When you deliver a web conference, who are your participants and where are they from? With the reach of web, it’s possible that your audience may be more global than you think. You may spend a few minutes at the beginning of a session asking questions to determine who’s online and where are they from. You may also consider a poll question such as “Is English (Spanish, Arabic, etc.) your first language?” Responses to these types of polls give the facilitator essential information about the background of the audience to help make spoken language adjustments. For example, slang should always be kept to a minimum when the audience shares the same first language, and eliminated altogether if you have a diverse audience.
During a conference call with a team in the UK a few weeks ago, I also realized that even business words in American English and British English may cause confusion. The team referred to “bespoke e-learning solutions” which made no sense to my American ears. Now I know that bespoke means customized, but I got hung up on this word in their email communications and during the call until they sorted it out for me.
The spoken word in a web conference is so essential. Practicing what you plan to say with others from different cultures is a great way to raise your language awareness level so that what you say will be understood by everyone, regardless of where they are from.