Are you going on holiday? Don’t make a bad impression with an incorrect out-of-office reply - make a great impression on your clients and colleagues with your perfect English!
These are some mistakes I have seen:
I’m off returning June 20. This one is ok. It’s very short, but I would say I’m out of the office, returning June 20.
For urgent matters, please drop a message on my cellphone. Hmm. Do you mean please leave me a message? Or please send me a text? Probably you’d prefer a text to people calling you on holiday. I’d say: For urgent matters, please text me on….
I’m travelling and attending meetings this next days. Again, it’s not a big error, but it should be I’m travelling and attending meetings over the next few days.
I will answer you when I will be back. This should be I’ll answer you when I’m back.
For urgency, please contact Joan Smith. Again, not a big mistake, but it should be For anything urgent, please contact Joan Smith.
I’m out of the office until 2nd January 2016. I think you need to update your dates!
So here are some complete out-of-office replies you can use for your summer holiday:
Level 1 (you can use this one if you are travelling for work or in training or just away but still checking in):
I’m out of the office with limited access to my emails. I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Level 2 (I’m still available for emergencies and I will read my emails at some point):
I’m out of the office, returning on 3 August. I will answer you when I get back. For urgent matters, please text me on 0612345677.
Level 3 (I’m on holiday and I’m not going to do any work. Also I won’t ever read your mail):
I’m out of the office from 17 July - 3 August. Your email will not be read. For urgent matters, please call John Smith on 012345676.
I suggest you now put your automatic reply onto level 3 and go and enjoy your summer holiday.
You have a message to deliver, you want to persuade your audience to do something or you want to make yourself known. You need your audience to believe you, to see the logic in what you’re telling them and to feel a connection with you and what you’re saying.
You need Aristotle's three proofs (or appeals.) These work for any kind of content, whether it's a presentation, a promotional video or advert.
So what exactly are the three proofs and how can you use them?
Ethos: This is your credibility. Why should the audience believe what you are saying? Make sure the audience knows about your relevant experience and qualifications. Why do people who have written a book so often get asked to do TED talks? Because the book is a sign of ethos, that you are en expert in what you’re talking about.
If you're presenting, don’t stand in front of your audience and reel off your whole CV, but do make sure you drop in some anecdotes about your experience, or that the audience are aware of your background before you start speaking. Highlight any relevant experience or qualifications when you introduce yourself (but keep it short and to the point.)
Logos: this is logic. You need to back up your message with facts. If you are trying to persuade your audience to buy your products, you need to present them with some facts and figures about how this product will help them.
Pathos: This is an appeal to your audience’s emotions. Make your audience feel and they’ll remember what you’re saying. Make a connection with them by making eye contact and smiling. Make them laugh. Make them feel angry about injustice. Make them feel sad. Tell them a story. Speak to their hearts.
Next time you're planning a presentation, or any kind of content, think about how you can incorporate all three of these methods of persuasion and see how much of a difference it makes.
How do you feel about public speaking? Apparently, people fear public speaking more than death! Or at least as much as they fear snakes.
Why are we scared of public speaking? Because we are vulnerable: it feels as if we are standing in front of a group, who are all evaluating us to see if we deserve to be there. In the old days, the group would have been assessing our suitability as a hunter or leader.
You have to present, and you have to present in a foreign language. What is the secret to doing a really great job?
Unfortunately, there’s no secret. The answer is….
Did you know that TED speakers spend on average 3 months defining and practising their talk?
I expect you don’t have 3 months to practise your presentation, but as long as you practise at least 5 times (preferably more) you have a good chance of doing a good job.
What is the best way to practise?
Nous sommes heureux de proposer à nos apprenants la nouvelle certification en langue
Notre volonté est de proposer des certifications pertinentes et adaptées à nos formations,
nous avons donc choisi d’ajouter la certification FLEX à notre offre.
Pipplet FLEX, pour Fluency Exam, est un dispositif souple et efficace de certification éligible
Fini les délais et les RDV !
Pipplet simplifie le processus de certification. Pour nos apprenants c’est la possibilité de
passer une certification à tout moment, sans rendez-vous.
Moderne et professionnel
Pipplet permet l’évaluation des compétences réelles dans une langue, en mettant les
candidats en contexte professionnel réel.
Les mises en situation et l’évaluation par des professionnels fournissent une évaluation plus
complète que les solutions traditionnelles.
Pipplet mesure les 4 compétences : Expression et
Compréhension, à l’oral et à l’écrit. Le service fourni également des indicateurs sur la
prononciation, l’aisance et la cohérence du discours, ainsi que des axes d’amélioration.
La certification Pipplet FLEX peut attester des compétences dans les langues suivantes :
- Arabe standard moderne
- Portugais (Brésil)
Combien de fois avez-vous entendu dire que les français sont nuls en langues étrangères? Est-ce que vous y croyez?
Et si on changeait de mentalité en se préparant pour la réussite et non l’échec ? Nous avons tous la capacité de maîtriser des langues étrangères, avec les bons encouragements, une bonne attitude mais surtout un bon enseignement dès le plus jeune âge.
Ce qu’il faut, c’est donner aux élèves un espace sûr, encourageant et positif où ils peuvent pratiquer leur anglais, ou autres langues étrangères, à l’oral sans se faire corriger à chaque faute.
Les langues ne s’apprennent pas seulement à l’école…pourquoi pas diffuser plus de films et séries en VO? Et si être capable de parler une deuxième, voire troisième langue, était quelque chose de normal et non pas quelque chose de spécial? Saviez-vous qu’il y a plus de bilingues que monolingues dans le monde?
