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Category Archives for General

The Interview

The Interview

This is the ninth part of our series on meetings. Today we’re covering the special kind of meeting from the other side. The interview from an interviewee’s point of view.  So far we’ve covered informal, formal meetings, telephone conferences, in-house and supplier meetings.

Congratulations!

Once you’re invited to an interview, you’ve successfully managed the first hurdles. Although, you might see the finish line remain focussed and concentrate on your goal. The most important aspect to consider is your preparation for the interview. Last week we focused on possible questions in English at an interview. This week we’re giving you possible answers to those questions. We’ve formatted the answers for you in bold and just like last week, we’ll cover the different phases. Possibly only part of the interview will be in English, however, the whole interview could also be held in English to test your language level and your stress level. 

Introductory Phase

  • Thanks for coming – Thank you for the invitation
  • Please feel free to ask any questions you may have – Thank you, I will
  • Did you have difficulties finding us? – No, not at all. The directions on your website were very clear
  • How was you journey? – Fine, thanks
  • Can I offer you any refreshments? – A cup of coffee would be great / Just a glass of water, thanks / I’m OK for the moment, thanks

The Procedure 

  • I’m going to start by … and then we’ll talk about … . Finally, we can deal with any points you would like to raise. – That’s sounds good / fine
  • We’re interviewing more people so I’ll be able to tell you something by the end of the week / next week. – I see, that suits me

The Job

During this phase you should concentrate on the information you’re hearing, as you could ask follow-up questions. d

  • We’re looking for someone who can lead a team – Can you tell me how big the team is? Is it an international team? 
  • It’s a challenging / demanding role – What would my responsibilities be? Who would I report to?
  • We need someone to deal with / manage / organise … – Will the position involve travelling to your various sites?
  • You would be responsible for … – Would I receive any kind of training?
  • You would receive training / a mentor for eight weeks – Could you please give me more details? What does the training include? Who would the mentor be and how often could we communicate?

The Questions

Here are possible responses you can use to talk about yourself, your education and experience. Be careful, some questions can be tricky! That’s why it’s all about preparation. 

  • Tell me about yourself – I’ve been working as a/an …for … Before that I studied at …
  • Tell us about your education – I studied at … and gained my degree …
  • What aspect of your job do you like best? – I really enjoy …
  • Can you tell us about /describe your last / present job? – I lead a team of … /My duties included …
  • What do you know about …? – I have had extra training for …
  • Why did you leave your last job? – I’m looking for new challenges / I’m looking for a job that suits my talents/ I’m looking for a job where I can grow with the company.
  • Please tell me what experience have you had of …? – I have experience in …
  • What exactly were your responsibilities in your previous position? In my previous position, I was responsible for …
  • Tell me about your strengths / weaknesses? 
  • What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are? – One of my strengths is the skill / ability to … / I’m good at … (-ing) / I’ve been told that I’m quite good at … / I feel my weakness is …
  • How would your colleagues describe you? – I get on well with people / like a challenge / I’m a fast learner / team player…
  • Why do you think we should hire you? List your positive traits together with what the interviewer is looking for.
  • What can you offer us? – I have a lot of experience in …
  • Can you give me an example of a situation when you had to use your initiative? – For example, in my last job …
  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time / five years from now? – In five years, I want to be … / my goal is to …/ I would like to have 
  • What kind of salary do you expect? – The typical salary range for this position is … to …, so I would expect something within that.

The Final Phase

At the end you’d finish by asking the interviewee, if he or she has any questions you can answer and informing him or her when you will be in contact again.

  • Do you have any questions?
  • Would I receive any training for this job?
  • What would a typical day be like for someone in this position?
  • What would be my main duties?
  • Is there a probationary period?
  • When are you looking for someone to start?
  • What is the next step?
  • It was nice meeting you
  • Thank you, Mr/Ms Smith. I look forward to hearing from you. Please contact me if you need any further information.

So, there you have it!

That wraps it up for today. In case you’d like some help preparing for a job interview, then please just schedule a call with me click here to schedule a call and tell me about it. Are you interested in other business English skills? Then check out the post about listening here and about using your voice effectively here

One more thing

Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

Are you on social media? Let’s connect on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

Take care

Nadia

 

Effective Telephone Conferences

effective telephone conferences

Effective Telephone Conferences

This is the seventh part of our series about meetings. For today’s post Yvette and I are sharing our thoughts with you concerning the dos and don’ts of telephone conferences and we’re providing you with some useful phrases.  

Let’s get started !

Believe it or not, telephone conferences or telcos or telephone meetings are still a thing, as not everywhere in the world the Internet is as good as necessary to have a video conference.

Consider these three aspects when planning your virtual meetings:

  • Everyone has a phone and can call in, but not everyone has the hardware, software or technology for video conferencing.
  • Telephone conferencing is something people have got used to over the past years, even though other simple technology such as zoom for video conferencing is available.
  • And finally without the need to travel you can reach many people all over the world and discuss your issues with them.

Let’s share our experience…

Now we’ve picked a few points we’re sharing with you here. Some of these points our students have shared with us after facing their challenges.

