I’m sure I’m not the only one that shouted “hooray”, when they read “Sydney rail staff to get speech training” in the Sydney Morning Herald today.
The article stated that “rail staff were going to be sent to speech classes to make their announcements on stations easier to understand”, in a bid to eradicate “muffled and incomprehensible announcements”. The NSW transport minister said that customers have indicated that quality train announcements make a real difference to their journey. It’s just fabulous when employers like RailCorp realise there is a mismatch between what their staff can deliver and what customers expect, and do something about it.
This is a very delicate matter in many smaller organisations. At Eastside speech we have numerous calls from employers wanting to help their valued staff “step up” to more senior roles in their organisations, but the employees poor English pronunciation is preventing it. Customers avoid calling these employees due to the frustration they experience in communicating, potentially resulting in a loss of business. Employers find it a difficult matter to discuss for fear of causing offense, or being accused of being discriminatory.
On the flip side, we also have numbers of professionals who come, knowing that their English pronunciation is not “up to scratch” and know that ultimately it will impact negatively on their careers. English pronunciation or accent improvement tuition is enjoyable, effective and pays dividends in the long run- whether you’re the employer or employee- a great investment.