• Shelley Purchon

Catch our podcast episode

Do you enjoy learning while listening to podcasts? You might enjoy this episode of The Speaking Club with Sarah Archer, in which Sarah interviewed Shelley, Director and Founder of English Unlocked.


How to Ensure Your Message Lands When You’re Speaking to an International Audience with Shelley Purchon - Episode 213

Sarah invited me onto her podcast because our training caught her eye. She noticed that the question of how 'mother tongue' English speakers can improve their intelligibility for an international audience is something which does not get talked about in business circles. As a speaking coach, she wanted to find out more about what we do.

What we talked about

  • My own experience as a non-native living in Spain.

  • The epiphany that prompted me to set up English Unlocked.

  • Why being a native speaker could be costing you sales and business opportunities.

  • My challenges in getting people to pay attention to this problem (and how I overcame them.)

  • The biggest mistakes people make when they speak to non-native speakers.

  • How you can avoid them and better engage listeners who are learning English

Is it OK to use humour when speaking to an international audience?

As a speaking coach Sarah encourages people to use metaphors, analogies, stories and humour when they speak, so she was keen to find out whether these can still work if your audience speaks English as a Foreign Language. This part of the podcast starts at 40m20sec and in it you will find out-

  • Hard lessons I learned about being funny when I moved to Spain

  • Which kinds of humour (favoured by Brits) can backfire or fall flat

  • Whether stories work when speaking to an international audience

  • How to use metaphors in a way that still gets understood

  • Why speakers of English as a Foreign Language are especially quick to laugh

Am I a hypocrite?

My friend Frank listened to the podcast and said 'your message was really clear, it shows that your techniques really work.' That's funny because when I listened back all I heard were the idioms and phrasal verbs I was throwing around (spoiler alert: phrasal verbs and idioms are two of the things I train people to avoid.) I kicked myself and thought 'Why couldn't I practice what I preach? Sarah's listeners from other countries won't be able to understand what I said.'

Let me know

If you do listen to the podcast I would LOVE to hear what you think. Is Frank right or am I? Does the podcast give you any food for thought? Are you left with questions? I'd be happy to answer them.

Where can you listen to the podcast?

Here are links to three places where you can listen to the podcast (for free, naturally.)

The course and the discount

I created a course with Sarah's audience in mind which you might like too. It's called How To Be Understood By Overseas Clients (And Avoid Losing Sales) and you can get a 50% discount if you use the offer code ARCHER50. Click below to find out more or buy a ticket.


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