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The CEO Publication Interviews CEO David de Jager

Our very own David de Jager has recently been interviewed by The CEO Publication about Perfectly Spoken and how our unique way of learning English online is the future and how he achieved this success. David’s history in teaching English as a language was the launching point for Perfectly Spoken, utilising different learning techniques and creating hybrids to find the best way to teach someone how to speak English. David saw an opportunity to take his vast experience and understanding of the range of people who are learning and wanting to learn the language to create the platform we all now know as Perfectly Spoken.

“You may be surprised that there are approximately 2 billion learners of English across the globe…” Read what David fully had to say in the interview. The aim of Perfectly Spoken was to create a platform in which learning English was extensive and complete whilst also being available to the learner whenever the learner was ready, rather than a fixed time and date inside a classroom. Whether you’re completely new to learning English or you’re brushing up your skills to develop your career or personal life, there is something for everyone. This was a core part of the design for the online English courses.

David goes on to discuss how he is proud of what he has created here and why he thinks the Perfectly Spoken platform is out-performing all the premium services that are out there. He also mentions the connections we’ve made along the way with large new agencies and the performance of the courses internationally. Take a look at the entire interview over on The CEO Publication and if you are curious about learning English online, get in touch with our team or register for your course today!

Business English

The demand for business English classes has increased exponentially in recent years, with students around the world keen to gain a deeper understanding of the terminology and language used in business and international trade.

Business English differs from standard English – the terms and phrases you’ll encounter in a business environment aren’t what you’ll encounter when travelling to an English-speaking country or when conversing with an English-speaking person.

In a business setting, there’s vocabulary you’ll need to understand in order to communicate effectively with your colleagues and clients, from delivering presentations and negotiating to socialising and writing reports.

Tips for Improving Your Knowledge of Business English

There are several ways to improve your business English knowledge while you’re learning, to make the process of retaining information easier. Here are a few tips and suggestions.

Read or Watch the News

Reading or listening to business English in use is a great way to get to grips with the terminology and how people use different phrases. Subscribe to business magazines, read articles online and watch news segments on TV or on YouTube – aim for eat least one of these per day to keep your learning going.

Create Daily Habits

Immersing yourself in business English can help you build up your vocabulary faster, so set a target to learn as many new words as you can. Aim to learn a few new words each day – you can write them down on flashcards, which you can then use to refresh your memory when you’re practising. Building a daily habit to practice will keep your knowledge fresh in your mind and helps you to build momentum.

Use What You’ve Learned

You need to be able to put your learning into practice in conversation or written communication. Social media groups are a great place for this, as you’ll be having conversations with people who are talking about business-related topics. Or you can join informal business meetups where people won’t mind if you’re using certain words or phrases incorrectly.

Key Business English Terms

Graphnoun – a visual way to present mathematical information and data. Graphs are one type of chart, but they are not the only type.

Chartnoun – charts present information in the form of graphs, tables or diagrams. They are a method to present information.

Strategynoun – a plan that has been developed to achieve a certain goal for the business, such as a marketing strategy which has been put together to reach a specific type of audience.

Plan and Planning – noun ­– a collection of actions that are put together in order to achieve a specific aim for the business.

Goals – noun – a purpose or something that the business is trying to achieve.

Success – noun – achieving positive results or something the business was striving for. Success can be commercial, business or economic.

Analyse-(z) – verb – to study something in great detail or to research it to discover more about it. In business, this is usually data or statistics, or analysing a problem or issue the business is facing.

Growth – noun – the increase in revenue or demand for the business’s products or services.

Advertisingnoun – a way of promoting the business, its products or its services to persuade customers to buy them or learn more about them.

Companynoun – an organisation or business that sells products or services to make money.

Structurenoun – how parts of the business are arranged or organised, such as pricing systems or pay for staff.

Hierarchynoun – a system that organises the people in a company into different levels depending on their role and how much authority they have.

Contractnoun – a legal document between two people or companies that outlines the details of an agreement.

Clausenoun – in business law, a clause refers to a term or statement in a contract.

Correspondencenoun – written communication, like an email or letter.

Employmentnoun – the work someone is hired by a company to do for them in return for a salary.

Employeenoun – someone who is paid by a company or business owner to work for them.

Employernoun – a person or organisation that employs people.

Meetingnoun – an occasion where people meet to discuss a topic.

Zoomnoun – computer software that enables people to host virtual meetings.

Conference Call – noun – a phone call where three or more people are involved.

Presentationnoun – a talk given to a group of people to explain a new product, service or plan.

