If you’re a foreign-born professional currently working at a company in the Bay Area, you know that there are a lot of challenges involved that make the English language issues you’re facing more difficult.

For example, one of the most common problems my business clients face is having to address more than one person at the same time. This can be in casual or formal settings. It’s not just the large-scale presentations or design meetings that can make things stressful. Sometimes it’s simply talking to a group of colleagues in the hallway or meeting for a drink after work. Those English speaking and pronunciation skills you’ve worked hard on for years can sometimes go out the window. There are idioms and slang you’ve never heard of. The topics change quickly. It’s hard to catch the nuances and little differences in meaning. The jokes are hard to follow.  All of this creates stress.

You also might notice that your pronunciation gets worse in these situations or that it’s hard to remember vocabulary words you thought you’d memorized. Sometimes it’s hard to express your business or design concepts in detail or with the kind of fluency they deserve. A lot of my clients tell me that they wish they could have a translator handy just for communicating their creative ideas to the team.

Unfortunately, the business English websites online, while providing a lot of great resources for vocabulary and grammar, can’t address the issues that many non-native speakers face in the work environment. There are a couple reasons for this. One is that everyone’s situation is unique. No two speakers have exactly the same strengths and weaknesses, and no two speakers face the same set of circumstances and challenges at work. I’ve been doing this kind of tutoring and consulting for years, and it’s not a cookie-cutter. Furthermore, everyone’s learning process is different, and the online resources can’t address that reality.

The best thing you can do if you’re facing communication problems at work, regardless of what they involve, is to contact a professional Business English consultant or tutor. They will give you a full assessment and help you explore possible solutions to the issues you’re dealing with.