December 2013
Directly Speaking

Communicating During Disasters or Other Unexpected Occurrences 


Super Storm Sandy is now history.  We move on, as after most disasters, to an analysis of how we might avoid miscommunication and the repetition of problems.  After 9/11 and the destruction of the World Trade Center, a universal awareness was created regarding backups and storage of essential data in an off-site, secure location.  Sandy and other similar weather or emergency events can cause us to look at our systems and processes for communicating with our employees.  We are now into this year's storm season and it is wise to think about it now and be prepared.

Your employees may need a way to call in to the company to determine if the site is open for business in the wake of a blizzard, hurricane, flood, or fire.  Not a problem for the portion of the workforce that speaks English.  If your plant is closed, they won't show up for work if they have called in.  But what about the sometimes-larger percentage of your workforce who speak little or no English?  They may be unaware of procedures and unable to understand a message delivered in English?  What can you put into place to be sure that your immigrant workers do not fight through poor conditions and inclement weather only to arrive at a plant that has been closed?   Following Sandy, we were asked to suggest a solution for a company with this exact problem.  The company wanted to establish some way for non-English speaking employees to contact the company to learn if the workplace was open and accessible.  Something that has worked for us is a virtual phone system, an on-line solution.  For a small monthly fee, a company can establish a toll-free number, set up scripts in the relevant language(s) to be accessed through extensions.  Language Directions has an introductory greeting, which includes pre-recorded instructions in Mandarin and in Spanish to select an extension for further instruction.  The selected extension has a more detailed message in that language with specific instructions for that group of workers.  A company can utilize an employee who speaks clearly in his or her native language to make the recording, or you can use a company like ours to provide you with a sound file of your chosen script in any language.  There are a few of these "virtual switchboard" companies who can provide you with specific answers about the technology involved.  It is very inexpensive.  During our power outage, all incoming calls received our pre-recorded message and voicemail messages to us were logged for retrieval when the power and Internet connections became operational.

It is reassuring to know that when your limited English workforce needs to find out emergency information, they can call in to a toll-free number and be directed to an informational message in their language to guarantee complete understanding of what to do.  Utilizing your own workers in this project can build rapport as well as save money.  And if there are reasons that using your employees is impossible or inappropriate, we stand ready to help.

What's New?
ServSafe Certification Renewal  
5 years go by super fast! If you took the ServSafe exam and got certified before 2010, you will have to recertify in 2014 to remain in compliance with the law.

The good news is that we can help you do it in a way that makes sense for you. You don't have to take the whole class. You have choices. Review changes to the food code and refresh your knowledge on your own and just take a proctored written or on-line test in the comfort of our office or sign up for a 2-hour review/refresher and test combo.

Recertification reviews and exams are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean. Park free, and enjoy a cup of coffee while you get the re-certification over with. 
Call the office for scheduling: 973-228-8848.
We wish you all a safe, 
joyous holiday season, and a
very happy new year.

Sharlene Vichness, President
and the rest of the Language Directions Team
Like us on Facebook View our profile on LinkedIn
Follow us on Twitter Find us on Pinterest
We are delighted to bring the December 2013 issue of DIRECTLY SPEAKING 
to your inbox. In this issue, we offer up some strategies you can use to push past language and cultural challenges at work. We will continue to post little tips to improve rapport, understanding, and efficiency, both at work and in any interpersonal communication with folks of a different culture.
Language Directions
in the News!

Success After 60: Language Specialist Starts Custom Skills Company 
Language Directions' President, Sharlene Vichness was recently interviewed for an article in Read here for complete article.



I have a spelling checker,

 It came with my PC.

It plainly marks four
my revue 

 Mistakes I cannot sea.

I've run this poem
threw it,

 I'm sure your please

to know,

Its letter perfect in
it's weigh. 

 My checker tolled
me sew.




Fast Fact 
The Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year is...
Tongue Twister
Santa's short suit shrunk.

 Language Directions, 188 Eagle Rock Ave, Roseland, NJ 07068, (973) 228-8848

Copyright � 2013. All Rights Reserved.