26-11-2013 Business English Class

26 Nov 2013

Business English class on 26 November 2013

How cold is it?

very cold not so cold extremely cold freezing
a dry cold bitterly cold fitting the season glove-wearing weather
a hard cold a harsh cold frozen frosty
a bit cold

Another phrase you will hear is “It’s brass monkey weather” which comes from the longer phrase It is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey This is not seen as polite but might be something you hear said by a native speaker especially from the UK or Ireland.

pages of the book covered

We covered pages 88 – 89 Looking at good and bad presentations

Good and bad presentations

Here are the ideas from the class:

Good Bad
  • having an agenda
  • short sentences (makes speech stronger in English)
  • speaking slowly
  • making sure the technical equipment works beforehand
  • including the audience and the location
  • a Question and Answer session (Q&A session) planned
  • good presentation skills including:

    • maintaining eye contact
    • good body language
    • pausing in your speech
    • speaking fluently:

      • being interesting
      • have an interesting melody (or intonation) in your voice
  • using pictures and video
  • too long without breaks
  • too quiet
  • too much information
  • too fast
  • too late in the day (also after lunch which is known as the post-prandial dip).
  • unprepared speaker
  • don’t maintain eye contact with the audience
  • give wrong information in the presentation (but how do we know?)

Grammar and vocabulary points

  1. “To”, “too” and “two” – these three words all sound identical but have very distinct meanings and should not be confused in writing:
    • “to” is a preposition and is used in phrases like “to the VHS” as well as some grammatical uses like forming the infinitive in English “to love” etc.
    • “too” is an adverb which modifies adjectives and adverbs as in “too cold”, “too fast”, “too detailed”.
    • “two” is the number two – which it easy to remember – but in txt-speak the figure 2 is used to replace the other two words.
  2. Two false friends Beamer and Rhetorik – these words sound English but either are unknown to English speakers or not used in the same way.
    • Beamer sounds English but like Handy is not always known by people outside German speaking countries. It is therefore better to use projector or data projector which are the more common words in English.
    • Rhetoric is an English word, coming from the Greek word ῥητορικός meaning “public speaking” but in English it has lost out to presentation skills or speaking skills.
  3. What is a rhetorical question you may ask yourself? It is a question asked by a speaker which they then answer.
  4. Murphy’s Law is a a saying that has many formulations but is often said to be “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. In the UK it is often called Sod’s law.


Please prepare a two minute presentation on your place of work.