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November 2015 - BM English Speaking

How to Learn English Grammar

If you just started learning English, you first need to know some basic rules of the language. Developing a solid foundation in English grammar will not only help you create your own sentences correctly but will also make it easier to improve your communication skills in both spoken and written English. There is no shortcut for learning grammatically correct English. It takes time to understand and put to use the rules of English grammar. But, there are ways to remember the grammar to help you speak correctly. –

1.) Read a book, newspaper or journal in English that is just above your current level of reading with a dictionary. This will help to learn new vocabulary words in a fun way. This is also a great tip for improving English in a technical field. Even by spending a mere 15 minutes a day, your skills can improve drastically.

2.) Listen to speeches or watch movies or documentaries in areas you aren’t familiar with are fun tips on improving English. This activity will help improve listening and vocabulary at the same time. At first you can use subtitles, then turn the subtitles off when the listening part of this activity becomes easier.

3.) Although less fun, learning grammar is an essential tool for English. Knowing English grammar inside and out is one of the top tips on learning English. This should be tackled at the same time as both reading and listening exercises so that you understand how the sentence is constructed, and can manipulate it later to suit your needs.

4.) Keeping a diary allows you to utilize all of your English skills that you’ve been practicing with reading, listening and grammar. As a bonus, you can go back over your entries and grade yourself, noting where you can improve more. This is one of the greatest tips on improving English at any stage of learning the language.

5.) When you feel you are ready, go for total immersion. This means surrounding yourself by English speakers. Of all English tips, this one will test all of your skills.

After all your hard work, don’t forget to reward yourself. Learning English is hard, but with these tips on learning English, you will get better.

Body Language in an Interview

Your expressions and body language speak the most during interviews. Your body language can have a significant impact on how you’re perceived, and so you have to be aware of it from the moment you step through the door. That’s right, you’re being judged even before you utter your first word.

Here are some tips to ensure your body language makes a good impression:

Do: Make eye contact

This is the best way to show you’re actually paying attention and engaging with the situation. Of course this doesn’t mean stare blankly at your interviewer, but strive to hold eye contact for a few seconds at a time.

Don’t: Slouch

Sitting hunched forward, or lounging with arms and legs everywhere has the effect of looking a little too relaxed. You don’t want to sit there tightly clutching your fists in your lap, but you also don’t want to portray a casual, not really bothered attitude.

Do: Use your hands

Subtly, of course. Touching your fingertips together suggests authority but, as with all things, use it in moderation.

Keeping your palms facing up is a sign of openness and honesty, so keep them in your lap. Try not to clench your fists or wave your hands around to make a point, it will make you seem nervous and unpredictable. And please don’t bite your nails. You’ll look nervous and it’s really distracting!

Don’t: Touch your face

People who play with their hair or excessively touch or rub their noses can seem dishonest and untrustworthy.

Do: Smile

Smile and nod where appropriate, and laugh when the interviewer does. You want to show you have a personality and you’re paying attention to what’s being said.

Don’t: Move about

This includes tapping your fingertips in the arm rest or jiggling your leg up or down. It’s a sign of boredom and impatience. Keep both feet planted firmly on the floor to avoid the temptation. It’ll help to keep your posture straight and focused on your interviewer, which in turn will make you seem more focused.

Do: Mirror

You can quickly get on good terms with your interviewer by matching their positive body language.

Nodding or a subtle shift in posture can create common ground between two people, while matching a handshake is always a good equaliser. When it comes to handshakes, always remember to stick to the middle ground. Too firm is arrogance, too weak is a pushover.

Most importantly, be respectful and keep a professional personal distance at all times. The first image the interviewer has of you is most likely the one that will stick, but a graceful goodbye is just as important as a classy hello.

Your aim is to always keep the focus on the conversation, so keep your expression interested, your posture confident and your head high from the moment you arrive in the lobby until the second you’re a safe distance away.

 

Taking Feedback during Presentations

Even those who excel at their jobs can always find room for improvement and growth. We all have strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t know what your weaknesses are, you will never overcome them. You may think you are really great at something, but others may perceive this differently.