Pitchnoun – a speech given by someone, typically a marketer or salesperson, to persuade a person or company to buy, use or do something.

Decknoun – refers to a set of slides in a presentation.

Publishingnoun – the activity of publishing magazines, books or software.

CV – noun – a written document used when applying for a job that outlines your work experience, education and qualifications.

Sales noun – the number of products or services sold. May also refer to the department responsible for selling in a company.

Targetnoun – the result, level or situation that the business is hoping to achieve or reach, such as a certain number of sales.

Development – noun – the changes or growth that the business needs to make to advance or expand.

Expand – verb – to increase in some way, such as in size or importance in the industry.

Void – adjective – a legal term meaning that there is no legal force. For example, a contract is determined void if it’s not legally binding.

Competitor/Competition – noun – a person or company that works in the same industry or market or sells similar products.

Invoicenoun – a document that describes the work provided by a company or person and how much it costs, which requires payment.

Negotiate – verb – a formal discussion to reach a final agreement, such as a financial agreement or to determine the cost of a product or service.

Media – noun – a collective term for newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and the internet. For example, ‘The issue has been talked about in the media’.

PR – noun – an abbreviation of Public Relations, which involves providing the public with information about the business or the products the company sells to promote it and encourage a positive reputation.

Agendanoun – a list of things to discuss or achieved in a meeting or business conference. An agenda is usually created before these events and given to attendees so that everyone knows what will be discussed.

Quoteverb – a statement telling a customer or client how much a product or service will cost.

Branchnoun – one of the offices of a larger business, which is open to the public. For example, a national bank will have several branches around the country.

Officenoun – a room or a building where people work as part of a business or organisation.

Dress code – noun – the accepted way of dressing for a certain event, situation or company.

Penaltynoun – an official punishment for breaking the terms of a contract. The punishment is usually financial, such as a fine.

Authorisation-(z) – noun – to give someone the official or legal approval to do something. This is usually a senior member of the team, such as a manager.

Commercial – adjective – used to describe a product or service which can be purchased by the public or related to the business’ activities. As a noun, a commercial refers to a paid advertisement.

Head Office – noun – the most important office of an organisation.

Headquarters – noun – headquarters refers to the head office where a business is managed from.

Report – noun­ – a spoken or written description of an event or situation. In business, reports are often written to describe activity or performance in the company, such as an annual financial report.

Audit – noun – an official examination of the financial accounts of the company. Audits are normally carried out by professionals unrelated to the business.

Results – noun – the amount of profit or loss that the business makes during a set period of time. Results may also refer to the outcome of a business campaign, such as how a product or service performed.

Why you need to use online tutoring for learning English for business

If you’re already a business professional or are looking to get into the professional landscape, brushing up your English skills quickly is a great way to build your confidence and make yourself more desirable to employers. So, what is the best way to learn English fast? Online tutoring! Like a lot of the business world, tutoring has adapted to go online – this can be a great opportunity for you to learn or improve your English in your own time and to your own schedule.

Why learn English online?

Because you commit to lessons online, you can pick up the lessons whenever you’re ready to do so. This means that if you work long hours or are a shift worker, you won’t need to make yourself available for a regularly scheduled lesson or even a location to get to every week. Learning English can fit into your busy schedule, enabling you to pick up the lessons where you left off. Additionally, if you opt for a 1-on-1 tutor, you get the undivided attention of that tutor and if you’re looking to make progress fast, it’s the best way to go.

Will learning English online right for me?

A huge benefit to learning online is regardless of if you enjoyed learning at school or didn’t find that style of learning to your benefit, you can decide how you learn rather than being forced into a particular style. Your idea of a perfect lesson maybe a 1-on-1 private lesson or taking the lesson away and talking it through with others in the class to maximise the use of all your brainpower!

Take a look at some of the testimonials that we’ve recent from our students:

Get in touch

For more information on our available English learning courses, get in touch with our team today or get started here today.

Business abbreviations commonly used in English

In the modern world of business, being efficient is vital – fast communication and getting your message across as quickly as possible has become the norm. A useful range of terms are abbreviations and acronyms; enabling you to quickly and efficiently get your message across, whether it is an in email or an instant message. But what do these abbreviations mean? Here are some examples and what they mean for you to use in your future emails and messages.

