Category Archives: Business

#007TwitterChallenge

Date/Datum: Tomorrow 10th May 2016
Where?/Wo?: Twitter & Facebook

Hi, for those of you that

Business_Woman-45

  • need to improve your written Business English or
  • want to ease yourself back into using your English by writing, after all it’s less intimidating than speaking, right?
  • want to discover how to use Twitter for business networking

I have just the challenge for you…

(I’m like a little girl going all silly in a sweet shop excited about this…)

It will be a 30 day challenge for 7 amazing business women like yourself. You get the opportunity to make all of your English mistakes in private, first of all in a closed Facebook page. That is where you’ll get personal feedback from myself, a native speaking trainer before you post it for real on Twitter.

Up to three a day, that is 93 perfect tweets in one month.

Cool right?

realenglish

Practice makes perfect honey!

JUST THINK Suddenly you will have the linguistic freedom to be active on social media in English too. Let’s take your expertise a little further! Continue reading #007TwitterChallenge

Are you on speed?

I’m not sure about you, but when I am nervous or excited about something new, I tend to speak really fast? I have to confess, that I do this both in my own native tongue – English but also in German and Finnish.

So what’s so bad about speaking fast? Surely that’s good isn’t it? Well, if you are comfortable with a language (take your own language as an example), speaking fast could be a reliable indicator of fluency. However the chances are that in a foreign language, the faster you speak, the more mistakes you’ll be making, simply because fast talking requires fast thinking. If you are having to think faster- that puts you under even more pressure so slowing down, gives you a chance to be calmer and to speak more smoothly.

Easier said than done! I know.

In addition, speaking fast gives off “false fluency” messages and those – let me assure you – can land you in extremely deep water! If you speak fast people will assume that you are a really confident speaker of English and be less thoughtful in terms of speaking more slowly and clearly than they would normally. As a result, you’ll find that they tend to talk faster too, it’s not a deliberate tactic, it’s kind of infectious. So do yourself a favour and

T A K E Y O U R T I M E.

Speaking slowly makes you:

easier to understand
more confident and hence credible and
more accurate in terms of grammar and your clever selection of vocabulary.

That little bit of time makes a huge difference!

If you need to practice for a technical briefing or presentation, then think about the speed and if you are already a member, drop in to the closed group and run it past us in either audio or video format. That might sound scary but, it’s better to get it right in front of us than winging it.

We’ll give you constructive feedback as a group so that you can go in there with your head held high. Remember, you might want to remove the name of the client or other details like product names, but remember, we have all signed confidentiality agreements prior to getting access to the group too.

So are you on speed?
Pop into our closed facebook group to share your “fast talking stories”

The art of being vague.

Being British I now realise having moved to the land of Lederhosen and Sauerkraut almost 15 years ago that the Brits can be so painstakingly vague sometimes! We use phrases like, “See you at 2ish” – which would be a cardinal sin for your typical punctual type. Or worse still, “See you later”, when in actual fact there are no plans at all to see each other later that day – yup I have to raise my hand to this one. I used to do this. One glance back was enough to make me realise my mistake, as that panic stricken look upon my client’s face looked back at me as they frantically tried to remember when or where that was going to be and why oh why hadn’t they written it down? My vagueness sent them spiralling into the realms of self doubt – that dreaded fear of having screwed up and the associated navel gazing guilt trip that goes with it.

In a product development situation I have seen the Americans and the Brits driving their German team members and to some extent their Austrian counterparts to their wits end as their vague language has exposed many more questions than answers and putting progress on hold. So rather than breaking something down into measurable useful chunks that helpfully demonstrate that we are getting somewhere, you’ll hear terms like ‘testing is moving along nicely’ – I mean, “What the heck is that supposed to say?” Now call me cynical but that could mean just about anything – politicians say that kind of stuff all the time, now does it sound honest and assuring? No not really.

So let’s talk about how to get the specifics out of the ‘vague smooth it over’ types? Now it might seem a little condescending or rediculous getting your clients, colleagues or freelancers to answer specific questions but if you are going to move out of the foggy arena of guesswork into the safe haven of assurance, asking for specifics is going to be your only way forward. After all, as the Germans say, trust is good, but control is better.

Try some of these for size…

“What exactly do you mean by ….(repeating their phrase)?”
“So when you say “…” do you mean that….?”
“Has testing begun already or not?”
“How  many programmers are…?”
“Will we be ready to (insert the appropriate verb) on (date)?”
“Is there anything at all causing a delay?”

Pin em down honey, because it is better to be depressed about progress than dazzled by dodgers!

 

 

The feast and famine of technology training

Let’s face it the very essence of IT is wrapped up in projects. Big projects, small projects, perhaps just a temporary role like specifications development, but one thing is for sure, it is all up against a deadline. Ironically the deadline to release is paramount to a client, but their own deadline for completion of testing is well – flexible – and hey, let’s be honest, it’s often one that just has to be ignored all together if you have a hope of staying on schedule with your own deadline.