Taking Feedback

You need to obtain feedback from your audience for two distinct reasons. First, you need feedback to make sure that your audience is hearing and understanding your message. Second, you need feedback to help you do a better job on your next presentation.

To ensure that everyone is hearing and understanding you, maintain eye contact with your audience and invite questions.

Use eye contact

The only way to know how the members of your audience are responding to you is to look at them. If the entire back row has fallen asleep, they probably can’t hear you. If members of the audience have turned their attention to their calendars or to the stack of reading materials they brought with them, you have lost their attention and will have to do something to regain it.

Invite questions

Let your audience know in advance whether you prefer to receive questions at the end of the presentation or as you go along. Some speakers think that in formal situations, questions should be held until the end—or at least until the end of logical units. The concern is that questions may interrupt the flow of the presentation. In general, however, questions are best asked when they occur so that they can be related to the topic being discussed.

When someone has a question, others probably have the same question, which suggests a need for clarification. If a question anticipates a point that you will be addressing later in the presentation, you can ask the person to hold the question until that point by saying something like, “That’s a good question, and I will be addressing that issue in a few minutes. I’d appreciate it if you’d ask your question at that time.”

To take feedback for the second objective of doing a better job with your next presentation, do the following:

Analyze the audience’s questions

Keep track of the questions the members of your audience ask, and then revise your presentation to ensure that you provide better coverage of the topics they asked about during your next presentation.

Invite evaluation

When it’s appropriate for you to do so, request an evaluation of your presentation by your supervisor or a trusted colleague. In sales situations, you can often ask for and receive feedback from one or more of the people to whom you presented after they have made the decision about whether to buy from you.

Remember that the feedback does you no good unless you act on what you have learned. Not every comment you receive will be valid, but if four or five people tell you that you need to speak more slowly or more quickly, you would do well to change the pace of your delivery.

Effective Communication Skills

Effective communication skills are fundamental the essentials to achieve success in life.  As many jobs require strong communication skills and people who have taken steps to improve communication skills usually enjoy better interpersonal relationships with friends and family.

Effective communication is one of the most important key to interpersonal skill and by learning how we can improve our communication has many benefits.

Improving your English speaking skills will help you communicate more easily and effectively, so follow certain tips to make your communication more effective:

  • Practise where you can, when you can. Any practice is good – whether you speak to someone who is a native English speaker or not.
  • It’s important to build your confidence. If possible, use simple English sentence structure that you know is correct, so that you can concentrate on getting your message across.
  • Try to experiment with the English you know. Use words and phrases you know in new situations. Native English speakers are more likely to correct you if you use the wrong word than if you use the wrong grammar. Experimenting with vocabulary is a really good way of getting feedback.
  • Try to respond to what people say to you. You can often get clues to what people think by looking at their body language. Respond to them in a natural way.
  • Try NOT to translate into and from your own language. This takes too much time and will make you more hesitant.
  • If you forget a word, do what native English speakers do all the time, and say things that ‘fill’ the conversation. This is better than keeping completely silent. Try using um, or er, if you forget the word.
  • Don’t speak too fast! It’s important to use a natural rhythm when speaking English, but if you speak too fast it will be difficult for people to understand you.
  • Try to relax when you speak – you’ll find your mouth does most of the pronunciation work for you. When you speak English at normal speed, you’ll discover that many of the pronunciation skills, such as linking between words, will happen automatically.

Remember these, when speaking English…

Try to become less hesitant and more confident.

Don’t be shy to speak – the more you do it, the more confident you’ll become.

Remember to be polite – use “please” and “thank you” if you ask someone to do something for you.

In conclusion, organize your thoughts before you speak. Think twice before you open your mouth. Always keep the message simple and clear. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Never lie and never mislead anyone. Say it with style, confidence and enthusiasm. Make sure you’re understood. Make sure you practice a lot and rehearse. You’ll soon be an efficient communicator. In fact, to say is one thing to do is another. It’s easy to say but uneasy to work.

How to Improve Body Language

Some of us do not naturally possess the personality or body language that is required for making a good impression on others. Body language is the biggest way that others perceive you. Overall, you should appear relaxed, confident and engaging in order to attract the positive attention you want. Try some of these out today!

