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Importance of English in Career Growth

Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all

-Walt Whitman

 

 

Importance of English for Career Growth

 

 

Why do young professionals, be it a graduate or a post graduate (B.Tech, M.Tech, MBA, MCA etc) take up courses to polish their communication skills in English? Why are organizations these days engaged in training students and employees on effective communication skills in English? Why do parents leave no stone unturned to make sure that their children are sent to the best of schools? Years ago, the choice used to be between a good public school and a convent school. Today, the choices have extended to the international schools following IB curriculum. Whatever be the reasons for the different choices that parents make but importance of English cannot be denied.

Ever wondered why? Well, one need not wonder because the answer seems quite obvious. Good command over English opens up various avenues for a bright career.

You may ask “Why English?”

 

People have been moving to different countries for better job opportunities. One of the most important aspects in getting a good job abroad is the command over English. TOFEL/ IELTS/PTE must be cleared in order to get good opportunities overseas. More than 2 billion people all over the world use English to communicate on a regular basis. Research shows that English is the business language across the globe. With globalization, all cross-border business communication is usually done in English. It’s presence in the global market place cannot be underestimated.

English is spoken across the globe due to Great Britain’s expansion during the colonial age. People in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and parts of Africa, India, and many small island nations speak English. English is the commonly adopted second language in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Moreover,  most of the content produced on the internet is in English, many of the world’s top films, books and music are also published and produced in English.

 

So knowing English will allow you access to an incredible amount of information which may not be otherwise available. Research shows that English speakers in the world earn more money than non-English speakers. Being a comfortable communicator in English can help you land that first job in your new career and ensure a positive future. It can also make you better than other applicants and help you be a more effective employee. In fact, English serves as a stepping stone to leadership responsibilities and career advancement.

As the saying goes, ‘Whatever you are, be a good one.

 

If you can communicate well in English you can explain your ideas to others in ways that make sense and are easy to understand. You’ll be able to tell your supervisor what you need to do your job well. You’ll also be able to talk with co-workers to make sure you’re all working together for the benefit of the company and its customers. English is required for communicating in a variety of professional fields including: business, information technology, science, medicine, aviation, entertainment, radio, diplomacy and more.

So, if you have a good command over English, your opportunities for a well-paid and interesting career increase manifold. You’ll be able to work for, or deal with, international companies and organizations around the globe, which in turn may lead to opportunities to travel and broaden your outlook. English, when spoken with confidence and finesse, not only adds to the charisma, but also helps one accomplish their personal professional goals.

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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Six Golden Rules To Ace A Group Discussion

Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance. Robert Quillen

Six ways to ace group discussion

 

 

As each sport and game has its own rules and tips to help you navigate it successfully, the same goes for group discussion too. The general tip is that you follow the rules, gauge your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, work around their strengths, tap into their weaknesses and you can sail through with the perfect image in group discussions.

Rule 1: Prepare

 

Work begins long before you sit for the group discussion. Your performance is as good as your preparation. Half the preparation is about knowledge. If you think you can wing it with aggression, you are mistaken. Find out the kind of topics that are given at the institution or company you are applying for.

Prepare well in time on as many topics as you can, not just the ones given in the past, but related ones too. You never know when the subject would be changed. Get into the habit of active reading. It’s different from passive reading. Passive reading is where you read merely to understand the subject. Active reading is where you not only understand the subject, but also begin to raise questions and voice your opinion – positive, negative or neutral about the subject. This is critical in the group discussion to counter or support others’ points of view.

The next part of rule 1 is to have mock group discussion, preferably with differing groups of friends. The point is to train your mind to think of any given topic’s pros and cons in a dynamic situation where you can’t predict the person’s response. More importantly, it is about looking at all the possible angles to the topic. This shows your logical mind, creativity and also your ability to think on your feet which comes with preparation.

Rule 2: Know the Participants

 

Carry a notepad and pen to note down your discussion points as soon as the topic is given. Most people who attend GDs are as focused on their performance as they tend to be. Take a deep breath and when the team introduces itself, note down the participants’ names.

In the heat of the discussion, calling out the person’s name is a good way to get their attention. All of us respond instinctively when our name is called out, so use this technique. Not only does it get you their attention, it also shows your people skills and presence of mind.

Rule 3: Take Care of your Posture

 

Your body posture reveals your state of mind. At the same time, it conditions you to a particular way of thinking. Don’t lean back or lean forward. Find the balance.

Let your body posture be of polite intensity so that you come across as a balanced individual with plenty of energy. This also shows empathy and respect to others when they speak and is an asset that brings you additional points.

Rule 4: Take Charge

 

Take charge of the group discussion right in the beginning. It shows your leadership capability. Introduce the topic by setting the framework for the ensuing discussion and state your opening point before leaving it to the group. Further, when it comes to conclusions, many GDs fall through and participants don’t make good use of it although it brings points.

Conclude the discussion by summing up if you can. To do this, listen actively throughout the discussion and note down the key highlights – say, in columns of negative and positive points on your notepad or any other format that suits the discussion.

Rule 5: Retain Your Balance

 

During the group discussion itself, give your logical counterpoint without aggression when there is a disagreement. You are not there to prove that your stand is right, but to show your maturity and logical thinking. When the discussion drags over a point, it is time for you to interject and turn the discussion in a new direction, either with a related point or with an opposite view.

Be to the point and intervene when another candidate is taking all the airtime. When they pause for breath, it is the right time to take your chance, state your point and then, pass the chance to someone who hasn’t had their say.

Rule 6: Follow your Domain

 

Keep the domain in mind while projecting your image. Let’s suppose you are facing a group discussion for a sales function, you may have to take a more aggressive approach whereas a marketing function could veer towards the creative and the practical approach in assessment.

Group discussion is as much about your knowledge and point-of-view as about how you handle yourself and others. Do these right and you will have projected the right image.

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 Fun Facts About English Language

Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing

-Robert Benchley

 

Fun Facts About English Language

As English language trainers, we get so caught up in our daily hustle bustle of ‘was’ and ‘is’, and a host of other grammar rules, that seldom do we get a chance to dwell on other aspects of the language.

Recently, we came across some rather interesting information, and decided to search for some ‘Fun facts about English language’.

Curious much? Read on to know what we found out:

The Little Tittle

The alphabets ‘i’ and ‘j’ are incomplete without the dot on top, and while we’ve always referred to it as the little dot, grammarians have coined a name for it – the Tittle. The Tittle was originally a larger mark, first appearing in Latin manuscripts, but was shortened when Roman-style typefaces were introduced.

Of Pangrams and Ghost Words

You may have come across this sentence – ‘the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog‘. But do you know what makes it so special? It uses all 26 alphabets, and is referred to as a pangram.

Ghost words are those that words that came into existence due to printing errors, and continue to exist in certain dictionaries. ‘Dord’ is an example of this anomaly.

What’s the fuss about S and E?

This is an easy one. E is the most common letter used in English, and S is the most widely used alphabet. More words begin with S than any other letter of the alphabet. She sells sea shells….Hmm, now I get it!

Selfie, YOLO, and Tech-savvy

These were some of the mainstream words which were added to the Oxford dictionary a few years ago. Approximately one new word is added to the English language every two hours and around 4,000 words are added to the English dictionary every year. Ready to brush up your vocabulary?

The words- Set, Time, and Pronunciation

The word set has the highest number of definitions listed in the dictionary. Time is the most commonly used noun, and pronunciation is the most mispronounced word.

And the bonus fact –

Mochas are named after a port in Yemen, from where coffee was exported to Europe in the 18th century.

On that note, take a coffee break while you ponder these fun facts about English Language!

 

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 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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