Technology problems

This is a very common issue for many people. Be it a software or hardware problem or possibly a bad connection, these phrases will get you through:

  1. When a participant has been disconnected
    We’ve lost him/her.
    He/she has been cut off.
  2. There’s a problem with the volume.
    Sorry, please speak up.
    Please speak into the microphone.
    There’s an echo/some background noise/static.
    How about dialling in again?
  3. Remember to say that it has improved or not.
    That’s a lot better now.
    I’m afraid it hasn’t changed.

Dealing with not seeing but only hearing the others

This aspect can make communication a lot more difficult for many people, however, several different accents will intensify the experience. So concentration and focus are what you need together with these phrases:

  1. Dealing with several different accents
    Could you please slow down a bit.
    Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re telling me.
    I’m afraid,I didn’t catch that.
  2. Further use clarifying phrases in order to check your understanding
    I’ve understood that …
    Are you saying that …
    If I’ve understood you correctly then…

Dealing with distractions

Let’s face it and this is true for all of us. You’re a lot more prone to distractions, as the other participants can’t see you, you will start doing other tasks on the side. Please, get rid of these distractions such as responding to a short email quickly, finishing a presentation or just texting dinner arrangements with your loved one. Those tasks can wait as once you’ve started one thing you’ll think of the next one to do. If you’re not ready to listen and participate actively, then why are you taking part? Make sure you’re not going to be distracted by others, by noise or by devices. Putting up a “do not disturb” sign on your door can be very helpful. If you mention on the sign that you’re in a conference call and when the call will possibly be over, it will be even better.

Identify yourself

This point is essential for telephone conferences with many participants. One of the main differences to face-to-face meetings is, you need to identify yourself before you start speaking and to mention the person’s name you are addressing. Do not just start talking out of the blue, wait till it’s your turn. This will help immensely with the communication. In case you are like me, a visual person, I can recommend this strategy for you to try: write out the participants names on a sheet of paper with their responsibilities and where they are from. Place this sheet in front of you. If you have a picture of the participants, you can place it above the name. Now every time one of the participants is addressed you can then look at the information you’ve written down and concentrate on what that person is saying and you might have a picture of him or her as well. One final point about taking part in telephone conferences from home. Please make sure your family and pets aren’t going to walk in on you and disturb you. 

So, there you have it!

These are the four points from our and our student’s experience, which you need to consider for telephone conferences. What about you? Do you have any you’d like to add? Then please just schedule a call with me click here to schedule a call and tell me about it. Are you interested in other business English skills? Then check out the post about listening here and about using your voice effectively here

One more thing

Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

Are you on social media? Let’s connect on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

Take care

Nadia 

Survival Phrases for Taking Part in Meetings

Survival Phrases for Taking Part in Meetings

Survival Phrases for Taking Part in Meetings

This is the sixth part of our series about meetings. For today’s post Yvette and I have decided to provide you with survival phrases for taking part in meetings  We’ve put them into seventeen categories for you.

So, let’s get started..

INTRODUCING YOURSELF

My name is …

I’m responsible for …

I’m … and I’m in charge of …

 

ASKING FOR INFORMATION

How is the project going?

What’s the current situation with …?

Can you give me / us an update?

 

GIVING INFORMATION

We’ve already done …

We haven’t done … yet

We’re still waiting for …

We’re ahead of / on / behind schedule

We’ll meet the deadline

We’ve hit a problem

 

CHECKING AND CLARIFYING

Sorry, what do you mean (exactly) …?

If I understand you correctly, you think that …

If you didn’t understand their first explanation try these phrases:

Are you saying that … ?

Can you give me an example?

Can you explain that in more detail?

 

GIVING OPINIONS

In my opinion, …

From my point of view …

Personally, I think / I don’t think …

If you ask me, …

Perhaps we should do that 

 

AGREEING

That’s right. I agree

I (completely / totally / entirely) agree with you

Absolutely!

 

DISAGREEING

I’m afraid I disagree

I agree with you up to a point, but …

I see your point, but …

I completely disagree

 

INTERRUPTING

Sorry to interrupt, but …

Could I just say something?

When you’ve been interrupted then use …

Just let me finish

As I was saying …

That’s all I wanted to say

 

MAKING SUGGESTIONS

(If you ask me,) I think we should I think we should / could…

I propose that we … (This is a good option if you have difficulties pronouncing the word suggest)

How / What about doing …?

Can I make a suggestion?

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

What would you recommend?

I’d recommend changing …

 

PRESENTING A PROPOSAL

I’d like to run something past you. / Here’s what I’ve been thinking … 

The advantages of doing it like this are …

Not only would this solve the problem of…, it would also … (pointing out two or more advantages of your argument)

 

LISTING MORE THAN ONE POINT

For one thing, … and for another, …

Firstly, …secondly, … (use finally for your last point)

 

GIVING BOTH SIDES OF AN ARGUMENT

On the whole …, but …

On the one hand …, but on the other hand …

 

SAYING WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES

If we …, it’ll probably mean that …

We have to / need to …, otherwise …

 

CONTINUING THE DISCUSSION

As David said / suggested / mentioned / pointed out earlier …

To add to / expand on what Tim said earlier …

Related to / Following on from / In response to … Greta’s comment …

 

OFFERING HELP

Shall I do it?

Would you like me to do it?

