Should we simplify everything we write?

In my last article, I discussed the idea of keeping it simple and speaking to your audience within the context of a historical site or museum.  This week, I’d like to look at writing text for art exhibits, which is a more difficult task because art itself is so much more subjective than historical events.  But that also begs the question: do we need to simplify everything we write?

When people look at art, they can experience it on two different levels:  what it says to them personally, and perhaps, what the artist wants them to hear. But how do … Read the rest

Keep it simple and speak to your audience

One of my professional passions is to help people make the complex simple. For some reason, people think that to sound intelligent, or be taken seriously, they have to give long, complicated explanations.  In fact, the opposite is true. There is a genius in simplicity.

This idea of simplicity translates across industries. Let me give you an example from the non-museum world.

One of my clients, an engineer, was tired of the management team in New York asking the same questions over and over again.  It was obvious they weren’t satisfied with his answers, and his boss was getting frustrated … Read the rest

Customer Service is Everything

Top tips to make your guests feel like VIPs

The coronavirus numbers in Germany are dropping nicely, so my husband and I decided to book a holiday for late summer. That said, we are being quite conservative about the whole thing. The first thing we agreed on was no flights. Instead, we plan to drive. We also wanted to be able to cancel at late notice, just in case the infection rate starts going up again.

Before we settled on a location or booked our hotel, we did one last thing: we checked the major review sites to reassure ourselves … Read the rest

Is fluency really necessary?

I recently read a conference paper about the lack of English language skills among the tour guides at the Aceh Tsunami Museum in Indonesia.  The author concluded that of the thirteen guides tested, only one was considered fluent in that “their speech would be fully acceptable by native speaking standards.”

Of course, being able to speak English is becoming essential within the tourism industry, even more so in a country like Indonesia, where tourism represents 4.1 percent of the country’s GDP. But does one need to be fluent to perform their job well?  Should that be the standard to … Read the rest

How to make an impact – learn to write an impact statement!

Marshallsay English copyediting and proofreading services

I want you to imagine this situation:  You are in charge of a project that is costing your company millions.  But you have everything under control.  You have kept a very close eye on every step of the project and, because of that, you are actually two weeks ahead of schedule.

The fact that you are two weeks ahead of schedule is an outcome – something that happens as a result of an activity or process.  And being two weeks ahead of schedule is great!  But why it is important?  The answer to that question comes in your impact statement.… Read the rest

The professional benefits of volunteering

Landing a job that requires experience presents a real Catch-22 situation for anyone trying to break into a new field. How are you supposed to get professional experience if no one will give you a job to get that experience?

That was the situation I found myself in after I graduated with my BA in history. I wanted to work in the museum field and go on to graduate school. But every job, even entry-level ones, wanted experience working in a museum and/or a master’s degree.   It seemed like a vicious circle that I could never break. Luckily for me, … Read the rest

Communicate and change the world

Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity.
Yehuda Berg

Most people think that to change the world, you need to have a superpower. But I argue that most people already have a superpower: they have the ability to communicate.

It doesn’t matter if you are communicating for business or for a cause you are passionate about – to communicate effectively, you need to be able to answer three questions:

  • What is the problem?
  • How will this problem affect your audience?
  • What do you want people to do?

Let’s break these down.

What is the problem?

You have … Read the rest

Sharing is a wonderful thing!

Are you sending the right message on your video calls?

Over the past two months, I have seen a deluge of articles about video conferences and online meetings: how to look good online, basic etiquette, and how to deal with technical issues. But few are addressing one of the basic communication issues that arise during these online meetings: that more than 70 per cent of communication is non-verbal. Non-verbal signals can be communicated through our facial expressions, our body language, and the tone of our voice.

Unfortunately, much of this is lost during a video conference.

I’ll give you an example.  A friend recently complained to me that only being … Read the rest

Writing your CV, Part 3: Describing your professional experience

Last week we looked at the Objective and Summary sections of your CV.  This week, I’d like to discuss how to describe your professional experience.

The most important thing to keep in mind when writing this section is that your experience must connect to the job description.

To give you a real-life example, I would like to go back to the Visual Merchandiser job we looked at last week.  If you remember, we used the Key Requirements of the job to build the Skills Summary section.  Now let’s look at the actual job description.  This is found in Key Accountabilities.… Read the rest

CV Writing, Part 2: the Objective and Skills Summary

Last week, we talked about how to layout your CV and what to include in it. Today, I’d like to talk about writing the Objective and Summary.

CV is short for curriculum vitae, which literally means “the course of my life.”  It’s a story.  The Objective introduces the main character (you) and the Summary tells you what the story is about.  It makes the reader want to find out more.

If you are going to post your CV to job websites like Indeed or Monster, you can write an Objective and Summary based on skills generally required … Read the rest

It’s time to update your CV

Let’s face it: with everything happening in the world, you might need to look for a new job. That means writing a CV, building your network, and job interviews. But what if you have to do it all in English? No worries! We’ll be discussing this and much more over the next couple of weeks.

Analysts around the world are trying to figure out what the economy will look like after the coronavirus pandemic is over. While it’s hard to predict, one thing is sure: unemployment will rise. That means you need to start updating your CV and building your … Read the rest

Preparing for your next conference call in English

Right now, it seems that everyone is conducting business via conference calls.  Unfortunately, they are the one thing that many non-native English speakers have the most difficulty with, particularly if native speakers are on the call.

But there are some things you can do to get yourself ready for a conference call in English.  And it all starts with the agenda.

The agenda can be a formal document, or it can be a simple bullet point list about what’s going to be discussed.  If there is no agenda attached to the meeting invitation, write back to the organiser and … Read the rest