English in business

Unit 1



"English is more and more necessary for international business, but less and less sufficient"(Leonard Orban, EU Commissioner for Multilingualism)

1 Pre-reading task. Discuss the following questions in groups:

-People have always needed a common language to communicate. What language have they used for this purpose in Europe?

-What language have European community had as an international one in different periods of history?

-What language do you learn as a second language? How can you apply the knowledge of English in your future life? What are your ambitions?

2 Read the following statement. Do you agree or disagree? Prepare arguments to support your view. “English is more and more necessary for international business, but less and less sufficient”


3 Read, learn and keep in memory the following expressions, try to use them in your own sentences:

-public funding

-tangible return on investment

-to benefit from learning a foreign language

-competition for public funding

-market failure

-insufficient language skills

-the revealing results

-inadequate intercultural skills

-small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

-the total value of smth

-a quantifiable benefit

-to undertake a number of studies

-export markets

4 Read the first part of the text


a) Why should you learn a foreign language? That might seem like a stupid question, particularly coming from a company that publishes language-learning magazines. Surely, the more foreign languages you can speak, the better. Yes, probably. But sometimes simple questions are not as stupid as they seem.

Of course, it's easy to think of reasons for learning languages. You can travel more easily, communicate with more people, and learn about other countries and cultures. Languages can also help you in your current job, or be an advantage if you want a new job.

b) But look again at that last paragraph. It's all about "you, you, you". You benefit privately from learning a foreign language. You benefit in your career, language skills benefit society more generally — for example, by improving international understanding. And companies benefit from the language skills of their employees.

c) Anne Davidson Lund, a director of CILT, the National Centre for Languages in the UK. says: “figures speak more loudly than words in a climate where language learning is not an unquestioned right, where competition for public funding for education and training is intense, and where the prize goes to those who can show a tangible return on investment in terms of their nation's bank balance. Can we win that prize for languages?"

d) Lund argued that, if the business sector wants to secure more public funding for foreign-language education and training, it must show that language skills bring a quantifiable benefit to companies. Also, the business sector must show that there is "market failure": that is, firms are not currently getting all the language skills they need.

CILT has undertaken a number of studies to look into these questions. The most important one was the 2007 "ELAN" study {Effects on the European Union Economy of Shortages of Foreign Language Skills in Enterprise— see box, page 19) for the European Commission. This looked at firms in 29 European countries and tried to quantify the value of contracts lost because of insufficient language skills.

e) The results were revealing. The report found that there was a clear link between language skills and export success. And among a sample of 2,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), 11 per cent said that they had lost contracts as a result of a lack of language skills. (In most countries, ten per cent said they had also lost contracts because of inadequate intercultural skills.) Some of these contracts were worth over €1 million, with the average being €345,000. The report estimated that the total value of lost business to the EU economy because of poor language skills in SMEs was around €100 billion a year.

f) The ELAN report identified four key elements of language management in companies that were successful in export markets:"... having a language strategy, appointing native speakers, recruiting staff with language skills and using translators and interpreters". An SME investing in all of these four elements was found to have an export-sales proportion 44.5 per cent higher than one that does not do so.

5 Read through the first part of the article quickly once more. Match each sentence 1-7 to the sentence a-g that should logically follow it.

1 Foreign languages can

2 You benefit privately

3 You can travel more easily, communicate with more people and

4 Language skills benefit society more generally by

5 The prize goes to those who can show a

6 If you want to secure more public funding for foreign-language training and educations…

7 Four key elements of language management for success in export markets are:

a)   it must show that language skills bring a quantifiable benefit to companies

b) improving international understanding

c) a language strategy, appointing native speakers, recruiting staff with language skills and using translators and interpreters

d) also help you in your current job

e ) learn about other countries and cultures

f) tangible return on investment in terms of their nation’s bank balance

g) from learning a foreign language

6 Think about the questions to paragraphs A-F which require the answers, presenting the main idea of each paragraph.


1. Read, learn and remember the following expressions, try to use them in your own sentences:

-to make recommendations for improving language skills

-regional and minority languages

-linguistic diversity

-to gain a competitive advantage

-less sufficient

-mother tongue

-to deal with different languages

-the importance of implementing strategies for developing the language skills

-disseminating best practices on language strategies

-targeting the official language

-to master the language of the consumers

-to have access to the behaviour and attitudes of others

-to target English as a priority

-to meet companies’ language needs

-challenges facing multinational companies

-to integrate employees into their workforces

2 Read the text


Following the ELAN report, Leonard Orban, the EU Commissioner for Multilingualism, set up the "Business Forum for Multilingualism" to make recommendations for improving language skills in EU companies Orban speaks about the role of foreign languages in business.

1) Why is multilingualism so important for the EU?

The EU already has 23 official languages, more than 60 regional and minority languages and hundreds of other languages spoken by people originally from outside the EU. We now want to make full use of this linguistic diversity. We want to show that, rather than being a burden, it is an asset for the EU — for cultural, educational and professional reasons. Also, EU companies can gain a competitive advantage through foreign language skills. But one of the main ideas from the Business Forum for Multilingualism is that English is not enough. English is more and more necessary for international business, but less and less sufficient.

