Some of us need help with being assertive. We may need some guidance on how to project our voice, use humor to smooth out conflict, or just know how and what to say when people aren’t treating us fairly.

Such skills are in need among culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD) and people who find it hard to express their thoughts in a clear way, for a range of different reasons.

Everyday interactions, such as talking to superiors at work, may prove difficult to people who speak English as a Second Language. Those unfamiliar with Australian culture, idioms, and nuances may find themselves disempowered by a shortfall in communication skills.

Established in 2017, Empower Your English (EYE) is an innovative service assisting a range of people who seek to develop their English communication skills, one of the first of its kind in Victoria and Australia.

EYE centres workshops on learning through interactions and sharing. EYE workshops are facilitated, not “led” like a traditional classroom environment. Through this approach, attendees learn more about using encouraging language; to better use tone in speech; using humour when appropriate; and how to deal with discrimination due to language barriers.

The purpose of EYE is to help people with underdeveloped English skills assert themselves in disputes, interviews, dealing with government services, and other situations that require an empowered style of communication.

EYE workshops cover all four major forms of modern communication: face-to-face interactions, text (SMS), emails, and telephone conversations.

To date, EYE has been in communication with Metro Trains, the Ethnic Community Council Victoria, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association, and other ethnic and community outreach groups.

For more information, contact 0419 877 712 or email zen@eyenow.melbourne

Zen Fong
Zen is adventurous, and shares stories about her travels and the experiences of communicating more effectively. She has a degree in psychology, and is currently studying a Masters in Social Work in Melbourne.

Zen has mastered a communication style that focuses on Human Rights & Equality, and has worked in the areas such as Human Resources, International Fundraising, Disability Sector, Hospitality, and Visual Arts.

John McKenna
John has been in a wheelchair all his life, and occasionally experienced different forms of discrimination. He has gained a lot of insight into the power of assertive, and sometimes humorous communication to gain equality.

John has a qualification in mediation, and has worked in areas such as Telecommunications, Marketing & Retail, Human Resources, and Media. John has also worked for not-for-profit Organisations as an Empowerment Advocate.