Across the globe, international humanitarian organisations and non governmental organisations are increasingly expecting managers and leaders to be able to write, speak and negotiate in modern business English. In this article we share some valuable resources that are being used to grow these increasingly important capabilities. This post also recommends some questions that managers who are coaching staff can use to encourage discussion.
Icebreakers & Introductory Level Learning
- THE POWER OF TALK
https://youtu.be/zX7D1XincMA This very short video, from the BBC, shows how talk can be used to help people hold their leaders to account and influence the decisions that affect their lives. The language used is simple and straightforward and this video can be used as a discussion starter about the power of talk in development as well as a language learning tool.
Managerial coaching discussion questions, to support learning, arising from this material might include:
Did you find the speaker’s accent easy to understand?
How were words and visuals used to communicate?
What interested you about this video?
- THE MOBILE PHONE AND REFUGEE’S EXPERIENCES
This six-minute film, designed to be watched vertically on a mobile ‘phone, helps the viewer to experience the confusion and fear facing refugees making a perilous journey by boat. It looks at how mobile ‘phones have become a vitally important part of the refugee’s toolbox. Managerial coaching discussion questions, to support learning, arising from this material might include:
What was the message of this short video?
How was the message communicated?
How were pictures and language combined to create impact?
What could you learn to use, at work, as a result of watching this?
- CREATING CLARITY
https://essentialcomm.com/podcast/creating-clarity/ The big idea behind this very short podcast is this: speak simply. Do this by getting to the end of sentences quickly; using simple words; pausing between sentences; eliminating connecting words and ending sentences with downward inflections. Encourage others to do the same.
- LISTENING TO ENGLISH SPEAKERS
https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/listening Here you can find activities that will help you or your team members to practise their listening skills. Listening will help them to improve their understanding of the language and their pronunciation.
The free, self-study lessons are written and organised according to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR). There are recordings of different situations and interactive exercises that practise the listening skills needed to do well at work, to get ahead and to communicate in English outside of work. The speakers in these videos are of different nationalities and the recordings are designed to show how English is being used in the world today.
Vitas Recommendation: Ask staff planning to use British Council resources to take the free online English test to find out which level to choose. Then they can select their own level, from beginner (CEFR level A1) to advanced (CEFR level C1), and improve their listening skills at their own speed, whenever it’s convenient for them.
- SPEAKING ENGLISH
https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/speaking Here learners can find activities to practise speaking skills. They can watch and listen to videos that show how English is used in different types of conversations. As they listen and speak aloud, they will also improve their pronunciation.
See the Vitas Recommendation, above, about taking the test to work out which level to choose.
- EXPLORE THE 3 ROUTES TO GOOD COMMUNICATION
https://kayaconnect.org/course/info.php?id=412 This free, online, self-directed course – aimed at managers – will teach learners to communicate better. They will learn how to tune their non-verbal communication, communicate openly and understand the 5 levels of listening.
- DEVELOPING AN INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
https://kayaconnect.org/course/info.php?id=317 This free, online, self-directed course – also aimed at managers – will teach learners to use simple and concrete models to cultivate successful professional relationships. It also teaches the learner how to adapt their level of influence and to define precise objectives for communication. It will take between 30 minutes and one hour to complete.
- LEARN ENGLISH SELECT
https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/online-english-courses This page and the embedded video introduce the “Learn English Select” online courses from the British Council. These, highly commended courses, require a small subscription. The courses are designed to help individuals improve their ability to find and apply for the right jobs, develop their interview skills and learn how to perform in the workplace with confidence.
At each level, tutor videos and workplace scenarios guide participants through the materials, explain key language and grammar points and give the learner vocabulary that they can use in everyday business life.