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Business English Career English CISL San Diego Featured

CISL Student Florian Learns Project Planning, Social Media, and Corporate Design at Casas Advisors!

September 28, 2017

Have you dreamed of improving your English skills for a future job? CISL’s Career English program provides students with the English skills necessary to succeed in the work environment AND offers international students a chance to spend time at an American company!

Our German student, Florian, recently learned English at CISL and then spent time at Casas Advisors, a real estate company. Florian shared some of his experience with us.

CISL Student Florian Learns Project Planning, Social Media, and Corporate Design at Casas Advisors!

Objectives and expectations

Florian’s goals before the Career English program were clear. “My main objective and intention to enroll for the Career English Program at CISL was to improve my business English and to gain some work experience abroad to improve my CV.”

Why did Florian choose CISL? He admits that it’s not easy for international students to find such an experience at an American company without the help of programs such as CISL’s Career English. Florian recalls that “A major issue for finding a company for me was that most companies require to pay their interns and therefore they need to have a working visa.” Thankfully, with the help of CISL’s Career English Coordinator, Florian was able to find a placement at Casas Advisors, a real estate company in San Diego.

Florian’s tasks and responsibilities

Florian spent two months at Casas Advisors, where the “team was very dedicated to integrate me into the team and to always find challenging tasks for me.”  His responsibilities were varied and challenging. “To summarize my activities I created the following list for a quick overview:

  • Creation of social media analysis and planning tool; definition and implementation of recommendations
  • Development of corporate design
  • Creation of buyers & listing presentation
  • Calculation of ROIs of planned real estate investments for creation of investors pitches
  • Increased transparency of projects through Gantt-Project management planning
  • Administrative activities (reply to enquiries, ordering etc.)
  • Revised marketing material

Improving English through a host company

Florian says he saw great improvements to his English skills after spending time with his host company. “Reviewing my time as an intern at Casas Advisors I can say that those two months were great . . . [I was] able to improve my business English in this environment. Mostly this improvement was caused by making phone calls or attending meetings and holding presentations.” Another reason Florian’s English improved is because of his interactions with employees of the company. “Working together with my co-workers made my work more fun, interesting and flexible at the same time. I worked closely with Linda Paz, the Broker’s assistant, and Santiago Orvananos, the Owner and Broker of Casas Advisors.”

Was it worth it?

Florian says yes. “I was very pleased with my working experience in San Diego. Through the aforementioned activities I was able to improve my skillset according to Excel & PowerPoint . . . it was an awesome experience which I highly recommend. I can only speak highly of Casas Advisors.

Congratulations to Florian for a successful experience with a host company, and many thanks to Casas Advisors for providing such a welcoming environment for Florian to improve his English!

executive-english-premier-english-business-meeting-management-language

CISL’s Career English Program offers students the opportunity to improve their English skills in the classroom and at an American company. Students first spend time in the CISL classroom, which has small class sizes (no more than 8 students!) that allow English learners to quickly improve. Students then work closely with the Career English Coordinator to create an American resume (which is different than a CV) and interview with American companies. Students spend at least two months improving their English in a work environment, either while still taking classes at CISL or after completing their CISL English courses. Contact CISL for more information.

 

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15 Marketing Idioms in English

August 24, 2017

15 Marketing Idioms in EnglishMarketing is an important part of many businesses and is a large part of many conversations during meetings. Are you learning English for the workplace? If so, these 15 marketing idioms in English will be useful.

15 Marketing Idioms in English

Across the board

Definition: Applying to all.

Example: We will be making changes to the company across the board: our mission, our employee structure, and even our logo.

Bank on

Definition: Rely on (confidently).

Example: We are banking on a final investor to help get this project running.

Birds of a feather (flock together)

Definition: People with the same interests will often be found together.

Example: These investors are birds of a feather: they all went to Harvard, work on Wall Street, and golf together.

Bring something to the table

Definition: To provide a useful or helpful addition.

Example: We need each of the employees to bring something to the table during next week’s meeting: everyone needs to have a marketing plan for the next year and three suggested changes to our business model.

Fish where the fish are

Definition: Use resources, such as time, where the highest results will be.

Example: We have to fish where the fish are. I don’t think this marketing campaign is useful because it targets people outside of our age demographic.

15 Marketing Idioms in English

Gain followers/subscribers

Definition: To get more followers on social media.

Example: In order to gain more followers, we’ve identified effective hashtags.

Go viral

Definition: To quickly become popular on the internet.

