October 8, 2005

Telephone calls

For many non-native English speakers, making telephone calls can be a difficult experience, especially in business situations. One of the main reasons for this is that people usually rely on visual cues when speaking in a foreign language – facial expressions, hand gestures, etc. On the telephone, however, we cannot see the person we are talking to and cannot 'read' the other person's emotions. In this case, listening becomes much more difficult.

So what can be done to make telephone calls easier?

As with most situations, knowing who you are talking to and what you are supposed to be talking about is important. The more information you have in advance...

Keep in mind however that telephone calls never follow a set script. By this, I mean that students often make the mistake of memorizing a set of expressions, but freeze up when asked something unexpected. Be ready for the unexpected.

Remember to speak slowly and clearly.

Posted by Marcus at 1:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 28, 2005

Learning vocabulary

Do you keep a seperate notebook for new vocabulary? Do you then use the words in example sentences?

Its always a good idea to keep new vocabulary in a seperate notebook from your classnotes and homework. This makes it much easier to review vocabulary at a later time.

I recommend that you use the following format for your 'Vocabulary Notebook':

Posted by Marcus at 2:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 26, 2005

Business English Etiquette

A student posted the following question on www.bylingo.com recently:

“One basic question, we normally don't put "san" after the names when we introduce our colleagues to the clients in Japan. Do you use Mr. or Mrs. when you introduce your colleagues in English?”
This is a great question because it addresses the cultural nuances involved in the use of language. Basically, there is no correct answer to this question. As business changes so do business practices. Some industries, IT for example, take a very casual approach to business interactions. So in this case colleagues may be introduced by their first names only.

I think a safe standard to follow is to introduce your colleagues by their full names and position in the company. If you are introducing your supervisor or superior to a client or customer, always introduce them the first time with Mr. / Mrs. Followed by their full names and their position in the company.

Keep in mind many people feel more relaxed when they are on a first name basis with other people. I recommend being professional the first time introductions are made, and after a couple of meetings it’s probably ok for everyone to use first names only.

Thanks for the question!

If anyone has any comments please feel free to post them.

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