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INTERVIEW TIPS 1. Conduct Research on the Employer, Hiring Manager, and Job Opportunity Success in a job interview starts with a solid foundation of knowledge on the jobseeker’s part. You should understand the employer, the requirements of the job, and the background of the person (or people) interviewing you. The more research you conduct, the more you’ll understand the employer, and the better you’ll be able to answer interview questions (as well as ask insightful questions” see #8). Scour the organization’s website and other published materials, search engines, research tools, and ask questions about the company in your network of contacts. Learn more about job search job interview researching here. 2. Review Common Interview Questions and Prepare Your Responses Another key to interview success is preparing responses to expected interview questions. First, ask the hiring manager as to the type of interview to expect. Will it be one-on-one or in a group? Will it be with one person, or will you meet several members of the organization? Your goal is to try to determine what you’ll be asked and to compose detailed yet concise responses that focus on specific examples and accomplishments. A good tool for remembering your responses is to put them into a story form that you can tell in the interview. No need to memorize responses (in fact, it’s best not to), but do develop talking points. There are excellent tools available to help you with interview questions and responses. Also, consider using the STAR Interviewing Technique. 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. Keep accessories and jewelry to a minimum. Try not to smoke or eat right before the interview” and if possible, brush your teeth or use mouthwash. Find more detailed advice” including specifics for men and women jobseekers” in our article, When Job-Hunting, Dress for Success. 4. Arrive on Time, Relaxed and Prepared for the Interview There is no excuse ever for arriving late to an interview. Short of a disaster, strive to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled interview to complete additional paperwork and allow yourself time to get settled. Arriving a bit early is also a chance to observe the dynamics of the workplace. The day before the interview, pack up extra copies of your resume or CV and reference list. If you have a portfolio or samples of your work, bring those along too. Finally, remember to pack several pens and a pad of paper to jot notes. Finally, as you get to the offices, shut off your cell phone. (And if you were chewing gum, get rid of it.) For additional tips and advice, read our article, 24-Hour Countdown to the Job Interview. 5. Make Good First Impressions A cardinal rule of interviewing is to be polite and offer warm greetings to everyone you meet” from the parking attendant to the receptionist to the hiring manager. Employers often are curious how job applicants treat staff members” and your job offer could easily be derailed if you’re rude or arrogant to any of the staff. When it’s time for the interview, keep in mind that first impressions” the impression interviewers get in the first few seconds of meeting you” can make or break an interview. Make a strong first impression by dressing well (see #3), arriving early (see #4), and when greeting your interviewer, stand, smile, make eye contact, and offer a firm“ but not bone-crushing“ handshake. Remember that having a positive attitude and expressing enthusiasm for the job and employer are vital in the initial stages of the interview; studies show that hiring managers make critical decisions about job applicants in the first 20 minutes of the interview. 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. At the same time, your goal is to get to the next step, so you’ll want to provide focused responses that showcase your skills, experience, and fit” with the job and the employer. Provide solid examples of solutions and accomplishments” but keep your responses short and to the point. By preparing responses to common interview questions (see #2), you’ll ideally avoid long, rambling responses that bore interviewers. Always attempt to keep your interview responses short and to the point. Finally, no matter how much an interviewer might bait you, never badmouth a previous employer, boss, or co-worker. The interview is about you” and making your case that you are the ideal candidate for the job. Read about more interview mistakes in our article, Avoid These 10 Interview Bloopers” Critical Jobseeker Mistakes. 7. Remember the Importance of Body Language 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 include smiling, eye contact, solid posture, active listening, and nodding. Detrimental forms of body language include slouching, looking off in the distance, playing with a pen, fidgeting in a chair, brushing back your hair, touching your face, chewing gum, or mumbling. Read more about perfecting your body language in our article, The Unspoken Secrets of Job Interviewing: How Your Nonverbal Presentation and Behaviors Impact the Impression You Make. 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. Thus, even if the hiring manager was thorough in his or her discussions about the job opening and what is expected, you must ask a few questions. This shows that you have done your research and that you are curious. The smart jobseeker prepares questions to ask days before the interview, adding any additional queries that might arise from the interview. For an idea of questions you could ask at the interview, see our article, Questions You Can Ask at the Job Interview, as well as our article, Make a Lasting Impression at Job Interviews Using Questions. 9. Sell Yourself and then Close the Deal The most qualified applicant is not always the one who is hired; the winning candidate is often the jobseeker who does the best job responding to interview questions and showcasing his or her fit with the job, department, and organization. Some liken the job interview to a sales call. You are the salesperson” and the product you are selling to the employer is your ability to fill the organization’s needs, solve its problems, propel its success. Finally, as the interview winds down, ask about the next steps in the process and the timetable in which the employer expects to use to make a decision about the position. See our article, Closing the Sale and Overcoming Objections in Job Interview. 10. Thank Interviewer(s) in Person, by Email, or Postal Mail. Common courtesy and politeness go far in interviewing; thus, the importance of thanking each person who interviews you should come as no surprise. Start the process while at the interview, thanking each person who interviewed you before you leave. Writing thank-you emails and notes shortly after the interview will not get you the job offer, but doing so will certainly give you an edge over any of the other finalists who didn’t bother to send thank-you notes. For more tips on writing thank-you notes, read this article: 10 Tips for Writing a Job-Search Interview Thank-You Letter. You can also check out these job interview thank-you letter samples. Final Thoughts on Job Interview SuccessSucceeding 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 ten job interviewing tips.
presentation skills in English 1. Practice! Naturally, you'll want to rehearse your presentation multiple times. While it can be difficult for those with packed schedules to spare time to practice, it's essential if you want to deliver a rousing presentation. I’m famous around the office for staying up late the night before a big presentation, practicing over and over. If you really want to sound great, write out your speech rather than taking chances winging it – if you get nervous about speaking, a script is your best friend. Try to practice where you'll be delivering your talk. Some acting strategists suggest rehearsing lines in various positions – standing up, sitting down, with arms open wide, on one leg, while sitting on the toilet, etc. (OK, that last one may be optional.) The more you mix up your position and setting, the more comfortable you'll feel with your speech. Do a practice run for a friend or colleague, or try recording your presentation and playing it back to evaluate which areas need work. Listening to recordings of your past talks can clue you in to bad habits you may be unaware of, as well as inspiring the age-old question: "Is that what I really sound like?" 2. Transform Nervous Energy Into Enthusiasm. It may sound strange, but I'll often down an energy drink and blast hip-hop music in my earphones before presenting. Why? It pumps me up and helps me turn jitters into focused enthusiasm. Studies have shown that an enthusiastic speech can win out over an eloquent one, and since I'm not exactly the Winston Churchill of presenters, I make sure that I'm as enthusiastic and energetic as possible before going on stage. Of course, individuals respond differently to caffeine overload, so know your own body before guzzling those monster energy drinks. presentation tips 3. Attend Other Presentations. If you're giving a talk as part of a conference, try to attend some of the earlier talks by other presenters to scope out their presentation skills and get some context. This shows respect for your fellow presenters while also giving you a chance to feel out the audience. What's the mood of the crowd? Are folks in the mood to laugh or are they a bit more stiff? Are the presentations more strategic or tactical in nature? Another speaker may also say something that you can play off of later in your own presentation. 4. Arrive Early. It's always best to allow yourself plenty of time to settle in before your talk. Extra time ensures you won't be late (even if Google Maps shuts down) and gives you plenty of time to get adapted to your presentation space. 5. Adjust to Your Surroundings. The more adjusted to your environment you are, the more comfortable you'll feel. Make sure to spend some in the room where you will be delivering your presentation. If possible, practice with the microphone and lighting, make sure you understand the seating and be aware of any distractions potentially posed by the venue (e.g., a noisy road outside). larry kim presentation tips 5 minutes before my Inbound presentation … gulp 6. Meet and Greet. Do your best to chat with people before your presentation. Talking with audiences makes you seem more likeable and approachable. Ask event attendees questions and take in their responses. They may even give you some inspiration to weave into your talk. Want more great tips? Check out our Digital Marketer's Road Map! 7. Use Positive Visualization. Whether or not you’re a Zen master, know that plenty of studies have proven the effectiveness of positive visualization. When we imagine a positive outcome to a scenario in our mind, it's more likely to play out the way we envision. Instead of thinking "I'm going to be terrible out there" and visualizing yourself throwing up mid-presentation, imagine yourself getting tons of laughs while presenting with the enthusiasm of Jimmy Fallon and the poise of Audrey Hepburn (the charm of George Clooney wouldn't hurt either). Positive thoughts can be incredibly effective – give them a shot. presentation skills 8. Remember That Most Audiences Are Sympathetic. One of the hardest fears to shake when speaking in public is that the audience is secretly waiting to laugh at your missteps or mistakes. Fortunately, this isn’t the case in the vast majority of presentations. The audience wants to see you succeed. In fact, many people have a fear of public speaking, so even if the audience seems indifferent, the chances are pretty good that most people listening to your presentation can relate to how nerve-racking it can be. If you start to feel nervous, remind yourself that the audience gets it, and actually wants to see you nail it. 9. Take Deep Breaths. The go-to advice for jitters has truth to it. When we're nervous, our muscles tighten--you may even catch yourself holding your breath. Instead, go ahead and take those deep breaths to get oxygen to your brain and relax your body. 10. Smile. Smiling increases endorphins, replacing anxiety with calm and making you feel good about your presentation. Smiling also exhibits confidence and enthusiasm to the crowd. And this tip works even if you're doing a webinar and people can't see you. Just don't overdo it – no one enjoys the maniacal clown look. creepy clown Don’t be like this guy. 11. Exercise. Exercise earlier in the day prior to your presentation to boost endorphins, which will help alleviate anxiety. Better pre-register for that Zumba class! 12. Work on Your Pauses. When you're nervous, it's easy to speed up your presentation and end up talking too fast, which in turn causes you to run out of breath, get more nervous, and panic! Ahh! Don't be afraid to slow down and use pauses in your speech. Pausing can be used to emphasize certain points and to help your talk feel more conversational. If you feel yourself losing control of your pacing, just take a nice pause and keep cool. 13. Don’t Try to Cover Too Much Material. Yes, your presentations should be full of useful, insightful, and actionable information, but that doesn’t mean you should try to condense a vast and complex topic into a 10-minute presentation. 90 slides in 30 minutes? Only from @larrykim #stateofsearch http://t.co/uttijruots — Kate Gwozdz (@KateGwozdz) November 17, 2014 Knowing what to include, and what to leave out, is crucial to the success of a good presentation. I’m not suggesting you skimp when it comes to data or including useful slides (some of my webinars have featured 80+ slides), but I am advocating for a rigorous editing process. If it feels too off-topic, or is only marginally relevant to your main points, leave it out. You can always use the excess material in another presentation. 14. Actively Engage the Audience. People love to talk and make their opinions heard, but the nature of presentations can often seem like a one-sided proposition. It doesn’t have to be, though. Asking the audience what they think, inviting questions, and other means of welcoming audience participation can boost engagement and make attendees feel like a part of a conversation. It also makes you, the presenter, seem much more relatable. Consider starting with a poll or survey. Don’t be put off by unexpected questions – instead, see them as an opportunity to give your audience what they want. how do I improve my presentation skills Hopefully this man has a question, and doesn’t just need to go to the bathroom. 15. Be Entertaining. Even if your presentation is packed with useful information, if your delivery bombs, so will your session. I find that including some jokes and light-hearted slides is a great way to help the audience (and myself) feel more comfortable, especially when presenting them with a great deal of information. However, it’s important to maintain a balance – after all, you’re not performing a stand-up routine, and people didn’t come to your presentation with the sole intention of being entertained. That said, don’t be afraid to inject a little humor into your talk. If you’re not sure about whether a presentation is “too much, ” run through it for a couple of friends and ask them to tell it to you straight. 16. Admit You Don’t Have All the Answers. Very few presenters are willing to publicly concede that they don’t actually know everything because they feel it undermines their authority. However, since we all know that nobody can ever know everything about a given topic, admitting so in a presentation can actually improve your credibility. I don't know If someone asks a question that stumps you, it’s okay to admit it. This can also increase your credibility with the audience, as it demonstrates that, no matter how knowledgeable a person might be, we’re all learning, all the time. Nobody expects you to be an omniscient oracle of forbidden knowledge – they just want to learn from you. 17. Use a Power Stance. Practicing confident body language is another way to boost your pre-presentation jitters. When your body is physically demonstrating confidence, your mind will follow suit. While you don't want to be jutting out your chest in an alpha gorilla pose all afternoon (somebody enjoyed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes a bit too much), studies have shown that using power stances a few minutes before giving a talk (or heading to a big interview) creates a lasting sense of confidence and assurance. Whatever you do, don't sit--sitting is passive. Standing or walking a bit will help you harness those stomach bats (isn't that more appropriate than butterflies?). Before you go on stage, strike your best Power Ranger stance and hold your head high! presentation power stance 18. Drink Water. Dry mouth is a common result of anxiety. Prevent cottonmouth blues by staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water before your talk (just don't forget to hit the bathroom before starting). Keep a bottle of water at arm's reach while presenting in case you get dry mouth while chatting up a storm. It also provides a solid object to hurl at potential hecklers. (That'll show 'em.) 19. Join Toastmasters. Toastmaster clubs are groups across the country (and the world) dedicated to helping members improve their presentation skills. Groups get together during lunch or after work to take turns delivering short talks on a chosen topic. The more you present, the better you'll be, so consider joining a Toastmaster club to become a top-notch orator. Just don't forget, it's BYOB (Bring Your Own Bread). 20. Don't Fight the Fear. Accept your fear rather than trying to fight it. Getting yourself worked up by wondering if people will notice your nervousness will only intensify your anxiety. Remember, those jitters aren't all bad – harness that nervous energy and transform it into positive enthusiasm and you'll be golden. We salute you, O Captain! My Captain!
Keys to a Creative Language Classroom 1. Resist Running Like Clockwork Routines can be useful. They are a sequence of habits that keep you on track and prevent complications. Not every day has to be a completely unique language learning experience. A little routine never hurt anyone, but zero creativity can. Throwing in some spontaneity every now and then increases the level of default alertness that your students operate at. Routines are comfortable, sometimes too comfortable, letting students sit back and “turn off.” Mixing things up requires them to pay more attention and listen carefully. The mental stimulation and social gratification that results from being creative literally enhances brain cells and memory, leading to more “Eureka!” moments. One way to keep students on their toes is to throw a wrench into their normal routine. Do something completely different. For example, by getting students up and about: Take students on a walk around the school or the block, asking them to write down all of the words that they see. If along the way they notice any objects for which they do not know the term, have them sketch a picture of it. Meet in a lobby or park and review the identified words. Play a game of Pictionary where one student sketches the objects that he or she saw and fellow students have the chance to guess the correct term (i.e. a fire hydrant, traffic light or gate). This activity works well as a “wrench” because it is not something that you can do every day. Other examples include interactive art projects, which we’ll discuss later, and games that get them moving, like charades or Jeopardy. The purpose of these activities is to surprise students and give them something unexpected that they don’t do regularly. We want to keep them on their toes and remind them to stay alert, because in your classroom anything can happen. 2 2. Invert the Routine You don’t have to completely change the routine to mix things up, you just have to change how the routine looks from the outside. If you run the same three-mile loop every day, pretty soon your body will get used to it and it will become easy. Give yourself a new three-mile loop and all of a sudden you’ll be challenged again. The same is true with our students’ brains. We want to keep them from getting too comfortable. Let’s take a look at some tricks to help clarify: Do the opposite. Take something familiar and do it differently. For example, if you always teach from the front of the class, try teaching from the back; if your students always sit in rows, try putting them in a circle. Switch up the order. Do daily activities in a different order. If you usually give a homework assignment at the end of class, for example, give it at the beginning instead. Change roles. Let students do the work. For example, if you usually read out the class schedule every morning, have one of your students do it one day. Those are a few simple ideas, but I’m sure you can come up with many more. These twists require little to no preparation, and are subtle enough to keep students from getting overly excited or distracted. What do these examples have in common? They pull students out of their daily habits. We are disorienting them slightly in order to give them a new perspective and keep them alert. 