Example: After her post went viral, she received many advertising opportunities.

In the long run

Definition: Over a long period of time; eventually.

Example: We are putting a lot of time and money into this project, but in the long run it will be worth it.

In the works

Definition: In the planning stages.

Example: We have an exciting new project in the works.

Land (an account)

Definition: To sign a new client.

Example: He landed two new accounts last week.

15 Marketing Idioms in English

Payoff

Definition: The return on an investment or on a bet.

Example: The pay-off for this risk was huge!

Put (something) on the map

Definition: To make a product famous.

Example: This new marketing campaign will help put our product on the map.

Sold on

Definition: Convinced of.

Example: He’s not sold on the idea: I think we should prepare some examples for him of why it will be a good idea.

Selling point

Definition: Something that will convince someone to purchase something or say yes to an idea.

Example: For me, the selling point was the budget you created. It was well-written and showed that you’re financially responsible.

Word-of-mouth marketing

Definition: A type of marketing that relies on advertising through conversation. The company creates the initial “conversation” about the product and attempts to make this conversation spread.

Example: They used word-of-mouth marketing to create some buzz about their product. After that, it went viral!

15 Marketing Idioms in English

CISL San Diego and San Francisco offer Business English and Premier English programs to help students improve their professional English skills in a small classroom setting. With CISL’s Premier English programs, (Executive English in San Diego and Global Success in San Francisco) students are in a class of no more than 4 students and receive individualized training and curriculum based on their professional goals and needs. Contact CISL to learn more.

 

Business English

Business Idioms about Working Hard

July 27, 2017

Do you know how to describe your work environment? The following business idioms, phrasal verbs, and vocabulary words about working hard can describe your work situation, responsibilities, job challenges, and successes.

Business Idioms about Working HardBusiness Idioms about Working Hard

Be on a roll

  • Definition: To experience a time of success or good luck.

  • Example: You made three sales this week and you’re also the Employee of the Month. You’re on a roll!

Buckle down

  • Definition: To have strong determination and work hard towards a goal.

  • Example: We have to buckle down and finish this assignment by tonight.

Business Idioms about Working Hard

Burning a candle at both ends

  • Definition: To work extremely hard; to work too hard and not have good health or peace of mind.​

  • Example: He’s working two jobs and going to school: I’m sure he feels like he’s burning a candle at both ends.

Give it 110%

  • Definition: To make the maximum possible effort.

  • Example: I gave it 100% at my last job. I will do the same with your company.

Business Idioms about Working HardGo the extra mile

  • Definition: To make a special effort to achieve something.

  • Example: Tom went the extra mile and added graphics and more data to his report. ​

Multi-task

  • Definition: To deal with more than one task at the same time.

  • Example: We need to hire someone who can multi-task: answer phones, speak with customers, and help with office management.

Business Idioms about Working HardPull one’s own weight

  • Definition: To do your fair share of work that a group of people is doing together.

  • Example: It’s important that we all pull our own weight on this project.

Raise the bar

  • Definition: To raise the standard of quality for something.

  • Example: We created a new online platform for customers. It’s really raising the bar for customer service.

Business Idioms about Working HardStay ahead of the game

  • Definition: Gaining or maintaining an advantage in a situation (often by completing a task before its given deadline or knowing the latest about an industry’s trends).

  • Example: I try to read reports about the latest in my industry’s news. I like to stay ahead of the game.

 

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American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

July 15, 2017

Business English is more than just learning the language, phrasal verbs, and vocabulary that you need to be confident in a professional setting: it also includes learning the American business traditions that you need to know in order to conduct business in the U.S.! Do you know these American business traditions? See how they differ from the business traditions in your country.

American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

 

American Business Traditions

The handshake: an important first impression

The handshake is your first impression in business and it is considered VERY important. Make sure that during a handshake you:

  • Hold the person’s hand firmly
  • Look the person in the eye
  • Smile
  • Saying something such as “nice to meet you” or “it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Formal names and titles

Before meeting with the person, make sure that you know their full name . . . but always use “Mr” and “Ms” when you first meet them. If the person has a title, such as “President” or “Doctor” or “Professor,” use this title + the person’s last name. Here are some examples:

  • It’s a pleasure to meet you, Professor Smith.
  • Nice to meet you, Doctor Jones.
  • Pleased to meet you, Vice President Roberts.

If the person prefers for you to use his or her first name, they will tell you. Usually, please say “Please, call me [first name].”

