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Sunday, October 14, 2018

WEEKLY PICKS - 21

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: How to avoid awkward work conversations, by Alison Green. BBC World Service contributor Alison Green has been giving workplace advice for over a decade. She is still surprised at how many people avoid difficult interactions with colleagues. [This story is from an episode of Business Matters from the BBC World Service. To listen to more episodes, please click here.] (Continue reading)

From BBC FUTURE: A little bit of boasting could have benefits, by Talya Rachel Meyers. Many cultures tend to praise modesty and humility. But new research has revealed that the tendency to feel, and show, pride evolved for a reason – and plays a key role even today.
Pride is the downfall of many a tragic hero. Mr Darcy has to let his go before he can earn Elizabeth Bennet’s love. Dante listed it as one of the seven deadly sins. And as the famous (and oft-misquoted) verse from Proverbs cautions us, it “goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”.
There’s no question about it: we’re consistently told that pride makes us obnoxious at best and doomed at worst.
But pride may not entirely deserve this reputation as a destructive force. There’s new evidence that this emotion has an evolutionary function, and that it plays an important role in the way that we interact with the world. (Continue reading)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Visiting London - Beginner's Guide for Shopping in London (3:48 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
HOW TO: Making informal invitations (6:02 minutes)
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
5 English Pronunciation Tricks EVERY English Student Should Be Using (13:59 minutes)
πŸ’¬ VOCABULARY PICKS:
VOCABULARY: How to use synonyms (6:08 minutes)
πŸ’‘ GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:
BBC Learning English - 6 Minute Grammar - Phrasal and prepositional verbs (6:32 minutes)
MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

How Good Is Your Feedback? (From Mind Tools)

Giving Clear Comments to Improve Performance
© iStockphoto / monkeybusinessimages / From: Mind Tools

As a manager, one of the most important things you do is give feedback. When you let people know how they're doing, you give them the chance to change unhelpful habits, and you reward and cement positive behavior

Do you know when and how to give feedback to colleagues? 

So, why do managers find it so difficult to give feedback? Perhaps it's because they're uncomfortable doing it, or because they don't feel that they have the skills to do it properly. Either way, they may put off giving feedback until a problem has become serious. 

Use this quiz to find out how well you give feedback, and to discover how you can give better feedback in the future


πŸ’‘ You may also be interested in the quizzes below:

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The surprising truth about loneliness, by Claudia Hammond (From BBC FUTURE)

The reality of feeling alone is not what many people think. Claudia Hammond, who instigated a survey called the BBC Loneliness Experiment, explores five counterintuitive findings.


About the results: The findings in this article are based on an online survey of 55,000 people from around the world, called the BBC Loneliness Experiment. It was created by academics at three British universities in collaboration with Wellcome Collection. - Find out more: The Anatomy of Loneliness
  1. Younger people feel lonelier than older people
  2. 41% of people think loneliness can be positive
  3. People who feel lonely have social skills that are no better or worse than average
  4. Winter is no lonelier than any other time of year
  5. People who often feel lonely have higher levels of empathy than everyone else
1) Younger people feel lonelier than older people

When you picture someone who’s lonely, the stereotype is often an older person who lives alone and hardly sees anyone. Indeed, in the BBC Loneliness Experiment, 27% of over 75s said they often or very often feel lonely. This is higher than in some surveys, but because the survey was online, we had a self-selecting sample and might have attracted more people who feel lonely.

Yet the differences between age groups are striking. Levels of loneliness were actually highest among 16-24 year olds, with 40% saying they often or very often feel lonely.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

WEEKLY PICKS - 20

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 FUTURE: The pill can make the body store more fat – and gain less muscle, by Zaria Gorvett. Many women believe that the pill can cause weight gain. Research hasn’t found this – but it has found that it can change body shape (and fat storage) in other surprising ways. (Continue reading)

From BBC NEWS: Introducing BBC Reel This week, we launched our new video platform that will be the global home for the BBC’s best factual digital output. Here you can find some of the interesting characters and deeper human stories featured on Reel. (GO TO BBC REEL)

From BBC TRAVEL: The most expensive down in the world, by Meg Lukens Noonan. Just south of the Arctic Circle, a few dedicated Norwegians are keeping the tradition of sustainable eiderdown farming alive – and are making some of the world’s most coveted duvets. (Continue reading)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Polite questions: Stop Saying (2:29 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle? Watch 6 Minute English (6:14 minutes)
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
Visit America - The DON'Ts of Visiting The USA (14:04 minutes)
πŸ’¬ VOCABULARY PICKS:
Learners' Questions: Using 'actually', 'in fact' and 'well' (2:24 minutes)
πŸ’‘ GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:
BBC English Masterclass: Gerund or infinitive? (4:19 minutes)
MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

Saturday, October 06, 2018

How many is a billion? (From Oxford Dictionary – Explore)


πŸ’‘ In British English, a billion used to be equivalent to a million million (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000), while in American English it has always equated to a thousand million (i.e. 1,000,000,000). British English has now adopted the American figure, though, so that a billion equals a thousand million in both varieties of English.
The same sort of change has taken place with the meaning of trillion. In British English, a trillion used to mean a million million million (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000). Nowadays, it's generally held to be equivalent to a million million (1,000,000,000,000), as it is in American English.