3. Give Students the Power As teachers our best source of inspiration is our students themselves. It’s okay to ask them for their ideas and opinions when designing a curriculum. Students are used to being told what to do and just going with the flow. Pull them back out of passive mode by giving them the power. Let them have a stake in the class by helping plan the curriculum for the next day or week. Here are some ways to do so: Let students choose. Describe two assignments then ask something like “Sarah, which exercise would you like to do first?” Giving them the chance to choose will instantly wake them back up. Involve students in scheduling. Present interchangeable topics that you plan to teach the following week. Write the days of the week on the board then ask students which topics they’d like to learn on which day. Have them explain their logic. Write the topics down next to the corresponding day and ta-da, you have a student-made schedule. Regularly ask for feedback. Ask students if they have a favorite language exercise or assignment. If so, then conduct it more frequently. Oftentimes what they want and what they need are the same thing. They’ll be the first to know if they’re losing interest or not understanding something. Creativity is generally linked to poetry or painting, but it can be much subtler. Just by giving students the agency to freely design their own schedule, you have encouraged them to use their creative muscles. Thank them for their help afterwards and it’s a triple whammy: You’ve engaged them, praised them and made them more invested in the week ahead. They planned it after all. 4. Relax the Rules Imagine a class of students who are all at the same level and who are all equally proactive. It’s hard to envision, right? As far as I know, it doesn’t exist. There are generally a few students who lead the way and the rest follow suit. Yup, creativity can also help solve this challenge. Deemphasizing the rules levels the playing field because exercises become more dependent on interpretation and individual experience. Try distributing the power with these activities: Vary the assignment by group. Split the class up and give each group or pair a slightly different set of rules for the “same” assignment. For example, have them create their own advertisements but give each group a different product to sell or audience to focus on. Groups will not be able to depend on the examples they see around them. They will be forced to look to their own understanding and creativity. Leave room for interpretation. The following week, split the class up again. Students will remember your tricky directions from last week so they’ll be ready for the twist. Don’t give it to them directly. Go around and explain the assignment to each group, giving them all the same directions. For example: Pick an object in the room and write a 300-word excerpt based on it. Notice how these directions are purposefully vague and limited, allowing for the students to fill in the blanks themselves. Each group will finish with something slightly different, maybe a poem about fellow students or a story about their new shoes. Invoke the senses. Association exercises are great for encouraging personal creativity. Play a sound to the class. It could be nature sounds, city sounds or something else, which can all be found on YouTube. Ask students to explain what they feel when they hear it, or to write a story to accompany the sounds. Another exercise involves students choosing a smell, noise or feeling that brings back a strong memory for them. They can write about it and then share it. All of these assignments encourage creativity by preventing students from becoming followers or looking to one another for assistance. It requires them to interpret instructions for themselves, trust their own perceptions or draw on personal experience. This is creativity in itself. 5. Embrace the Arts Perhaps the most straightforward form of creativity is art, which can include stories, plays, music, poems, mime and dance. These activities diversify coursework, require extremely proactive participation and establish a positive classroom environment. Art is cathartic, letting students express themselves in a safe environment while having fun and learning. Here are some artistic exercises that do just that: React to abstract art. Have students react to abstract art, like Picasso, or poems. Ask open-ended questions like, “What do you see here?, ” “What is happening?” and “What do you think is going to happen next?” Encourage them to use the present progressive. As students will interpret the art differently, you can use the ensuing class discussion to teach or revisit a lesson on politely disagreeing. Write a poem. Show students a photograph or painting. Ask them to write a short poem to accompany the artwork. Describe music. Play a song to the class. Try an instrumental movie theme, like “Jurassic Park, ” “Star Wars” or “Hook” (I’m clearly a John Williams fan). Teach vocabulary by asking students to identify what instruments they hear. Make a list on the board. You can also ask, “What instruments make this song sound sorrowful or upbeat?, ” “What is your favorite part and why?, ” “How does the song make you feel?” and “What do you associate with it?” Remind students that there is no right or wrong. Through engaging with the pieces, they’re learning new vocabulary and learning how to express or defend their opinions. Art has a visceral effect on students that you will be able to observe. They will be more lively and talkative. For this reason, it’s nice to save this assignment for after lunch or the end of the day when their energy starts to fade. Because it is thought-provoking and emotional, artwork inspires further creativity. It will make students forget that they’re learning a language, but will encourage them to use the language so that they can engage with the art. Enjoy stimulating your class’s creative side and putting these five tricks to work. Chances are your students will remember them for a long time to come, meaning that they’ll also remember the vocabulary and grammar that went along with it. Once the creative juices start flowing, they will find their way into the rest of your curriculum, resulting in a more engaged, positive and effective class.
