How to Prepare for IT Project Meetings in English
One benefit of being a developer is the opportunity to work remotely with diverse teams from around the world. But this almost always renders as necessary a good understanding and command of English.
So, if you’re an IT developer whose native language is Spanish, how do you fully and effectively take part in your English-language projects?
Below are strategies for success to prepare for project meetings in English.
Practice Introducing Yourself
Whenever meetings get started, introductions are always first. Make sure that you’re comfortable following the standard conversation of greetings and name-swaps and that you are confident speaking about these topics.
Practice not only saying your name and hellos out loud, and perhaps where you’re located, but also your job title and role within the project.
Don’t forget that first impressions make their mark on your listeners and your self-assurance. If you start with confidence (remember that these are the easy English basics), then you’ll feel better about what you can contribute to the rest of the meeting.
Know How to Talk About the Project
You’re already an expert in your field; that’s why you’re on the team! But become an expert in the client’s industry, too. Read up on the company, its project goals, and the sector’s English jargon. Also, make sure that you can accurately pronounce the key terms.
It’s also helpful to jot down some notes pre-meeting about what you’re working on, specifically, in the project. Be able to clearly explain your steps, current progress, goals, and expected deliverables. Also, try to anticipate potential questions that may arise and be prepared to understand and answer them.
Brush Up on Business Casual Etiquette
Small talk will prevail at the beginning of the meeting. Those moments when members are connecting and you’re waiting for the whole team to gather will be filled with either awkward silence or casual English conversation. Don’t get thrown off by such chitchat; you should even encourage yourself to engage in it. These are informal opportunities for you to connect with your teammates.
Likewise, refresh your English etiquette skills. Know how to phrase questions and requests. For example:
- “Sorry to interrupt here, but I was wondering if we could…?”
- “Let’s try this, …”
- “Could we…?”
- “Would you please…?”
- “Are you able to…?”
If you need to politely interrupt someone you can say, “Sorry to interrupt, but I wanted to add…”
To say “goodbye” in business casual lingo, you can say:
- “Have a good one!”
- “Thanks, we’ll be in touch.”
- “See you all next week!”
A few key phrases can go a long way in making you sound like a professional who is fluent in English.
Don’t Freak Out Over Grammar
Perfect grammar is not as important as being understood. Even if you botch sentence structure and conjugate no verbs, but confidently link a string of words together, chances are that your teammates will get the idea.
The most important thing is that you speak up! The more you do it, the more you’ll feel comfortable, and the more you’ll be able to express yourself.
Nerves will muddle your speech and wipe your mind blank; don’t let them get in your head and get the better of you. Remember, grammatical mistakes are just another guaranteed part of the process.
Record Your Meetings and Take Good Notes
As much as preparation and practice are vital, it’s just as important to be active during and after project meetings.
Recording the conversation and taking notes throughout it will help your understanding and arm you with reference material to continue successfully progressing. With the retrospective time and space to re-listen and re-read — and without the immediate pressure of using a non-native language — it’s much easier to comprehend the meeting’s content. You’ll also feel freer to engage during the meeting itself, without the fear that you’ll miss out on something important.
Get Support and Get Started
Even if you’re not totally comfortable with your English skills, you can still meaningfully engage in your English-language IT project meetings. Remember to do your homework, take stellar notes, and that you should not be afraid to speak up.
It’s also a huge benefit to work for a company that supports its staff with in-house English classes. With support from your management and coworkers, your language learning goals will be that much easier to accomplish.
Check out this list of helpful IT project terms: