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Sunday, September 30, 2018

WEEKLY PICKS - 19

This is a weekly selection of reading articles, free online exercises, YouTube videos, games, quizzes and resources for you to further improve your English language skills while having fun – ENJOY!

πŸ“œREADING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

From BBC CULTURE: Images that defined the Soviet Union, by Fiona Macdonald. Red Star Over Russia is an exhibition that offers a visual history of Russia and the Soviet Union. Fiona Macdonald finds out how these images foreshadowed fake news.
“We all live in an age of fake news. But it wasn’t invented with Twitter and YouTube – it was used in the 1930s to make real people disappear,” said curator Natalia Sidlina at the opening of a new exhibition at London’s Tate Modern. Red Star Over Russia, which launched on the centenary of the October Revolution, is focused on the powerful imagery created in Russia and the Soviet Union from 1905 to 1955 – but, inevitably, politics seeps through.
And the relevance of these images today is hard to escape. “We planned the exhibition to coincide with the anniversary of the October Revolution, yet it does seem to be inviting comparisons with what’s going on around the world right now,” Tate Modern’s head of displays Matthew Gale tells BBC Culture. (Continue reading)

From CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY: 1066 and all that: How to say years by Liz Walter. Being able to name a year is a pretty basic English skill, but there are a few things that can make it complicated, and there are a number of differences between British and American English.
Let’s start with the (relatively) easy ones. For years like 1345, 1682 or 1961, we say the first two and the second two digits as if they were single numbers: thirteen forty-five; sixteen eighty-two; nineteen sixty-one. If the third digit is zero, there are two possible ways of saying the year: … (Continue reading)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Why English is so hard to learn: silent letters (1:22 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Skills for Work: Interview Skills (6:43 minutes)
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
10 ESSENTIAL Do's and Don'ts in London (Don't make these MISTAKES!) (14:45 minutes)
πŸ’¬ VOCABULARY PICKS:
English Grammar - comparing with LIKE & AS (9:10 minutes)
πŸ’‘ GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:
Stative verbs in the continuous form: BBC English Masterclass (3:45 minutes)
MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Are you an insecure overachiever? By Laura Empson (From BBC CAPITAL)

πŸ‘‰ Listen to Insecure Overachievers on BBC Radio 4 here. Presented by Laura Empson and produced by Jonathan Brunert.

Decades of research into elite firms identified a particular type of worker: exceptionally capable and fiercely ambitious, but driven by a profound belief in their own inadequacy.

"It feels like a constant need to prove you should be where you are, and a constant concern, before every meeting that I go to… am I going to make an idiot of myself here and are people going to see through a faΓ§ade and think actually there’s no real substance to this?"

This is Jeremy Newman. Until recently, Jeremy was the global CEO of BDO, one of the world’s largest accounting firms. He currently chairs important government bodies and a range of other institutions. By any measure he is hugely successful in his professional life, and yet here he is, telling me that he privately worries constantly that he is not good enough.

He is not alone. In my 25 years of researching leadership and professional service firms (such as law and accountancy firms, consultancies and investment banks) I have heard numerous brilliant, successful, and apparently confident people describe themselves as insecure. They are ‘insecure overachievers’: exceptionally capable and fiercely ambitious, but driven by a profound belief in their own inadequacy.

When I wrote about insecure overachievers in my recent book, Leading Professionals: Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas, I got a phenomenal response from people worldwide, in a range of sectors, saying that they identified with the term. Insecure overachievers are made, not born, and typically in childhood, through experiencing psychological, financial, or physical insecurity. [...]

[…] People know that they are being directly measured against their colleagues. But because they don’t actually know how their colleagues are doing, they set themselves incredibly high standards, just to be sure. And because everyone in the system is doing this, the standards just get higher and higher, requiring everyone to work harder and harder.

For insecure overachievers, this pattern persists. During my research, a senior executive in a consulting firm described two colleagues, who “feel that I will say to them, ‘Sorry. You’re not performing. You have to leave’… So I say, ‘Are you crazy? Why don’t you go home earlier and think about your family?’ And they say, ‘No, no, no, no, I have to work.’” More junior employees see their leaders behaving in this way and assume that this is what will get them ahead. And so, the pattern is repeated and constantly reinforced.

[... Sometimes, it] can be positive. David Morley, until recently the global senior partner at leading global law firm Allen and Overy, likens the senior lawyer on a transaction to the ringmaster of a giant circus that’s going on around them. “And if you’re good at it and you enjoy it, that’s very stimulating,” he says. “You can render a large bill at the end which is paid by a grateful client, and so you’ve got a very tangible number on the page illustrating the value that you’ve added. And then the phone rings and you’re on to the next one... It’s almost like a drug... this flow of excitement… and if you are good at it there are a lot of positive rewards that come from that."

However, taken to extremes, the long hours and being constantly driven to excel can lead to serious physical and mental health problems, ranging from simple exhaustion to chronic pain, addictions, eating disorders, depression and worse.