First up, we have some common abbreviations for job titles and what they actually stand for:

  • CEO – Chief Executive Officer
  • CFO – Chief Financial Officer
  • COO – Chief Operations Officer
  • PM – Project Manager
  • HRM – Human Resources Manager
  • PA – Personal Assistant

These job titles are commonly seen all over emails, messages, and social media platforms such as LinkedIn. So next time you see a connection from a CFO or wonder who this COO is that is reaching out to you, don’t be caught unaware of the position that person is in.

Here are some additional terms and abbreviations used in a sales and marketing environment:

  • SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
  • R&D – Research and Development
  • SMM – Social Media Marketing
  • PR – Public Relations
  • ROI – Return On Investment
  • CPC – Cost Per Click
  • CTR – Click Through Rate

These abbreviations can be seen often in emails and marketing messages such as “improve your ROI today”. Keep an eye out for those notorious emails from marketing teams talking about your business’s SEO, CTR, and PR.

Finally, here are some examples of general abbreviations that you may come across in a business environment:

  • SME – Small / Medium Business
  • HR – Human Resources
  • TOS – Terms Of Service
  • ASAP – As Soon As Possible
  • TBA – To Be Announced
  • FYI – For Your Information

A lot of these terms can be used in and out of the office and now that you’ve seen them, you will be able to notice them a lot more in your day-to-day life. For more information about learning English in the workplace and more of these sort of terminology, take a look at our blog for further advice.

English Phrases To Use In Business Meetings

In the corporate world and in meetings, using a good turn of phrase is commonplace in the UK an having a strong understanding of at least some of them is a vital part of localised corporate English. These phrases could be the difference between striking great rapport with a business connection and having a complete misunderstanding of what is happening during the meeting. Here are a few for you to take advantage for meetings with clients and colleagues as well as some options to mix into your every day use of the English language.

English Idioms To Use In Meetings

Here is a list of some of our favourite idioms you may come across in the office environment:

  • A blessing in disguise – A good thing that seemed bad at first.
  • Don’t beat around the bush – Stop avoiding saying what you mean, typically because it’s an uncomfortable situation.
  • Go back to the drawing board – Start something over again.
  • It’s not rocket science – Something isn’t as complicated as it initially seems.
  • Miss the boat – When it becomes too late to achieve something.
  • On the ball – Doing a good job.
  • Time flies when you’re having fun – Not realising how much time has passed since doing something you’re enjoying.
  • Under the weather – You’re feeling sick.
  • Wrap your head around this – Getting a good understanding of a complicated situation or project.
  • Hit the nail on the head – Understanding something perfectly and explaining it.

Using these idioms and phrases are a fun way to improve your general conversation skills and create a more diverse selection of terminology for you to use. Moreover, understanding these will make it a lot less confusing when talking to a native English speaker who may use several of these at once. Explore these and more (because there are plenty more) to enjoy playing around more with the English language. For more information on English phrases and idioms or to start learning English for the corporate world, talk to our language skill experts today and really hit the nail on the head with your English language skill set.

Our First Award!

Everyone here at Perfectly Spoken are extremely happy to share the news with you all that we were invited to submit an entry to the inaugural Digital Education Awards in the Language Learning Product of the Year category and last night we received news that we had won!

The Digital Education Awards

The Digital Education Awards is an organisation that was created to recognise “the best digital people, products and platforms” when it comes to delivering quality education and a lifetimes worth of learning that is available across the world. It creates the opportunity for those of us in the digital education market to highlight the value of what we offer to customers, students, and partners with formal recognition from a board of experts. The awards organisation themselves have an audience that is global and their approach is to embrace the future and digital learning by using online platforms rather than traditional ceremonies and methods.

There were hundreds of entries from more than 20 countries around the world, entries started in June and a huge range of applications were submitted for the potential awards. An esteemed panel of judges from Tech, Education, Finance and Consulting sectors were responsible for making the decision for all the awards. In 2020 more people than ever relied on learning online and therefore it was even more important that we provide an excellent online language learning platform. Our entry was in good company in one of the most popular categories and it highlights both the brilliant work our team has done in providing for our learners and of course, our proud we are of the learners themselves for supporting our platform and finding success with us.

Thank You

So, congratulations to us all and many thanks to you for your contributions and support in getting us to this stage! We look forward to what the future will bring for us all and we are hopeful for the 2021 Digital Education Awards.

David and the Perfectly Spoken team.

Benefits Of Corporate English

Learning a language through your employer is an excellent opportunity to develop a new skill and help reinforce your communication skills overall. Additionally, England is famous for using unusual terminology and slang that can be difficult for non-native speakers to understand straight away. These terms are frequently used around an office environment and in meetings (even video calls), so having a strong comprehension of the language will be a powerful tool, especially for those looking at career development and advancement in the UK. Being bilingual has shown to have an increase in pay of 5-20% compared to those who don’t speak a second language and it also increases your chances of being hired and promoted as well.

