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5 Ways for a Winning Debate

“The power of real debate is in the language and intellectual honesty of the debaters, alongside the engagement of spectators” – Ruzwana Bashir

 

Winning Debate

 

A winning debate is judged on the basis of various parameters but one thing that contributes in making it a big hit is the manner in which you exhibit your communication skills. In simpler words, good communication skills constitute the heart and soul of a great debate.

Here are 5 ways for a winning debate:

Content = Contentment

To excel in presentations and debates, you need to depend heavily on the content. If you have valid arguments and formulations in mind, you can make a great impression on the audience that might want to hear more.

 

Stick to the point

Even the best of draft and good points in a debate/ presentation won’t really count much if the delivery is not good. Good communication skills is a must to leave an impact on the listener/ audience. At the same time, you also should know how to skim and skip certain parts and in order to avoid sounding repetitive and boring; you should be able to stick to the main arguments.

 

Let the audience participate

This is mostly true in the case of presentations. You need to encourage the audience to participate and thus the choice should be for an extremely interactive session. Keep asking questions and involving them throughout.

 

Grammar is crucial

While it’s true that all the above mentioned points must be taken into consideration, one thing that you should never forget to pay your dues to, is Grammar. You may have some valid points to make and may also succeed in catching the attention of the audience but then what about your language? It’s always advisable to practice and revise once if possible, keeping Grammar in mind.

 

Intonation and Pronunciation is the key

Sounding good is more than essential when it comes to presentations and debates. Be careful with the intonation, the pronunciation and most importantly with the tone and pitch. Make sure that you are not too loud or inaudible. Also, lay emphasis on words that are important, voice modulation makes a huge difference in not letting things get too monotonous.

 

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

 

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Simple Approach To Improve Vocabulary

“A man with a scant vocabulary will almost certainly be a weak thinker”

– Henry Hazlitt

 

Improve Vocabulary

 

Words play a vital role in communication. When it comes to the choice of words in a sentence it isn’t easy to be perfect all the time. Most of the English language learners complain that they fall short of words when they speak, whereas, some people even say that it is a challenge for them to remember or recall the words when they are in a conversation. But majority of the learners confront problems related to building a bank of words. Thus, it’s pertinent to only only learn and improve vocabulary, but also to retain the words long enough to use it in conversations.

Well, now imagine, how you would feel if you had a magical potion that would solve all the vocabulary problems?

We always give ideas or suggestions to language learners to build the word power. And, Yes! The most popular ideas suggested to the learners are reading a newspaper, magazine or a book.

Understand, not everyone in this world likes caffeine. Some people are addicted to water too. Let us keep it simple. Reading doesn’t work for all. So we need another method that works for all.

 

The Approach

Vocabulary can be built with a simple approach and that is ‘Knowledge”. Knowledge of words is important for its use. With knowledge of word, I do not mean to look up for the word in the dictionary.

Knowledge of the word includes three things:

  • Know the part of speech of the given word
  • Know the meaning of the word
  • Know if there are any synonyms of the word

 

It is definitely easy for people to use adjectives over nouns. In an English class, students were asked to pick a word and frame a sentence. Guess what were the words? The words were, ‘angry’ and ‘anger’.Majority of the students chose angry to form the sentence. Why did they choose angry? Not because they didn’t know the meaning of “Anger”. It was because it is an adjective and is easy to use whereas anger is a noun and learners found it difficult to place it in a sentence.

 

How can English language learners build and improve vocabulary?

Knowledge of the word. Get to know the part of speech of the word before its meaning. “Knowledge is power.”

Be realistic. Use the word in situations that are realistic.

To make sure that you remember all the words, it is important to use the word daily at least three times in three different sentences. But try to be as real as you can.

Reading is a great way to build your vocabulary. However, pick up books or genres that interest you. Picking up books based on popularity and likes of other people may not help much.

Look for synonyms. It is just another way to increase your knowledge and build a power bank.

 

Remember, you are gaining knowledge about words and not just simply building your vocabulary. Knowledge comes with experience and time. Be patient and keep absorbing!

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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5 Proven Ways to Improve English Speaking Skills

“Learning is not a spectator sport. – D. Blocher”

If you want to master English, get involved and practice as much as possible.

 

Proven tips to improve English Speaking

 

So you’ve been learning English as your second language, maybe you’ve taken a few courses at an English Language School, maybe you’re learning English all by yourself or you took English as a second language many years ago and you’re worried that your spoken English has gotten rusty. Wherever you are on your learning journey, speaking confidently and clearly is very important in showing off what you know!

