Speaking English for Business – special help for Korea Pt 2 – Awareness

Choose the Right Words

You can quickly check out the introduction and context for this series of posts in Part 1 – here:

Part 1 – intro

I’ll outline a 3 step process to help people from Korean backgrounds speak English for business presentations and meetings.

A – B – C

Awareness of problem sounds

Bolding problem words in a speech or presentation

Correcting problem words through repetition and practice.

TB Social Media KLT

Part 2 – deals with Awareness of  main problem sounds in pronouncing english words for Koreans.

From my direct experience working with Korean business people – the main problems are with consonant sounds that do not exist in Korean – especially the TH sound – in words such THem and THings.

Actually many languages including European languages such as French do not have a TH sound – so words are often pronounced with just the T – Things sounds like

View original post 354 more words

Advertisements

Don’t mess up in front of your PIERS! How to avoid embarrassing word mistakes in important business presentations >

The important business presentation was very going well.

The presenter had the audience’s full attention – the graphs and numbers were impressive – but then, titters of laughter and a crash in credibility – all because of word confusion – one little mistake!

The presenter was talking about the effect of PEER group pressure – but on the screen, on the presentation was written PIER group pressure.

Some in the audience pointed out the mistake to others (accompanied with snickers and chortles and even mimed actions of reeling in a fish).

The presenter could feel the audience attention slipping away – his confidence was broken and he never recovered for the rest of the presentation.

word nerd CU

As a word nerd/business communication trainer I get paid to help make sure these mistakes don’t happen in business presentations.

I work with business people who are far smarter than I am. My talent is helping smart people with the basics – and coming up with simple, easy-to-remember ways to help business people avoid mistakes and choose the right word.

I always encourage clients to make sure they choose the right words (both the written words presented on the screen AND the spoken words).

For written words Spellcheck isn’t enough – both PIER and PEER are proper words and would slip through undetected. This presentation just had the wrong PIER.

I encourage clients to practise their presentation in front of others and catch and correct any wrong words. This is what the top business people do for presentations where there is a lot at STEAK! (Yes, that’s another common problem in the business world)

 

TB gov blg

 

Now you may ask yourself – who would make such  simple errors?

The answer: simple mistakes are very common – especially in the busy business world where:

1. presenters often “wing it” without adequate preparation

2. many younger (super-smart) business people have never been taught the basics about different words

3. many super-capable execs from ESL backgrounds (English as a Second language) get the “little things” wrong in their writing or spoken presentations

I’m often brought in to help people with the basics and with simple memory devices. Some top execs are embarrassed – but the most effective ones call in help to make sure they are using the right words. From experience, I’ve found that often in advertising, people who are exceptional in speaking have managed to cover up that they have poor spelling or written skills.

So if you sometimes have challenges choosing the right word – don’t be embarrassed – lots of super-smart business people have challenges too.

 

Anyway, we make sure we catch these wrong word mistakes and we make sure people remember the right word for next time.

An easy way to remember, is to make it visual and memorable – sometimes the letters in the word itself – of connecting to something that you can visualise.

For example:

1. Your Peers – means people like you, your equals. Remember pEEr – the two e’s that are Equal and like each other.

2. For Pier – Think of the word fIsh. It has an I in it and think fIshing off a pIer – so the pIer with an I in it is the one you can fIsh from.

3. Then there is another PEER –  the verb to look hard to try to sEE. I’m sure now you can sEE a visual/memorable way to choose the right pEEr for this meaning!

I know this may sound very basic – but I get great feedback from business people that these techniques help them remember – and the business people say they use the memory technique to explain how to choose the right word to their work colleagues, their kids, or their grandkids!

It’s funny, I owe a lot of success to the hours I put in helping my kids remember how to spell – connecting words to something interesting and memorable.

 

TB Social Media KLT

English can be such a complex language – even for native English speakers.

From my experience of helping businesses people choose the right words – other common problem words include:

wave – waive

discreet – discrete

complimentary – complementary

bear – bare

 

as well as the usual incorrect use of your/you’re and their/there/they’re

 

————-

TB LL mosaic

 

 

If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.

Twitter

@tonybiancotti
Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

It you are from a business and would like some discreet help to check and practise your presentations, please feel free to contact me on tonybiancotti@ozemail.com.au

Poo Poo and Pee – Beware of Words that can mean “rude things” in other languages

If you are presenting to or speaking with people from a different language background – I encourage you to have your presentation “checked” by someone from that language.

 

pee cola

 

Also, get someone to research any possible “danger words” of what words in your language can mean something completely different (and possible negative)  in other languages.

 

international-communication TB

 

For the last ten years I’ve been helping people from different language backgrounds prepare for important presentations or meetings with people from other cultures.

 

Even if your audience speaks English –  when you use words that have rude meanings in their native language, this can cause unwanted distraction and erode your credibility.

 

I even help people from different English-speaking backgrounds (US/UK/Australia/South Africa)  avoid misunderstanding and embarrassment.