Smile

Most people do not realize that their “neutral” face is boring, which is an obvious turn-off. You do not need to be beaming from ear to ear 24/7; however, it is a good idea to remind yourself to smile a bit.

Uncross your arms

Having your arms crossed signals that you want to be left alone or that you are upset. Uncrossing your arms will signal to others (and yourself) that you are at ease in the situation.

Talk more with your hands

The right gestures add immeasurably to your words. Think about how you talk and act when you’re not “on.”

Then act the same way when you’re in professional situations. You’ll feel more confident, think more clearly, naturally punctuate certain words and phrases, and fall into a much better rhythm.

Relax your shoulders

There is a balance with the shoulders: shoulders too high will make you appear nervous, but slumped shoulders give off a sad or self-conscious vibe. Try to work somewhere in the middle, your shoulders falling to a natural and comfortable height.

Straighten your entire spine—including your neck

Unless you are looking at someone who is shorter than you, your entire spine should be straight. Try to remind yourself to keep your “chin up” and your neck will straighten out in a positively confident manner.

Think before you speak

Eye contact is important, but it’s hard to maintain eye contact when you have to think. Most of us start talking and look up or down or away and then swing back when we’ve gathered our thoughts.

Here’s a better way. If you have to look away to think, do it before you answer. Take a pause, look thoughtful, glance away, and then return to making eye contact when you start speaking. Then your words are even more powerful because your eyes support them.

Claim your space

Those with a small frame naturally take up less space and appear timid. A way to counter this is to imagine that you are claiming your space on the floor. Stand with feet apart; not together.

Do not stare at the floor

Unless you are checking out the new carpeting or someone’s sparkly shoes, your eyes should be close to others’ eye level.

Take a deep breath

This is one good way to calm your nerves and make your whole person more relaxed.

Do not touch your neck or face

This is a signal to others that you are protecting yourself or are nervous.

Nod when someone is talking to you

This is a positive form of body language that will let others know you are listening and engaged in the conversation.

Lower your voice

Studies show that people with deeper voices are taken more seriously.

How to Deliver Effective Presentation

Presentations are mostly practiced by students and professionals, and they are a great way to convey ideas as well as educate and convince people. A good presenter has the ability to engage his or her listeners from beginning to end and compel them to take action. Becoming a competent, rather than just confident, speaker requires a lot of practice.

Presentation can be daunting, whether it is your first time speaking in public or your 100th, a lecture at a university study day or a school project, well-prepared or not,.

While it is true that some individuals are definitely born with this gift of speaking, the overwhelming majority of effective speakers have trained themselves to be so. The best way is to gain experience, but there are ways which can help you appear confident.

Here are some tips of public speaking that that you can keep in mind the next time you find yourself presenting before a group.

But here are a few tips you can consider to start sharpening your presentation skills:

  1. Be Entertaining – Speeches should be entertaining and informative. I’m not saying you should act like a dancing monkey when giving a serious presentation.
  2. Eye Contact – Match eye contact with everyone in the room. I’ve also heard from salespeople that you shouldn’t focus all your attention on the decision maker since secretaries and assistants in the room may hold persuasive sway over their boss.
  3. Research – The better prepared you are for your speech or lecture, the better the speech will be. It is better to be over prepared than under.
  4. When you make a mistake, no one cares but you - Even the most accomplished public speaker will make a mistake at some point.  The most important thing a speaker can do after making a mistake is to keep going.  Don’t stop and—unless the mistake was truly earth shattering—never apologize to the audience for a minor slip.
  5. Practice makes perfectly good - Your goal is not to be a perfect public speaker but to be an effective public speaker.  Like anything else in life, it takes practice.  We too often take communication for granted because we speak to people everyday. But when your prosperity is directly linked to how well you perform in front a group, you need to give the task the same attention as if you were a professional athlete. Remember, even world champion athletes practice every day.  Try taking a class where you practice giving speeches.
  6. Revise - Always read your notes before you arrive at the venue so it is fresh in your mind which will eliminate a total reliance on notes. Also remember that you are the only one who knows EXACTLY what you intend to speak about, so if you miss something out no one else will know.
  7. Be excited while speaking - Don’t let being anxious or nervous lower your confidence. Embrace it by expressing it as excitement and enthusiasm.