IELTS IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. IELTS is required for entry to university in the UK and other countries. Who is it for? IELTS is recognised by universities and employers in many countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It is also recognised by professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies. More than 2 million people a year take the test. What is the IELTS test like? You can choose between the Academic or General Training versions of the test. All candidates do the same Listening and Speaking sections. The test has four sections: Listening - 4 sections, 40 questions, 30 minutes Speaking - interview, 15 minutes Reading - different for Academic or General Training - 3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes Writing - different for Academic or General Training - 2 pieces of writing, 60 minutes This site also contains vocabulary tests, including practice tests for the academic wordlist, as well as grammar tests that are relevant to IELTS. Level and scores Multi-level. You get a score between 1 and 9. Half scores such as 6.5 are possible. Universities often demand an IELTS score of 6 or 7. They may also demand a minimum score in each of the 4 sections. Please click here to see an explanation of IELTS Band Scores. You can use the IELTS Band Score Calculator on this site to convert your reading and listening raw scores. Click here to see a comparison of IELTS scores with other exams. Click here to see our IELTS Exam Tips and IELTS articles. Where do I take the test? IELTS tests are administered at accredited Test Centres throughout the world - there are currently more than 500 Centres, in over 120 countries. Click here to find a test centre. When can I take the test? Arrange with your closest test centre. There are frequent dates, usually on Thursdays or Saturdays. How much does it cost to take IELTS? Fees are set by test centres and vary from country to country. Expect to pay around £160 GBP, €210 Euros or $230 USD. What materials do I need? You can download practice tests in pdf format from our partners at IELTS-Practice-Tests.com
speak English fluently Take these 10 tips on how to learn English faster as your starting point and you’ll master this wonderful language in no time! 1. Read everything you can get your hands on Classic literature, paperbacks, newspapers, websites, emails, your social media feed, cereal boxes: if it’s in English, read it. Why? Well, this content will be full of juicy new vocabulary, as well as a fair amount you already know. This helps you improve quickly, as re-exposure to learned vocabulary gives you new examples in context, therefore reinforcing those words in your mind. On the other hand, learning new words and expressions is essential to building your vocabulary arsenal, particularly in a language like English with so many words! However, don’t just read and move on – next, you’ve got to… 2. Actively take note of new vocabulary This tip is a classic one for good reason: it works! When learning, we often enjoy a new word of phrase so much that forgetting it seems impossible. But trust us, not everything sticks the first time. To fight this, get into the habit of carrying around a funky notebook or using a tool like Evernote. Whenever you hear or read a new word or expression, write it down in context: that is, in a sentence and with its meaning noted. This saves you time as you won’t return to that word and ask yourself: “What did that word/expression mean again?” 3. Talk with real live humans What is a language for if not to communicate? Sure, we humans have become experts at communicating without opening our mouths – thanks Whatsapp! – but when push comes to shove, it’s true that speaking a language helps it stick in your head far better than only reading or writing it. Just think of how many times you’ve heard people say that they “understand, but can’t speak English.” A lot of would-be English speakers have turned talking into a huge insurmountable barrier that only serves to psyche them out. Don’t be like that. Seek out native speakers for an informal language exchange, enroll in a course, or take classes online. 4. Subscribe to podcasts or Youtube channels (in English) Like humor? Politics? Blogging? Cooking? With topics covering every interest imaginable, there’s an English-speaking podcast or Youtube channel out there for you. Subscribe to a few and listen while driving or watch during the commute to school or work. At first, you might find the native accents difficult, but stick with it and you’ll soon start to understand what you hear (as well as learning lots of new vocab from a native speaker!) 5. Go abroad If there’s a better way to learn English than being immersed in it while living and studying in an English-speaking country, we’d love to know! It’s no secret that English is the most widely-spoken language in the world, and with a long list of countries to choose between, you can select your ideal learning environment based on hemisphere, weather, or favorite city. Think Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, Canada, and South Africa to name a few! 6. Use your friends Have friends who post online in English? Don’t gloss over them in your newsfeed: scan the items they share and commit to exploring one or two each day. They might be news or magazine articles, videos, talks, blog posts, songs, or anything else: if it’s in English and the topic interests you, it’s going to be helpful! 7. Ask a lot of questions Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also propelled the language learner to fluency! As you learn English, you’ll soon collect a mountain of questions. Don’t sit on your doubts – be curious and resolve them! If you’re enrolled in a course, ask your teacher (it’s what they’re there for, after all). But if you’re learning alone, don’t worry: find answers in blogs or language websites, ask other learners, or read through forums. You’ll be happy you did! 8. Take a lead from the stars Mix up your learning by picking a native English-speaking actor or singer you like. Now, head online, find a bunch of interviews they’ve given – and watch them! Watch once for gist, then again, taking time to note down interesting expressions and words you hear. The slang, stories, humor, and anecdotes that come out of these interview are sure to give you plenty to work with! 9. Start with what you really need Your English studies are likely to go far more quickly if you constantly remind yourself of your motives for learning. Are you going on a study exchange? Then, focus on vocabulary related to your studies. Have an overseas conference? Brush up on conversation starters to use with the other participants. Going on a gap year? Looks like travel and tourism vocabulary will be your guide. If you simply launch into learning English hoping to magically learn anything and everything at once, you’re likely to end up confused and burned out. Which brings us to… 10. Don’t kick yourself while you’re down When you start to feel like you’re not making ground – which happens to all learners at some point – don’t say, “I don’t speak English, ” or “I’ll never get this.” In fact, ban those phrases from your vocabulary! They only blur your understanding of the progress you’re making and convince you that your dreams of speaking English well are impossible. Instead, say “I’m learning English and making improvements everyday, ” “It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it, ” “I’m so much better that I was six months ago, ” and other phrases to remind yourself of the big picture.