2) So, how good are the language skills of EU citizens?

We are still a long way from our goal of every citizen learning at least two foreign languages. Only 28 per cent of European citizens are able to speak at least two foreign languages. And nearly half of European citizens can speak only their mother tongue.

3) What role should companies play here?

Companies should invest more in developing the abilities of their workers to deal with different languages. I think especially at the level of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) there is not enough awareness of the importance of languages other than English and of the importance of implementing strategies for developing their employees' language skills. So we have made a number of recommendations in the report on ways to help firms. Of course, increased financial support should be considered — at the EU level, but also at national, regional and local levels. But we also propose a new European internet platform for collecting and disseminating best practices on language strategies.

4) But are language skills only the companies' responsibility?

No, it's a shared responsibility. The European institutions also have a contribution to make, but so do the member states through improvements in their education systems. And so do individuals themselves.

5) Latin is still one of the most common foreign languages taught in educational institutions. Shouldn't this time and effort be spent more usefully on modern foreign languages?

Our task in the European Commission is to defend andpromote the linguistic diversity in Europe. That means targeting mainly the official languages of the EU. So, we look less at languages like Latin or ancient Greek. But these languages, even though they are no longer tools of communication, can be useful in terms of personal development. So we are not against these languages. But we would encourage people to learn a large variety of European languages. There are so many languages — for example, those of neighbouring countries in the EU, or of non-EU countries — and people should choose whatever languages they want.

6) When you say people should learn two foreign languages, do you mean two EU languages?

No, Europeans should also learn the languages of non-EU countries. For example, there are more and more Chinese people who are learning European languages. But Europeans should also learn Mandarin, Russian, Urdu, Japanese and so on. This will help not only individuals but also our companies, and so help the Union to become more competitive.

7) But, surely, learning better English is still the priority for many EU employees.

Of course, we acknowledge that English is more or less a lingua franca for communication between companies. And we are talking about the need for good English, because very often people speak bad English. But when you are addressing consumers, it is a completely different story. English is not enough. You need to master the language of your consumers. For example, it has been shown that many people in Germany don't understand advertising slogans that are in English. And we are not only talking about language skills; we're talking about intercultural skills. Teaching a language doesn't mean just teaching grammar, pronunciation etc. It means teaching a culture, literature and so on. It means having access to the behaviour and attitudes of others. We need to understand that others may think in a different way. These are the sorts of skills that are needed to do business in other places. So, while English will continue to be important, companies should add other languages, and other abilities, in order to become more competitive.

8) Which, then, are the most important foreign languages for EU workers to learn apart from English?

That's not for us to say. It's up to every company to decide which language skills they need, according to their activities and plans. For example, some companies may target Mandarin as a priority. Others may target Hindi. We don't want to tell the companies what to do. We just want to tell them that languages are an important part of their performance, and that they should consider this seriously.

9) Don't firms solve their language needs pragmatically by, for example, hiring people from other countries who speak two other languages as well as their native tongue?

Yes, in many cases, companies do meet their language needs by finding the right people to employ. On the other hand, as politicians, we have to think about all European citizens and give them the chance to become more competitive and to find better jobs. It is also to the advantage of EU companies if they can find people in their own countries with the necessary language skills. And, as we say in our report, one of the main challenges facing multinational companies in the EU — and society more generally — is to integrate employees from different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds into their workforces. And this means that the training of existing employees could be the best option.

3 Match each sentence 1-10 to the sentence a-j that should logically follow it.

1 EU companies can gain…

2 Only 28% of European citizens are able

3 Companies should invest more in

4 We propose a new European internet platform for

5 Our task in the European Community is

6 We acknowledge that English is more or less a

7 Teaching a language doesn’t mean

8 While English will continue to be important,

9 It’s up to every company to decide which language

10 One of the main challenges facing multinational companies in EU is

a) collecting and disseminating best practices on language strategies

b) lingua franca for communication between companies

c) a competitive advantage through foreign language skills

d) integrate employees from different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds

e) companies should add other languages and other abilities in order to become more competitive

f) to speak at least two foreign languages

g) to promote the linguistic diversity

h) skills they need, according to their activities and plans

i) just teaching grammar and pronunciation, but also a culture, literature and so on

j) developing the abilities of their workers to deal with different languages

4 Read through the article, part two once more. Try to summarize in a sentence what each paragraph 1-9 is about

5 Read the questions which are the headings of the paragraphs 1-9. Answer the questions. Don’t look into the text.

! Home assignment: get ready to speak about the problems of multilingualism in European community. For more information use the following sites:

For more information: Companies work better with languages — the Business Forum for Multilingualism, European Commission: #"#">#"#">#"#">www.britishcouncil.org

CILT, the National Centre for Languages: www.cilt.org.uk European Commission (Multilingualism): #"1.files/image001.gif">Penny Ferguson

Сагу Cooper on their time management

Timothy Ferris

My time management

routine: I start the day by prioritizing. Then I force myself with the things that are important and don't allow myself to be distracted. I choose a quiet time in the day to delete unimportant e-mails.