 

Here are 5 Proven Ways to Improve English Speaking Skills:

 

Practice what you know

 

There are two way to do this. First, you can practice what you know already. You may have picked up some useful phrases already through English courses you’ve attended, or possibly phrases you’ve found in books or on social media. Next, try and match some of your favorite English phrases against the situations you might find yourself in.

Listen and note things down to look up later

 

If you are a little on the quiet side and prefer to wait and watch a bit, the best thing you can be doing is to listen to the world around you. Observe new words and phrases while watching TV , YouTube or Music ( English, of course). Jot down the words and phrases you hear in your phone or notebook to learn them. This practice will teach you pronunciation, new words and the ability to recognize different accents.

Use the Internet as part of your strategy

 

The Internet is a great help for everything these days! As a third piece of advice we’d say “Use it, but use it in a proper way to connect with people who are good at English and could also be interested in learning your mother tongue from you. This way both of you would benefit.” Of course, this works especially well if you’re not in an English-speaking place.

Find a buddy

 

Don’t be a loner now. Making new friends is a fantastic way to improve your speaking. The best thing to do is team up with other people who are also trying to learn English.

Learn phrases, not words

 

The better idea is to learn word phrases, not just words. You might be using correct grammar and vocabulary, but it’s still not how a native speaker would say it. For example, you can say “how do you feel today?” but a native speaker might say “how’re you doing?” or “what’s up?” instead. Phrases and expressions can be helpful for sounding more natural when you speak.

 

Don’t wait- improve your English speaking skills kickstart your English learning journey today!

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How to be a Good Listener

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say”

-Bryant H. McGill

 

How to be an effective listener

 

There are many guidelines that will help you to become a more effective listener.

• Find an area of interest

Listen with a purpose. Be interested. Try to organize what you hear.

• Judge content, not delivery

Do not stop listening just because the speaker does not meet your expectations. Listen to the words & look for the message.

• Hold your fire

Do not get over-stimulated by the message. Do not react until the message is complete. Keep your emotions in check. Do not interrupt because you believe that what you have to say is more important or more correct. There will be time for you to respond later. The speaker may surprise you and wind up saying what you want to say.

• Listen to ideas

Focus on the person’s central ideas. Do not get bogged down by the unnecessary details. Try to listen at a higher level. Listen for new knowledge or concepts.

• Be flexible

Vary the ways in which you attempt to remember the information. Concentrate on finding the best way to retain the information.

• Work at listening

Establish and maintain eye contact. Acknowledge understanding. Stay tuned-in.

• Resist distractions

Concentrate on the speaker. Tune out other things that may be going on. Turn off the things you can control, like the TV or the radio. Try not to do several things at the same time.

• Exercise your mind

Challenge yourself to listen very attentively. Try it for a short time and then make it longer and longer. See if you can listen to an entire presentation without losing concentration.

• Keep your mind open

Communication efficiency drops to zero when we hear certain trigger words, such as Communist, Democrat, or Republican. Everyone has words that evoke an emotional response. Effective listeners are aware of keeping their convictions and emotions in check.

• Capitalize on thought speed

Most of us talk at the rate of 120 words a minute. Our thinking speed is about 500 words a minute. That gives us a lot of spare time while a person is speaking to us. Poor listeners let their minds wander.

 

LOOK at the person who is talking.

LISTEN and don’t interrupt.

ASK questions to find out more.

NOD, or say something to show you understand.

REPEAT what you heard in your own words.

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter

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Collective Nouns (final)(

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns are names for a collection or a number of people or things. Words like group, regiment, and furniture are collective noun examples.

Using collective nouns in sentences can be confusing because at times it’s difficult to differentiate whether to use plural or singular verbs and pronouns.  For using verbs and pronouns correctly, identifying whether the collective noun refers to a group or unit working as individuals or in unison is important.

  • The class waited [singular verb] for its [singular pronoun] teacher silently.

(The class is acting as a single unit here. The students are all doing the same thing at the

        same time.)

  • The class began [plural verb] their [plural pronoun] classwork while they [plural pronoun] waited [plural verb] for their [plural pronoun] teacher.

(The students are a unit, but are acting as individuals — they each doing their own homework assignments.)