Leave it with me

 

ACCEPTING AND DECLINING TASKS

I can do that, no problem

Fine. I’ll do it / that right away

I’ll take care of that

Sorry, I’m afraid I can’t right now

So, there you have it!

We’ve covered seventeen categories of survival phrases for taking part in meetings. What about you? Do you have any you’d like to add? Then please just schedule a call with me click here to schedule a call and tell me about it. Are you interested in other business English skills? Then check out the post about listening here and about using your voice effectively here

One more thing

Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

Are you on social media? Let’s connect on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

Take care

Nadia 

 

Phrases for Chairing Meetings like a Pro

Chairing Meetings like a Pro

Phrases for Chairing Meetings like a Pro

This is the fifth part of our series about meetings. For today’s post Yvette and I have decided to provide you with phrases for chairing meetings like a pro. We’ve put them into nine categories for you.

So, let’s get started..

STARTING

Hello everybody. not hello together! That’s Denglish, if you want more Denglish, then check out this post here.

Thanks for joining the meeting today.

Let’s get started.

 

INTRODUCING PARTICIPANTS

Before we begin, can I introduce …(add the name here) to you all?

This is …(add the name here),

Let’s go round the table and introduce ourselves. – this does not mean that you get up and walk around the table. It means everybody sitting at the table introduces him and herself.

 

SAYING WHO CAN’T ATTEND

Joe has sent his apologies. – not apologizes!

I have apologies from … (add the names here)

 

DEALING WITH THE MINUTES

Elena , can you take the minutes?

Can we take the minutes as read? What does this mean? Does everyone agree with what was recorded/decided in the minutes of the last meeting.

 

OUTLINING THE AGENDA

The aim / purpose / objective of the meeting today is to …

So, we’re here today to talk about …

The first item on the agenda is …

We’ll start with …

Then, we’ll move on to …

After that, we will look at …

And finally, we’ll talk about …

 

MANAGING THE DISCUSSION

Would anyone like to comment on this?

What do you think, Sven?

Would you like to add anything?

Are there any further questions?

Let’s move on to the next point.

Let’s skip item 2 and move on to item 3. skip means miss out

Hold on, please.

We’ll come back to you in a moment.

If we could continue to discuss …

Can we come back to …

We’re running out of time, so let’s move on.

Could you minute that?

Let’s put that on next week’s agenda.

 

DELEGATING TASKS

Can you let me have a copy of …?

Could you circulate the …?

Can you keep everyone up to date with developments?

Ray will send me information about … and Jessica will follow up on …

Sara, you’re responsible for …

I need somebody to …

 

SUMMARIZING THE DISCUSSION AND DECISIONS

Let me just (quickly) summarize what we have discussed today.

To recap / To sum up …

We’re / I’m going to …

We’ve agreed to / that …

Is there any other business? – this is often abbreviated to AOB in the agenda

 

CLOSING THE MEETING

So, that’s all we have time for today.

I think we should stop / can finish there.

Let’s agree the date of the next meeting.

Thank you very much everybody.

 

So, there you have it!

We’ve covered nine categories of phrases for charing meetings like a pro. What about you? Do you have any you’d like to add? Then please just schedule a call with me click here to schedule a call and tell me about it. Are you interested in other business English skills? Then check out the post about listening here and about using your voice effectively here

One more thing

We’d like to thank you for tuning in and downloading our podcast. We’d love to hear more from you. Most importantly you can help us by rating us on iTunes and if you like leave a review. By doing that you’ll help us get a bigger reach. We know that rating us takes up your time and that’s why we’ve decided to raffle three books among all of you who rate us on iTunes.

All you have to do to take part is to rate us and leave a comment. Make a screenshot of your rating and comment and send it to us either by email or as a DM on Instagram.

These are the books you can win: Atomic Habits by James Clear, Denglish for Better Knowers by Adam Fletcher and Paul Hawkins and Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker. We’ve been told to prolong the raffle. You can participate till April 21. 2019. We will make the draw on 3 May 2019. Good luck!

Take care

Nadia 

PS Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

Are you on social media? Let’s connect on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

Types of Meetings

Types of Meetings

Types of Meetings

This is the fourth part of our series about meetings. For today’s post Yvette and I have decided to focus on the advantages and disadvantages of five aspects concerning the different types of meetings. However, we need to start off with the different types of meetings.

There are   

  • Face-to-Face &
  • Virtual meetings. These can be over the telephone or by using video conferencing software.

Of course, we’ve all had such meetings before and I’m sure you can relate to many points we’re going to share with you when focussing on the advantages and disadvantages of these types of meetings.

1. Location

Now obviously for face-to-face meetings everyone needs to be in the same place. Which means you might have extra costs, such as transport, accommodation, venue, catering and possibly for equipment as well. Whereas for virtual meetings you could be anywhere just like the other attendees, being together at the same location or in the same room is not necessary. What you need is a good and stable Internet connection and possibly virtual meeting software, depending on which devices you’re using or just a telephone connection. A further advantage of virtual is it’s environmentally friendly as no travelling is involved.

2. Time

For face-to-face meetings you need a lot of time, time to get there and time for the meeting and time to get back. Often such meetings take up half of your day or even more. Whereas for virtual meetings, if your software and Internet connection are stable and reliable you only need time for the meeting. Always assuming there are no technical issues and if you are pressed for time, then virtual is the best solution for you.