What's on my desk that shouldn't be there: Sweets. Bits of paper that I have picked up more than once and then put down again, rather than dealing with them. Private photos that have been there for a month and that I haven't yet sorted out.

Biggest distractions: E-mails. People don't distract me because I am good at politely getting rid of those who disturb me.

My biggest time-waste: Thinking about private things I can't do anything about at work, especially things that happened in the past and that might happen in the future.

Top time-management tip: Decide what is important by asking. If this was never dealt with, would it matter? We tend to think of ourselves as two people - a work person and a private person. But we should integrate the time-management skills we learn at home at work, and vice versa.

The first thing I do in the morning: Prioritize! I open my e-mails, print out the ones I need, walk to my secretary's office, where the printer is, collect them and then order them on my desk Then I use them to write my "things to do " list. My time-management sin: Waiting until the last minute to do smaller writing jobs. This is bad time management. But I haven't yet let anyone down. The biggest nuisance on my desk: The pile of papers I don't really want to throw out but don't quite know what to do with. At some stage, I'll go through them and throw most of them out. My biggest time-management achievement: I've stopped trying to change colleagues who are negative. This caused me more stress than anything else. Top time-management tip: Set an exit time every day. If you know that you have to leave at a certain time, you'll make sure you get the important things done. You won't get everything done, but you have to stop somewhere if you want to have a life outside work.

Focus on doing only those things that bring income: Ask yourself, "If I had a heart attack and had to work two hours a week, what time-consuming activities -e-mail, phone calls, conversations, paper work, meetings, dealing with customers, etc. - would I cut out?" Used even once a month this question can keep you san and on track. Fold a standard piece of paper three times to make a small to-do list: Never have more than two critical items on it.

Decide which items are the most critical: Ask yourself, "If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?" Put a post-it on your computer screen with the question, "Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important things?" Accomplish more in less time :Leave work at 4 p.m. and take Monday and/or Friday off. This will force you to prioritize and work more quickly. Use short deadlines to force immediate action and ignore unimportant things.

Answer e-mails twice a day: Have the automated message telling people the two times in the day you read your message and refer them to voice mail they need you urgently.

Unit 3


1 We cannot not make decisions. Even when we decide not to decide, this is a decision . Read the questions below, think and answer them:

Have you ever been taught decision making? When, where and for what reason?

What exactly is decision making?

What are the key steps in decision making?

What makes people take bad decisions?

What kind of decision maker are you?

2Read the article by Bob Dignen from Business Spotlight (6/2008).Pay special attention to and memorize the vocabulary in bold type.


International business is a world of complexity, ambiguity and paradoxes. Decisions are often made on the basis of limited information, which makes risk management an essential discipline. And instead of the clear top-down decision-making structures of the past, organizations now expect individuals and teams to work autonomously at all levels. Greater cultural diversity has also widened the range of decision-making styles and processes, and increased the potential for conflict.

1What is decision making?

Most people would argue that we take business decisions to reach personal, team and organizational goals and that the art of decision making is simply to choose the right option from a range of possibilities. But, in practice, decision making is more complex.

First, the motivations behind our decisions may be less rational and strategic than we think: political loyalties, beliefs, environmental constraints, ethical factors and even irrational motives may play a significant role.

Second, decisions are not isolated events but part of a context of decision making.

2Key steps in decision making

To understand decision making better, it helps if we break down the process into various steps:

a)Decide to decide. The first step is to recognize that a decision needs to be taken to achieve a particular goal. This may be easier for some people than for others. Those who lack self-confidence ox fear risk may be indecisive, preferring to wait and see what happens rather than acting. Others may decide to act too quickly without thinking through the consequences, and so may be seen as impetuous.

Cultural issues may also be significant. In some national or organizational cultures, only those in senior positions can "decide to decide". In collective cultures, this decision may be a group process, which could require time to get a critical mass to support. This can be frustrating to those from a more individualistic culture, but rushing this process could lead to decisions that do not have wide acceptance.

b)Collect and evaluate information. Effective decision making requires reliable
information. But you should not collect so much information that you end up confused and paralyzed. Indeed, it will often be impossible to collect all the relevant information in the necessary timeframe. A certain information risk is often present. It can help to involve others in the information collection process to get as wide a range of opinions as possible. This provides not only better insight, but also potentially greater involvement in the implementation of any decisions.

It is important to set clear and relevant criteria to evaluate possible options. If a human-resources manager is to select training providers, price is an easy criterion to look at, but it may not be as relevant as quality criteria such as experience with similar companies, the ability to innovate or being able to deliver training in different languages.

Finally, you should know when not to take a decision. Resist the pressure to decide if you feel that waiting will allow questions to be clarified or new alternatives to emerge.

c)Decide on an option. A number of problem-solving tools can help you to compare the advantages and disadvantages of different options. On the basis of such tools and a certain amount of gut feeling, you should select the option that you think has the greatest probability of success.

