You’ve worked hard, earned the degrees and certifications, acquired a position at a successful corporation, developed and contributed to successful projects, yet the significant promotions are elusive.

Your manager has asked you to:

  • Do Contribute more in meetings,
  • Be more assertive,
  • Do speak up.

It’s a constant question. What does one do or say to contribute more, to be more assertive, or speak up? Some get frustrated thinking that they have really tried multiple times, and still were not really understood.

And here is what you have:
A variable awareness of the issues without adequate transformational knowledge
or the strategies for change across increasingly demanding communicative situations.


Using Clear, Effective Leadership Phrases

Think of a stool. It must have at least 3 legs to be stable. Likewise, we must stabilize a new skill at all three (3) levels of practice to habitually have access to new skills.

Here’s how you can harness the Power of (3) Three within this series.

In the coming months, read each article, note the targets. Then write each of them on your Smartphone, a Post-It note or somewhere that you will see the targets daily.

  • Three (3) executive level words/ phrases of NAE (North American English)
  • Three (3) target pronunciation goals within these phrases.
  • Three (3) example situations in which to use these new phrases.


Practice and implement:

  • These specific pronunciation targets within the words and phrases.
  • The examples that are given or Executive Communication situations, while also developing and expanding your own Executive Communication responses in sentences through multiple sentence responses
  • Three (3) times per day, everyday, for (3) three weeks.

The top three issues for most English Speakers as an Other Language (ESOL).

Why? When these issues are intertwined most native English listeners will not be able to clearly understand the ESOL speaker no matter how much the listener tries.

  1. Speaking Speed:
    Speaking too fast often causes the speaker to eliminate key syllables within words, make sound substitutions and use incorrect linking or stress patterns.
    If the speaker is speaking too quickly, the listener also has less time to make “edits” and will often quit trying to understand after two or three requests for clarification.
  2. Rhythm:
    The two rhythm aspects of NAE are: Linking – NAE words often link the ending sound of words with the beginning sound of the following word. Example: “Sound of = soun-duv”
    NAE is a “stress-timed” language. High content words, such as nouns, active verbs, adjectives and adverbs. having longer duration than “function” words, such as prepositions, pronouns, auxiliary verb [is,].
  3. Vowel Substitutions: In most languages, vowels carry much of the meaning of a word.
    NA English has many more, as well as some very different, vowel sounds [18] than Spanish [5], Mandarin [~5], And different uses of vowels than French [12 pure & 7 total semi & nasal vowels], Tamil [13]; Persian [8].


The First Step :   Listening Differentiation to understand the differences between different sounds or pronunciations. If one cannot hear differences from one individual speech sound to another then they will not be able to make their own attempts at a target sound correctly:

Best: English Talk Shop has an excellent Listening component / “Listen and Choose”/ to their different versions of the American Speechsounds online software ($75.00 -$150.00). One must attain a 90% on their first choice of each task to be considered “proficient”.

It also will list the all the target pronunciation segments (Rhythm and stress patterns, consonants, all vowels sounds) for multiple background languages.

Purchase through Accent Management Group, LLC /, for a significant discount.

Good: American English Pronunciation Practice – Many-Things: Free: This has short lists and a small listening component of only consonants and vowels. However, does not give as much information for languages sound differences.


The Second Step:   Get an Accountability Partner. It must be someone who speaks NA English proficiently; A Canadian or American with whom you are comfortable. This could be someone at work, or in the community. If you belong to a Toastmasters club in your community, ask another member to be your accountability partner for only specific pronunciation targets.


The Third Step:   Record your efforts and redo each effort until you and your accountability partner agree that you have achieved 90% on your three targets.

Upcoming Resource Lists for Practice: Executive Leadership Phrase Examples:

  • Target Vowel – Long /I/: “I would like your advice.”
  • Target Vowel – Long /A/: “Negotiate in good faith”
  • Target Vowel – Long /O/: “Focus on our goal”
  • Target Vowel – Long /E/: “ Acquire by a feasible means ”
  • Target – /Split Vowels/: “Establish our Pri-orities”; “Good exper-i-ence”

Recently, I attended the annual NECINA (New England Chinese Information and Networking Association) in the KMPG Conference center in downtown Boston.


They had an impressive list of distinguished speakers, including Dr. Peter Petri, the Founding Dean of Brandeis International School of Business, and Mr. Harry Zhu, founder and CEO of Wayou Networks, MA in Physics from Harvard and past president of Carbonite China.    Each was knowledgeable and engaging.  Some participants took notes on their phones.


Then Ms. Liqi Peng, Global Brand Director, Proctor and Gamble spoke.  She addressed several topics on leadership, many of which were about culture and communication differences in a Chinese workplace and a Western workplace.  She cited some of her experiences with phrases one should not use in the Western workplace and the consequences.  And, she gave the audience more appropriate responses.

I noticed many more participants taking notes.


We can talk about specific behaviors expected in communication styles in order to advance, yet, most often, we want to know what transitional phrases and words to say and when to say them.


These resources are often included in our training, targeting speaking clarity and accent, pause and body language during the role-playing as well as giving the individuals specific and meaningful vocabulary and phrasing strategies for effective leadership communication in a Western workplace.


Here are some phrases to use in different scenarios:

For Negotiations And Confirmation Of Terms*:

  • Just to confirm, we ….
  • Per our agreement, you will……, And, we will…
  • As you agreed, you will …


Phrases To Effectively Respond To Others Ideas Include: Hint: Use “We” or “That” versus “you” **

  • “Name”, That is an interesting/thought provoking idea/concept…
  • That / this opens up some considerations for ….
  • We may want to consider…..


Phrases To Use With Your Boss: Hint: Use “We” or “That versus “you” **

  • ….. to do what is best for the team/project/company. 
  • ..…to do what will increase marketability / productivity / possibilities /…
  • I look forward to working on this.. /…. with you/.. OR  ” I appreciate the opportunity to ….”


These are only some that work well in the Western workplace.  Here are strategies to implement these.  You will notice more positive responses to your ideas.

  • Take a small notebook or use your smartphone into meetings or on teleconferences:
  • Document “transitional phrases” that the leaders and/or savvy communicators use
  • Take one phrase a week and work it into your daily communication.


**Resources: Christopher Wright’s “Quick Business English System” and “How to Say It at Work “ by Jack Griffin.