15 ways to improve oral communicaton

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15 ways to improve oral communicaton

  1. 1. by Andrew D. Miles 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Businesswww.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  2. 2. 15 Ways to Improve OralCommunication in Business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles, Barcelona, 2007. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may bereproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form without written authorization from the author. Cover photograph by Andrew D. Miles andrew.miles@barcelonaenglish.com www.barcelonaenglish.com 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  3. 3. 1. INTRO PHRASES Use introductory phrases before your message to catch people’s attention, so they are listening before you emit your main point. This will also let listeners adjust their hearing to your speed, pronunciation and tone of voice. Therefore, they’ll already be used to your phonemes when you display the main idea. Andrew’s note: A common mistake is to EXAMPLES think people will be listening when you say From my point of view, something important. this idea is wrong. In fact, they don’t know it’s important until you’ve said it! As a matter of fact, this idea is wrong. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  4. 4.  1. INTRO PHRASES    I’d like to remind you that  From my point of view  Let me tell you that  Apparently  In my opinion  I believe that  It seems that  It appears that  In fact  It sounds as if  Evidently  Seemingly  At first sight  On the face of it  As a matter of fact  Essentially  I’m sure that  Today I’d like to say that  According to what I know 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  5. 5. 2. MEMORISINGMemorise key words – since youwill not have time to look for themwhen needed.Knowing the meaning of words isnot enough. They aren’t useful untilyou’ve been through the wholelearning cycle. This implies that youhave to understand the word, knowhow to use it, memorise it and beable to recall it when needed.Try to revise vocabulary a weekafter you’ve learned it and check ifyou remember it one month later.Andrew’s note:Knowing the meaning of expressions is different to beingable to apply them automatically. Vocabulary is not usefuluntil it’s at the tip of your tongue. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  6. 6. 3. ONE-IDEA PHRASESUse one idea to a sentence and build thesentence around the idea.English is a language of few, precisewords where economy is a plus.Many listeners are used to shortsentences and find it hard to handleseveral notions in one phrase.It is better to repeat the same ideas inseveral formats so people who do notfollow your point in one way have thechance to understand it in another. Andrew’s note: Transmit a concept more effectively by explaining it, then giving an example, showing a graph and if possible also by including it in a story, joke or anecdote. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  7. 7. 4. GESTURESMagnify facial gestures, since theywill help to get your message acrossin case verbal language fails andpeople don’t follow your words.Remember that body Andrew’s note:language transmits a It’s important to use gestureslot of information when speaking.so don’t be afraid of However, act out your conversationgesticulating. in front of your teacher and checkListeners will take whether your non-verbal signsnon-verbal signs as part are suitable forof your personality and the culture of the country you arewill not pay conscious visiting.attention to your gestures.As a foreign speaker your weakestarea of communication is verballanguage, so make up for this lackwith stronger non-verbal signs. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  8. 8. 5. TOPIC CHANGEGive clear clues when you changesubjects so listeners become awarethat you’re no longer talking aboutthe same issue.It’s a good idea to remember youmust give listeners a map of yourspeech – people must know exactlywhere they are standing so theydon’t get lost. Andrew’s note:Listeners might begetting just part of Remember that if it’s difficult for you toyour message, so speak, it is also difficult for listeners tomarkers help them to understand. Thus, give them lots of cluesknow which subject is to help them navigatenow being discussed. your speech. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  9. 9.  5. TOPIC CHANGE CLUES SAMPLES  By the way, now we can talk about  I’d like to move onto  Could we now deal with?  Incidentally, may I mention that?  I believe this is the right time to  It has just crossed my mind to  To bring up another subject  An alternative point to consider  Changing subjects, I want to  While we are on the subject  Before I forget  On quite another matter 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  10. 10. 6. INTERRUPTINGInterrupting is difficult in a languagethat you don’t handle well, becauseoften when your opportunity comesyou can’t find the right words!Therefore, it’s essential to learn howto interrupt with proper expressions.You will need to use these phraseswithout any delay when inserting acomment or disagreeing with astatement. Speed is important, asopportunities to say something rarelylast for long.The key to effective interruptions isthe right mix of forcefulness andpoliteness. Also, you’ll sometimesneed to insist several times until youcatch people’s attention. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  11. 11. 6. INTERRUPTING+ Er Sorry Actually Excuse meP May I have a word?O Can I make a comment?L May I come in here?I May I interrupt?T Could I say something?EN Sorry, that’s not right.E What are you trying to say?S What are you getting at?S You’re wrong. Please listen to me. Can you let me speak?