Dress to impress

It is true that Silicon Valley has a reputation of companies that accept very casual attire (think about Mark Zuckerberg, for example: he always wears a grey shirt!). However, in traditional business settings, it is important to dress professionally. For men, this often means a tie and a long-sleeved dress shirt; for women, this can mean nice slacks or a skirt and a dress shirt.

American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

Forget gifts; remember hand-written notes

In the U.S., gifts can be seen as bribes (gifts you give someone to persuade them to make a decision). Instead, try to be thoughtful: send a hand-written note after the meeting and thank the person for his or her time, and suggest an opportunity to meet again.

American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

Business cards before or after

Business card culture in the U.S. is very casual. Once you meet the person and get settled (sit down, take out your meeting notes) you can present your card; sometimes, this is something people do at the end of the meeting. The only thing that is important is giving your card when the other person does. If you’re unsure, wait to see when the other person gives you his or her card, then do the same.

If the card has an interesting design or logo, it is appropriate for you to give the person a compliment.

Smiles, eye contact

Body language is very important during a meeting. Be sure to smile, look at the person when they are speaking, and make eye contact. Avoid using your phone, and take notes if you can. Make sure that your phone is turned on silent so that it does not ring or buzz during your meeting.

Lunch meetings are productive

Lunch can be lunch . . . or, it can be an opportunity to discuss business. In American culture, it’s very common for people to have a productive lunch meeting where they eat together and talk about business plans.

American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

Avoid smoking

Of course, there are some people in the U.S. who smoke, but many do not. It is considered rude to smoke without asking the people around you if it bothers them: to be safe, leave your cigarettes in your bag and wait until after the meeting.American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

Common Business Idioms

Do you know these common business idioms?

To talk about similarities

To be in the same boat

Definition: to be in a similar situation.

To be on the same page

Definition: to understand someone; to agree with someone.

To talk about strategies

To cut corners

Definition: to not do things thoroughly; to not follow the normal steps for a process or project.

Game plan

Definition: a plan of action for a project.

To meet someone halfway

Definition: to compromise.

To think outside of the box

Definition: to think creatively.

Trade-off

Definition: to sacrifice something in order to gain something else; to compromise.

To talk about struggles/difficulties

A long shot

Definition: something that has very little chance of success.

To be between a rock and a hard place

Definition: to have the choice between two difficult decisions, both with outcomes that are not ideal.

To go out of one’s way (to do something)

Definition: to give extra effort, resources, etc. to help someone.

To have one’s head underwater

Definition: to feel overwhelmed, unprepared.

Converse International School of Languages in San Diego and San Francisco provides Business English classes with no more than 8 students per class (an average of 7 students) to help you improve your English skills for the workplace. If you need more intensive practice, CISL’s Premier English Executive Programs for professionals offer intensive instruction with 4-student classes focused on your career’s required English skills. Watch our testimonials below to hear about the success CISL students experience in our small classrooms and intensive curriculum. 

Contact CISL to learn more about our San Diego Executive English Program and our San Francisco Global Success Program and to begin the next phase of your career: conducting business confidently in English! 

 

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Language of Negotiation for English Learners

June 28, 2017

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” -U.S. President John F. Kennedy

In business, it is important to negotiate so that both sides are happy with their agreement. This can be difficult to do in your native language, so it is of course also difficult in English. Use this language of negotiation for English learners and you will be comfortable negotiating deals in your profession.

Language of Negotiation for English Learners

Language of Negotiation for English Learners

Language of agreement

I completely/totally/wholeheartedly agree.

That’s a fair point/suggestion.

You have a good point.

I think we can both agree that . . .

I see no problem with . . .

I see where you are coming from.

Language of Negotiation for English Learners

 

Language of disagreement

I’m not sure if I completely agree with you.

I understand where you’re coming from. However,…

I’m prepared to compromise, but…

The way I look at it…

The way I see things…

If you look at it from my point of view…

That’s not exactly how I look at it.

From my perspective…

I’d have to disagree with you there.

I’m afraid that doesn’t work for me.

Language of Negotiation for English Learners

Language of persuasion

Why don’t you meet me halfway.

I’m confident we can come to an understanding.

Surely there is a solution that we will both be happy with.

I’m convinced this is the best option for both of us/both parties.

Converse International School of Languages provides Business English classes of no more than 8 students and Premier Classes of no more than 4 students for business professionals. Contact CISL to learn more about our Premier Classes, including our Executive English in San Diego and Global Success in San Francisco