This article discusses updated speech characteristics of a modern specialist in non-linguistic university with an emphasis on social component. Such factors as communicative situation, person’s social status, his or her profession, origin or age determine the sociolinguistic conditionalism in cross-cultural communication. Therefore, communicators challenge various social speech features while interacting with each other. These are communicative behavior, communication standards, foreigner’s language identity that predetermines his or her specific view of the world. All these factors affect the speech produced and should be taken into account when teaching professional communication in a non-linguistic university. In this case we should pay attention to linguistic variability, which externalizes as a part of business discource. For the purposes of this study the authors analyze scientific literature in a sociolinguistic field devoted to teaching L2, as well as conduct a content analysis of competence-based and intercultural approaches. Russian and European requirements for the level of L2 competence for non-linguistic specialists emphasize the importance of developing ability to understand and determine the influence of social factors on a speaker's language behavior. The research emphasizes the role of phonetics as an effective tool to understand sociolinguistic speech of foreign interlocutors due to language variation acknowledgement. As a result, the communicant should demonstrate certain sociolinguistic skills in the professional verbal communication. It is concluded that it is necessary to extend communication skills in terms of social interpretation during intercultural interaction, since this will allow non-linguistic specialists to become full-fledged participants in a professional dialogue of cultures.