Clients' Voice

Hands-on situation training allows participants to obtain practical English skills.

NetSTAR, Inc.

As of 2023:Manager, Head of Customer Experience: Global Business Development Section

Ms. Ai Sugawara

Services used


Workload was unevenly distributed to some members

Some team members had limited English communication skills, and the burden of overseas business was unequally shared with them.

After training:

We were able to distribute the workload effectively.

By improving overall English skills, they were able to respond to overseas customers, and distribute the workload equally.

Personalized training focused on my business issues

Could you tell me why you chose us among the many other English Communication Vendors?

A previous communication incident with a customer in English did not go well and we could not proceed with that important project under the conditions we wanted. In frustration, I talked to my boss saying, “I want to overcome my lack of English skills” and started looking for an English school and a training vendor. 

I compared several well know English conversation schools, such as the so-called “Ekimae Ryugaku” (English Schools near train stations).   I focused on English that could be used in actual business situations. Because of the aforementioned business failure, acquiring genuine business English skills was an uncompromising point. 

While there are several schools that offered business English training, I chose Canning because they focused on “my personal” issues, and not my company or industry. I found their “tailored courses,” to be attractive and suited my personal needs.  

 What is the content of the training?

  I had online training once a week for two hours in the early morning, and there were 2 types of sessions – “regular sessions” and “guest speaker sessions.” 

 In the regular sessions, we had focused conversations about current news, weather and life updates. We also discussed the latest trends in the security industry, and conducted role-plays using actual and potential events relating to real work as case studies. 

 My trainer gives me very detailed feedback on grammar, wording, and attractive expressions, so I have continued to improve my basic level through repeated practice. Even casual conversations were training for small talk and humor. 

 The case studies are very practical. We role-played presentations (I provided the materials and content for this!) and we practiced how to effectively engage in meetings/conferences when on business trips. Those hands-on exercises were very useful. 

 In guest speaker sessions, which were held only occasionally, consisted of specialized “in-house negotiations,” which I regard as a particularly important and a very challenging area for me. With the guest speaker playing the role of the person in charge of development/sales, we role-played an in-house negotiation scenario focusing on important conditions such as delivery date, functions, and budget. I prepared the scenario in advance and I identified the goals that I wanted to acquire, and the challenging areas that I wanted to overcome together with my trainer. It was a time-consuming process and I felt tense at times, but each time I discovered something new and could improve on some specific point, this made the training exciting. 

 I realized two major characteristics from my experience with Canning: 

 Firstly, “The training content is flexibly customized according to each participant’s challenging area.” Like the case studies and guest speaker episodes. Canning set up the training content according to my own challenging areas and specific problem cases. Although training was flexible, the goals were well set, so training always had a sense of accomplishment, and there was always suitable time for reflection. So with each session, there were more things I could do and I gain overall confidence. 

 Secondly, “The content of the training matched my actual business reality.I was able to learn through  demonstration and role-play which was directly related to real business situations. 

The content was practical and could be applied immediately in my work. For example, for face-to-face meetings, I learned that any one phrase could be perceived differently by the other person depending on your voice tone. For online meetings I learned I could raise participants awareness and inclusion by simply calling them by name. Because of this, I was able to utilize these specific examples in my actual communications immediately. 

 Able to respond without running away with a makeshift “Yes”.

What kind of effect did you get from your training?

Effect 1: I was able to deal with customers in English 

What I am most happy about as a result of the training is that I can now respond to something without hiding behind the idea that I cannot speak English. Before the training if I didn’t understand the other person, I would simply reply “yes” vaguely to avoid dealing with any further conversation. 

 As a result of the training, my English ability has improved, so I can now better understand what the other person is saying. And importantly if there is something I don’t understand I can ask questions, and check the main points calmly because I learned how to manage these difficult moments in my training. 

 Another positive direct impact of my training was when I received complaints from customers in the course of my work. I was able to respond calmly and settle the situation. The fact that I no longer felt a communication barrier between myself and the world was a huge growth area for me. 

Effect 2: I was able to contribute to my team more 

As well as growing as an individual, I am happy to be able to contribute to my team more than before. 