Australians use so many “rude” words with a meanings that are not intended to offend (lucky bugger, silly bugger) – but they can offend especially Americans and some Brits.

 

I recall helping a UK female exec find replacement words for “route” to avoid the chance of her Australian audience snickering like naughty school boys.

 

A South African exec  shared with me the danger of using the word “hooters” in a presentation. He meant “car horns” – but to Americans and people familiar with the American Hooters – the word has another connotation. Not rude as such – just distracting in a presentation.

 

hooters

 

I will often sit in and listen to presentations and point out danger words and help find replacements.

 

TB Social Media KLT

 

A danger area can be answering questions where people often stray from the script of their presentation and get “more casual” and  less guarded.

 

When I help execs and specialist presenters – we even practice a Q and A as well to check for danger words.

 

And when you are speaking or presenting – often what matters is what words sound like rather than look like.

 

I am constantly learning new problem words – from the people I help and from research.

 

For example: innocent “English/US” words Gift and Cookie

 

Gift means poison in German

 

And Cookie sounds like a rude work KOKI in Hungarian

 

Although, the examples can be funny – in business they are serious and can derail a presentation or a relationship.

 

At the end of this post are links with lots of example of words that mean something innocent in one language and yet something rude in a different language. Please be warned some of these examples are RUDE (relating to bodily functions and body parts) They examples are meant to demonstrate the dangers.

 

Plus – the problem goes both ways. For example, there are many unfortunate product names that mean a good thing in one language and a bad thing in another – for example Pee Cola included in the link below.

 

My main point to you – get someone from the language background of target audience to hear your presentation and look at any slides/materials you use in the presentation. Preferably someone with not just an academic understanding of the language, but someone familiar with”slang”.

HERE are links to examples:

 

Pee cola and Poo Poo smoothies

 

Gift = poison

 

 

 

—————

 

TB international presentation coach

 

If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.

@tonybiancotti

Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

Or you can follow this blog.

These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.

 

TBCope.001

 

Be careful not to insult business people from other cultures with comments you mean as compliments

When dealing with people from other cultures be careful you do not insult them – even if you intend a comment as a compliment.

 

international-communication TB

 

Things that might be positive in YOUR culture can be offensive in their culture.

 

 

In  previous post, I shared about a Balinese guide who called me FAT – meaning it as a compliment. Link at the end of this post.

 

In this post I share about how I had to “recover” when I risked insulting a business woman from China.

 

A quick context

 

I am proud to call myself a down-to-earth, laid-back “Country Kid” who moved to the city.

I come from North Queensland, Australia where life moves at a slower pace – at least it did when I was a kid.

 

I remember flying “home” to North Queensland when I was a TV reporter covering a visit from then US President Bill Clinton.

 

I lived and worked in Sydney at the time and the locals encouraged me and my TV crew to slow down rather than rushing around at SYDNEY pace. The locals were laid-back and relaxed.

 

TB training group

 

Anyway, I was helping a Chinese business woman and she had, in my opinion, a comforting laid-back demeanor. She looked relaxed. She sounded relaxed. She sounded “chilled”.

Her smiling face changed to a frown when I asked if she was “from the country”.

 

To me, being from the country seemed to be a positive thing.

 

But as I later found out, to her, the country was for uneducated peasants. She was educated and sophisticated and was from THE CITY not THE COUNTRY!

 

I had to explain that I meant it as a compliment and that I was originally from a laid-back country area and proud of it –  rather than from a busy, big city.

Her frown DID turn back into a smile, but this experience taught me that what I think is positive and a compliment may not be a compliment to others.

 

I encourage you to find out about other cultures you are dealing with in business.

 

I often help “Westerners” dealing with different Asian cultures and Asian businesses dealing with different Western Cultures.

 

When I first started working with different Asian cultures about ten years ago had to adjust to things like their constant enquiries about age and family. I’ll share more about these topics in future posts.

 

Here’s a link to the FAT post.

You are so FAT!

 

———

 

word nerd CU

If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.

@tonybiancotti

Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

Or you can follow this blog.

These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.

 

TBCope.001

 

 

 

 

Choose the right word – hoard or horde? An easy way to remember!

I saw this word confusion mistake in the opening few lines of a magazine – to escape the HOARDS of travellers…

 

Spell check wouldn’t pick it up. Hoards is a proper word – just the wrong word in this context.

From my experience working with super-smart young people (far smarter than I am!), I find many young writers either:

1. don’t know what word to choose – when faced with similar words

2. don’t care about what word to choose. (We don’t know – our audience won’t know the difference – why care?)

If you DO care –

Horde (noun) – is a crowd or mass or large number

Hoard (noun) – is a stash or stockpile and (verb) to stash or create a stockpile.

There are TV shows about people who HOARD things.

 

hoarders

 

So, the writer in the magazine should have written – to escape the HORDES of travellers.

