Learning new things as often as you can is very important in Canada. Communication skills are essential to working in Canada, I’ve been in Canada for a long time now, and mine have improved a lot. It is very wise to keep the attitude that you need to be always improving and learning from your experience. There is always room for improvement when it comes to those of us who speak English as a second language. This is especially true when you are working in a job with Canadians. You will find, as I have, that Canadian employers will demand good communication skills. They will even mention this in the job description.
Candian employers will want you to have good communication skills so that the work can be done efficiently and amiably. This is equally important with communication between yourself and your manager and how you interact with everyone in the office or workplace. A top tip that I hear repeated very often is that when you go for a job interview you should consider your interactions with the receptionist very important. Just as you would the conversations that you have with the interviewer. Remember to be patient, a lot of these skills will take a while to cultivate, however, with a positive attitude you can do it I’m sure!
Be precise, concise and patient
Clear and easy to understand communication is key when speaking with your coworkers in Canada. Canadian employers place a high value on confidence. You should make sure that you put your best foot forward and speak clearly and loudly. You should take care not to waste anyone’s time, and make your point quickly and then be prepared to listen to whatever comments, concerns and thoughts any of your co-workers or manager might have. Remember, you will need to be patient when there is a difference of opinion and make sure that you do not speak out of turn or interrupt anyone.
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Listen as much, if not more than you speak
Listening is a valuable skill and many Canadian employers will consider good communication a two-way street. It is a fact that workplaces in Canada are often built around collaboration. You will be amazed how important it is to hear and understand what people are saying. Your co-workers will appreciate that you are listening to them and will respond in kind, giving you the time to speak your mind with equal patience on their part. If you can listen and perform another task at the same time, that is great. However, what you really should be thinking, is how you can demonstrate that you are listening to a co-worker. Put the pen down, look away from your computer screen so that your co-workers will feel that you are listening. This demonstrates respect. Another important aspect of this is that if you don’t understand something, don’t feel shy about asking for clarification.
Be comfortable in your own skin
I have found in my time in Canada as a newcomer that I need to make compromises to settle here. This is true of how I have chosen to behave at work. Specifically, I have needed to adapt my existing communication skills to work in Canada. The best place to start is by understanding your own abilities and strengths when it comes to communication. Getting a clear understanding of your current communication style you can build on it. This will allow you to make sure that you are meeting your Canadian employer’s expectations around your communication skills.
Pick your moments
I have found that this is a very important aspect of communication in the Canadian workplace. I find that my coworkers will be very busy on some days and less busy on others. Being respectful of others workloads and knowing when you can approach them is useful information. At the same time, if you need something done, then you may have to add to their already extensive workload. Just remember to be respectful and as positive as possible during the stressful times. The timing of when you choose to say something can be just as important as what is being said.
To add to this, you should make sure that you get a feel for the workplace culture around emails and phone calls out of office hours. Living up to the expectations of a manager can be very important when they send you emails that are marked as “Urgent”.
Where can you start?
Provided by Humber College, this Occupation Specific language training program (OSLT) is aimed at helping newcomers to Canada just like you develop better communication skills for the Canadian workplace in your specific field. You may find that other language training programs for newcomers are useful but only an OSLT will give you the English skills that you need to succeed in your chosen profession.
By taking part in the Occupation Specific Language program offered by Humber College you will also learn about Canadian social and cultural expectations in the Project Management and Technology industries.