Things may still stand in your way. A new turn of events may require you to rethink things. Unexpected resistance from others may necessitate a u-turn. You yourself may lack the courage to take an unpopular or difficult decision.

Fear of failure often prevents people from taking decisions. To make the right decision, you will have to manage your own fear of failure and risk. Remember the following:

1 Not taking risks limits opportunities for growth and improvement.

2 Risk is meant to be scary, so don't worry about being afraid.

3 We fear losing the familiar, so work hard to embrace the new.

4 Never be reckless: take calculated risks in a rational state of mind.

5 Accept a learning curve and don't try to succeed 100 per cent immediately.

6 When you jump, jump with 100 per cent conviction or you will hurt yourself when you land.

d)Implement the decision. Once you have made a decision, the real work starts. It is vital to

motivate yourself and others to accept the consequences of that decision and to support it with the necessary actions. If you simply announce decisions but fail to "sell and support" them, you risk resistance and failure. Effective decision makers proceed as follows:

-  They explain the reasons and positive intentions behind their actions.

-  They describe the benefits for those affected.

-  They have the mental energy, patience and communication skills to manage conflict.

e)Evaluate the decision. You will never improve your decision-making abilities without reflecting on the decisions you take. Analyze the extent to which key decisions achieve their goals and are supported by those around you. If they were unsuccessful, what was the reason? Remember also that it is possible to take good decisions that have a bad outcome. A decision is good if it is based on a clear goal, logical assessment of the available information and taken with the full commitment of the decision maker and others involved. If things don't turn out as expected, you can use that experience to improve your future decision-making performance.

3 Decision-making styles

Because people think and feel differently, it is not surprising that they make decisions in different ways. One interesting way of classifying decision-making styles is that of Rove and Boulgarides. In their work, they emphasize the importance of values, needs and preferences. Their model reveals four main decision-making styles, based on whether people are task-oriented or relationship-oriented and on how much cognitive complexity they prefer. The model also looks at the motivations behind decision making. The four types of decision makers are:

a) Directive decision makers. These people are task-oriented and have a strong need for power, wanting to feel they are in control of others. They also have a low tolerance for ambiguity and prefer to keep things pragmatic and simple. They tend to take decisions on the basis of less information, using fewer alternatives. They need to feel that the decision is theirs to make and no one else's.

b)  Analytic decision makers. These people are also task-oriented. They need to achieve things and are highly motivated when dealing with a challenge. They are more tolerant of ambiguity than directive decision makers, and can tolerate higher information loads. They take time to analyze in more detail the various possible courses of action.

c) Conceptual decision makers. Such individuals also have a strong need for achievement. But they are people-oriented and less analytical. They are comfortable with high information loads but their data collection methods may be through talking to people, especially experts. They tend to be more creative than the more analytical decision makers and think about what can produce the best results in the long term.

d)  Behavioural decision makers. These individuals have a strong people orientation. They tend to communicate easily, using simple and understandable messages(with low cognitive complexity). They consult with others, are open to suggestions and happy to compromise. They prefer a looser sense of leadership control. "I prefer everyone to "own" the decisions that are mine".

4 Finding your way

As we have seen, decision making is a process involving data collection and rigorous analysis. But it is also a psychological process involving human emotions and personal bias. The challenge is to develop your own approach to decision making so that you can make the most of your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

When working internationally in teams with different mindsets and priorities, it is essential that you can incorporate these diverse perspectives into the decision making process. In this way, you will be able to increase both creativity and the team's commitment to decisions.

3Answer the questions:

What makes decision making so important today?

What definition of decision making can you suggest?

What affects decision making?

What are key steps in decision making?

What is the most essential for each step?

4Test your decision making

Look at the questions below and note down your options. Then see page .... for comments. Decision 1: A normal coin is tossed ten times and lands on heads each time. You have $1,000 to place on the next choice. Do you choose heads or tails?

Decision 2: Which is more likely: to be killed by a shark, or by parts falling from an aircraft in flight?

Decision 3: What length would a perfectly regular cube-shaped tank have to be to hold all the blood of five billion people?

Decision 4: Think about the consequences of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986. On a scale of 1 (not at all) to 100 (totally), how strong would you support the building of a nuclear reactor close to your home?

5 Test your decision making: comments

There are various reasons why people make bad decisions. Here are a number of them, which we discuss in relation to the four decisions that you were asked to make on page . . . We use poor criteria. When faced with complex decisions, people often rely on their own experiences. But these may not be good criteria. In the first decision, most people intuitively choose tails, even though the probability of heads is still 50 per cent. In the second question, the correct answer is "falling aircraft parts", but most people answer "shark attack" because of

their experience of watching films or television programmes.

We use wrong information. The third question is often answered poorly as a result of people

giving false importance to what they see as significant data. Many people estimate that the tank

must be several kilometers long because of the large number of people. In fact, the answer is

"only" just over 260 meters.

We are not objective. The fourth question is usually answered on the basis of personal values

and bias, rather than on objective criteria ("I need more information about the risks")

6Ask yourself.

1What kind of decision maker are your?

