Can you be a language acrobat?

Someone recently asked me how our company name, Acrobat-Global, came about. As with most new companies, it took us a while to arrive at a name that we felt encapsulated the message behind our work.

As authors and trainers of international communication, we felt there had to be a global dimension to our business. We considered a range of options including Greek and Latin words from astar and inspire to more Anglo-centric words including edge, reach, bridge. With each word we tried to develop a brand and identity.

Over time, we kept coming back to the word acrobat. It seemed international and easy to pronounce. Yes, it was perhaps inspired in part by my Greek connections but also by the skills represented by an acrobat (and, in part, the visuals that go with the word!). Rather than the gymnastic agility and control synonymous with a circus acrobat however, we were more interested in the other definition; one adept at swiftly changing or adapting a position or viewpoint*. Then we thought of a 'language acrobat'. Native English speakers who can communicate effectively with diverse multilingual audiences do so by knowing when and how to adapt their language swiftly in order to be better understood. And so, Acrobat-Global was born.

The concept fitted with our book Is that clear? - Effective communication in a multilingual world, and our workshops on international communication skills. To be a language acrobat we believe you need to follow 3 steps; Recognise, Adapt, Communicate. So first of all, native English speakers need to recognise when their use of English is difficult for non-native speakers to understand. Secondly, they need to adapt their English using a range of skills and strategies. Then finally, communicate more effectively in multilingual situations.

If you'd like to learn more about the skills and strategies needed to be a language acrobat read our book or get in touch at to find out more about our workshops.

Kathryn Alevizos

*definition taken from Merriam Webster online dictionary

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