3. Distractions

In last week’s post you can read all about ‘Rules for Successful and Effective Meetings’  and if you follow our meeting rules, there shouldn’t be a problem with distractions. However, please consider in virtual meetings you can be more easily distracted as you are not bodily present at the meeting. Honestly, I find this aspect a challenge in virtual meetings, as you can get easily distracted and other attendees probably won’t even notice.

4. Communication

Normally face-to-face meetings are considered to be easier, because besides the words you also have body language, gestures and facial expressions to communicate. Which results in getting more immediate reactions and misunderstandings are less likely to occur. Of course this depends on your preferences, as some people feel more relaxed communicating when they can use all these means of communication: words, gestures, body language and facial expressions. Some people, however, don’t. They prefer communicating virtually, as they feel more comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, we all communicate virtually, if by phone, video conference, email or even via social media, some more than others.

A big advantage here is the reach you have, you can have a meeting with numerous people at the same time or a follow-up meeting with only one person. Another point to consider, for some people keeping a straight face during negotiations is easier in virtual meetings than in face-to-face meetings.

5. Minutes or recording of a meeting

At face-to-face meetings you have your written minutes or a visual graphic and at virtual meetings you can have a recording of the meeting. Personally, in my opinion, I think it’s easier and faster to go through a written record if you’ve attended the meeting. If you couldn’t attend, then a recording is definitely more convenient. It is the best possibility for you to relive the meeting as well, you just need to invest some time then.

What’s best?

This question comes up a lot. The answer actually depends on your goal. We suggest to do both types of meetings.

People trust people and want to have a live experience with real people and real surroundings, i. e. the physical presence of other attendees in a real room. Let’s say you’re planning to launch a new product or project with a team of international experts. Well in that case, having a face-to-face meeting at the beginning of such project or kick-off  would be very advantageous. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to meet each other and build trust and team spirit. Whereas the progress meetings could then be held virtually. Once everyone has met one another, it’s a lot easier to follow the other person’s train of thought and possibly understand them, if they have an accent or different language levels.

So, there you have it!

We’ve covered five important aspects and their advantages and disadvantages concerning face-to-face and virtual meetings. Of course we’re speaking from our experience. What about you? Is there something you’d like to add? Then please just schedule a call with me click here to schedule a call and tell me about it. Are you interested in other business English skills? Then check out the post about listening here and about using your voice effectively here

One more thing

We’d like to thank you for tuning in and downloading our podcast. We’d love to hear more from you. Most importantly you can help us by rating us on iTunes and if you like leave a review. By doing that you’ll help us get a bigger reach. We know that rating us takes up your time and that’s why we’ve decided to raffle three books among all of you who rate us on iTunes.

All you have to do to take part is to rate us and leave a comment. Make a screenshot of your rating and comment and send it to us either by email or as a DM on Instagram.

These are the books you can win: Atomic Habits by James Clear, Denglish for Better Knowers by Adam Fletcher and Paul Hawkins and Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker. We’ve been told to prolong the raffle. You can participate till April 12. 2019. We will make the draw on 3 May 2019. Good luck!

Take care

Nadia 

PS Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

Are you on social media? Let’s connect on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

Rules for Successful and Effective Meetings

Rules for successful and effective meetings

Rules for Successful and Effective Meetings

In the past two weeks I’ve focussed on and told you about different perspectives concerning meetings. The post focussing on the inviter’s point of view you can find here and the post focussing on the invitee’s or attendee’s point of view you can check out here. Today I’m concentrating on what makes  meetings effective and successful for all participants. You’ve surely guessed it already, as the title says it all: rules.

When should you introduce rules?

Let’s assume you have a weekly or monthly team meeting or you work in a closed environment within a company then you need a framework. Now rules are a great strategy to help you work effectively and achieve your goals.

1. Be on time

Time is a very valuable asset. Surely you’ve heard of the expression ‘time is money’, it means you shouldn’t waste time as you could use the time in a different way and earn money. Although this trait is looked at differently  in many cultures, it is a sign of respect. By being on time you convey your respect to all attendees and their time. 


2. Be prepared

‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ this quote by Benjamin Franklin says it all.  

3. Switch off your devices

You should get rid of distractions from your devices such as your phone, your laptop, your tablet or your wearable. At least mute them or put them on airplane mode. There is hardly anything more annoying, then someone checking his or her messages in a meeting. 

4. Follow the agenda

Meetings can sometimes drift away from the actual points of the agenda. This rule will help everyone attending to stay on point and on time as well. 

5. Listen actively

Only by using the superhero skill of listening actively, will you benefit most from meetings and be able to contribute to making them successful and effective.

6. Be respectful to all participants

Every person is entitled to his or her own opinion or point of view. If you don’t agree with someone’s idea, don’t attack the person. We often tend to forget that critical or diverse views can help us grow immensely and see the bigger picture.

7. Keep an open mind

Please don’t be an assassin and kill an idea by saying no immediately if you disagree. Instead try coming up with a different solution or compromise. 

8. Share your ideas and ask questions

By doing this you can help others come up with new ideas or views and find a solution. Don’t remain silent, dare to speak your thoughts. They might just be what you’ve all been looking for or they will trigger the right thoughts in someone else.