So, if you are an insecure overachiever, what can you do about it? […]
  1. Recognise your triggers […]
  2. Define success in your own terms, not others'.  […]
  3. Respect the evidence of and celebrate your success.  […]
πŸ”— GO TO FULL ARTICLE πŸ‘‰Are you an insecure overachiever?

πŸ”Ž Laura Empson is professor in the management of professional service firms at Cass Business School, London, and a senior research fellow at Harvard Law School's Center on the Legal Profession. Her most recent book is Leading Professionals: Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas (Oxford University Press).

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

10 Common Communication Mistakes, (from Mind Tools)

πŸ‘‰ By the Mind Tools Content Team
Avoiding Communication Blunders and Misunderstandings

© iStockphoto Pinopic / From: Mind Tools
It can be embarrassing to make mistakes with communication. For example, if you send an email without checking it, and later realize that it contained an error, you can end up looking sloppy and unprofessional.

But
other communication mistakes can have more serious consequences. They can tarnish your reputation, upset clients or even lead to lost revenue.

This article describes 10 common communication mistakes, and discusses what you can do to avoid them. (GO TO FULL ARTICLE)

  • 1: Not Editing Your Work
  • 2: Delivering Bad News by Email
  • 3: Avoiding Difficult Conversations
  • 4: Not Being Assertive
  • 5: Reacting, Not Responding
  • 6: Not Preparing Thoroughly
  • 7: Using a "One-Size-Fits-All" Approach to Communication
  • 8: Not Keeping an Open Mind When Meeting New People
  • 9: Assuming That Your Message Has Been Understood
  • 10: Accidentally Violating Others' Privacy
πŸ’‘ KEY POINTS

Everyone makes communication mistakes from time to time. However, you'll protect your reputation if you avoid the most common errors. These include not editing your work, accidentally violating people's privacy when forwarding emails, and not being assertive.

The key to good communication is to think about your audience's needs. Prepare each email, document, and presentation carefully, and give yourself time to check it.

Above all, remember that communication is a two-way process. Be ready for questions, and listen to what your audience has to say.

Over time, you'll find that avoiding these common communication mistakes will greatly enhance the quality of your messages, your reputation, your working relationships, and your job satisfaction.


πŸ”— READ FULL ARTICLE ⇒
 10 COMMON COMMUNICATION MISTAKES

Business skills tutorial: Effective communication | lynda.com (4:41 minutes)

πŸ’‘ You may also be interested in:

Sunday, September 23, 2018

WEEKLY PICKS - 18

This is a weekly selection of reading articles, free online exercises, YouTube videos, games, quizzes and resources for you to further improve your English language skills while having fun – ENJOY!

πŸ“œREADING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

From BBC NEWS: Body clock scientists win Nobel Prize, by James Gallagher. Health and science reporter, BBC News website. Three scientists who unravelled how our bodies tell time won the 2017 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.
The body clock - or circadian rhythm - is the reason we want to sleep at night, but it also drives huge changes in behaviour and body function.
The US scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young will share the prize. The Nobel prize committee said their findings had "vast implications for our health and wellbeing". (Continue reading)

From BBC TRAVEL: The rarest fabric on Earth, by Meg Lukens Noonan & Tom Garmeson. The once-endangered vicuna is thriving in the Peruvian Andes, thanks to a bold plan to sustainably gather and sell its valuable fleece – and give locals a stake in its survival. (Go to full article)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Why do blood types matter? - Natalie S. Hodge (4:41 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
How does your body know what time it is? - Marco A. Sotomayor (5:08 minutes)
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
Biomedical & Industrial Engineering: Crash Course Engineering #6 (10:29 minutes)
πŸ’¬ VOCABULARY PICKS:
'Ensure' or 'insure'? (1:45 minutes)
πŸ’‘ GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:
BBC English Masterclass: Infinitives of purpose (3:44 minutes)
MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

How Approachable Are You? (from Mind Tools)

Building Relationships with Your Team

Being approachable is key to building relationships with your colleagues, and to creating a strong team in which trust, confidence and ideas can flow. When you're approachable, team members do not sit on or cover up problems. This means that they are able to bring issues to you before they become full-blown crises because they know that you won't react badly.
© iStockphoto MaggyMeyer / From: Mind Tools
Team members who have approachable managers feel able to contribute ideas and find the workplace a safe environment in which to do so. They're not scared about being knocked back because they know their manager is open to their suggestions and will consider them fairly.

[…] Approachability is about being accessible, consciously breaking down perceived barriers, having appropriate body language, and using the right verbal communication and listening skills. Take the quiz to find out just how approachable you are, and discover strategies for becoming more approachable in areas that are holding you back.

DO THE QUIZ ⇒ How Approachable Are You?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

WEEKLY PICKS - 17

This is a weekly selection of reading articles, free online exercises, YouTube videos, games, quizzes and resources for you to further improve your English language skills while having fun – ENJOY!