Tips for Interview

Once you have successfully mastered cover letters, resumes, and job applications and are receiving requests for interviews, it’s time to understand how to be successful in the job interview so that you are ever closer to your goal of obtaining one or more job offers.

Following are the best tips for an interview:

1. Conduct Research on the Employer, Hiring Manager, Job Opportunity. Success in a job interview starts with a solid foundation of knowledge on the job-seeker’s part. You should understand the employer, the requirements of the job, and the background of the person (or people) interviewing you

2. Review Common Interview Questions and Prepare Responses. Another key to interview success is preparing responses to expected interview questions. First, inquire as to the type of interview to expect (which you can do by asking your contact person at the organization).

3. Dress for Success. Plan out a wardrobe that fits the organization and its culture, striving for the most professional appearance you can accomplish. Remember that it’s always better to be overdressed than under — and to wear clothing that fits and is clean and pressed.

4. Arrive on Time for the Interview — and Prepared for Success. There is no excuse for ever arriving late for an interview — other than some sort of disaster. Strive to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled interview to complete additional paperwork and allow yourself time to get settled.

5. Make Good First Impressions — to Everyone You Encounter. A cardinal rule of interviewing: Be polite and offer warm greetings to everyone you meet — from parking attendant or receptionist to the hiring manager.

6. Be Authentic, Upbeat, Focused, Confident, Candid, and Concise.Once the interview starts, the key to success is the quality and delivery of your responses. Your goal should always be authenticity, responding truthfully to interview questions

7. Remember Body Language, Avoiding Bad Habits. While the content of your interview responses is paramount, poor body language can be a distraction at best — or a reason not to hire you at worst. Effective forms of body language: smiling, eye contact, solid posture, active listening, nodding.

8. Ask Insightful Questions. Studies continually show that employers make a judgment about an applicant’s interest in the job by whether or not the interviewee asks questions.

9. Thank Interviewer(s) in Person, by Email, and Postal Mail. As you have already seen from previous tips, common courtesy and politeness go far in interviewing; thus, the importance of thanking each person who interviews you should come as no surprise.

10. Final Thoughts on Job Interview Success

Succeeding in job interviews takes research, practice, and persistence. The more effort you put into your interview preparation, the more success you’ll see in obtaining job offers — especially if you remember and follow these 10 job interviewing tips.

Personal Effectiveness – How to Do a Handshake

Handshake gives you the opportunity to establish your friendliness and accessibility, whether you are meeting your neighbours or starting a new job. Practice with friends or family members before you start shaking the hands of strangers. Remember that people often initially judge you by your handshake, so make sure it shows your confidence and pleasant personality.

Occasions you will need to shake hands:

  • Initial introduction
  • Job interview
  • Saying goodbye to a friend or business associate
  • Whenever someone else extends his or her hand
  • Seeing someone you haven’t seen in a long time
  • Greeting guests when you are the host or hostess
  • Greeting a host or hostess when you are the guest

How you do it

Make sure your handshake is firm, and not crush the other person’s hand.

Make sure you don’t have food or grease on your hands. You want the person to remember you, not what you ate.

If your hands are sweaty, give them a quick nonchalant wipe on your pants.

When you offer your hand, look the person in the eye and smile.

When you do it

Handshakes involve timing. Many people avoid offering handshakes because they’re afraid of being rejected. If you’re not sure if someone will notice your offer, extend the handshake anyways. Most of the time people will notice your handshake offer and quickly grasp your hand.

Be aware of different social customs. Most cultures have different customs for shaking hands. Some find it inappropriate for a man to shake a woman’s hand and some cultures find shaking hands completely unacceptable. Be sensitive to these situations.

What if you’re left hanging?

One always feel dumb, especially when everyone but the person with whom you were trying to shake hands saw the rejection. Don’t feel embarrassed. The problem isn’t that the other person doesn’t think you’re important, you’re timing was just off.

