Finns are really good at English. No doubt about it. And this is something the nation can really be proud of. However, no matter how good you are at something, it’s wise to know your own limits, and to know when it’s time to call in the experts. Here are five situations when getting help with your English can be the wisest option.
Launching a new website
The do-it-yourself attitude is very strong in Finland, and I’m sure that this is partly down to the fact that this mentality has served Finns well for generations. Finns build their own houses, make their own clothes and grow their own potatoes, so it’s no wonder that some Finns feel that nothing is beyond their capabilities.
Unfortunately, writing your own website texts in English (or even translating them yourself) is probably taking self-sufficiency one step too far. When it comes to creating a really effective website in English, it is best if the texts are written or checked by a native speaker of the language.
While this applies to any website, it is particularly relevant when launching a new company, product or brand. People are going to visit your website (hopefully), and this could be where many of them get their first impressions.
Your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn profiles are a little bit like boats in the harbour. They come in all shapes and sizes, and some of them haven’t been overhauled in years! In the same way that a boat which hasn’t been painted for a while stands out, a poorly written profile full of spelling errors and grammar mistakes doesn’t make the best impression either; even when it clearly has potential.
Social media tags
OK, so social media posts may not be the most important (or permanent) things in the world, but some people take their online persona very seriously. You don’t have to be perfect when posting in a foreign language (if you don’t want to be), but it may be worth checking a few terms when selecting tags or writing captions. Some of the most common mistakes are simple typos or a wrong choice of words that could easily be rectified.
Speeches & presentations
Most people hate standing up and making a speech or giving a presentation at the best of times, even in their own language. I have great respect for people who do that in a foreign language. If you have to make a speech or give a presentation in English, I highly recommend practising in advance with someone who can give you helpful tips and encouraging feedback.
Pitching isn’t just about language skills, but you can’t underestimate the effect of language on all human interaction. As with any presentation, I recommend practising your sales pitch with a native English speaker in advance, if possible, to make sure your pronunciation and register are OK.
However, there is another even more important benefit you can get from trying out your pitch on someone from a different background: they can tell you whether you are convincing or not. People who speak different languages have different approaches to situations and different ways of reacting. You might as well benefit from that!
Let’s Talk Oy
After work English clinic by Sean Carnegie-Brown
Sean Carnegie-Brown organises English clinics once a month in our Business Centers. Sean has spent more than twenty years in the language industry, helping companies grow and succeed in international markets. You can go through your presentations, website or social media profiles with Sean, or practise upcoming speeches together.