3 Do you like to be the first to act or are you more cautious?

4  Are you prepared to take risks or do you delay decisions until you are sure of the outcome? 5 How would you describe the decision-making culture where you work/study?

6 To what extent do you fit into the culture?

7 Think about your last major decision at work/university.

- To what extent did you collect the necessary amount of information? How well did you set the criteria for creating and comparing options?

-What tools (if any) do you use to help you make your decisions? Does fear of failure sometimes stop you from making decisions? If so, think about the positive aspects of risk taking.

- Think about an important decision that you made recently at work/university. How well did you sell the decision to those affected by it?

- Think about the last bad decision you made. What did you learn from the experience that helped you to take better decisions?

EXERCISE: Which type of decision maker would say what?

Four types of decision makers are: directive, analytic, conceptual and behavioural.

Look at the comment below. Match each of them to one of these decision-making styles. (The

answers are on page . . . .)

1  "I think our feeling here is that the third solution is the most creative and will also produce the best result in the long term. Is everyone happy with that solution?"

2  "On the basis of all the data that we have collected, I think it's clear that the third solution is by far the most logical."

3  "OK. I think that we have talked things through and have now a clear commitment from everyone. Can we agree to implement the third solution and discuss results at the end of the month?"

4  "Implement this approach and report back at the end of the month on results." Answers: 1 Conceptual; 2 Analytic; 3 Behavioural; 4 Directive.

SURVIVAL GUIDE: decision making to bring about change

Coaching has established itself as a useful tool to support both individuals and groups when they have to take key decisions. Co-active coaching works with questions that stimulate insight into assumptions and principles behind decision making. The following questions, based upon a template created by Sharon Drew Morgan(see www.businessballs.com), can help you to begin the process of innovative decision making.

1   Take a look around your working situation. What issues do you see that require a decision for change?

2   What has stopped you from deciding until now?

3   What would you need to see/hear/feel in order to take a decision?

4   What criteria are you using to decide what aspects of the situation need to be changed?

5   What needs to be changed first?

6   How are you going to handle of opinion in the decision-making process?

7   Who needs to support you so that you can take this decision?

8   How will you motivate them to support you?

9   How will you know whether you have taken the right decision?

10 How will you be able to make this success sustainable?


Section A

This section provides some suggestions on phrases and vocabulary that you can use when making decisions. Remember, however, that you should only use the language that you and your colleagues feel comfortable with in your specific working context.

1Deciding to decide

What do we need to decide first?

How soon do we need to take a decision

on this?

Are we in a position to take a decision?

2Defining the decision-making process

How should we decide this? Who needs to be consulted? Who should take the final decision?

I think we need to decide on a new logo.

Could you let me have a decision by next


Well, we can decide when we get the extra


I think we need to discuss . . .

We need to involve .. .

The person ultimately responsible is . . .

3Collecting information

What do we need to know to take a decision? Why can't we take a decision? What information are we waiting for?

4Setting criteria

What criteria are we going to use?

On what basis will we take our decision?

What is important here?

We need information about. . .

We don't have enough information on...

We are waiting for confirmation of. . .

Our decision should be based on . . . I think the decision should be driven by The deciding factor will be ...

5 Deciding on an option

What do you think we should do? Which option is best for you? What is your decision?

I think we should . . .

In my opinion we should decide to.

My decision is to . . .

6 Implementing the decision

What do we need to do to implement

this decision?

What do we do now?

Can we agree on an action plan?

We have to . ..

The next step is to. Yes, I suggest that

7 Reviewing the decision

Was it a good decision? Yes and no. On the one hand, we could.. .

Did we take the right decision? Yes, we did. So far. . .

Would you take this decision again? I think so.

Section В Decision-making idioms

There are many idioms and idiomatic terms in English about decisions and decision making. Here are some of the most common ones.

A done deal

This expression describes an agreement or decision that has been reached on a specific issue. "We are still looking at different options, so it's not a done deal yet."

Jumping on the bandwagon

If someone "jumps on the bandwagon", they decide to join a trend that is already very successful or fashionable.

"So many companies are jumping on the work-life balance bandwagon at the moment and starting initiatives. But I don't think they really believe in it."

Putting your money where your mouth is

People who "put their money where their mouth is" support a decision or opinion, often in some financial way, either with an investment or some kind of bet.

"Come on. If you believe England will beat Germany in November in Berlin, put your money where your mouth is and bet me $10.

Playing for time

People who "play for time" try to delay a decision in some way:

"He tried to play for time by asking for more information. I think he was hoping we would just give in and reduce our prices."


This business buzzword is used to describe the process of groups trying to find out who was responsible for a decision that produced bad results. The term comes from "brainstorming". "The meeting about the failure of our marketing campaign turned into a blamestorming session, with nobody taking responsibility. Everyone just blamed everyone else."


Bob Dignen is one of the directors of York Associates (www.york-associates.co.uk) who

specializes in language, communication and intellectual training.

Contact: bob.dianen@york-associates.co.uk


Group Communication, Peter Hartley, Routledge, ISBN 970-415-11159-1.

