual 34:56
It works both ways!! Sorry, Einat, go ahead!
Einat Avraham 35:04
I just want to say, if you're like, I can give three examples of what I learned, and it has an even cultural aspect in one of them, and something that specifically that I learned and I use all the time. (Yeah, please, please.) Yeah, so as you know, as an Israeli, the, our need to, to bring in this sense of urgency. And the word that we are using are very, I would even dare to say blunt. And I can tell you, Simon, we MUST meet, we MUST go out. And this, the use of the word MUST itself in Hebrew, it's like, I'm just conveying the message that I'm very passionate about. And this can be like, even to learn how people conceive my words is something amazing to first to picture it and understand and get aware of it. And the next, and the next step here that I asked Paolo, okay, I said, I did it. For my homework, I use this word must where I can use it, I can, it can be replaced. So I learned with Paola, that I can say, Simon, I am very positive that if we will meet or if we would go out it will be we can both benefit from it. Right? It's another thing to be aware of. And, again, do everything in English. Yeah. This is one. The other example is that in Hebrew, we say over "than" 90%. And in English, we don't need to use the "than", right? Yeah. So it took me I don't know, it was a journey to understand to say, "over 90%" of the employee today meet over Zoom. Yeah, the "than" is such an integral part in Hebrew that I need to when I take this mindset of English, I have to omit this one. And the last one is to refer to a single person with de or them, it's so awkward, something like that. Yeah, this is something that I use. And when I refer to a support agent, or to another colleague, which we are not sure about to neutralize the gender, we can say "they" are "they're" or "them". This is awesome. I use it. I use it a lot.
Simon Kennell 37:24
Yeah, yeah, it's three, they're great examples, because they're so specific. And, you know, if I'm just hearing you speak, you know, I think, wow, she must really be focusing on so many other like, different things that are so much more, but these are very specific, you know, grammar examples that, that are so important, right to the basic kind of flow. And then once you get in the rhythm of those, then you can build on top of that with Yeah, like you said, the idioms and phrasal verbs and everything like that, that's the base.
Einat Avraham 38:04
The basis is very, very solid, where Paola keeps me keeps me covered with expanding my vocabulary and grammar wise and, and on top of that, I can build so many other things.
Paola Pascual 38:19
Yeah, and of course, and I was just gonna say that, that you're already focusing on these very small examples and grammar points, because your, your basis is so solid, that you can start worrying about the little things. Like that's not something we would ever start with, like, Okay, now you have your vocabulary, you have your, you have pretty much everything you need, and it's just like start fine tuning, all the smaller things. So I like those examples. So I think we can wrap up, I wrote down some of the things that we covered in the tips that worked for you. And I was just like, would love to give a super quick recap, if that's if that's okay. i The first thing and for me, it's one of the most important ones is to enjoy what you're doing, find what you're passionate about, and start using that to improve your English so that was one you also mentioned I make it part of my everyday life and that means work but that also means making a point you know, for scheduling virtual coffee dates with with your colleagues. That's That's great. And and even when you're doing the laundry or when you're commuting to work, you listened to podcasts or to talk TED talks we've used TED talks in our sessions as well, very often. What else what have we said you also really trust in the long term journey and repetition you keep repeating you know, we when we go over some sort of vocabulary, you are actively asking me Paola, can you send me some more homework to to review this again? Or can you bring it up again in a few weeks so that I can make sure it sticks, that's huge. I also really, really helps. I also wrote down, you know, learning when you learn in chunks, so you would learn the whole phrase, you would try to use it, you sometimes even create stories, where you know, you use those words over and over again, you then bring it up to colleagues, you listen to how they are using them. So learning in context is also huge. And what else, am I missing something?
Simon Kennell 40:30
Mistake, mistake focused, being understanding that mistakes are important and critical to the learning process. I love that you brought that up. And that that was just Yeah, it's I think it's so cool. And it's, it's, there's a lot of research being done about that actually, around how important when skill development, how important mistakes are to that. So I think that's, that's great and enjoying that enjoying that process. That's, that's really great.
Einat Avraham 41:00
When you enjoy it, you do not need to prioritize that, right? It's,
Simon Kennell 41:04
There you go. It's priority for you.
Paola Pascual 41:08
And there's just one more thing that you haven't mentioned today, but I know just because you've, you've told me in the past that I really, really, really like, and is that you never miss a session. We schedule a session every single week, and we've been doing so for the last two years, unless there's something major and you even set your Slack status to "Learning English". So that you know, you make sure you tell people listen, this is my moment. I'm studying, I'm learning. I'm improving my English, I'm investing in myself. And and that gives you almost like more peace of mind that, you know, everyone knows that this is my moment. This is what I'm learning. And it's non negotiable. And that's something that for busy people, it's great to just block that slot on your calendar. And it's happening.
Einat Avraham 41:53
I pencil it in, right?
Simon Kennell 41:55
Yeah, there you go. That's so great that that, you know, you're in an organization that prioritizes personal learning and that and that, that journey and giving you the opportunity to do that. That's that's really, really cool.
Einat Avraham 42:11
Yeah. And I'm trying to spread the word and invite so many other Salesforce employees to improve their English skills. And yeah, this is like, this is amazing. Thank you so much for for the appreciation and for the warm words. I'm thrilled and excited and happy. Even more than I was before.
Paola Pascual 42:37
This was awesome. I loved, you know, listening to to your your experience like this, because we talk very often, but this is not something we talk about every single day. So it's it's so great. It was really, really nice having you here. I'm sure there'll be more.
Einat Avraham 42:54
Thank you so much time flies like everything. Simon, one minute before the session closes the Paola and myself said, Okay, can we start? We talk and we feel like Time flies really? Thank you so much, Simon and Paola, for having me here today.
Simon Kennell 43:11
Absolutely. And yeah, it was, it was our pleasure. I mean, this is just so cool to see. And one of the, the reason why I truly love this and feel like, you know, our mission at Talaera is like we're seeing it happen and talking with with you and and it's just amazing to see, you know, what it's done for you and, and how you know, how you use it in your life and how it helps you both professionally and personally. And that's, that's amazing. So are we wrapping it up here? I think that is it for today. We all have very busy lives, and Einat probably you more than most. So we really appreciate you carving out, you know, an hour out of your day for this. And yeah, for everybody that is listening, you'll be able to find the blog post, I'm sure with all the tips. And, you know, reach out to us to Paolo or myself on LinkedIn if you have any other ideas about about podcast episodes. But for today, that is it. Einat again, thank you so much for taking the time. And yeah, I guess if that's it for us, then as always, to all of our listeners out there. Keep learning! There you go.
Einat Avraham 44:31
My pleasure. Thank you so much.
And that's all we have for you today. We hope you enjoyed it, and remember to subscribe to Talaera Talks. We'll be back soon with more! And visit our website at talaera.com for more valuable content on business English. You can also request a free consultation on the best ways for you and your team to improve your communication skills. So have a great day and keep learning!