 Some examples of Collective Nouns are given below:

  1. an army of soldiers
  2. a bevy of beauties
  3. a band of musicians
  4. a band of robbers
  5. a board of directors
  6. a body of men
  7. a bunch of crooks
  8. a caravan of gypsies
  9. a choir of singers
  10. a class of pupils
  11. a class of students
  12. a gang of thieves
  13. a horde of savages
  14. a host of angels
  15. a line of kings/rulers
  16. a mob of rioters
  17. a group of dancers
  18. a group of singers
  19. a pack of rascals
  20. a pack of thieves
  21. a party of friends
  22. a patrol of policemen
  23. a company of actors
  24. a congregation of worshippers
  25. a crew of sailors
  26. a crowd of spectators
  27. a crowd of people
  28. a dynasty of kings
  29. a galaxy of beautiful women
  30. a galaxy of film stars
  31. a gang of crooks
  32. a gang of labourers
  33. a gang of prisoners
  34. a gang of robbers
  35. a posse of policemen
  36. a staff of employees
  37. a staff of servants
  38. a staff of teachers
  39. a team of players
  40. a tribe of natives
  41. a troop of scouts
  42. a troop of artistes
  43. a troupe of dancers
  44. a troupe of performers
  45. a party of friends

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How to Master Workplace Communication

The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things.  Information is giving out; communication is getting through. – Sydney J. Harris

Workplace Conversation

 

“Sensitize & Strategize – Navigating your way through workplace conversation”

 

Have you ever had one of those moments at work when a colleague says something that is in poor taste? It’s easy to spot a moment like that. It’s usually followed by ingratiating laughter or in some cases, just awkward silence.

Surely most of us have been at one end of this conversation at some point or another.

Workplace conversation can be a tricky act to master. Let’s think about it – you spend an average of 8 hours (or more) in a closed space with the same people, day in and day out. It’s like having a family. You don’t get to choose your colleagues and you’re expected to get along with everyone. Some of these colleagues might even be your friends and they often are. But your workplace doesn’t afford you one luxury that your family does – the luxury of saying anything and everything.

 

Being friendly with colleagues often leads to friendly conversations. And sometimes people might say things that are disrespectful to another. There are several areas that are neither black nor white and these are the grey areas which are the knottiest. This is why we should steer clear of certain precarious topics

 

Here goes, workplace communication strategy:

 

Religion

 

An area where conflict might arise is religion and religious practices. The rule of thumb is to always be respectful. An important thing to remember is to never make unfounded statements about another religion. Religion is a highly sensitive topic and must be handled with extreme caution.

Relationships

 

We sometimes get a bit antsy when people start to go beyond polite relationship talk. People often talk about who they’re going out with or getting engaged to or married to. There’s nothing wrong with that between friends. But when people cross the genial talk line and end up on the other side, it can be intrusive. It’s getting increasingly complicated to discuss relationships in workplaces because relationships are complicated. It’s easier to stay away from getting too personal with colleagues about their relationship status, their hook-ups and break-ups.

Politics

 

You must bear in mind that politics and political views are often the only ingredients you need to start a fight. Discussing politics is understandably a great conversation starter, but it needs dexterous handling.

 

There is such a thing as being too friendly- often, people use their friendly status with someone to say things that clearly don’t belong in the workplace. Commenting on someone’s looks, favorably or otherwise is a no-no. Sometimes we hear comments like ‘You look hot’ or “You should lose some weight’ casually flying about. If it’s the former, it can be tougher to respond to. No one dislikes a compliment. But compliments, in many instances can be a mask for inappropriate comments.

 

Workplace conversation is a ground that must be tread upon carefully. Be aware, note and report any red flags. A safe work environment is one where respect is the definitive sentiment.

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter

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How to Prepare and Deliver a Speech Effectively

“The wise ones fashioned speech with their thought, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve”- Buddha

 

How to deliver a speech effectively

 

 

1.       Focus on the Main Message

If you’ve been asked to give a speech, the first step is to choose a focused message. Even if you’ve been given a theme for your speech such as “inspiration” or “strength,” this is more a general umbrella under which your specific points (and point of view) will fall. Make a short list of five ideas for your speech. It can be helpful to write them in command form. “Strength” a brainstorm of five speech messages could include: “don’t ever give up, “overcome failure,” “build physical strength” and “know your strengths.” If you feel stuck for ideas, a reference to your current political or social context can bring new insight to your theme.

2.       Build Three Supporting Points

By focusing on your central message with supporting evidence, you strengthen it. A stronger message will resonate more with your listeners. To come up with supporting points, ask yourself “why” about the speech message you’ve selected. For example, for “don’t ever give up,” you’d ask, “Why should you never give up?” Make a list of several possible supporting ideas. Read through your finished list, and at the end, cross off the weaker ones that don’t support your main point.

3.       Keep your Audience in Mind

After looking into the central message and supporting points for your speech, you can flesh out the rest by considering your audience. Knowing who your audience are and what they are expecting from this encounter can help you pick the right tone to optimal effect.

4.       Be a Tactful Speaker

Some speakers choose to generalize complex topics in a speech because they think it’s easier for the audience to understand. It’s actually better to do the opposite. Listeners tend to connect better with concrete examples and personal stories, so embrace detail in your speech. A personal anecdote about why one shouldn’t give up is more effective than just saying not to. Areas where your passion and knowledge overlap are generally the richest. If appropriate to the context, don’t be afraid to tell a joke about the topic. A little self-deprecating humor goes down well with the crowd, one can always give it a shot.

5.       Brevity Is The Soul Of The Wit

Some of the most effective speeches of all times have been brief. “The Gettysburg Address” was only 15 minutes, while “I Have a Dream” was for 17 minutes. Aim for brevity. A good formula is to speak for less time than you’ve been asked to, as people tend to overestimate the attention span of their audience.

6.       Feedback is Important

As the speech has to be delivered to an audience, it is important to get feedback from theoretical listeners. Read your speech to someone you trust and ask for some honest feedback. In particular, it can be helpful to ask if anything is confusing or unclear. Your speech will have more impact if the message is engaging.

7.       Eye Contact is Important

During your speech, look at your audience while you are speaking.  Put the content of your speech, either fully written out or in bullet points, so you are not staring straight down at a piece of paper while you speak. Engaging your audience visually makes you appear secure and confident.

8.       Use Appropriate Gestures

A well-placed gesture can add humor or aid greater understanding of your speech. For optimal effectiveness, punctuate your speech with gestures when appropriate. If you’re a very nervous public speaker, try just resting your hands against the podium. It will make you feel steadier.

9.       Walk When Required

If your speech is informal, walking from one side of the stage to the other can help engage people sitting in different parts. It will draw your audience in and enhance your confidence.

10.     Use Props

If appropriate, bring props to punctuate your speech for your audience. This can be anything useful such as a graph to handout to all attendees or even a personal item to drive home your speech’s content. Props can personalize your speech and add interest or humor. Limit yourself to one or two props maximum per speech.

 

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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Who Vs Whom

A lot of speakers get confused when it comes to using who and whom, here’s the logic:

Who

Who, an interrogative pronoun, refers to -what or which person or people and is used in place of the subject of a question

  • Who is in the team?
  • Who did this?

It is used to question a person’s character or authority.

Who is used in statements as well, in place of the subject of a clause.

  • Sameer is the one who wants to play.
  • Anyone who knows the motive should be able to help us.

Whom

‘Whom’ is also an interrogative pronoun, however, it is used in place of the object of a question- more so, in formal writing or speech.

  • Whom is this story about?
  • With whom are you going to the party?
  • Whom did they call?

Whom is used as object of a verb or a preceding preposition

  • to know for whom his heart beats.

 

It is also sometimes used as the object of a following preposition

  • the woman whom you wrote to.

 

And whom can also be used in statements, in place of the object of a clause.

  • This is the girl whom I was talking about.
  • Mani is the man whom we met at dinner last week.

 

Whom is always the correct choice after a preposition.

  • The students, some of whom are graduating this year, failed the test.
  • Jaspreet is the girl with whom I’m going to Nagaland.

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Mastering Extempore

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“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” –Dale Carnegie

Extempore

 

Extempore speaking is the term used for a non-formally prepared speech. Every time you speak you are preparing for extempore speaking. You probably prepare without even knowing it. You have to read to learn new things for this type of speaking. When doing extempore speaking, you need to use the knowledge that you have and use a strong delivery.

 

The key to extempore speaking is that the words spoken are chosen as we speak them, and what is delivered is a stream of consciousness that is fluent, erudite and articulate, while being unscripted. Historically, Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) (a top notch business school affiliated to Delhi University) has been known for conducting an extempore session along with the GD/PI rounds in its selection process.

 

Extempore tests the candidates on the following:-

  • Ability to think on the feet
  • Ability to connect with the panel
  • Ability to think outside the box
  • Analysis of the topic and identification of the issue to be addressed
  • Ideation
  • Prioritization and sequencing displaying logical thinking
  • Communication skills
  • Overall presentation skills-body language, confidence, poise, composure etc.

 

For effective extempore speaking – candidates must be fluent and well read.