- Won’t you let me give an opinion? Will you shut up for a minute, please? 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  12. 12. 7. WORD ORDEREnglish is a language Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct,with few inflexions 1994, New York,so order is vital to Perennial:establish sense. English is an "isolating" language, whichOrganise words in your builds sentences by rearrangingsentences according to immutable word- sized units, likerules, because mixing Dog bites man and Man bites dog.priorities will confuse Other languageslisteners. express who did what to whom by modifying nouns with case affixes,Define a word pattern or by modifyingand try to apply it to the verb with affixes that agreeall your constructions with subjects in number, gender,because even though and person. One example is Latin,there are several ways to an "inflecting"say a sentence correctly, language in which each affix containsit’s better to play it safe several pieces of information.if you are not sure. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  13. 13. 7. WORD ORDERClassic word order:Adverb of time  subject auxiliary verb  frequency adverb verb  direct object indirect object  adverb ofmanner  adverb of place adverb of time SAMPLESPoliticians will sometimes block deals duringelection times.Yesterday, our director asked Mary to finishher letter by hand at her own desk.The lawyer wrote the contracts at his office inthe morning. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  14. 14. 8. REGARD REGISTER Andrew’sWhen you learn a note:new word, always Register isask your teacher for the type of language wethe context in which use in specificit can be used. Is situations,it formal? Informal? such as “speaking inCan I use it with friends? an informal register” orWhat about writing? “writing in a scientific register”. Andrew’s note: Do not use slang, ironical We can’t say at Church expressions all of what or foul we say at the pub! language, even if others do. This could confuselisteners because your speech willunexpectedly change register. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  15. 15. 9. FILLERSResort to fillers for those secondsyou spend looking for words youcan’t find.Sometimes, you cannot afford tostay quiet while you plan whatyou’re going to say next, so usefillers to gain time. FILLERS  Really  Clearly  Well  OK  Of course  Undoubtedly  I believe  Certainly  Surely  Fine 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  16. 16. 10. PRONUNCIATIONMemorise difficult words and Andrew’spractise them often. note: Always askWhen in doubt with names, your teacher how toask how to pronounce them pronounce key wordscorrectly. (for example, terms related to your job).Don’t hide your accent by Do not trustspeaking with your mouth your instinct, becauseclosed or increasing your pronunciationspeed, because people will find is often unpredictable.it harder to follow you.Talk slowly, look at listeners anddon’t try to compete with outsidenoises. If there’s a noise, wait until itsubsides. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  17. 17. 10. PRONUNCIATIONDow Jones (dou j½nz)bush (b‹sh)Finance (f…-n²ns“, fº“n²ns”)NYSE (µn) (wº) (µs) (¶)Samuelson (s²m“y›-…l-s…n)factorage (f²k“t…r-¹j)Keynesian (k³n“z¶-…n)leverage (lµv“…r-¹j)liability (lº”…-b¹l“¹-t¶) 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  18. 18. 11. QUESTION TAGS Apply tail phrases on leading questions, since they are a legitimate way to make listeners assert to your proposals. Question tags ending with negative tail phrases elicit affirmative answers. Question tags ending with positive tail phrases elicit negative answers. SAMPLES  This sounds interesting, doesn’t it? (It elicits an affirmative reply.) You won’t let a client escape, will you? (It elicits a negative reply.) 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  19. 19. 12. FALSE FRIENDSBe careful with falsefriends, because manyexpressions that seemstraightforward to youcan end up messing upyour speech. If you enjoyed this e- book you might wantDon’t assume that to download “100 Ways to Say It interms which look like Business English” by Andrew D. Miles atwords in your native http://www.words300. com/bookstongue mean the same.Sometimes, there aresurprises!Also, some English words thatbecome part of another language’scolloquial vocabulary (think of slipin Spanish) lose their original senseand end up meaning something else. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  20. 20. 12. FALSE FRIENDS  FALSE FRIENDS English Correct Wrong Word Translation Translation affluent acaudalado afluente casual informal casual actual real actual compromise acuerdo compromiso comprehensive global comprensivo familiar conocido familiar apparent obvio aparente sensible sensato sensible  COMMONLY MISUSED WORDS parking parking lot or place mister trainer basket basketball slip briefs 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  21. 21. 13. INTONATIONPractise intonation before your Andrew’sspeech, as natives grant note:importance to words based on You need yourstress. Remember that every teacher’slanguage’s cadence is help to improvedifferent, so tone variations intonation. A good exerciseapplied in Spanish are not is for you tovalid for English. Sometimes read and for the tutor tolisteners will not get the gist of guide your tone whileyour sentences if you apply you go through thethe wrong intonation patterns. text. SAMPLES o Lawyers help company fire victims. (Here the stress is on company, so this sentence means that lawyers help the company to dismiss the employees.) o Lawyers help company fire victims. (Here the stress is on fire, so it means that lawyers help the victims of a company fire.) 