 Improving my English ability has allowed me to become more deeply involved in each project from an early stage. Recently, I have had more opportunities to participate from the core discussion stage, such as preparing initial proposals and estimating costs. Also, I have overseen the checking of some contracts little by little, and I feel that I am contributing directly to that particular order. I am very happy that I have had more opportunities to contribute to the team, which has led to a greater self-confidence. 

 Before the training, any work requiring English-speaking was concentrated on a limited number of members. Now I can share their workload, enabling me to do more things that I can work on in parallel as a team member, and this course has led to an increase in productivity and quality of development. 

 Additionally, as a team leader, acquiring better English skills has given me the momentum to improve not only my own skills but that of my team. My team is engaging in English more than before, so we are now receiving more questions about English from other members. 

Have you had any unexpected effects?

Effect 3: Improved not only English skills but also business skills. 

As well as my language skills but also my business skills have improved beyond my initial expectations. I learned important points in business communication   such as getting to the point quicker, or speaking logically providing evidence and concrete examples. I have also learned that speaking concisely and being aware of time when speaking are important attributes.

 During training I tried to facilitate some regular meetings with the sales and marketing department in the US. I asked my trainer to review and role-play the manuscript before going into the real meeting, and I was surprised that the meeting proceeded according to the template we looked at in the training. As the trainer taught me thoroughly, I realized that protecting the Golden rule is vital in global communication. 

 Furthermore, I find myself actively collecting information daily to further my technical expertise in order to keep up with the latest industry trends. 

 Our day-to-day support involves answering questions from the development engineers. To correctly understand the problems our customers are facing and to participate in the discussions in our expert group, I had to gain more technical knowledge and understand industry best-practice to catch up. 

 No matter how much I can speak English, if I don’t understand the content correctly, I can’t give adequate explanations or offer knowledgeable fact-based opinions. My role is to ensure that customers and members can focus on research and development with confidence, so I am constantly researching latest news or research material that are important for me to know. Interestingly I may be studying more now than when I was a student. I am also grateful that the trainer gives me advice on technical terms. 

What do you expect from Canning in the future?

I am grateful that Canning helped me not only with my language skill but also in various aspects such as improving my business skills and solving problems that our team had. I would like to continue my training further. 

 I will make every effort to overcome any challenging area I have and work on my strengths so that I can contribute more to the team. In addition, it is my hope that want my team members will participate in Canning’s training in the near future. 

Comments from Trainer (Anthony)

I began by practicing some standard case studies, but we quickly evolved to dealing with situations inspired by her real-world communication issues. By having a close-coaching relationship with Sugawara-san, I having been able to identify and help her leverage her many natural talents. 

 Alongside this, we have worked together on individual improvement points. This has allowed her to greatly increase the scope of her communication with global partners. 

 Specifically, she is now able to both participate in and facilitate meetings with global partners with much more confidence. Her communication is more logical, more concise and richer in vocabulary. 

 Most importantly, she now has a self-awareness and interest in her continual improvement. I am currently coaching her to “curate” the information she presents in order to set the tone from a leadership role.

All of the “Clients' Voice” interviews

  • NetSTAR, Inc.

    “The training content is flexibly customized according to each participant’s challenging area. ”The content of the training matched my actual business reality. “Acquiring better English skills has given me the momentum to improve not only my own skills but that of my team

    We spoke to a participant who continues the Canning 1to1 Business English Skills training more than 3 years. The participant shared positive feedback about her experience with Canning 1to1 training.

    Read more
  • NetSTAR, Inc.

    -“There was also a positive impact on sales.”
    -“As the number of members who could speak English increased, the management was able to focus more on its core work.”
    -“Ms. Sugawara learned English at a level that can be described as "work-ready"

    We asked the participants’ manager to share his thoughts on our training programs and their effects on their business.

    Read more
  • Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

    -“The training is always rated 4.8 or higher on a scale of 1-5. Consultants sometimes receive perfect scores.”
    -“Canning's highly experienced consultants are all on point.”

    In the interview, we take a detailed look at the highly positive feedback from this client.

    Read more

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