The one thing that successful English speakers in business do that average speakers don‘t

Veröffentlicht am 15. Februar 2024 um 08:08

Ready for my unpopular answer?



💡 Successful English speakers know they don‘t have to sound like native speakers. 


Sounding and speaking like a native speaker are myths we learn at school. There, the perfect native speaker of English is the status quo. In fact, it prevents a lot of people from enjoying speaking the language and developing confidence in speaking. 

The knowledge that you don’t have to speak as a native speaker gives you confidence. It allows you to relax and accept yourself. 

Believe in yourself and that you are a good speaker who just needs a little help here and there is what I would like to suggest. 



Once you realize you can be a successful English speaker without sounding like a native, you’ll likely do 2 (or 3) things that will supercharge your English progress. 

For example: 


✅ Allow yourself to contribute your ideas in meetings.


✅ Phone a customer when you need to solve an issue instead of writing long emails.


✅ Start to be the person you are also in English.


Successful English speakers allow themselves to have fun.


They enjoy speaking English, exchanging opinions with business partners from other cultures, and learning something from them.


When you enjoy what you do, you do it more often, develop intrinsic motivation, and make a habit out of it, e.g., reading, listening, and speaking in English. 


Successful English speakers focus on communication first.


Sure, you should speak good English, and one criterion is that your communication partners should understand you. It requires a good command of grammar but also good pronunciation. 


In other words, good English requires good grammar and pronunciation. But don't let yourself fall into the trap of overly emphasizing perfection. 


And don't let your efforts to improve your grammar and pronunciation distract you from what matters: successful communication.


Ask yourself these questions to see if your English is successful:


✅ Did my communication partner understand me? 


✅ Did we build rapport?


✅ Did we find common ground?


The answers to those questions are more important than using the right phrasal verb, or having a 'native' accent.


Successful English speakers see the 'native speaker' approach for what it is.


The native English speaker approach is a marketing tool in the language learning industries. It's designed to make the language company a lot of money. 

But it doesn't serve you as an international communicator. 

In fact, if you learned to speak just like a native speaker, it might not be suitable for your international business communication. Why is that? 

Because native speakers of English use idioms, phrasal verbs, etc. in their speech. It often makes the way they speak less understandable for non-native speakers. 

When you are in business with people from diverse cultures, many of whom are non-native speakers, adjusting is far more important. Speak clearly and avoid too much slang or local idioms.

Your business contacts need to understand you. And you want to avoid misunderstandings. Neither of you really benefits from a 'perfect British or American' accent.

Successful English speakers who give up on becoming 'native speakers' often stay more motivated to improve their English in the long run. That's because when the highest, unattainable level of English is your ultimate goal, trying to reach this goal will always keep you unsatisfied and ready to pay more. Besides, you might not be satisfied with reaching 'smaller 'goals. 

This creates a feeling of failure and a sense that you'll never succeed in your learning process; you might think: 'I'll never become a successful speaker of English. '


Try letting go of your 'native speaker' goals and focus on something more concrete, smaller and achievable. Many of my clients have made great strides this way. 


Want to learn more on the topics ‘myth‘ in business English and reduce stress? Find answers in my blog ‘The 3 biggest lies of Business English‘.




I want to encourage you to become a good communicator of English step by step.

Start to enjoy speaking the language and free yourself from everything that prevents you from doing so. 

Focus on communicating first and foremost. 

And don't let trying to sound like a native speaker stop you from progressing.

The outcome will be that you might not have 100% perfect grammar or punctuation, but you will be able to communicate in your job and develop with your business partners, who might be non-native speakers themselves. Your native speaker business contacts probably care a lot more about good communication than perfect grammar as well. 

How would you like to become the person you are in English?


Do you want more tips on how you can become a better Business English communicator with less stress? Sign up for my newsletter.

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