 

I was lucky to have great English teachers who often gave simple and very “visual” memory devices to help you remember how to tell the difference between sound-a-like words.

 

A cliche relating to hordes was to refer to the  Mongol hordes.

 

mongol-horde

These Mongol HORdES rode HORsES – so “that” word HORdE looks like the word HORsE.

 

Simplistic I know – but it’s easy to remember!

 

So, now you know.

Writers of all ages make mistakes. I make plenty – but at least I try to choose the correct word. English is such a confusing and complex and inconsistent language.

Personally, I don’t think it’s a good enough excuse to think “Why bother? My audience won’t know the difference” – especially when simple memory devices can help you choose the right word.

 

Here are some more simple memory devices.

Even if you know the different words – these devices can help you help other work colleagues or even young students you know. Many of my business clients I help tell me that they use the memory devices to help their kids!

 

I am very grateful for the wonderful English teachers I had – and I like to share the little tricks I learned and still use to choose the right word!

 

I have a hoard of tips that help hordes of writers (native English speakers and people who have English as a Second Language).

TB Social Media KLT

 

 

coarse or course

 

flout or flaunt

 

elude or allude

 

——————

 

word nerd CU

 

If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.

@tonybiancotti

Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

Or you can follow this blog.

These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.

 

TBCope.001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————

 

 

 

 

Hair-brained News Writing – hair or hare?

Choose the Right Words

Do you know whether you should write HAIR or HARE when it comes to the expression HAIR/HARE-BRAINED?

A few moments ago I read a tweet from a Radio News service writing about a “hair brain” idea.

hare

I won’t mention the name of the news organisation. As a journalist I understand how mistakes can occur when writing under deadline pressure or pumping out so many tweets.

I use this tweet – purely as an instructive example of word confusion.

Here’s the actual tweet:

Qld Teachers Union labels State Govt’s plan for students to give feedback on their teachers’ performance a “hair-brain” idea.

My understanding is that the correct expression is hare-brained – and the expression should be brain-ED not just brain.

The expression “a hare-brained idea or plan” comes from something being as flighty (all over the place) as a darting hare.

I found something I didn’t know – that “hair-brained”

View original post 113 more words

Be careful not to insult people from other cultures with the words you use in business

Tony, You are so FAT!

I could have been insulted by my guide’s words. I admit I was initially taken back at being called to my face – You are so FAT – but luckily I understood understood what he “meant to say”.

I was on a bike-riding tour around beautiful Bali – and my diminutive guide called me FAT.

TB  cut off  shirt

He was proud of his command of English – but I gave him a little tip to use words other than FAT – and to be aware that many Westerners don’t like being called FAT.

Friends from many different Asian backgrounds had explained to me that being “fat” rather than “thin” was a sign that you had plenty of money for food.

 

Maybe it is a view with older generations, but skinniness was often seen as a sign of not having money for food. Being Fat was often seen as attractive and a compliment.

My thin guide had told me: Tony you are so fat. I wish I was FAT like you. .

I understand that FAT can be a good thing – as in: I got a fat cheque OR That’s a fat bass sound.

I suggested our guide say You are so BIG (or even better BIG and STRONG) – rather than FAT.

I suggested that he not call Western women big. 

 

I suggest to you that you avoid commenting on physical attributes all together. Even if you see it as a compliment – like being tall. Even tall people may not like being called tall – they may have stood out in their younger years by being tall and may not like people commenting on it.

everest

Also, I am not “big and strong” (especially by Australian standards) – I guess to my skinny guide, I appeared big and “FAT”.

I guess the same would apply “in reverse” – a “Westerner” thinking they are complimenting a person by telling them they are “skinny” or “thin” when being skinny is NOT seen as a good thing.

I understand that attitudes are changing over time with younger generations around the world seeing being thin as a compliment rather than an insult!

TB Social Media KLT

My point is: different cultures have different attitudes to body size and age.

Also, words have different connotations. Another example, was where a person learning English wanted to say: I want to be friends/friendly with you – but wrote I want to be intimate with you (which has a different connotation)

Here’s are two links to more on the problem of words having different connotations and the importance in business communication of having someone who understand the local culture to check and advise on the words used.

1.I want to be intimate with you

2. the danger of “false friends”

Now, the danger of insulting people also applies to English speakers communicating with people from other backgrounds.

international-communication TB

I am experienced in cross-cultural communication. I learn so much from the people I help – yet I once had to quickly correct potential “damage” when I gave what I thought was a compliment to a client from a Chinese background. I’ll share that in a future post.

If you have any work colleagues from different language backgrounds who could benefit from my coaching, please contact me. I get great results in identifying the potential “dangers” and helping speakers avoid the problems.

I have plenty of experience in helping speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, German, Middle Eastern). I’ve even helped Brits and Americans and Canadians avoid embarrassment when presenting to Australian audiences.

—————-
word nerd CU

f you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.

@tonybiancotti

Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

Or you can follow this blog.

These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.

TBCope.001