Employers Benefit From Bilingual Staff

There are obvious advantages for an employer to train or pay for the training of their non-English speaking employees to learn the language and studies show that there are more hidden benefits to having bilingual and multilingual members of staff. The obvious being stronger communication both internally within the team and externally with any clients and suppliers the employees may speak to. But some benefits that employers and maybe the employees themselves haven’t considered are; having more confidence speaking to clients and other professionals on an international landscape, being able to reach a more diverse audience for a customer base, bilingual people typically have stronger listening and communicating skills, and there is even evidence of bilingual employees being better at multi-tasking and having good mental health. So if you’re looking to talk to your employer about taking an English language course, these may be some useful points to research and present to them.

View Our Corporate English Training Here

Employee Advantages Of Speaking Corporate English

If you’re curious about improving your English language skill for the workplace, take a look at some of the advantages you’ll have by brushing up on those language skills:

  • Be more confident during meetings and business discussions
  • Using flawless tone and language in written communication and emailing
  • Use of additional English phrases applicable in everyday conversations
  • Increased chances for future job prospects and promotions
  • Displays your willingness to learn a new skill and go beyond the minimal requirements for your job

As well as the personal benefits of learning another language; it’s good for the mental health and brain, it increases the number of countries you can easily communicate in, and a generally impressive skill to have all together. Learning English for the workplace is not only a great opportunity in itself but will lead to further great opportunities for your career. Whether your employer is offering a scheme to learn through the company or it’s something you tackle outside of office hours, the investment you make in learning English will pay off in a number of ways.

In addition to personal career development, there is more you can bring to the table with having a command of the English language under your belt. In an increasingly global working environment, English is becoming known as the “international common language” with almost 70 countries speaking it as a first language and over 25 with it listed as a second language. Being confident in this arena will set you apart and build trust with both your internal teams and your clients that you may talk to from different countries, creating strong business relationships with them. There are a number of benefits to learning corporate English, both for personal improvement and professional development. In today’s global environment, it will really set you apart and strengthen your skillset and relationships in and out of the workplace.

It’s All About Online

For a company that offers online English courses, it won’t be a surprise we are very much behind the move to online services but Covid-19 has pushed this trend even faster than anyone predicted. There are lots of new ways people interact, new software tools, and even new vocabulary around the new online world so we thought we would look at it in a little more detail.

More Online Than Ever Before

We have been offering high-quality online English courses for a few years now and we know how popular they are. So learning online is certainly not a new thing. However, as we saw schools shut across Europe and many parts of the world people turned to online learning like never before. In many cases, it was school-age children trying to keep up with lessons they were missing. But many people stuck indoors during lockdown also had free time and wanted to do something constructive. So they turned to online learning, whether it was learning to sing, write, play an instrument or cook, for example, people starting to find online courses for everything. We saw a large increase in the number of people signing up to learn English online from all over the world as they decided to take the time to learn for work, family, or other reasons. But it’s not just learning, there has been a huge increase in the number of people shopping online, ordering food online, using streaming services, as well as subscription models for anything from beer to male grooming products and even gardening supplies. Online was big before…it’s even bigger now.

Common Online Tools

For many people, the idea of a video chat was not something they would normally think of before the pandemic. Now, chatting online to family and friends is normal. Programmes like Zoom have become totally normal. Skype is still very popular too. If you were not using WhatsApp before the pandemic then you probably are now and not just or chat, video too! Whatsapp groups have now become very popular. TikTok also seems to be a great way to communicate online by making fun videos, it certainly helped a lot of bored people during the lockdowns in various countries.

How We Communicate

It may seem like we talk in exactly the same way on a video call as we do in person but it really can be quite different. If you use Zoom calls for business meetings, for example, you may notice that it is harder to see if people are listening to you. What people now do is nod their head a lot more. When you are in a meeting with someone face to face you can see if they are engaged with you. On a screen with perhaps 6 faces, it is much harder. So we are all using exaggerated movements like waving and nodding to communicate. We are also not talking over each other as much, video calls do not work very well if everyone talks so people are becoming much more polite and waiting for others to finish speaking. Smiling, shaking our heads, and using our hands are all becoming more important as a way of showing we are involved in the conversation online.