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  22. 22. 14. EMULATE NATIVES Emulate native speakers Dr Harry Alder & Beryl by listening and then Heather, 1999 sustain in their 1999 NLP textbook applying their type of that you can create rapport by emulating speakers in language in your body movement, voice tone phrases, because it is and speed. Likewise, affinity can be encouraged easier to convince people by following language styles and type of word employing their own choice, including the style of speech. metaphors used.Andrew’s note: Politely mimic peopleA good way to improve rapport by using the same typeis to listen to the other person’s of language. However,metaphorical language.He compares business to rugby? do not copy everyUse an example from sport. Shetalks about cars? Think of a word because thisstory that involves driving… could prove offensive. Don’t concentrate so much on your own phrases that you forget to listen to the way others speak! 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  23. 23. 15. FUNCTIONSWe use language for differentfunctions, such as answering thephone, saying hello or expressingdissatisfaction.It is better to learn a few Andrew’s note:phrases for every functionthan many phrases for a few Think of all thefunctions. Therefore, situations you could useinstead of memorising English forcountless ways to ask for and list the phrases youcoffee use part of that time might need. Then, role-to practise how to book a play them with yourroom, how to disagree or teacher.how to hire a car.Automate those expressions so youdon’t have to look for them whenyou need them. 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  24. 24. 15. FUNCTIONS APlease see below a list of phrases for meetings:Giving OpinionsI feel thatIn my opinionThe way I see thingsAsking for OpinionsHeather, can we get your input?How do you feel about?What’s your opinion, John?Commenting on Other OpinionsI never thought about it that way beforeI get your ideaI see what you meanAgreeing with Other OpinionsExactly!Thats just how I feelI have to agree with James 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  25. 25. 15. FUNCTIONS BDisagreeing with Other OpinionsUp to a point I agree with you, butIm afraid I can’t see it that wayI don’t think soI’ve got another point of viewAdvising and SuggestingWe ought toWhy dont you?How aboutI suggest weClarifyingHave I made that clear?Do you see what Im getting at?Let me put this another wayId just like to repeat thatRequesting InformationId like you toWould you mind?I wonder if you could 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  26. 26. 15. FUNCTIONS CConnecting Cause and ConsequenceThis means that…It implies that …A results in B.The measure will cause…ContrastingAlthough A seems fine, B is better because…In spite of the evidence, I’d like to add that…We could opt for A. On the other hand…I like your idea. Nevertheless, I prefer…Asking for RepetitionSorry, I didnt catch thatI missed that. Could you repeat it, please?Could you run that by me again?Asking for ClarificationI dont quite understandCould you explain to me how that is going to work?I dont see what you meanMay we have some more details, please? 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  27. 27. 15. FUNCTIONS DStating PurposeI’m here today to…What I’d like to do is…My objective is to…My aim now is to…Asking for VerificationDo you mean that?Is it true that?Are you sure about this?Are you one hundred percent positive?Asking for SpellingWould you mind spelling that for me, please?Could you spell it, please?Sorry, how do you spell it?Is that double m double s?Asking for Contributions from Other ParticipantsWhat do you think about this proposal?Would you like to add anything, Cynthia?Has anyone else got anything to contribute?Are there any more comments? 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  28. 28. 15. FUNCTIONS EDescribing GraphsI’d like you to see this graph…Please observe this matrix.Have a look at this model.Let me show you a chart.Correcting Information If you want to improve yourSorry, that might not be quite right business EnglishIm afraid you dont understand you might want towhat Im saying try our BetterThats not what I had in mind English for Business People Phone +This is different to what I meant Online Course.Keeping the Meeting on Track http://www.barcelona english.com/foreignWell, that’s another subjectaltogetherIm afraid we can’t discuss that issue todayThats outside the scope of this meetingLets get back on trackFinishing the MeetingWell, that seems to be all the time we have todayCould we make a decision right away?We’ll have to leave that for nowTime to finish! 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Business www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz
  29. 29. Andrew D. Miles is the director of English for Business Barcelona, English for Business MadridEnglish Phone and the Better English for Business People Online Programme English for Business Barcelona teaches English lessons to companies in the Barcelona area while English for Business Madrid teaches English lessons to companies in the Madrid area. English Phone provides lessons by telephone to students who want to improve their oral communication skills and the Better English programme offers business English online lessons. www.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz www.words300.com 15 ways to improve communication in business English Copyright by Andrew D. Miles and English for Businesswww.barcelonaenglish.com www.madridenglish.net www.englishphone.biz

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