Your own life as a developer at whatever stage or level seems to adapt to this deadline and after craving for the project to go live, the lull that follows is fabulous for a few days at least. But come on, be honest,  it isn’t long before you get itchy feet again right? It won’t be long before the HR guys get in touch with ‘suggestions for development’ but are they really offering you personal development that drives your career forward?

To get on technically, communication is going to be make and break.  Professional communication even in your own language can be difficult to get right, without having to understand, decipher and remember the nuances, diplomacy, tone of voice and idioms that launch you head first into hot water. Bad enough if you are alone, but excruciating if your boss or ambitious colleague happens to overhear your linguistic blunders. (Although you know right, that the bosses don’t always have the best English going).

There’s never a lot of downtime so frankly a language course is unlikely to be seen through to the end before the next project has a hold on your attention. So surely it makes sense to try a more ‘technical and flexible’ approach to learning English. Flexible? Not just any old English, but technical English – the stuff that is going to make you more effective.

This approach is learning on demand so that you get help you when you need it, with what you need rather than some dumb course with standard learning objectives which are about as inspiring as a three in a bed with …

So moving swiftly on, it’s standard practice to find the time for learning or updating your knowledge about new or forgotten programming languages but what about communicating with clients and overseas bosses? Why depend on HRs time scales when your schedule is a total clash to the face to face courses they have on offer. Sure to learn English you need to speak, but do you really need to be in a classroom to learn English?

No.

If there was an online club that you could go to when you had a problem, or wanted a second opinion that was full of people in the same industry as you, where native speaking trainers with technical experience could support you, wouldn’t that be a more flexible solution? You would be paying for it yourself, a tax deductable monthly standard expense because it is career specific language skills. You will be learning, with other women in technology all over Europe. So we all speak in English all the time.

In addition to enhancing our English, we would also be learning all manner of career related stuff, over and beyond language skills. Sometimes it will be a discussion about strategies for problems that the guys just don’t have – for example the family logistics of international travel, or finding yourself saying yes, when you know for sure that it will mean yet again, extra hours to make it happen.

So if you want an English Enhancement Programme, that takes place outside of the meeting rooms and training areas, if you want to be able to drive your own personal development then think about online learning, even for language learning, because immersion doesn’t have to be abroad, it can be dipping into a club a couple of times a week or even a day for regular linguistic skinny dipping because you don’t have to naked to feel exposed or self conscious and quite frankly I reckon that for such brilliant communicators the women in technology shouldn’t be letting the guys get so much of the international glory.

To try the club, it costs just €1, just apply below and I do the rest. It will be the best Euro you spend this year and could open a whole world of opportunities that maximise on your strengths and make purely national projects a thing of the past. It goes up to €9,99 after three months.

Join our online book review of ‘Lean In’

Last year, Sheryl Sandberg wrote ‘Lean In’,  advising women on how to make progress in the workplace. Why not join us in the facebook group on the 5. May to discuss the book and discover which strategies are possible within our own careers and whether a career change is necessary to make the move into success that women deserve.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/bytesizedenglishclub/

Just hit the ‘Request to Join’ button

If you don’t take a chance, you don’t stand a chance!

You know what, it is easy to do what you have always done.

It is convenient to do things the way you always do them and if you want to try something new, there are always people out there, some of whom will consider themselves to be friends, that seem intent on putting a spanner in the works (to do something that prevents a plan or activity from succeeding). 

But we are all individuals in our own right and can find the energy and determination to do things if we want something badly enough.

When I was too blobby to fit into the wedding dress of my dreams I decided to lose weight – nothing new there I hear you cry, but for me this was the first time ever that I had ever even thought about my ‘diet’ so for me it was a big deal.  A first ever and a tough thing to do when your future husband is away from home and you are planning a wedding at the same time as starting a business. People said I was crazy, but actually, I would have been crazy not to – after all, if fitting into a wonderful wedding dress isn’t a great source of motivation, what is? I knew that I would never get this incentive to do something about my weight again and frankly it was about time.

I went to Finland and learned their language within 9 months because I didn’t want to be floating around like some bubble waiting to burst – there is nothing beautiful about a woman that is silienced into not being herself, chatting, learning, smiling and flourishing. I am proud to say that I was one of painfully few that bothered to learn Finnish, because I wanted to experience everything as close up as possible.

So if you are reading this blog because you know you ought to do something about your English, to give it a bit of sparkle, then think about whether you are ready to take the next step, the step into the byte sized english club, where you can ask any question, resolve any queries, run a sentence past me to see if it is grammatically correct, because you are paying €9,99 a month to do so.

because

if you don’t take a chance
you don’t stand a chance!

Just go to the Byte Sized English and request access, then I’ll send you payment details by email. Easy.