By JB Benard, Founder of EnglishBooster
Seize is one of my favorite faux amis or ‘false friend’ words. The start of deux mille seize is an ideal time to put this word in the spotlight. May 2016 allow us to seize all possible opportunities to further boost our impact and confidence in English!
Here are three commitments I plan to take to achieve this goal. I hope these ideas will appeal to you and I welcome you to add your own suggestions that can benefit other members of the EnglishBooster community.
1. In 2016, I will seize every possible opportunity to call up. I receive 100+ emails every day and many require a reply in English. Writing an email might seem safer and more comfortable than calling the person. Email is convenient but sometimes calling is really the better option. What works well for me is to apply the audience benefit concept from our YES YOU CAN and the GET A YES workshops. I start a conversation by focusing on the takeaway for the person I’m calling – what’s the benefit for him/her to give me some time? Take the YES YOU CAN & GET A YES approach to define an important message and clear audience benefit.
For example, I could say: “Hi Paul, I know you’re quite busy and my written English isn’t so great. I’ve thought that calling you could save time for both of us and ultimately, lead to a faster and better solution to our issue. Is this OK with you?”
Using the 10-minute prep guide helps you to:
- Reduce pressure, save time
- Create a better image for yourself
- Show your effort: despite your imperfections, you go forward and don’t ‘hide’
- Add a new dimension to your communication.
2. In 2016, I will seize every possible opportunity to speak up in meetings. Wah, not so easy if you’re surrounded by people who have no difficulty in bringing their ideas to the table. So I’ll recall all the helpful tools I learned in the TAKE TO THE FLOOR workshop, and in particular the list of leading phrases. I plan to go over this list before every important meeting or call in English. It’s a small investment in time but with a big payoff in confidence and success.
For example. When I know I’m going to have an important message to flag, I choose one or two expressions from the TAKE TO THE FLOOR list:
- What’s really important here (for me/us) is…
- What I want to say today/right from the start is…
- The key thing I want to say is…
- The key thing here is…
3. In 2016, I will seize every possible opportunity to combine English with pleasure. Practice Makes Perfect is not just an idiom, it’s a fact. Research shows that you need to say a word at least 7 times or actively listen to it at least 21 times to own it. But how can you do this when you live in a French-speaking environment? Solution: create mini-immersive experiences in English, inspired by your favorite activities and interests. Here’s something I’ve been doing almost everyday since the start of the year: watching the Downtown Abbey series while doing the phrasal verbs course on MEMRISE. You’ll see, it’s quite addictive and really motivating: in every Downton Abbey’s episode, I can find at least two - sometimes three - phrasal verbs I’ve learned from the MEMRISE course.
Other things I plan to do:
- Download a Soundwalk podcast and discover Paris from a different perspective and in English.
- Meetup.com to find out free Anglo activities, from sports to visiting museums or sharing a pint with English-speaking internationals.
- Visit youtube for music and movies in English; listen to radio podcasts, or speeches like this famous one from Dr. Martin Luther King.
Here is my plan. What is yours?
Please feel free to comment on this article and suggest your ideas to seize every opportunity to make our English fizz in 2016!