9. Let everyone participate

As the chair you need to make sure everyone participates and has the opportunity to speak, this my involve interrupting others. As a participant you can raise your hand if you’d like to add some information or ask a question. Don’t just interrupt the person speaking.

10. Think before speaking

Don’t use jargon or abbreviations which could be misunderstood. Use words every attendee will understand.

11. Summarise at the end

Say what you’ve decided on and who’s responsible for what. Mention what hasn’t been decided on yet and why, possibly more information is needed, then arrange a follow-up and define who is responsible for getting the needed information.

12. Record the meeting

In virtual meetings you can send out a video to all participants. In ‘old school’ or face-to-face meetings you’ll have someone taking the minutes or making a visual or graphic recording. This needs to be made available to all participants.

Ok and now?

How do you make sure everyone will agree to the rules or even follow them? Do you need a meeting police? Well, no, you don’t. Although, some companies have a fines or penalty jar. That means every time someone does not stick to the rules, he or she has to pay a fine or penalty. This payment is put in the jar. For some companies it works yet again for some it doesn’t. As it depends on the individuals and the company culture.
A successful way of letting your team or meeting members accept and abide by the rules is to 
let everyone come up with what they consider most important for an effective meeting. This isn’t only a good team building activity. It binds the people to the rules because they will identify themselves with them.
However, please consider as soon as you leave your environment and work with clients, suppliers, or external consultants, do not force these rules onto others. If you use these rules for yourself, you will ensure that you’re doing your best to have a successful and effective meeting.

So, there you have it!

From my experience the above mentioned rules are what you need to lead, participate in or have successful and effective meetings. Is there something you’d like to add, which did not make my list?Then please let me know and drop me a line or just schedule a call with me  click here to schedule a call and tell me about it. Are you interested in other business English skills? Then check out the post about listening here and about using your voice effectively here

One more thing

We’d like to thank you for tuning in and downloading our podcast. We’d love to hear more from you. Most importantly you can help us by rating us on iTunes and if you like leave a review. By doing that you’ll help us get a bigger reach. We know that rating us takes up your time and that’s why we’ve decided to raffle three books among all of you who rate us on iTunes.

All you have to do to take part is to rate us and leave a comment. Make a screenshot of your rating and comment and send it to us either by email or as a DM on Instagram.

These are the books you can win: Atomic Habits by James Clear, Denglish for Better Knowers by Adam Fletcher and Paul Hawkins and Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker. We’ve been told to prolong the raffle. You can participate till April 12. 2019. We will make the draw on 3 May 2019. Good luck!

Take care

Nadia 

PS Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

Are you on social media? Let’s connect on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

Meetings – Still an Invitee or Already an Attendee?

Meetings- still and invitee or already an attendee

Meetings – Still an Invitee or Already an Attendee?

Last week I told you about the first steps to successful meetings and starting from scratch, you can read it here. I was focusing on the meeting organiser or inviter. Today I’m changing the perspective and focusing on the invitee or attendee of a meeting. First of all, you are an invitee, as you receive an invitation to a meeting. Once you’ve accepted the invitation and go to the meeting you become an attendee.

Is this right for me and am I the right person?

The answers to these questions clearly depend on your time, the reason for the meeting, and whether you can contribute or not. Those three aspects can transform you from an invitee to an attendee. Let’s assume you’ve just received an invitation to a meeting. It’s from someone you’ve met before at a different meeting. Your first should be whether the invitation includes all necessary information, e.g. does it include an agenda, does it say what your role is in this meeting or why it is important that you take part.

If the invitation does include the information needed, then you can accept the invitation. Depending on your role for this meeting, your preparations will differ. Have you been asked to be a contributor, a minute taker or a visual or graphic recorder or possibly a decision maker? Once your role is clear you can start your meeting preparations.

How do I prepare for a meeting?

Assuming you’re a contributor, depending on the topic you might need to gather all kind of bits of information to give an update or an informed point of view to help the the other attendees with their task. It’s important to focus on how you want to communicate your task so the others will understand you from two points of view:

1. The language point of view –  please take these questions into consideration:

  • Do the participants have about the same language levels?
  • Will you have difficulties understanding other attendees because of different language levels or cultural influences?

2. The content point of view – 

  • Is it a complex topic?
  • Do you need to inform the others and explain with more details or are they in the same field?

Here are three simple yet effective strategies you can use to get your point across and understand other attendees:

First

If and when possible use visuals to explain your point. As you know, a picture says more than a thousand words.

Second

Ask questions to help you understand and the other attendee to explain his or her point of view.

Third

Rephrase what you’ve understood. Sometimes when we don’t understand what someone has said we just ask them to repeat their message. This isn’t always helpful, as they might just use the same words. Instead, take control and say what you’ve understood with your own words like this you can clarify any vague assumptions.

Who are the other participants?

In case you haven’t met the other invitees or attendees before, find out who they are, what they do and what their role is in this meeting. Look at it as an opportunity to make new contacts. Possibly you have worked together with a few of them before and can tell if there might be any language or mindset challenges. 