Harvard Business Review on Decision Making, Peter Drucker, John Hammond, Ralph

Keeny, Howard Raiffa, Aid M.Hayashi, Harvard Business School Press, ISBN 978-57851-557-

Unit 4


1 Before you read the article, take a few minutes to think and say what the word ‘brand’ means. Give examples of your own.

2 Read the first part of the article.


I Companies invest an enormous amount of time to develop, promote and sustain their corporate brands. Think of Coca-Cola, Apple, BMW or McDonalds. Branding is a powerful way to shape customer perceptions of products or services and to influence their buying behaviour. So, if branding works for companies, why can't it work for you as an individual? Personal branding uses key corporate principles and practices to enable individuals to manage their image in the workplace. Before you read on, take a few minutes to think about the following questions. Then compare your answers to the comments in the article.

■ Why do you need a personal brand?

■ What steps should you follow to create such a brand?

■ What channels can you use to communicate your personal brand?

■ What role does culture play in personal branding?

■ Why do you need a personal brand?

II On the history of branding

The origin of the term "personal branding" is often traced back to a 1997 article, "The Brand Called You", by Tom Peters, one of the world's leading business experts box, He said that everyone has a personal brand, whether they like it or not. Peters defined brand primarily as what other people think about us — the ideas and associations we stimulate in their minds by the way we look, sound and behave.

Some aspects of our brand will be positive, others negative. Yet most of the time, we don't think about managing how people experience us. Peters believed it was time for individuals to take control of their personal brand in the workplace and to market themselves more consciously.

Peters argued that flatter corporate structures were making career development more problematic. Automatic promotions up the organizational ladder were be coming a thing of the past. Instead, individuals needed to promote themselves by defining and communicating their unique selling proposition (USP).

Some benefits of personal branding

·  Greater visibility and opportunities for promotion

·  Better working partnerships inside your company

·  Higher salary

·  The ability to attract and retain more customers

·  Greater self-confidence

·  Clearer focus on what really matters for you at work

III Creating a personal brand

It will be easier to create an effective personal brand if you follow these three key steps:

a) Define your personal brand vision. When was the last time you thought about what you want to achieve at work over the next three, five or ten years? Ask yourself questions both about specific career objectives (What do I want to become? How much do I want to earn?) and about general professional objectives (What kind of leader do I want be? What kind of team do I want to work in?). This process enables you to devote the appropriate amount of energy to the right areas and also plan to reach meaningful career goals.

b) Define your personal brand. The second step is to define a unique and impressive professional brand. Start by creating a short statement of who you are: the values you represent, your key qualities, and what makes you unique. Tom Peters suggests that your uniqueness include not only general personality descriptions, but also four key aspects of working life: your vision and style as a leader; what makes you special as a team member; your technical expertise: and your ability to help deliver results. Think about your own uniqueness by answering the following questions. You will find some useful examples of language to answer these questions, see the survival guide section.

Leadership vision

·   What inspires and motivates you?

·   How do you inspire and motivate others?

·   Where are you taking people?

Team focus

·   What do you see as your greatest strength in team?

·   What do your colleagues admire most about you?

·   What's special about working with you in a team?

Technical ability

·   Where are you excellent?

·   What are you known for doing better than others?

·   What is your particular genius?

Pragmatic results

·   What have you achieved that you are most proud of?

·   What will you deliver to your management?

·   What unique benefits do you offer the customer?

c) Promote your personal brand. No matter how good a brand is, it will be of little value if it isn't promoted well. That is why companies spend millions on advertising to increase the visibility of their brands. The same is true of personal branding. It is essential to move on from creating the brand to making sure it is experienced by key stakeholders — that is, the people with whom you work and who have direct or indirect influence over your career development.

3 Read the first part of the text quickly once more and find the words and phrases that match the definitions below:

a) excellent knowledge or skill in your professional subject

b) the feature of being very special, unusual

c) the relationships between people in business, organization

d) something important in your job that you hope to achieve

e) the process of creating your special image

f) the state of being more popular

g) the main personal characteristics

(personal branding, greater visibility, working partnerships, meaning career goals,

key qualities, uniqueness, technical expertise)

4 Read the second paragraph, discuss the importance of the enlisted benefits. Which one is the most important in your opinion? Write the list of the benefits of personal branding in the order of importance from your point of view.

5 Read the third paragraph and

a) name the three key steps in creating a personal brand (don’t look into the text)

b) answer the questions from part 1 in close pairs, then in open pairs

c) speak about your uniqueness using four key aspects of working life from part “d”. You will find some useful examples of language to answer the questions in the survival guide section.

d) speak about the importance to promote your personal brand, use no more than 3 sentences.

6 Write down 10 words and expressions from the first part of the text, which you think are the most suitable to speak about personal branding.

! Home assignment:

1-write down your personal brand vision, using no more than three sentences,(see the survival guide section)

2-wrte down your own personal brand statement, using no more than three sentences, use a list of useful personality adjectives from the survival guide section.