  • Be mentally ready: Know what to speak beforehand. Ponder over the topic for some time and prepare the flow of delivery. Your previous extempore practice sessions would surely be a booster here. Understanding the audience, the direction they are most likely to accept, helps in framing the flow of speech & also helps to connect with the audience.
  • Keep a check on your rate of speech: The key is; neither to go too fast nor too slow. Do not start really fast, as you are likely to end much earlier than the given time.
  • Confidence is the key: It’s not what you say but how you say it” that makes the difference, too. Confidence, along with knowledge, always helps, even in abstract topics where you are tested on presence of mind, spontaneity and analytical skills.
  • Handle mental blocks smartly: Remember the famous quote? “If plan “A” doesn’t work there are 25 more letters in the alphabet.” At times, when you get stuck, try to maneuver yourself out of the situation gracefully by avoiding being nervous. For such situations it is better to have back up plans.
  • Don’t get carried away:  Don’t get emotional about the topic, avoid getting too personal on sensitive matters, don’t deviate from the topic and talk about irrelevant stuff.
  • The darker and brighter sides- In case of controversial topics (e.g. Should actors from Pakistan be given an opportunity in Bollywood?), you may choose to explore both sides, a stand which becomes difficult to take in case of GDs due to challenges of group dynamics. In an extempore, since you are the only person speaking, it becomes possible for a smart, strategic speaker to discuss both aspects of the controversial topic. However, one has to be on his/her toes about the time constraints while taking this stand.
  • Competence, Enthusiasm & Adaptability is the key: Work on yourself & your competitive advantage which could be excellent vocabulary, being good at idioms & expressions, some good proverbs & quotes, good general knowledge, etc. Stay calm & put your best foot forward.
  • Mind your Ps & Qs- Last but not the least; do ensure that you sound polite & don’t end up hurting anyone by commenting on a specific caste, religion or sex. You must have heard-“Words are free, it’s how you use them that may cost you”

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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A Complete Guide to Writing Effective Essay

Writing Essay

 

“The pen is mightier than the sword”

 

This axiom by Shakespeare holds the verity and relevance when compared to a sword. On the contrary, delving deep into the nuances of writing; the pen itself is not enough to make an effective writer. Although most of us may envision ourselves as the budding writers (no less than Shakespeare) but brainwave alone is not the key to effective writing essay.

Here’s a complete guide to writing essay:

The Five Paragraph Essay

Paragraph 1: Introduction
Paragraph 2: Body 1
Paragraph 3: Body 2
Paragraph 4: Body 3
Paragraph 5: Conclusion

 

The Introduction

The principle purpose of the introduction is to present your “thesis” on the topic. The essay should begin with a “hook” that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read on. Hence we start with a general idea about the topic and subsequently arrive to the main idea. The thesis should be a clear, one-sentence explanation of your position in an unambiguous manner .Following the thesis, a mini-outline is proffered which previews the examples you will use to support your thesis in the rest of the essay. Finally, designing the last sentence in this way has the added benefit of seamlessly moving the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper.

 

The Body Paragraphs

The middle paragraphs of the essay are collectively known as the body paragraphs supporting the main purpose of spelling out in detail the examples that support the thesis.

For body paragraph 1: The strongest argument or most significant example ought to be used at this juncture. The first sentence of this paragraph should be the topic sentence of the paragraph that directly relates to the examples listed in the mini-outline of introductory paragraph. Seal the deal by directly stating why this example is relevant. The topic sentence should be ornate with a transitional word and have a common thread to bind the other body paragraphs.

 

The Conclusion

As the final paragraph represents your last chance to make your case and, as such, should follow an extremely rigid format. One way to think of the conclusion is, paradoxically, as a second introduction because it does in fact contain many of the same features. Effective conclusions open with a concluding transition (“in conclusion,” “in the end,” etc.) and an allusion to the “hook” used in the introductory paragraph.

 

Introduction Paragraph

  • Attention grabbing hook
  • A thesis statement
  • A preview of the three subtopics you will discuss in the subsequent body paragraph.

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence with the subtopic coupled with a transition word
  • Supporting details with relevant examples
  • An explanation how the example supports the thesis.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence with the subtopic coupled with a transition word
  • Supporting details with relevant examples
  • An explanation how the example supports the thesis.

Body Paragraph 3

  • Topic sentence with the subtopic coupled with a transition word
  • Supporting details with relevant examples
  • An explanation how the example supports the thesis.

Conclusion

  • Concluding transition, reverse hook and reinstatement of thesis
  • Global Statement or call to action

 

Tips to make your essays shine:

  1. Plan and make a framework of your essay
  2. Include variety of expressions (ideas)
  3. Use transition words
  4. Use varied lexical range
  5. Engage in the art of paraphrasing
  6. Give your thoughts a structured approach
  7. Practice makes a man perfect

Hope these tips and techniques are useful and that they help you take your writing essays to new heights.

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter. 

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