Do you find it hard to understand native speakers? It is sometimes difficult for them too! Help you listeners by following some of these rules.

Introductory phrases

Say something unimportant at the beginning of your sentences to let listeners tune in to your accent and only then transmit your message, as in “By the way, today I’d like to tell you that we will hire a new consultant”, where the end is the core message and the rest an introduction.

Gestures and visual aids

Magnify gestures, since they will help to get your ideas across in case verbal language fails. Visual aids also help, so bring pictures or samples whenever you can.


Include examples with your explanations. They add clarity and are easy to visualise. “Today I’d like to talk about sport vehicle manufacturers, such as Ferrari or Aston Martin.”

Avoid noisy backgrounds

If you can choose the venue, meet speakers at quiet places.  Many tapas bar are picturesque and foreigners love them but understanding is a nightmare. Avoid street-level terrazas, crowded restaurants, noisy pubs and music bars. The secret? Try hotel top-floor lounges where drinks might be expensive but sound is generally good.

Don’t shout

It won’t make your accent clearer, it will anger your listener and make your words harder to comprehend.


There are more ways to help people understand you better. Wait for my next post and you’ll be able to read about them. Also, if you want to learn about business English you can see my Speak and Write Better Business English ebook here: