At Trebinshun House, we often work with students who want to develop their social English. Do you ever attend networking events, have business dinners with visiting colleagues, or even just work with a multinational team and have everyday conversations about the weekend, family news etc. How can you socialise more easily and effectively in English?
Wiadomości z Trebinshun House
Idioms and metaphors in business: useful or not?
One of my students recently told me that he often uses idioms or fixed expressions when he’s talking with his team at work - he feels that they help him to express himself more fully. He’s soon moving from Spain to the UK and he is keen to find equivalent expressions (or new ones!). So, what is the power of idioms and how useful are they?
Our students often come to us with a variety of objectives for their intensive course: they want to be more fluent, they want to improve their listening ability, they want to write better emails. Regardless of these bigger goals, when we analyse the sub-set of skills, we find that knowing how to explain is very useful. If you think about it, we spend a great deal of time explaining an idea, a procedure or summarising a more lengthy discussion. Let’s look at ways to do this and what phrases are helpful.
Most of our students have to write emails on a regular basis. It might be within the company to foreign colleagues (or perhaps the company language is English) or it may be to foreign suppliers or customers. Whatever the case, unlike speaking, writing is a permanent record and therefore it is important to get the language and the tone right. Writing accurately and clearly is important – we all need to explain, influence or make an impact on our colleagues, clients and superiors. These skills are a little bit more complex than simply summarising information and can take us out of our comfort zone. Let’s look at some golden rules to master this form of communication.
We’ve all heard about IQ, emotional intelligence and today I saw the term Cultural Intelligence. Naturally, we work a lot with cultural awareness on our intensive language courses as many of our students work within international teams or do business globally. We discuss different habits, conventions and even barriers to working harmoniously together. Arguably then, being comfortable working in a multi-cultural – as well as multi-lingual - environment is more important and relevant than ever. So, what is cultural intelligence and why is it important?
Working with a student this week, he told me it was really important to him to ‘keep it simple’: to use sentences which followed a clear structure with vocabulary which everyone could understand. I understood what he meant: he works with native and non-native speakers and he wants to be easily understood and not complicate matters unnecessarily. How can we do this without sounding too ‘basic’ or patronising? Here are some ideas we discussed.
Establishing strong relationships is an important part of being successful in business, where it is important to have reliable partners, work in and manage teams etc. According to the Cambridge Dictionary good rapport is about, “having a good understanding of someone and an ability to communicate well with them.” When we’re using our second language, we can sometimes focus so much on our communication skills that we forget the bigger picture of relationship-building. Let’s look at some key features of creating rapport.
by Claire Jaynes
Here at Trebinshun House, students have been visiting us for over forty years to take part in our intensive programmes. We have offered distance lessons for some time (often by phone) but did you know we also offer lessons online? These can serve as a useful bridge between courses or they can be an introduction to our teaching methods. Technology has improved to the extent where we can simulate the face-to-face contact (but unfortunately without access to Ken’s food!). Let’s look at the ways to maximise the benefits of distance learning.
by Claire Jaynes
At the beginning of a new year, our thoughts inevitably look to the future and what we want to achieve. At Trebinshun House, we always want to focus on our solid traditions and values and at the same time, keep up-to-date with changes in the field of learning. This should make your – or your company’s – language training strategy more efficient and make sure that you are learning in a supportive and inspiring atmosphere. Let’s look at some language learning trends which we’ll be using in the classroom and which you can follow through after your course.
by Claire Jaynes, DoS at Trebinshun House
As we come to the end of the year, we’re all busy with reports, end of year processes and getting ready for Christmas. It’s the time of year that we will – eventually - have some time to reflect. We’d like to encourage you to reflect on your progress in English over the last year.