Have you noticed how this cooler autumn weather makes it is far less appealing to walk around the block mid afternoon – as our energy fades? I wanted to come up with a way that you could take a constructive break at work, one that would boost your English at the same time.
Take a brain break.
Sometimes your brain needs a break but it doesn’t mean that you should have a complete break, you can just switch to another activity. This helps you re-energise. Time to have a conversation, just switch into English.
Networking or Escaping?
You see, it is easy to head off to the coffee machine and linger as you chat with colleagues. Some of those conversations can be classed as informative or relationship building, but a lot of the time – it isn’t, is it? Not really.
I work from home and I often find myself on social media in that late afternoon energy lull and indeed a lot of Twitter Hours are held at that time. It seems I am not the only one.
Business English Conversation via social media.
I wanted to create a regular time and day for people in business or careers to practice their business English or business conversation skills from any device.
In contrast to in-house business communication or business conversation courses, where you are learning with collegaues and team members, I wanted to make it possible to learn from and with people from a wide range of different backgrounds. That makes any conversation richer and more meaningful. I wanted to welcome men and women from all over the world in different time zones, cultures, companies, industries and functions to be a part of this.It's time to disrupt adult education. Try #BizEngChat to power up your business English. Click To Tweet
Now business conversation without ‘speaking’ or actually saying anything (unless you speak out loud as you type) might seem like an odd concept for some.
Let me explain. If you think about it, engaging in an online conversation or discussion requires you to activate your language learning skills. You’ll be searching for words or vocabulary, terms or phrases. You will be thinking about how to express yourself (grammar) and reading lots of posts too. Just because you are not physically speaking, does not mean that a conversation isn’t taking place.
If you work with suppliers in India, it makes sense to invite those suppliers to join your online or blended learning business communication course, which worked well for us at #Heidenhain. It takes a special corporate culture and a strong leader to make that happen in reality across time zones.
Make language learning accessible and relevant, it’s not rocket science!
However if getting ‘bums on seats’ or attendance is a challenge and I can see heads nodding, and if time and flexibility are a problem, then a Twitter Hour could be a fabulously simple workaround. Just find one that is relevant to your needs, industry or market it’s practical too, you can take part even if you are travelling, via any smartphone or device.
If you want to work on your business conversation, try #BizEngChat
So what about if you aren’t really on Twitter a lot or at all?
Well only you can decide which social media works best for you. As a former Twitterphobe though, I can assure you that Twitter is worth investing some time in. For me Twitter is like my professional learning playground because I can get inspiration and information, tips and advice from thought leaders and experts. It is the social land of brilliance to my mind. It took some time to ‘get my head around it’ or understand but I am really glad that I made the effort.
Just log in to www.twitter.com and search for #BizEngChat, the hashtag is the life blood of twitter, so don’t forget the funky # symbol.
Some regional or business Twitter Hours have an unstructured format, and are designed to be easy going, where everyone just shows up and chats, you’ll soon see that there is a fair bit of selling going on. I’m not appealed by that.
As a language trainer it is important for me to be able to shape the conversation and give you a vocabulary workout. Sure it WILL push you out of your comfort zone and it will get your brain working but isn’t that what success in our business or career always requires?
To really improve your English, you need to activate or use your English.
Only by actually using your Business English, will your business conversation become more fluent and effective. If you are keen to improve, but don’t have time for classes, then grab your diary.
After all, someone with your expertise, should be able to talk about their knowledge and experience in English so that you can expand your network and ultimately cross borders, taking your brand to the markets that need it most?
So Thursdays at 3pm is when we meet and I will be trying to get an expert to join us each time, to provide their opinions, examples, lessons learned and much more. If you are an expert in marketing or communication and you want to practice talking about it in English then get in touch.
But between 3 and 4pm is a bad time for me!
If you can’t make it because you are in a meeting or picking up the children or something, then no problem. You can join us at any time during the hour, it isn’t frowned upon to turn up ‘late’ at all, in fact nobody will really notice.
Often there are more people ‘following’ the conversation than contributing to the discussion anyway. We call these lurkers in the online learning industry but it is fine to do just that at the beginning, it’s like observing from a distance at a networking event. Of course the more you get involved or post, the more practice you get.
If you can’t make it until after the Twitter Hour then you will be able to read the whole conversation afterwards, just search for #BizEngChat. It is easy to catch up on the conversation later, (less stressful too sometimes). Feel free to add your comments later and the chances are that you will meet other people that would be interesting for you to connect with, so it is a combinination of English conversation and networking. That’s effective time management I say.
What about if I make a mistake?
I can identify with this one, my German is fairly good if I am talking to you in person, but when it comes to writing, I feel like a little girl again, all knotted up with apprehension and fear or making a mistake.
But I ask myself this?
What is the worst that can happen?
If you have something of value to say, people will be more interested in what you have to say than how you said it. In an ideal world we would wait until our foreign language was perfect before we engaged in social media, but what is perfection anyway?
Those of you in business or with a family will know that there is no such thing as the perfect time to do or start anything! Sometimes you just have to start and from there it can only get better – especially if your host is a language trainer.
I will never draw attention to any mistakes via #BizEngChat like they did at school, but those of you working with me will see that I incorporate any of those mistakes into our coaching.
One thing is for sure, I will be there on Thursday at 3pm and I would love you to join me, let’s revolutionise the way that business conversation is ‘taught’.
Let’s learn together via #BizEngChat so that we can get it right when it counts!