The English language is always evolving, and over time we sometimes collectively change the meaning of a word. Whether this change is the result of a common usage error or has been deemed acceptable by official dictionary writers, it's often surprising to learn the real — or at least the original — meaning of some words. So are you sure you're using that word correctly? Here are 10 words that might not mean what you think they mean. 1. Bemused If you think this word means the same thing as a word it rhymes with, you're absolutely right. Unfortunately, most people choose the wrong rhyme. "Bemused" doesn't mean "amused, " though it's often used that way by mistake. It actually means "confused." If you have a bemused expression on your face right now, it's because this new information is blowing your mind — not because you think it's hilarious. 2. Decimate You're probably not totally wrong about what "decimate" means, but the error with this word is a matter of degrees. It does mean to destroy or eliminate something — but not completely. As the prefix "deci-" suggests, it actually means to reduce something by only one tenth. So if your retirement portfolio was decimated by the Great Recession, you actually got off easy, by only losing 10 percent of your money. 3. Disinterested Ever heard someone say, "I'm not going to watch the Super Bowl. I'm totally disinterested"? They probably mean they don't like football, but what they're actually saying is totally different. "Uninterested" is the word that means you find something boring. "Disinterested, " however, means you don't have any stake in the outcome because you're not invested in something. Now if your friend meant they weren't betting on the Super Bowl, "disinterested" would be correct. Unfortunately, most people aren't aware of the distinction. 4. Electrocute Ever accidentally stick your finger in an electrical outlet and get electrocuted? If that were true, you'd be dead and buried. "Electrocute" means to kill someone with an electric shock (think "execute" to help you remember). If you get a nasty shock from a malfunctioning appliance, you may be a little shocked, but you haven't been electrocuted. 5. Factoid "Factoid" is a relatively new word in English. It was coined by author Norman Mailer in 1973, and he meant it to refer to tidbits of information that everyone thinks are true, but actually aren't. According to this original use, "factoids" aren't facts at all, but rather fake news that people believe just because they've seen it written somewhere — tabloids in the '70s, Twitter today. The irony is that today people use factoid to mean a fun trivia fact — pretty much the opposite of what Mailer intended. 6. Ironic Isn't it ironic that people use this word incorrectly all the time? Nope. It's just funny. A lot of people — looking at you, Alanis Morrisette — use "ironic" to mean an interesting coincidence or just something that strikes you as sort of silly. It really means something totally unexpected — a twist you didn’t see coming. It can also refer to saying something unexpected, like a sarcastic "good job" when a waitress drops a tray of glasses. That's probably where the confusion began, since most people find sarcasm kind of funny. 7. Lied If you think "lied" has two meanings, you're in for a surprise. This is the past tense of only one word, not two, so you could be using it correctly only half the time. If you lied to your mother yesterday, you're not a good person, but you used the word correctly. "Lied" means to have told an untruth in the past. It is not the past tense of "to lie down" — that would be "lay." Lots of people get these conjugations confused, but you should say "I lay down after work yesterday because I was so tired." 8. Literally It may be tempting to blame this one on Rob Lowe's performance on Parks and Rec, but the reality is that his Chris Traeger character was poking fun at the many people who are confused by the word "literally." "Literally" means something that's real, true or exact. Most people use this word to mean the opposite, though, saying things like "My head literally exploded." If that were true, you'd have a real mess on your hands! This type of usage has become so common that dictionary bigwigs have added the figurative use of "literally" as a correct usage. Go figure. 9. Luxuriant "Luxuriant" sounds like "luxurious, " but it's not quite the same. "Luxuriant" means “abundant, " and not necessarily something expensive. You can have a luxuriant lawn that's lush with green grass, but it probably won't feel luxurious if you're the one in charge of all the mowing, fertilizing and weeding. 10. Penultimate The word "penultimate" means second to last, usually on a list of items. That's because "ultimate" means the last item, not necessarily the best one. Over time, however, people started to use "ultimate" to mean the best or most exciting thing around. While that shift became so common that it's now accepted, it also means that people began to use "penultimate" to mean extra-awesome — which isn't correct at all. The prefix "pen-" means "almost, " so using "penultimate" to mean "really great" doesn't even make sense. Alas, the road to changing definitions never did run smooth. Words of Wisdom So, did any of these definitions "literally" blow your mind? Since English is the language that probably has more words than any other, there's a lot to keep track of — so you're excused if you get three or four or even 10 of those words mixed up once in a while. Now that you know the difference, you can make sure that your speech and writing are truly top-notch.