The same evolution can be seen with quadrillion and quintillion. In British English, a quadrillion used to mean a thousand raised to the power of eight (1024), and is now understood to be a thousand raised to the power of five (1015). A quintillion, in British English, used to mean a million raised to the power of five (1030), and is now most commonly held to be a thousand raised to the power of six (1018).

Even higher are sextillion, septillion, octillion, nonillion, and decillion, some of which are not common enough to be included in OxfordDictionaries.com yet.

Other terms follow the same linguistic pattern (ending with -illion) but do not refer to precise numbers. These include jillion, zillion, squillion, gazillion, kazillion, bajillion, and bazillion. All of these words are used informally to refer to an extremely or indefinitely large number.

How many is a billion? (2:02 minutes)

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

CV / RESUME WRITING (Posts from Glassdoor Blog + Videos)

Resume Hacks - How to Make a Resume Stand Out (9:00 minutes - By Linda Raynier)


πŸ“ How to Write a Resume (From Glassdoor Blog)

[… This article] will take you through all the essential steps of crafting this career document, from how to structure its many sections to how to make sure a spelling error doesn’t sneak in. […]

How to Structure a Resume

This is what the perfect resume looks like: it's got a simple, clean design and a clear way to contact the job candidate, plus it makes the applicant's experience stand out. You'll need to add your work experience, education — including any specialized training you may have received — your skills, and the best way to contact you. (Adding references to your resume is optional.) […]

For example, professional resume writer Peter Yang told Glassdoor that there's no rule that your education section must come before your work experience section. If your work experience is more relevant to the position for which you're applying—or if your education doesn't match the position's requirements—then your degree should be placed at the bottom of your resume. But if your GPA is sure to wow, or you’re a recent graduate without much experience, put your degree toward the top. In other words, structure your resume in a way that makes sense for you — and that shows off your strongest assets for the specific job for which you're applying.

Lastly, beware of leaning too heavily on traditional resume templates. They may make writing your resume easier, but they also won't help you stand out in a pile of other resumes. "People too often use a standardized resume," said Aikman, "and don't think from a creative perspective."

Instead, Aikman told Glassdoor, "You should consider, 'What does this employer think about? What are they looking for? What can I communicate visually?' You are trying to communicate to someone else, so think about what they want to see. What works for the engineering industry does not work for the marketing industry; [and] therefore, you have to style it toward the person who is going to be reading it."

How to Showcase Your Skills, Education & More

Career experts agree: finding a way to quantify or paint a picture of your skills is the most effective way to show them off on your resume. So, what does that look like?

It means stripping words such as "results-oriented" and "hardworking" from your resume. Why? They're overused, and they're not specific enough. Instead, use verbs "that really pinpoint what was accomplished, i.e. influenced, improved, achieved, etc.," according to expert Susan Joyce. "This way, there is no miscommunication about a candidate’s qualifications."

Job coach Angela Copeland told Glassdoor, "if you want to show that you’re results-oriented and hardworking, share the numbers. Rather than stating that you’re an 'excellent digital marketer,' prove it. Say something that reflects your actual results, such as, "grew online sales and revenue by 200 percent in one year.'"

But when it comes to showcasing your skills, education, and anything else you want to stand out, there are more words you need to focus on than just verbs. Recruiters and applicant tracking systems scan your resume for exact keywords that match the job description. So, one way you'll ensure you can show off those skills is to pepper your skills section with those keywords. For example, Yang told Glassdoor, if the job description for a software engineering position requires candidates have knowledge of object-oriented design and you took a course on object-oriented programming in college, note it on your resume. You can include it in your education or your skills section.

How to Edit Your Resume

You've written your resume, and read it twice, but that's not enough. A good editing job will take a little longer—and some specific tactics meant to catch resume errors.

First, don't attempt to edit your resume until it's done. […]

Next, never try to edit your resume right after you've written it. In fact, you should give yourself a 24-hour break before editing your resume. With time away, you'll see your resume with fresh eyes and for what it really is—not what you meant it to be.

When you give your resume a read, try reading your resume backward. It sounds odd — and it's not always easy — but reading backward forces you to focus on each word, and helps you better catch both spelling and grammatical errors in the text.

Ask a friend or family member to read your resume, too. They may spot errors that you missed or have suggestions for how to show yourself in an even better light.

Then, fact-check your resume. Check the spelling of proper nouns — think: company names, addresses, etc. — and make sure you have the current contact information for any references you've chosen to add. These things might have changed since you last applied for a job.

And lastly, be sure to look for these common resume pitfalls before you press send. […]

πŸ’‘ A few examples:
πŸ’‘ More from Glassdoor Blog:
5 Things Your Resume Must Have To Get More Job Interviews (6:39 minutes - From Work It Daily)
If Your Resume Doesn't Have This, It Gets Tossed by Recruiters | #HelpMeJT (1:54 minutes - From Work It Daily)
Should I List A Short-Term Job On My Resume? - Coaching Moment (2:00 minutes - From Work It Daily)
This Resume Mistake Will RUIN Your Chances Of Getting A Job - Part 6 of 8 (2:06 minutes From Work It Daily)

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).

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