Not enough information

Remember at the beginning we assumed, you had all the necessary information to accept the invitation. Well, if that was’t the case then let’s talk about the fastest and best way to clarify why you should attend, what the meeting is about and what role you should be playing in it. Please do not hit the reply to all button asking these questions. Instead pick up the phone and call the person, who has invited you in the first place or if you work in the same building then go and visit him or her at their desk or cubicle. Thank them for the invitation, tell them you’d be happy to contribute to the meeting’s success and find out why they invited you. Possibly you’re not the right person, however, you know who is and you can make a suggestion.

So, there you have it!

In my opinion, those are the aspects to focus on when you’re an invitee or attendee. What’s your opinion? Drop me a line or just schedule a call with me  click here to schedule a call and tell me about it. Are you interested in other business English skills? Then check out the post about listening here and about using your voice effectively here

One more thing

We’d like to thank you for tuning in and downloading our podcast. We’d love to hear more from you. Most importantly you can help us by rating us on iTunes and if you like leave a review. By doing that you’ll help us get a bigger reach. We know that rating us takes up your time and that’s why we’ve decided to raffle three books among all of you who rate us on iTunes.

All you have to do to take part is to rate us and leave a comment. Make a screenshot of your rating and comment and send it to us either by email or as a DM on Instagram.

These are the books you can win: Atomic Habits by James Clear, Denglish for Better Knowers by Adam Fletcher and Paul Hawkins and Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker. We’ve been told to prolong the raffle. You can participate till April 12. 2019. We will make the draw on 3 May 2019. Good luck!

Take care

Nadia 

PS Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

Are you on social media? Let’s connect on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

Meetings – The First Steps to Successful Meetings

Meetings – The First Steps to Successful Meetings

I’ve been to three meetings so far today and still don’t know why I’ve been invited to attend them.” or  ” I didn’t manage to get any work done or have a break because the meeting lasted all day.” Does this sound familiar to you? We’ve probably all been there. I often ask my students to tell me about their best and worst experiences concerning meetings. You’d be surprised of the stories I could tell you. For this reason, Yvette and I have decided to start a new series about meetings and this is the first part covering which steps you need to follow to have successful meetings. We’ve come up with five points you need to look into when organising meetings.

Starting from Scratch

Let’s assume you organise meetings. They can be online or offline meetings, which kind doesn’t make any difference. The questions to help you achieve successful meetings are usable for both possibilities.

There are many reasons for having meetings, e.g. your meetings could include a presentation for a product, the can be held for pitching an idea or brainstorming. Of course there are project meetings, creative meetings, kick-off meetings, problem solving meetings and meetings for giving project updates / status.

Topics & Agenda

Usually you start off with the topics, which are then put together into an agenda. The topic will influence who needs to participate. Only invite people who can contribute and add value to your meetings. It’s important to keep the people’s language levels in mind, as this can influence how successful and effective your meetings are.

The items on the agenda need to be specific enough, so that the people you are inviting will know what the meetings are about and which outcomes the meetings will have.

 

Participants

Who do you invite and why are they the right people? As already mentioned, it’s essential to invite the right people, who are involved in your project or who can contribute to your topic and help you reach your next step. For example you need a decision on a project, then make sure to invite the person who can make that decision. Once again consider the different language levels each person could have. Be prepared to rephrase complex content into shorter and easier sentences. In meetings many people contribute to the topics on the agenda, so think about who will add value and why this person can do this. In case you’re not the chair or facilitator, make sure to choose someone who can handle the task and help make your meetings successful. 

 

Organiser

 We were assuming you’re the person organising the meeting. Here is a list of what needs to be organised:

  • the meeting room can be at your company or at a hotel, depending on the meeting
  • which equipment should be available,  don’t forget to ask the participants, which equipment they need
  • sending out invitations
  • include a detailed agenda
  • accommodation, possibly some participants are from out-of-town and need hotel rooms
  • transport, for getting to the venue
  • refreshments at the meeting, depending on the length 
  • who will be taking the minutes and will this be his or her only task?

 

Appointment

So, when is the best time for a meeting? I’ve heard different views on this point and honestly it really depends on the type of meeting.

However, please consider these thoughts, not …

  • just before lunch
  • immediately after lunch
  • too late in the afternoon
  • on Mondays or Fridays

How long can / should a meeting last? There are meetings which last all day, however, they have breaks, which are necessary to reach an outcome at the end of the day.

Keep these thoughts in mind and your good to go:

  • a good meeting gives enough time for each point on the agenda and doesn’t take up your whole day
  • if your attendees start looking at their watches, checking their messages or start yawning, then the meeting is too long

Room

Choosing the right venue is crucial to make the participants feel comfortable and at ease. The room size depends on the number of people taking part. I remember feeling lost in a huge room, which could accommodate 80 people easily, however we were only three. Booking a room which is too small is just as bad. If it’s not a stand-up meeting then please make sure there are enough seats available. Have you thought about the seating arrangements? Will the participants be sitting around a table or is it a bigger meeting and you need a different arrangement. Let’s say your attendees will be sitting around a table, then think about next to whom each could be sitting. Will your participants need equipment and are there possibilities to hook it up? If it is a virtual meeting, make sure the connection is stable and everything is working accordingly. Do all participants have the same software? Do the links you’ve sent them in the invitation to the virtual meeting room work?

So, there you have it!

