3 Easy Tips for Being Understood the First Time!

  1. Final letters can say it all. The letter at the end of a word is important.  It’s there for a reason.  Pronounce it.  To be better understood by EVERYONE, let the listener hear the ends of your words, as well as the beginnings — carry that voice energy all the way through the word.  Is it “fifteen pounds” or “fifty pounds?”  Without pronouncing that final ‘’n’’ your listener won’t know.  Misunderstandings and errors happen. That little letter at the end provides the key to comprehension the first time.  Complete the word production and don’t leave people guessing what you mean!
  2. Speed kills understanding.  Clear communication will improve by as much as 50% when you slow down your speech.  Putting spaces between your words and speaking at a slower pace can allow those who may be translating in their heads or need more time to process complex thoughts or technical explanations the time to “decode” each word.  Record yourself in normal speech and listen objectively.  It may be time to apply the brakes to your speech.
  3. Keep it simple.  People whose first language is not English and people who do not share your knowledge level of a particular subject may not be able to easily understand multiple syllable or technical terms….and definitely not idioms. Keep it simple.  Choose uncomplicated words that are commonly used.  This is not a time to showcase jargon or an extensive multi-syllable vocabulary.


NJBIZ Magazine – Business Thrives When You Talk the Talk

By Meg Fry, September 21, 2015<br /><br />Sharlene Vichness had only been retired two months before she started to feel restless. “I just hated the lack of structure,” she said.After long careers in teaching French and Spanish, staffing services and legal publishing, Vichness needed to find something else to do with her time. “I’d go places and get into Spanish-language conversations with people because when they couldn’t think of the English word or how to pronounce something, they would lapse back into Spanish,” Vichness said. She soon realized it was an enormous need that wasn’t being met. “Voice, tonality, culture and language can all be career impediments that affect the bottom line of business by both employees and employers,” Vichness said. “It’s about empowering those not able to be trained in English — they need to be trained in their native language.” So, at age 60, Vichness invested $4,000 in a computer and founded Language Directions in 2005. She still serves as its president. “I started the company in my daughter’s bedroom, and now we’re in a Mack-Cali building (in Roseland),” she said. Language Directions is a full-service training company specializing in customized short- and long-term instructional language and cultural awareness programs for the multicultural workforce. “We are aspirin for whatever language headache a company may be experiencing,” Vichness said. “We can help anyone from an executive who wants to polish his English language pronunciation to health care professionals who need to quickly learn Spanish for patients and their families.” The company offers several programs in which to remove language barriers and improve communications: English as a Second Language courses; accent reduction coaching; multilingual safety and supervisory training courses, such as ServSafe Certified Food Protection or Occupational Safety and Health Administration training; essential Spanish courses for managers and supervisors in any industry; cultural competency workshops; transcultural telephone and email etiquette; American business writing for foreign executives; and more. “All of our training is on-site in the client’s space, although we do also offer training online and limited classes in our office for more sensitive professionals,” Vichness said.The results speak for themselves. Language Directions’ clients have reported improved productivity, quality, teamwork and customer service; reductions in liability and workplace accidents; and major confidence boosts among both employers and employees. Vichness said the company continues to develop and find talent for specific client requests. “Many of the courses that we’re offering now were certainly not in the original scope of what I thought we’d be offering when I started the company,” she said. A lot has changed for Language Directions over the past 10 years: It has become a family company, with Vichness’ daughter and daughter-in-law operating home offices in Annandale, Virginia, and Shrewsbury, Massachusetts; it has been certified as a woman-owned business and an eligible training provider for the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development; and, most importantly, it won the 2013 “Garden State Entrepreneur Excellence Award” for businesses under $1 million in revenue. “New Jersey is a jigsaw puzzle of languages and cultures — a true mosaic,” Vichness said. “Businesses sometimes just don’t understand how to support the diverse workforce they’ve hired.” To further her cause, Vichness also joined the board of trustees at Ramapo College — a school with many foreign-born students who may need support. “We’ve even worked with the government to train recruits deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq on the languages and cultures,” she said. For example, when the Air Force asked Language Directions to find instructors from Afghanistan, Vichness reached out to the International Refugee Committee. “We met people who had to remove their children from their home country in order to avoid the Taliban,” she said. Having been introduced via the committee, Vichness hired a young man who had been an engineer and accountant in Afghanistan — but was currently working at Walmart — to teach the course. “My mission has always been to empower people from other cultures and languages to be full participants [in business] at the level they desire to be,” Vichness said. “Language Directions provides a chance to make a difference every day — we have the opportunity to change lives.”

Language Directions Chosen for Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP)

Language Directions Chosen for Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP)

Language Directions, LLC was inducted into the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) today joining over 200 other companies committed to military spouse employment. MSEP was founded to increase employment opportunities for military spouses, maintain their employment status as they relocate, provide career promotion opportunities and ensure pay equity commensurate with their level of training, work experience and accomplishments.

Language Directions President, Sharlene Vichness, officially signed the MSEP Statement of Support. “We are very excited to be a part of this opportunity and are committed to providing meaningful jobs for military spouses,” said Vichness. “Military spouses provide a robust and rich talent pool that we are able to offer to our clients, while offer the military spouses the flexibility they need and the career opportunities they seek.”The MSEP New Partner Induction was held at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, at the Women In Military Service for America Memorial. Dr. Jill Biden, wife of US Vice President Joseph Biden and a key person in the formation of MSEP, spoke at the ceremony and congratulated the New Partners.Language Directions (www.languagedirections.com) is a full service language training company specializing in customized short- and long-term instructional programs, offering all levels of training support such as American English as a Second Language (ESL), Accent Reduction, Basic Skills, Cultural Competence, Spanish for Management, Food Safety (ServSafe®) and other industry compliance issues that require effective communication. Language Directions delivers language and cultural training to the U.S. military. Instruction is designed to meet corporate or individual requirements to help busy working individuals deal with language challenges and cultural concerns. Instruction is offered on-site in businesses or associations with flexible scheduling for client convenience. Proudly certified by WBENC as a WBE and a SBE/WBE by the state of New Jersey.

Sharlene Vichness, featured in myContracting Magazine

Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) asked our own Sharlene Vichness to write an article about the challenges and successes of government contracting. The piece “The Journey to Subbing: Winning through Strategic Alliances” was featured in the 3rd issue of myContracting Magazine. View the full .pdf below. The Journey to Subbing, myContracting Magazine October 2014