LEARN ENGLISH IN THESE POWERFUL WAYS Learn Naturally and Playfully Like a Child Never Study Grammar Rules Learn With Your Ears, Not Your Eyes Learn Spoken Grammar With Fun Stories Learn Actively By Answering Simple Questions Emotional Lessons That are Memorable
effective communication Learn to Listen Listening is not the same as hearing; learn to listen not only to the words being spoken but how they are being spoken and the non-verbal messages sent with them. Use the techniques of clarification and reflection to confirm what the other person has said and avoid any confusion. Try not to think about what to say next whilst listening; instead clear your mind and focus on the message being received. Your friends, colleagues and other acquaintances will appreciate good listening skills. Be Aware of Other People's Emotions Be sympathetic to other people's misfortunes and congratulate their positive landmarks. To do this you need to be aware of what is going on in other people’s lives. Make and maintain eye contact and use first names where appropriate. Do not be afraid to ask others for their opinions as this will help to make them feel valued. Consider the emotional effect of what you are saying and communicate within the norms of behaviour acceptable to the other person. Take steps to become more charismatic. See our page: Emotional Intelligence for more information. Empathise Empathy is trying to see things from the point-of-view of others. When communicating with others, try not to be judgemental or biased by preconceived ideas or beliefs - instead view situations and responses from the other person’s perspective. Stay in tune with your own emotions to help enable you to understand the emotions of others. If appropriate, offer your personal viewpoint clearly and honestly to avoid confusion. Bear in mind that some subjects might be taboo or too emotionally stressful for others to discuss. Encourage Offer words and actions of encouragement, as well as praise, to others. Make other people feel welcome, wanted, valued and appreciated in your communications. If you let others know that they are valued, they are much more likely to give you their best. Try to ensure that everyone involved in an interaction or communication is included through effective body language and the use of open questions.
Basic English Vocabulary 1. In order to Usage: “In order to” can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument. Example: “In order to understand X, we need first to understand Y.” 2. In other words Usage: Use “in other words” when you want to express something in a different way (more simply), to make it easier to understand, or to emphasise or expand on a point. Example: “Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they live on the land and in the water.” 3. To put it another way Usage: This phrase is another way of saying “in other words”, and can be used in particularly complex points, when you feel that an alternative way of wording a problem may help the reader achieve a better understanding of its significance. Example: “Plants rely on photosynthesis. To put it another way, they will die without the sun.” 4. That is to say Usage: “That is” and “that is to say” can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise. Example: “Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.” 5. To that end Usage: Use “to that end” or “to this end” in a similar way to “in order to” or “so”. Example: “Zoologists have long sought to understand how animals communicate with each other. To that end, a new study has been launched that looks at elephant sounds and their possible meanings.” Image shows a woman writing by a tree.Adding additional information to support a point Students often make the mistake of using synonyms of “and” each time they want to add further information in support of a point they’re making, or to build an argument. Here are some cleverer ways of doing this. 6. Moreover Usage: Employ “moreover” at the start of a sentence to add extra information in support of a point you’re making. Example: “Moreover, the results of a recent piece of research provide compelling evidence in support of…” 7. Furthermore Usage:This is also generally used at the start of a sentence, to add extra information. Example: “Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that…” 8. What’s more Usage: This is used in the same way as “moreover” and “furthermore”. Example: “What’s more, this isn’t the only evidence that supports this hypothesis.” 9. Likewise Usage: Use “likewise” when you want to talk about something that agrees with what you’ve just mentioned. Example: “Scholar A believes X. Likewise, Scholar B argues compellingly in favour of this point of view.” 10. Similarly Usage: Use “similarly” in the same way as “likewise”. Example: “Audiences at the time reacted with shock to Beethoven’s new work, because it was very different to what they were used to. Similarly, we have a tendency to react with surprise to the unfamiliar.” 11. Another key thing to remember Usage: Use the phrase “another key point to remember” or “another key fact to remember” to introduce additional facts without using the word “also”. Example: “As a Romantic, Blake was a proponent of a closer relationship between humans and nature. Another key point to remember is that Blake was writing during the Industrial Revolution, which had a major impact on the world around him.” 12. As well as Usage: Use “as well as” instead of “also” or “and”. Example: “Scholar A argued that this was due to X, as well as Y.” 13. Not only… but also Usage: This wording is used to add an extra piece of information, often something that’s in some way more surprising or unexpected than the first piece of information. Example: “Not only did Edmund Hillary have the honour of being the first to reach the summit of Everest, but he was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.” 14. Coupled with Usage: Used when considering two or more arguments at a time. Example: “Coupled with the literary evidence, the statistics paint a compelling view of…” 15. Firstly, secondly, thirdly… Usage: This can be used to structure an argument, presenting facts clearly one after the other. Example: “There are many points in support of this view. Firstly, X. Secondly, Y. And thirdly, Z. 16. Not to mention/to say nothing of Usage: “Not to mention” and “to say nothing of” can be used to add extra information with a bit of emphasis. Example: “The war caused unprecedented suffering to millions of people, not to mention its impact on the country’s economy.” Image shows a pen resting on a notebook.Words and phrases for demonstrating contrast When you’re developing an argument, you will often need to present contrasting or opposing opinions or evidence – “it could show this, but it could also show this”, or “X says this, but Y disagrees”. This section covers words you can use instead of the “but” in these examples, to make your writing sound more intelligent and interesting. 