πŸ“œREADING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

From BBC CAPITAL: What would happen if we all took smart drugs?, by Zaria Gorvett. More and more people are turning to drugs to improve their performance at work. Do they really work? And what would happen if we all started taking them?
[...] For centuries, all workers have had to get them through the daily slog is boring old caffeine. But no more. The latest generation has been experimenting with a new range of substances, which they believe will supercharge their mental abilities and help them get ahead. (Continue reading)

From BBC CAPITAL: What's driving the rise of the McVegan burger? (This story is from You & Yours on BBC Radio 4, presented by Winifred Robinson and produced by Kevin Mousley. To listen to more episodes of You & Yours please click here. Adapted by Peter Rubinstein.) The Big Mac is changing in response to growing demand for vegetarian food that looks and tastes like meat. (Continue reading)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
THE BEST HIDDEN LONDON PUBS (3:45 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
BBC 6 Minute English January 14, 2016 - Is modern life making us tired? (6:02 minutes)
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
Visit New York - 5 Things You Will Love & Hate about New York City, USA (10:11 minutes)
πŸ’¬ VOCABULARY PICKS:
Learners' Questions: The difference between 'what' and 'which' (2:07 minutes)
πŸ’‘ GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:
MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

An easy way to seem more persuasive, by David Robson (From BBC Capital)

Your hand gestures can help make you more charismatic.

Research into public speakers suggests hand gestures can powerfully change the way you are perceived - David Robson explains.
From BBC Capital / Credit: Getty Images
Next time you watch a TED talk or a political speech, take a moment to look closely at the speaker’s hand movements. Is the motion slow or energetic? Is it subtle or expansive? And how are the hands mostly moving – vertically or horizontally? 

It is well known that non-verbal cues can have more of an influence on the way that a message is received than the actual words spoken. As BBC Capital recently explored, a deeper voice increases perceptions of authority, for instance – and this even appears to influence a CEO’s earnings and how long they stay with a company

Now a series of recent studies from Markus Koppensteiner at the University of Vienna has examined the way that people talk with their hands – with remarkable results. Even when all other factors have been taken into account, your hand gestures signal important elements of your personality like extraversion and dominance. They can even change people’s perceptions of your physical height – making you appear a few inches taller or shorter. 

Koppensteiner’s findings would seem to recall the famous research on “power poses” – the strategy, for instance, of standing, like Superwoman, with your hands on your hips and your feet planted wide apart. These small gestures of confidence are thought to feedback into the brain, leading people to feel more assertive before public speaking. 

In the words of the Harvard University professor, Amy Cuddy, who conducted many of these studies, “you fake it until you make it”


There are some important differences with the new research, however. Power poses are primarily designed to be performed in private to increase confidence before a meeting – and they are largely static positions rather than fluid movements

Koppensteiner’s research, in contrast, examines the motion of the speakers’ hands as they talk and the ways that this influences others’ perceptions. In a typical study, he would take real videos of politicians’ speeches, and then transformed them into animated stick figures so that confounding factors – like their facial expressions – would no longer be visible. (GO TO FULL ARTICLE to see an example + read more)

Sunday, September 09, 2018

WEEKLY PICKS - 16

This is a weekly selection of reading articles, free online exercises, YouTube videos, games, quizzes and resources for you to further improve your English language skills while having fun – ENJOY!

πŸ“œREADING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

From BBC CULTURE: THE REBIRTH OF BRITAIN’S ‘LOST’ LANGUAGES, by Holly Williams. Welsh singer Gwenno’s new album is in Cornish, which is spoken by fewer than 1000 people. It’s one of many ‘lost’ languages being reborn.
“A eus le rag hwedhlow dyffrans?” So goes the first track on Le Kov, the second album by Welsh singer Gwenno Saunders. But it isn’t Welsh: it’s Cornish, a minority language spoken by fewer than a thousand people. The line translates as “is there room for different stories?” – and this is the question at the heart of her record, which celebrates variance in language, culture and identity. (Continue reading)

From BBC TECHNOLOGYSocial media terms 'jargon-busted' for teens, by Alli Shultes. Technology reporter. A set of jargon-busting guides that teach children about their rights on social media sites has been published.
Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield said Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp and YouTube had "not done enough" to clarify their policies.
She simplified the websites' terms and conditions with privacy law firm Schillings. But Instagram said the simplified version of its terms contained "a number of inaccuracies".
The slimmed-down guides are a response to the Commissioner's Growing Up Digital report, which found that most children do not understand the agreements they sign when they create social media accounts.
All the sites require children to be over 13 to create an account. (Continue reading)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Learners' Questions: How to use 'be likely to' (2:09 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
How to Wake Up Early - And Not be Miserable (7:39 minutes)
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
RSA ANIMATE: The Paradox of Choice (10:43 minutes)
πŸ’¬ VOCABULARY PICKS:
Learn English - ALL or WHOLE? (9:23 minutes)
πŸ’‘ GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:
MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

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