7 Read the second part of the article


IY Communicating your brand

There are various channels you can use to promote your unique personal brand in the workplace.

a) The work channel. Effective personal brand promotion is more than telling everyone how wonderful you are. The best way to showcase your talent to others is to find opportunities to work with them. Look for new projects where you could play a role. Volunteer informal support and advice to those who might benefit from your experience. Don't expect opportunities to fall into your lap; you need to look actively. And don't get impatient if benefits don't appear immediately. Allow your reputation to grow slowly but surely. As a way of getting started, commit yourself to one extra task for the coming four weeks that will enhance your reputation with a significant decision maker.

b) The people channel. One of the best forms of marketing is personal recommendation or "word of mouth". It is essential to cultivate a strong network of carefully selected people who like and respect you. Such people can act as multipliers for your brand in conversations with other decision makers. Some people like to join professional networking sites: others increase the number of strategic lunches they take part in. Whatever method you use, it is important always to think about whether you are spending the right amount of time with the right people talking about the right things. Your aim is to ensure that your "stakeholder network" understands your values and talks about you in the right way.

c) The emotional channel. Corporate brands use emotions to connect strongly to customer desires, such as the wish to be successful or attractive. Your personal brand also needs to manage emotions. In their book Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate, Fisher and Shapiro identify four areas of emotion that need to be managed in business contexts. Think about these four areas for your personal brand:

Appreciation. People feel good when they see that they are liked. When people meet you, do they feel liked and appreciated by you?

Affiliation. We usually have more positive feelings towards people with whom we have something in common. When people meet you, how clearly do you communicate that you are similar?

Autonomy. We need to feel a sense of control over our own destiny. Do people feel empowered and autonomous when they are with you, or do you threaten their independence and expertise?

Status. People need to feel respected. How does your personal brand communicate respect for others? How does talking to you confer status on others?

To gain their customers' trust and loyalty, companies try to make the experience of their brand an enjoyable one. Effective personal brands work in the same way. Do people find it enjoyable and rewarding to be around you?

d) The visual channel. When people see you, they should experience credibility, authority and openness. For example, when you are making a presentation, an open posture with strong and controlled gestures normally helps to build your brand better than shifting from foot to foot or waving your arms around wildly. Choice of clothing, hairstyle and portables, such as a briefcase and laptop, also communicate your values. And think also about your written communication, including e-mails, presentation slides and even your handwriting on a flip chart. What do the information load, format and design say about you?

e) The auditory channel. What do people think when they hear you? Are they inspired, or do they have mixed feelings towards you and your approach to business? Does your voice persuade with warm and friendly tones, or does it create discomfort with dull intonation or shrill tones? Do people "hear" you smiling on the telephone? If you don't know what people really think of you when they hear you, start asking!

Y The culture question

Creating and communicating a personal brand is not easy. For example, what should you do if you feel that the key people in your professional network don't like your personal brand? What if they respect alternative values and behaviours? Should you change yourself and risk becoming inauthentic?

There is no easy answer here, but it can help to think about this problem in two parts. If you believe that key stakeholders have the wrong perception of your talents, then you need to work on improving the promotion of your brand. If on the other hand, your brand values genuinely offer little to your stakeholders, think about whether you can adapt your brand, or whether you need to find another place to work.

Culture can play a key role in brand communication. Whatever values or information we try to transmit, the receivers of our message will see or hear us and interpret the message according to their own mental model and filters. For example, you may wish to promote a brand that says you are direct and honest, but others may experience you as aggressive and pushy. Or, you may want to promote the patience and empathy of your empowering leadership, only to find that others see you as indecisive and lacking direction.

You are likely to have a number of diverse audiences for your brand campaign at work. These may include different national cultures, departmental cultures, age and gender cultures, different business relationships (for example, that between a customer and a supplier) and, of course, the individual personalities of your colleagues, managers and business partners. All these audiences will have distinct needs and perspectives and may experience you in different ways. Effective personal branding requires a clear vision and message but, above all, intelligent promotion to diverse audiences.

YI Always be selling

Developing and communicating your personal brand is not enough. You also have to "walk the talk". Are you a leader who breeds confidence and trust with analytical excellence and good people-management skills? Are you open for feedback and do you act to improve yourself even when the messages you get are difficult to accept? If not, your brand may be compromised. Remember that every encounter represents an opportunity to sell "Brand You", from first impressions in casual social encounters and the many e-mails you write each day to taking part in international meetings or presentations. Effective brands are consistent brands. So make sure that how you look, sound and act at all times sends a consistent message about who you are and what your unique value is.

8 Read the fourth paragraph of the text quickly and find the words and phrases that match the definitions below:

a) to present somebody’s abilities or good qualities

b) when people tell each other about it (not read or write, only speak)

c) people or companies that are involved in a particular project, especially if they invest money in it

d) to give somebody the power or authority to do something

e) to make people feel that they are respected by you

f) to have the feeling of trust and belief

1-experience credibility

2-stakeholder network

3-to communicate respect for others

4-to showcase

5-to feel empowered

6-word of mouth

9 Check your memorizing skills. Name five channels which you can use to promote your unique personal brand, don’t look into the text.