17. However Usage: Use “however” to introduce a point that disagrees with what you’ve just said. Example: “Scholar A thinks this. However, Scholar B reached a different conclusion.” 18. On the other hand Usage: Usage of this phrase includes introducing a contrasting interpretation of the same piece of evidence, a different piece of evidence that suggests something else, or an opposing opinion. Example: “The historical evidence appears to suggest a clear-cut situation. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence presents a somewhat less straightforward picture of what happened that day.” 19. Having said that Usage: Used in a similar manner to “on the other hand” or “but”. Example: “The historians are unanimous in telling us X, an agreement that suggests that this version of events must be an accurate account. Having said that, the archaeology tells a different story.” 20. By contrast/in comparison Usage: Use “by contrast” or “in comparison” when you’re comparing and contrasting pieces of evidence. Example: “Scholar A’s opinion, then, is based on insufficient evidence. By contrast, Scholar B’s opinion seems more plausible.” 21. Then again Usage: Use this to cast doubt on an assertion. Example: “Writer A asserts that this was the reason for what happened. Then again, it’s possible that he was being paid to say this.” 22. That said Usage: This is used in the same way as “then again”. Example: “The evidence ostensibly appears to point to this conclusion. That said, much of the evidence is unreliable at best.” 23. Yet Usage: Use this when you want to introduce a contrasting idea. Example: “Much of scholarship has focused on this evidence. Yet not everyone agrees that this is the most important aspect of the situation.” Image shows a black fountain pen with a flower next to it.Adding a proviso or acknowledging reservations Sometimes, you may need to acknowledge a shortfalling in a piece of evidence, or add a proviso. Here are some ways of doing so. 24. Despite this Usage: Use “despite this” or “in spite of this” when you want to outline a point that stands regardless of a shortfalling in the evidence. Example: “The sample size was small, but the results were important despite this.” 25. With this in mind Usage: Use this when you want your reader to consider a point in the knowledge of something else. Example: “We’ve seen that the methods used in the 19th century study did not always live up to the rigorous standards expected in scientific research today, which makes it difficult to draw definite conclusions. With this in mind, let’s look at a more recent study to see how the results compare.” 26. Provided that Usage: This means “on condition that”. You can also say “providing that” or just “providing” to mean the same thing. Example: “We may use this as evidence to support our argument, provided that we bear in mind the limitations of the methods used to obtain it.” 27. In view of/in light of Usage: These phrases are used when something has shed light on something else. Example: “In light of the evidence from the 2013 study, we have a better understanding of…” 28. Nonetheless Usage: This is similar to “despite this”. Example: “The study had its limitations, but it was nonetheless groundbreaking for its day.” 29. Nevertheless Usage: This is the same as “nonetheless”. Example: “The study was flawed, but it was important nevertheless.” 30. Notwithstanding Usage: This is another way of saying “nonetheless”. Example: “Notwithstanding the limitations of the methodology used, it was an important study in the development of how we view the workings of the human mind.” Image shows a young woman sitting in a window writing and chewing the top of her pen. Giving examples Good essays always back up points with examples, but it’s going to get boring if you use the expression “for example” every time. Here are a couple of other ways of saying the same thing. 31. For instance Example: “Some birds migrate to avoid harsher winter climates. Swallows, for instance, leave the UK in early winter and fly south…” 32. To give an illustration Example: “To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s look at the case of…” Image shows a red notebook.Signifying importance When you want to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, there are several ways of highlighting it as such. 33. Significantly Usage: Used to introduce a point that is loaded with meaning that might not be immediately apparent. Example: “Significantly, Tacitus omits to tell us the kind of gossip prevalent in Suetonius’ accounts of the same period.” 34. Notably Usage: This can be used to mean “significantly” (as above), and it can also be used interchangeably with “in particular” (the example below demonstrates the first of these ways of using it). Example: “Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.” 35. Importantly Usage: Use “importantly” interchangeably with “significantly”. Example: “Importantly, Scholar A was being employed by X when he wrote this work, and was presumably therefore under pressure to portray the situation more favourably than he perhaps might otherwise have done.” Image shows a blue fountain pen.Summarising You’ve almost made it to the end of the essay, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to end by wrapping up everything you’ve talked about, showing that you’ve considered the arguments on both sides and reached the most likely conclusion. Here are some words and phrases to help you. 36. In conclusion Usage: Typically used to introduce the concluding paragraph or sentence of an essay, summarising what you’ve discussed in a broad overview. Example: “In conclusion, the evidence points almost exclusively to Argument A.” 37. Above all Usage: Used to signify what you believe to be the most significant point, and the main takeaway from the essay. Example: “Above all, it seems pertinent to remember that…” 38. Persuasive Usage: This is a useful word to use when summarising which argument you find most convincing. Example: “Scholar A’s point – that Constanze Mozart was motivated by financial gain – seems to me to be the most persuasive argument for her actions following Mozart’s death.” 39. Compelling Usage: Use in the same way as “persuasive” above. Example: “The most compelling argument is presented by Scholar A.” 40. All things considered Usage: This means “taking everything into account”. Example: “All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that…”
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