Will we continue using online services as we are now? perhaps, with more and more people working from home and not wanting to use trains and buses online shopping, meetings and learning is certainly likely to stay popular well after Covid-19 is gone.





A Very British Summer – What is it Like?

Summertime in the UK is something British people look forward too. As a country, the UK gets a lot of rain during the Autumn, Winter, and Spring too so people get very excited about sunshine and warm weather. But, traditionally, it still rains quite often in the Summer too and British people do like to moan about the weather as well as enjoy it. This post is about what a British Summer is like and some of the vocabulary and common things that happen.

Wet Weekends

It is a very common joke and often something that really happens. People plan a weekend trip in the UK and the weather is bad. Rain is common in the UK even during the summer and British people are well known for camping in the rain or even trying to have a barbecue. It is something Brits talk about a lot and almost expect to happen if they plan to go camping or away. In reality, the summers can actually be very warm and dry but the British culture of bad weather will always be talked about. It is very common to make a joke before going on a trip about the fact it will probably rain all the time.

Sun Burn

British people are not used to the sun! Before skin cancer became something everyone was aware of it was very common for British people to go out in the sun on the first hot day of the summer and get sunburnt skin. Recently this is a lot less common but still plays a role in how British people think of summer, and they still make jokes about it.

Swimming in the Cold Sea and Stoney Beaches

The UK does have some sandy beaches, but they are not very common. Most beaches in the UK have stones that can be hard to walk on and even painful. The sea temperatures in the UK are also very low compared to many places in Europe and the rest of the world. Despite both of these things, Brits love to swim in the sea as soon as the weather gets warmer. It is very common for people to get in the sea for just a few minutes before they get cold and have to get out. British people love the beach but the beaches are covered in stones and the sea is very cold. Many people come from warmer countries and find it strange Brits enjoy the sea so much. It is part of a very traditional British summer to go to the beach and spend a day sitting on the stones and swimming in the cold sea.

Fish and Chips

If you haven’t heard of fish and chips then it is a very big tradition in the UK. Fish and Chips are eaten all year but are very popular in the summertime. People visit the seaside where there will often be many fish and chip shops to choose from. Fried fish with thick potatoes chips (fries) are eaten with tomato ketchup or something called tartare sauce. It is very common to have malt vinegar and salt on fish and chips too. If you order fish and chips you will be asked if you want salt and vinegar. You may also be asked if you want them “open” or “wrapped”. If you want to eat them straight away while walking around or sitting on a bench then open is the best option. If you want to walk somewhere or drive to eat them then having them wrapped will keep them warm.

While travelling may not be possible for many people right now a British summer holiday is a great way to experience British culture and to learn the language.


British Storms and their Names

It’s storm season in the UK and after an already very wet winter, Storm Ciara and Dennis have brought record rain levels and heavy flooding across the country. The British are well-known for talking about the weather and this year with such fierce storms already, there’s plenty to talk about.

And with the storms having human names, it sounds like we are talking about someone we know. The Met Office is the national meteorological service for the UK that provides weather services including short and longer term forecasts. Each year around September, it reveals a list of Christian or first names for the upcoming storms. There is one for most letters of the alphabet, with Q, U, X, Y and Z being excluded as it is hard to find names for these.

How are the storms named?

As the British love to think about the weather, the Met Office has invited people to suggest potential storms names – around 10,000 names were submitted last year. The Met Office puts together a final list and releases this in September ahead of the winter storm season. This year’s list started with Atiyah and Gerda, Piet and Willow could be ahead.

Why are the storms named?

It’s not just to help us talk about them. It is believed that naming the storms helps to make people more aware that severe weather could be coming and therefore more likely to be prepared.

When is a storm named?

The Met Office has a warning system to predict when a storm is likely to have an impact on the public. A storm is only given a name when the Met Office believes that it has potential for an amber or red warning.

What are the levels of storms?

The storms levels are represented by a traffic light system based on the likelihood of impact and disruption.

  • Yellow – low impact – daily life will mostly be able to continue as normal.
  • Amber – potential disruption to daily routines. You may need to consider your travel plans and protect yourself and your property.
  • Red – the highest warning level, and fortunately the rarest, but we’ve already had a red warning this year with storm Dennis. It means dangerous weather could lead to major disruption and damage, and even loss of life. This could include widespread flooding, ice and snow that can cut off areas or high winds that can damage property.

How do you know when there’s a weather warning?

The Met Office tries to give 5-7 days notice and have full details on their website. However, weather and particularly imminent storms are reported across all media channels – and of course by talking to each other.