Do you speak to your clients in the right accent?

Do you speak to your clients in the right accent?

I have a problem” she announced. Everyone looked around at me. “How will you ensure they understand your English?” she questioned.

7 faces stared at me expecting an immediate answer.

You see, I was in the Principle’s office of the LIC in India about to start a 2 day programme with 40 trainers from within the Indian insurance industry.  Granted, they all spoke English, it’s the language most people can speak in India, some better than others.  They learn it at school and it’s spoken in many circles.

I’m worried about your accent” she continued, “How will they understand you?”

Thinking quickly, “three things I will do with my voice”, I began, “firstly I’ll slow down my pace, then I’ll use more pauses, then finally I’ll keep away from slang”

But what about you in business?  When you’re talking to your clients, be they high net worth individuals, CEOs, VPs, Sales Directors or accountants, do you adapt your way of speaking?  I’m not talking about dumbing down your vocabulary, which many salespeople proudly announce they do, but relating to the client in their language.

Do you talk objectives and metrics.  KPIs and targets. Do you find out their buzz words and phrases?  Do you work in their “space?”

Excellent” she announced. Everyone looked relieved and sure enough these tactics worked splendidly that day and I heard afterwards that everyone fully understood my accent.  Until I skyped my wife later that night and she couldn’t understand me.  “Speak up and make it quicker”, she requested.