10 Read part “c”(paragraph IY) once more and

a) try to explain what the words “appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, status” mean

b) complete the sentences with proper words mentioned above

The job of a university teacher brings with it high ________ and good income.

His_______ to the most powerful political party gives him high position in the society.

Frenchmen usually show great_______ to women.

Young people would like their parents to give them greater ________ autonomy in their personal life.

c) answer the questions you can find in the parts c, d, e.

11 Read paragraphs Y and YI quickly. Try to summarize in a sentence what each part (a-f) is about

12 Find key words and expressions(at least 10) suitable to speak about developing and communicating your personal brand from paragraphs Y and YI.

13 Match each sentence 1-6 to the sentence( a-f) that should logically follow it, don’t look into the text

1-What should you do

2-It can help you to think

3-Whatever values or information we try to transmit

4-Effective personal branding requires

5-Are you a leader who breeds

6-Every encounter represents an opportunity

a) confidence and trust with analytical excellence and good people-management skills?

b) if you feel that the key people in your professional network don’t like your brand?

c) to sell your personal “Brand You”

d) about this problem in two parts

e) a clear vision and above all, intelligent promotion to diverse audiences

f) the receivers of our message will see or hear us

14 Read the survival guide section, get ready to participate in the round-table discussion “Creating a personal brand helps to face the challenges of the modern life”.


Creating your personal brand.This section provides some suggestions for phrases and vocabulary that can be used to communicate your personal brand at work. Remember, however, that you should only use the language and approach that you feel comfortable with in your specific context.

1. Communicating your brand vision and values

Building a personal brand is not achieved by telling everyone how wonderful you are. You need to communicate your vision and values regularly in business encounters such as presentations, meetings and social conversation. Here are some key aspects you should consider:

a) Leadership vision

Communicate your vision of good leadership, so that your staff can deliver the performance you want.

For me, good leadership means...

This organization's strategy is to...

What inspires me is...

My greatest motivation is...

The future for me is...

b) Teamwork

Communicate your vision of good teamwork practice.

My approach to teamwork is...

The critical success factor is..

What I always want to see in teams is...

Teams need to have...

For me, a team is not a team unless it has

c) Skills

Communicate your own skills as well as those you admire in others.

Your skills:

·   One thing I do know is how to..

·   My core competence is...

·   Some people say that my particular attribute is to...

Others' skills:

·   One quality I admire in people is...

·   The key attribute for firms is...

·   A core skill for us all today is...

d) Results

Communicate an attitude to goals that is personally focused, but also highlights the importance of wider goals.

I guarantee that I will deliver...

·   My goal is to...

·   My view of (customer service) is…

·   The secret to getting great results is...

·   The team has to reach...

·   The organization's objective is to...

2. Differentiating your brand

Positioning is a critical element of brand identity. Differentiating clearly between what you see as right and what you see as wrong is a simple way of distinguishing your personal brand from the competition. The following extracts from presentations are examples of the type of approaches and sentences you could use.

Empowerment, not dictatorship: a message about leadership

"I am not going to stand here and tell you what to do every time something goes wrong. My leadership philosophy is one of empowerment, and not dictatorship. I work with trust, and I work with you, not instead of you."

Responsibility, not blame: a message about teamwork

"I don't like the current atmosphere in the team. There is too much focus on finding the person to blame, rather than taking responsibility for putting things right. Responsibility for me is a value that I expect everyone to live by."

Analysis before action: a message about results

"I don't think we should take a decision without having the data. In my view, you can't get effective performance without sufficient analysis."

Clarity, not confusion: a message about communication

"The messages we are sending to our staff confuse not just them, they also confuse me. I am a great believer in clear and direct communication. So we need to look again at our communication to create greater transparency and thus increase motivation."

Solutions, not problems: a message about customer focus

"My approach to this issue is to focus on solutions, not problems. We don't have the time or resources to discover every problem. And anyway, our customers need solutions... yesterday!"

3. Finding your strengths and talents

The Gallup Organization's Strengths-Finder is a talent assessment instrument developed for the internet. A talent is defined as a "naturally recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behaviour that can be productively applied.

Knowledge and skills, on the other hand, can be taught and learned.

The Strengths Finder instrument lists 34 different "themes" that describe talents. These can provide an excellent starting point for the creation of your personal brand statement. Among the themes are those below. Remember that people can be strong in a number of themes.

Achiever: People who work hard and enjoy being busy.

Communication: People who find it easy to put their thoughts into words.

Developer: People who recognize and cultivate the potential and abilities of others.

Futuristic: People who inspire others with their visions of the future. Harmony: People who don't enjoy conflict and try to achieve consensus instead.

Maximizer: People who focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence.

Responsibility: People who are committed to honesty and loyalty.

Woo: People who love the challenge of meeting new people and making a connection.

■For a full list of the 34 themes and their descriptions, see the article "The Gallup Organization's Strengths Finder Instrument" by Tonya Fredstrom, Jim Harter and Kenneth Tucker. The article can be found on the Career Trainer website (www. careertrainer. com).

Personality adjectives

When creating your personal brand statement (see below), it can be helpful to use adjectives that describe your personality.








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