These are the five points you have to look into when organising meetings. Remember I ask people about their worst and best experiences concerning meetings? Well, I’m curious, please tell me  your worst and best experiences. Drop me a line or just schedule a call with me  click here to schedule a call and tell me all about it. Are you interested in other business English skills? Then check out the post about listening here and about using your voice effectively here

 

One more thing

We’d like to thank you for tuning in and downloading our podcast. We’d love to hear more from you. Most importantly you can help us by rating us on iTunes and if you like leave a review. By doing that you’ll help us get a bigger reach. We know that rating us takes up your time and that’s why we’ve decided to raffle three books among all of you who rate us on iTunes.

All you have to do to take part is to rate us and leave a comment. Make a screenshot of your rating and comment and send it to us either by email or as a DM on Instagram.

These are the books you can win: Atomic Habits by James Clear, Denglish for Better Knowers by Adam Fletcher and Paul Hawkins and Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker. We’ve been told to prolong the raffle. You can participate till April 12. 2019. We will make the draw on 3 May 2019. Good luck!

Take care

Nadia 

PS Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

Are you on social media? Let’s connect on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

The BUT Categories

The BUT Categories

Okay, but …


Now last time I covered ‘Starting Off with Small Talk’ and I gave you two strategies for starting off: useful phrases and asking questions. This is the final part of a 5-week training course on small talk. You can download the free pdf workbook for the 5-week training course hereIf you’ve just started reading then I recommend you start with this post first, there I’ve explained why small talk is important. Today I’m focussing on two categories I encounter very often, the BUT categories. During the past few weeks, you’ve been given the basics, the topics, the phrases for starting off and a strategy for asking questions, right? Okay, but …

So you’re ready, right?

Well, honestly some of you might be and some of you aren’t just quite there yet.

Let me explain what I’m talking about. From my experience I know there are many people, who have everything, e.g. topic-based vocabulary, phrases, they can ask questions, they listen actively and they are observant. Sounds great, doesn’t it? So where’s the catch? Here comes the big BUT.

This BUT has two categories:

First BUT category – you get stuck in the middle of the conversation. All of a sudden you don’t know what to say anymore.

Second  BUT category – you don’t even start a conversation, because you are scared silly of reaching this point.

Which BUT category are you?

In both cases it’s essential to have a strategy or road map. Let’s look at each category and see what you could do.

1.  BUT category 

If you get stuck in the middle of the conversation and don’t know what to say anymore. A common problem here is, that you get stuck because you’re focussing on ‘not knowing the correct expression’. That’s when you start to panic. Your brain goes blank and nothing sensible comes to mind. Don’t worry if this has happened to you, here are three useful tips to help you in such a situation:

  1. Focus on what you know
  2. Try to describe what you want to say
  3. Ask for help

Not sure how to ask for help? Here are three phrases you can use to ask for help:

1. ‘I forgot what it’s called’ or just ‘What’s it called?’

2. ‘It’s slipped my mind’

3. ‘It’s on the tip of my tongue’

Oh and by the way, there is no shame in asking for help. It’s not a sign of weakness. By doing so you are taking control of the situation and playing the ball to your counterpart.

2.  BUT category 

If you don’t even start a conversation, because you are scared silly of reaching this point then you actually only have one choice. You have to take the plunge or walk through that door and overcome this obstacle. To do so here are seven tips to help you reach your goal.

  1. Take a deep breath 
  2. Visualise your success
  3. Imagine you’ve already met the person you’re talking to, like he or she is an old acquaintance
  4. Tell yourself your excited and not nervous
  5. You have the basics, use them
  6. Think of yourself as a superhero who is rescuing someone from a bad conversation
  7. Put a smile on your face

Finally just do it! 

Now for both categories I’ve given you a road map. In case that’s not enough, just feel free to contact me or you can just schedule a call with me  click here to schedule a call and together we will come up with a solution to help you get your point across.

Remember I told you, that everyone has his or her own style of communicating and we’re all unique. Yvette and I will help you find and manifest your unique style of communicating successfully in English.

One more thing

We’d like to thank you for tuning in and downloading the podcast. We’d love to hear more from you. Most importantly you can help us by rating us on iTunes and if you like leave a review. By doing that you’ll help us get a bigger reach. We know that rating us takes up your time and that’s why we’ve decided to raffle three books among all of you who rate us on iTunes.

All you have to do to take part is to rate us and leave a comment. Make a screenshot of your rating and comment and send it to us either by email or as a DM on Instagram.

These are the books you can win: Atomic Habits by James Clear, Denglish for Better Knowers by Adam Fletcher and Paul Hawkins and Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker. We’ve been told to prolong the raffle. You can participate till April 12. 2019. We will make the draw on 3 May 2019. Good luck!

Take care

Nadia 

PS Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

Are you on social media? Let’s connect on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

Starting Off with Small Talk

Starting off with small talk

Starting Off with Small Talk

Last time I told you about small talk topics and what makes them good or bad. This week I’m giving you some help for starting off with small talk. From my experience I know this is what many people struggle with. This is the fourth part of a 5-week training course on small talk. You can download the free pdf workbook for the 5-week training course here

Before we dive in, let’s recap the last few weeks.

In the first part of this training I told you talked about the why behind small talk and why you should make small talk, you can check out the blog post here.

