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Business Communication Skills and Teaching Presentation Skills [Interview]

Businessman giving presentationIn November 2010, the Oxford University Press Conference for Private Language Schools took place in Kyiv. Oxford News met with guest speaker John Hughes, whose presentation ‘Business people want results – now!’ was dedicated to the new title from Oxford University Press, Business Result. Interviewed by Igor Gnatyuk.

IG: Could you tell us a few words about the importance of Business Communication Skills?

JH: Business Communication Skills (BCS) have developed in the last 20 years and to some extent they’ve come out of management training: so, for example, in the past in Business English (BE) we tended to focus on professional  content or different business topics and the key  business vocabulary. But over time it became apparent from management training courses that business people actually needed lots of help with presentation skills, with meetings, negotiating, even socializing, or writing – writing reports, writing e-mails etc. – and that’s been incorporated into BE over the years. So, often our teaching can include what it is to be an effective communicator alongside effective use of the language. As a result, the demands on BE teachers have increased to some extent. We also need to be able to teach communication skills.

Teachers often think that teaching communication skills as well as language is a difficult challenge but  nowadays many of the course books provide support in this area. For example in Business Result every unit has a section on BCS and it might focus on telephoning or having a meeting to discuss a project, these kinds of things. So Business Communication Skills have become one of the most important aspects of BE.

IG: Could you tell me about teaching Presentation Skills, perhaps from your own teaching experience?

JH: Often when we talk about Presentation Skills, people have this idea that it’s a big official context with a Managing Director standing up at the front of a large audience giving a presentation about products. While that is one possibility, it’s not necessarily the most common. Lots of our BE students give presentations every day and on quite basic things: maybe it’s a presentation about what they are doing this week in their department, maybe it’s an informal presentation of the product to a client – the range of presentations can really vary.

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Three Question Interview – Ken Wilson

We have asked top ELT authors the following 3 questions:

1. What’s your favourite ELT book?
2. What or who has had the biggest impact on ELT in the last 25 years?
3. What do you wish you’d known when you started out in ELT?

Here, Ken Wilson answers these questions in a short interview:

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Three Question Interview – Shaun Wilden

We have asked top ELT authors the following 3 questions:

1. What’s your favourite ELT book?
2. What or who has had the biggest impact on ELT in the last 25 years?
3. What do you wish you’d known when you started out in ELT?

Here, Shaun Wilden answers these questions in a short interview:

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Three Question Interview – Tom Hutchinson

We have asked top ELT authors the following 3 questions:

1. What’s your favourite ELT book?
2. What or who has had the biggest impact on ELT in the last 25 years?
3. What do you wish you’d known when you started out in ELT?

Here, Tom Hutchinson answers these questions in a short interview:

With Oxford University Press Tom has published New Hotline, Project, Lifelines, Lifetime Video, American Hotline, An Introduction to Project Work, Big City and the award-winning Project Video.

Your Thoughts

What do you think of Tom’s answers? Have you read either of the books he mentions, or can recommend others? Why do you think ELT course books get such a bad rep? Is there anything you wish you’d known when you started in ELT? Why not share your thoughts here.

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Three Question Interview – Naomi Moir

We have asked top ELT authors the following 3 questions:

  1. What’s your favourite ELT book?
  2. What or who has had the biggest impact on ELT in the last 25 years?
  3. What do you wish you’d known when you started out in ELT?

Here, Naomi Moir answers these questions in a short interview:

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