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Global Business Skills


The Importance of the Three Pillars and English Skills【Part2】


Let me shift gears for a minute. I have a confession to make. Let me give you a bit of background to help better understand what I mean by that. I’ve been teaching intercultural communication related programs in Japan for more than 30 years. However, for many years, we had to work very hard to get potential clients to recognize the positive impact that intercultural communication training can have on their organizations’ profitability. In fact, one common misperception in the market was that our company was essentially providing eikawa (English conversation training). This misunderstanding was so deep that many of our trainers, I perhaps foremost among them, developed a negative reaction to being thought of as an English teacher. Even though we naturally understood the importance of English, we struggled to maintain our company’s brand as offering services that were distinct from and more sophisticated than what the myriad providers of eikawa could offer.

Here comes my confession. I have to admit that when I first heard about a new LGS program called “ESM” (English Speaker Mindset), I was worried that it might be little more than an eikawa gimmick. That was before I started to learn more about the program and realize how skillfully it had been designed to address the English allergy I mentioned early. This newly found appreciation on my part grew as I began to teach the program by myself. And it grew even more when I began to see the deep impact ESM had on our participants, as evidenced by the comments they made to us orally and on their post-seminar questionnaires.

To be sure, having learned several languages myself and having taught in Japan for close to 40 years, I had always known how important having the proper attitude was to successfully using a foreign language, or as we call it with ESM, having the right mindset. If someone is overly concerned with being perfect, avoiding mistakes at all costs, trying to get everything right, it is very hard to communicate effectively. The whole notion of, “If I can’t say it perfectly, I’ll just keep quiet,” becomes a real barrier to communication. Unfortunately, I have seen that happen to tens of thousands of intelligent businesspeople here in Japan.

The cleverly designed activities that ESM utilizes allow the participants to recognize how enryo (hesitation) can prevent them from being able to effectively use the English that they have, regardless of their current levels. ESM also provides the participants with concrete, practical tools that they can use to make themselves understood and to help their conversation partners to assist them in understanding. The look on our participants’ faces when they realize that they can communicate, even with limited English, is what convinced me of the real value of our ESM program. It would not be an exaggeration to say that ESM has indeed positively affected the lives of many of our seminar participants. We often receive emails from our participants telling us that their entire approach to using English has changed as a result of ESM. Even though the participants’ actual English level may not have improved significantly in the short term, their enhanced ability to communicate has made it much easier for them to do their jobs successfully when working with people from overseas.

Moreover, I have been pleasantly surprised to receive similar comments from participants who already have highly developed English skills. It seems that the value of ESM training is just as effective for people whose TOEIC scores are over 860 as it is for those whose scores are in the 250-400 range. To learn more about LGS’s ESM program, please click here.

Naturally, as part of helping Japanese business people develop a positive mindset about using English as a tool to communicate, we also encourage them to work hard to upgrade their actual English skills, especially vocabulary. But the first and most important step is for our participants to learn how to change their basic approach to using English. ESM does that. I am now a huge fan of this LGS program. It certainly can play a big role in helping our participants develop their abilities to communicate in English, one of the three key pillars to success in today’s global business world.





リンクグローバルソリューションの新規プログラム、「ESM(English Speaker Mindset)」について初めて耳にしたとき、私は英会話に毛が生えた程度の代物ではないかと心配になりました。

確かに、自分でも数か国語を学び、日本で40年近く教えてきた中で、外国語を上手に使いこなすのに適切な態度、あるいはESMで言う正しい考え方(the right mindset)、がいかに重要かを常に認識してきました。





Robert Hilke