A week later in the second part I informed you about when and with whom you have small talk, here is the link to that post.

Then last week in the third part of the training I introduced you to 16 common topics for small talk and told you what makes the topic good or bad, in case you’d like to check it out, click here.

Today, after having given you the basics, let’s focus on starting off with small talk.

Don’t forget to download the workbook for this training, even if you’ve only just started with the training, you can still grab it and use it. There is an exercise for this post as well. You can download the free pdf workbook for the 5-week training course here

 

Let’s start off

Now form my experience I know for a fact that this is what very many people struggle with as they consider it to be the most difficult part. It’s like you technically know how to do something but you just don’t dare do it. Well, I’ve provided you with the basics in the past weeks now it’s time to take the plunge and overcome your self-doubts, believe in yourself and go for it! Don’t worry I’m standing at the finish line and cheering for you the whole time.

So, there are some standard phrases, which you can learn to support you to get started.

  1. How are you? – This phrase is used all the time and you don’t even have to learn it. Say it with a smile and it’s a real opener. But don’t expect or give a detailed answer. Remember this is small talk and not a conversation with your doctor.
  2. How are things? This phrase can refer to you personally or about your work or business. The same applies to this phrase, don’t necessarily expect or give a detailed answer, depending on who you’re talking to.

 

If your job involves dealing with people every day you will need social skills, here are a few more phrases to help you out:

For receptionists, PAs or if you are a visitors first contact:

Welcome to (company name or city or event) Do not say welcome in, that is incorrect in English.

How was your journey/trip?

Can I help you with you luggage?

These questions are a great way of making conversation and getting feedback at the same time:

Did you have difficulties finding us? 

Is everything ok with the hotel?

Have you ever been here before?

 

Based on what you hear you can use follow-up questions, like in this conversation between Albert and Ben e.g.

A: How are things?

B: Great, I was in New York last week.

A: New York, wow, what did you do there? Was it your first time in New York? Did you do any sightseeing? Where did you stay?

Here we have four questions, two open and two closed questions.

Let’s have a look at the closed questions:

Was it your first time in New York? & Did you do any sightseeing?

You use them to check information and the information you get is limited. This does not get your counterpart talking or aa conversation going. It’s like playing ball against a wall but the ball doesn’t bounce back as it’s not firm enough, it needs more air pressure.

Whereas the open questions

What did you do there? & Where did you stay?

They get your partner talking as he or she has to tell you more than yes or no. Then you have more to ask about and more to get a conversation going.

 

Another possibility for you is to use question tags. Here is an example conversation between Charles and Don:

C: Have you ever been here before?

D: Yes, three months ago.

C: Then you know about our security procedures, don’t you? (don’t you is the question tag)

If they are too complicated for you, just remember to not use the word ‘or’ at the end. Instead use the word ‘right’, e.g. ‘Then you know about our security procedures, right?

Now you can use such question tags or short questions at the end of a sentence to ask a question or to check information you already know. Most importantly to keep the conversation going, e. g. at the buffet:

The food is good here, isn’t it?  If the sentence is positive, the question tag is negative. 

The food isn’t vegan, is it?   If the sentence is negative, the question tag is positive. 

 

After the standard phrases, it’s essential to not only hear the words but also to pay attention to the way the words are said. So please listen actively as this will give you a clue of which mood the person is in and then you can decide how to go on. Let’s say the person is in a good mood and has time for small talk.

 

In the workbook you’ll find an exercise where you have to come up with follow-up questions. So to help you out, we’ll walk you through and give you some examples to start you off.

Statement: We’re going on holiday to Italy this year.

Follow-up questions: Which part are you going to? How are you travelling?

Statement: I live in …

Follow-up questions: Depending if it’s a small village or somewhere well known you can ask different questions.

Small village: Sorry, where is that exactly?

Somewhere well known: Oh, there are a lot of events there, which one would you recommend?

Statement: I haven’t been to this trade fair before.

Follow-up questions: Did you attend the other fair at the end of last year? Which hotel are you staying at?

Statement: My job involves a lot of travelling.

Follow-up questions: Where are you going to next? Have you been there before? We’ve picked these questions to demonstrate that there can be a sequence to asking the questions.

Statement: I’m a freelance trainer.

Follow-up questions: Which languages do you give your seminars in? How often do you have to travel?

 

So, there you have two follow-up questions for each statement already. Which ones do you come up with? Let me know your thoughts.

Of course, you can just schedule a call with me and tell me Click here to schedule a call now!

Or connect with me on social media like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

One more thing

We’d like to thank you for tuning in and downloading the podcast. We’d love to hear more from you. Most importantly you can help us by rating us on iTunes and if you like leave a review. By doing that you’ll help us get a bigger reach. We know that rating us takes up your time and that’s why we’ve decided to raffle three books among all of you who rate us on iTunes.

All you have to do to take part is to rate us and leave a comment. Make a screenshot of your rating and comment and send it to us either by email or as a DM on Instagram.

These are the books you can win: Atomic Habits by James Clear, Denglish for Better Knowers by Adam Fletcher and Paul Hawkins and Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker. You can participate throughout February 2019. We will make the draw on 5 March 2019.

Take care

Nadia 

PS Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

 

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