Etre nuls en langues est la conséquence d’un mauvais enseignement à l’école (des profs en primaire qui ne connaissent pas l’anglais, mais qui doivent l’enseigner; trop d’accent sur la grammaire et l’écrit) et des mauvaises politiques, on dirait même la peur, envers les langues.
Etre nuls en langues n’est pas un fait, c’est une attitude dépassée.
Look at these two slides:
Which one helped you understand the concept of Death by Powerpoint better and more quickly?
I'm guessing the one on the right. Yes? Did you know that 30% of our cortex is devoted to visual processing, so understanding concepts from pictures is much easier for the brain?
How many times have you been in a presentation, pinching yourself to stay awake? Don't be that presenter. Let’s have a look at some facts about your brain that can help you make more interesting and more memorable presentations.
2. Reading a list of bullet points activates the language processing parts of your brain. Once you’ve finished, that’s it. Now imagine that instead of a list of bullet points, your eyes are looking at a picture and your ears are listening to a story. Research has shown that storytelling activates many other parts of the brain, keeping the audience much more involved.
3. Make your presentation more memorable by helping the audience create connections in their brains: Making connections between different areas of the brain is vital for laying down strong memories. When you hear a story, your brain is searching for its own similar experiences, creating connections with the content you’re hearing and memories that are already in your brain.
4. If I read you a list of words, do you know which ones you would remember? The answer is most likely to include the first, the last, any words that were repeated, and any surprising word. Primacy, recency, repetition and novelty are key in remembering. That’s why it’s important to identify your message, and repeat it, especially at the beginning and end. You also need to think about your audience: what would be novel for them?
5. It’s not entirely clear how many slots are in your working memory, but it’s probably around 4. Research has shown that people remember on average 4 slides from a 20-slide presentation. Changing the format of the slides every 4th slide can help people remember more easily.
6. Look at these two slide decks: which one do you think people would remember more of?
Did you choose the one on the right?
In fact they are almost the same, there is no significant difference between how much information people remembered from each presentation. Even though the slide deck on the right looks more interesting and probably took a very long time to create, both slide decks contain too much information and the slides are too similar to each other.
7. So what's the main factor in making a memorable and impactful presentation? The answer is you, the presenter.
Everyone knows how important English is in todayâs world, right? I would say everyone, except your kids. Most children I know see English as another boring school subject, with the added potential for great humiliation.
As we can all attest, the brain has a much greater capacity for remembering at a young age. Added to that, there is a cut-off point for pronunciation around puberty. Past this point, itâs very, very rare to have complete mastery of an accent: Starting English at an early age is crucial, and although schools (Iâm writing this in France, so Iâm using France as a model) have caught onto the fact that English needs to start in primary school, the standard of English-teaching is very inconsistent and the amount of time spent on it (1 hour a week maximum) is not enough.
If a) children are not intrinsically interested in learning English and b) they need to learn English, as parents what can we do?
3. Find a fun English class. Look for ones that concentrate on oral English and games. Save grammar and writing for school.
4. Let them see you speak other languages. Make it something normal, even if your own English is terrible. In the Netherlands for example, everyone speaks English, itâs part of life. The children grow up seeing it as something that everybody does, not as something special.
5. Send them on a language holiday. Choose wisely (see my article on this here.) If itâs a good one, they will use their English to make friends from all over the world and have an amazing time. It will also give them a reason to speak English, not just on the holiday but throughout the year, keeping in touch with their friends.
6. Never tell them things like âFrench people arenât good at languages.â Itâs not true, and it gives them a reason to fail before theyâve even started.
How about you? What do your children do to learn English or another language?
Sending your kids on a language holiday is a fantastic way for them to improve their English: if everything goes well, they’ll make friends from all over the world, in English, and wanting to in touch with those friends will give them a reason to improve even more. And yes, for the older ones, there might even be an international love story…(don’t worry, they are supervised at all times!)
Language holidays are expensive. So how do you make sure you choose the right one?
6. Bedrooms. It’s better for the children to sleep in smaller bedrooms, rather than big dormitories, as there is more chance they’ll be with speakers of different languages. Be aware that if your child is going with a friend, they probably won’t be in the same bedroom. Shared bedrooms are also better than single ones, as there is much more potential to make friends with kids from other countries.
7. Phones. The school I worked in restricted wifi to two half an hour slots per day and students were not allowed their phones at night. They did complain, but they actually spent more time speaking to each other than snapchatting their friends at home.
Did you know that you can also do a summer school? Why not go and work on your English at the same time?
On a personal note, I was the Academic Director of CAE summer school in 2015 and 2016, and I can highly recommend it!
How do you capture your audience's attention at the beginning of your presentations? One way is to introduce an analogy for your topic. When I was preparing for a presentation skills workshop last month, I was looking for an analogy for presentations, and I kept coming across, "Presentations are like hamburgers, with the body sandwiched between the introduction and conclusion."
Look at this burger:
Looks pretty good, right? (I'm really hungry now.) But which parts are the most important? The middle? Or the bread?
Of course the answer is the middle. But when it comes to your presentations, the introduction and the conclusion are at least as important as the middle. The introduction is when you get your audience's attention and give them a taste of what they want to hear from you. The conclusion is when you really make sure they are going to remember your message and it's when you give them a call to action: something you want them to think about or do.
A macaroon needs the top and bottom as much as it needs the middle. You can eat only the middle of a burger, but if you eat only the middle of a macaroon, it's not a macaroon anymore, it's just some paste. (Very delicious paste if you've bought your macaroons at Pierre HermÃ© of course.)
So make sure your presentations are macaroons, not burgers.
My blog has changed! If you're looking for my English-practice exercises, they're all still here, just look in the archives.
Catherine: blogging about learning, language, culture, France and more...