  • Don’t offer a handshake if the other person is engrossed in conversation with someone else.
  • Don’t approach someone from the side with your extended hand. It’s hard to see.
  • Do audibly greet the person first to get their attention and then offer your hand.

Where to do it

Handshakes are good everywhere. Make sure to shake plenty of hands when you go to a social gathering. Make sure to shake the hosts’ hand when arriving and leaving the gathering.

General Etiquettes that everybody should follow

To earn respect from others it is very important to show the right manners or etiquettes. Using proper etiquette does not mean you are old-fashioned. Having manners mean you are a respectful person and considerate of others. Use of etiquette can convey respect of other cultures, traditions, or religions.

Thank-You Notes

A thank-you note is essential in both everyday life as well as in business correspondence. If someone has brought you a gift, has helped you, or simply done something nice, the very least you can do is to say thank you.

Handshakes

Handshakes are a certain type of gesture that conveys acknowledgement to the other person. They also imbibe a sense of touch, warmth and compassion. So, extend your hand wherever you feel is necessary.

Hygiene Belongs to Home 

Brushing or combing your hair, especially while in a restaurant as hair flies around! Brushing your teeth in a public bathroom and if you must, please clean the sink after you do so. These activities are meant to be personal and should not become public. So, it is rightfully said that hygiene belongs at home.

Punctuality

In social settings, people coming late cause their friends to miss movies, dinner reservations, oven timers, etc. If you are one of those “I’m always late” people, you may wish to examine your reasons for lateness, before you stop getting invitations.

Introductions

This is another reason that causes social anxiety. Speak to the person you wish to honor first. If you sense that is a problem, just introduce yourself when there is a break in the conversation, and then shake hands. That will take stress off of the person who cannot remember who you are.

Cell Phones

If you are in a public line and everyone around you now knows your business, then you are speaking too loudly. In a restaurant, cells should be silenced. If you receive an important call, you should excuse yourself and go outside to take the call. In a movie theater, cells should be silenced, or turned off, if possible. Even the screen can light up in the dark, which is distracting. It’s dangerous to talk on a cell or text while driving.

Deaths

When someone dies, their families are in emotional pain. The disturbing trend that has been seen is that those losses are not acknowledged, because people just don’t know what to do or say. Please make an effort to reach out, show empathy or sympathy in one way or another way, because it is hurtful to the bereaved if you ignore their loss.

Personal Effectiveness – How to Develop Personality

What exactly is a Personality? We often heard saying, “She/he has a good personality. Well Personality is nothing but characteristic thoughts, behaviours and feelings that are associated with an individual. Basically it is how one attracts others through is deeds and words. An individual could develop his or her personality if he has a goal in mind and he decides firmly that he would develop himself in all aspects of life both internally and externally.

Personality development  is a term which is often misunderstood to be self development and or just limited to enhancing one’s own looks. So it becomes necessary to get a clear picture on what is personality development and what is self development.

Personality development is something which is considered as improving the way we think, feel, behave and carry ourselves. In other words, it is not confined to the improvement of a single aspect of an individual; rather it is about improving an entity or a cluster of qualities which helps in achieving and presenting oneself in a better way. Here are a few tips which could help you improve your personality.

We all have personalities and they all are great. It’s just our behavior that sometimes goes a little off track, so when we talk about improving our personality, we’re really looking at ways we interact with the world and each other and our own responsibility for how we react to any situation and how we exhibit our feelings and our states.

We might find that at some point in life, we are struggling to deal with stuff. We might be feeling emotional or anxious or upset or angry with others in dealing with people badly. The first point to make is we are responsible for outbursts, no one else is.

No one can make you feel angry or make you react in a particular way. You make you react in a particular way. So, we can decide how we respond to the world around us and we have to make better decisions.

So, personalities are driven by our own mind, so just create one that you are happy with and proud of and come from that place. Here are some good tips that will help you create a personality you always wanted. If you are not satisfied and want to improve your personality, just follow some of these simple tips and you will experience an improvement in your personality.

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