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Humanising Language Teaching
Humanising Language Teaching
Humanising Language Teaching

A New Book: "On Business and For Pleasure Again"

Michael Berman, UK

Michael Berman works as a teacher and a writer. ELT publications include A Multiple Intelligences Road to an ELT Classroom and The Power of Metaphor for Crown House, In a Faraway Land (a resource book for teachers on storytelling), and On Business and for Pleasure (a self-study workbook) for O-Books. His latest book, English Language Teaching Matters, has been written with Mojca Belak and Wayne Rimmer and was published by O-Books in March 2011.


About the book
Sample activity 1: How to find a new job
Sample activity 2: Starting up your own business
Sample activity 3: Arranging an initial meeting

About the book

"On Business and For Pleasure Again – Advanced Self-study Workbook ” is a sequel to the previous book on Business English written by the same author. For learners who have a genuine need to improve their English to live in an English-speaking environment or for their work, who enjoy being set challenges, and realize they can learn from the mistakes they make, the material in this book will undoubtedly help them to achieve their aims.

Sample activity 1: How to find a new job

1. Fit the following combinations with dependent prepositions into the gaps. Use each combination once only:

be alert to / be an improvement on
be averse to / be aware of / be gifted with / be glued to / be proficient in
get out of the habit of / get used to / give some thought to
have a negative impact on / have a tendency to / have difficulty in
have pre-conceptions about / have the strength of character to /
make a conscious effort to / make a start on / put an end to
resign yourself to / show enthusiasm for

Often when faced with something pretty traumatic like losing your job, people 1 _______________ bury their heads in the sand. Don't. Doing so is bad for you, and it could also 2 _______________ any potential employers.

If you know you are going to lose your job then be proactive and 3 _______________ planning for it before it even happens. And if it has just happened, then get moving now.

Your CV needs more than just a brush-up. It needs to be completely re-worked and then carefully tailored for each and every job that you go for. If you send the same CV out for 10 different jobs, nine times out of 10 you will be sending the wrong CV.

Employers in the private sector often 4 _______________ people from the public sector - that they are likely to 5 _______________ change, that they want long holidays and short hours - and you need to be able to dispel all of those pre-conceptions.

6 _______________ the fact that you are in a new environment now and make sure that your CV works for that new environment. Don't just dwell on what you have done, but really think "how do I fit that job?" then tinker with your CV to show that you do.

7 _______________ thinking in terms of what you do and fixating on the job that you have had. Start thinking instead about the transferable skills it takes to 8 _______________ the job you're applying for, and which of those you have.

9 _______________ the idea that the first step you take into the private sector may not be perfect. You may not 10 _______________ your ideal job straight away, it may be the second job or even the third that fits best, but you have to take that first step and start the process. Better to get out there and be working, even if it is not in the best job in the world, than to 11 _______________ sitting at home doing nothing. You certainly don't want to 12 ________________ the TV all day.

Even if what you are doing isn't the perfect job it can still 13 _______________ the alternative scenario. Because not working for a long period can be dangerous. It is very, very easy to 14 _______________ working, and if you have long breaks between jobs on your CV it sends a bad message to prospective employers.

Talk to people. Lots of jobs and business opportunities come out of conversation. People in this country 15 _______________ saying "I'm good at that", but so long as you don't say it with arrogance, and 16 _______________ also admit when you aren't so good at something there is nothing wrong with it.

So 17 _______________ what you are good at and 18 _______________ talk to people, network as much as possible, keep your radar switched on and bring out ideas and plans through conversation.

If you've been working in the same job for a long time it could suggest to a private sector employer that you have chosen to stay in a safe environment and are perhaps starting to wind your career down. You need to 19 _______________ that possibility and to ensure that instead of fuelling that notion, you eradicate it. 20 _______________ the new challenges that lie ahead and be passionate. It is not about age, it is all about attitude.

Often the best things can come out of really difficult times. That idea you've been considering, that change of direction you've been thinking about - now is the time for it.

Check through your answers, and then make sentences of your own using the twenty different combinations:


  1. have a tendency to
  2. have a negative impact on
  3. make a start on
  4. have pre-conceptions about
  5. be averse to
  6. Be aware of
  7. Put an end to
  8. be proficient in
  9. Get used to
  10. be gifted with
  11. resign yourself to
  12. be glued to
  13. be an improvement on
  14. get out of the habit of
  15. have difficulty in
  16. have the strength of character to
  17. give some thought to
  18. make a conscious effort to
  19. be alert to
  20. Show enthusiasm for

Sample activity 2: Starting up your own business

1. Who would you approach for a capital investment to set up your own business if you were in need of finance? Work together in small groups, and elect a spokesperson to take notes and give reasons for your choice:

  1. A rich sugar daddy or a wealthy old woman with one foot in the grave you are currently having an affair with
  2. Someone you know has dealings with the underworld – a member of the Mafia, a drug dealer, or a pimp
  3. A well-known millionaire who is known to be a supporter of good causes and innovative ideas
  4. One of your parents or a close relative to ask them to invest their life savings in your project
  5. A relatively unknown and financially dodgy bank that you would present a business plan to
  6. None of the above – and simply give up the idea

2. Why should any of these people invest in your proposal and what makes your project so special? Possible projects could include

  1. A _____ restaurant, cookery school, or takeaway outlet
  2. A translation and interpreting business
  3. A _____ Arts or Cultural Centre for people from your own country or a social club
  4. A language school
  5. A website offering a new service
  6. An Arts Organisation specialising in arranging concert tours, theatre performances, and art exhibitions by performers from a particular country
  7. A Health Club with a difference

Working in small groups, make a list of points you would like to include in your plan and elect a spokesperson to make a note of them and to present them to the class 3. A homework assignment: Write up your proposal in the form of a letter, possibly with a view to posting it to interested parties!

Sample activity 3: Arranging an initial meeting

1. From each set of alternatives, select the most appropriate choice of wording for a formal letter written to find out more information about a product. Sometimes more than one option might be acceptable, and sometimes perhaps none of them will be:


  1. The name, address, and phone number of the person you are writing to on the left hand side of the page.
  2. Your name, address, and phone number on the left hand side of the page.
  3. The name, address, and phone number of the person you are writing to on the left hand side of the page, followed by your name, address, and phone number.
  4. Your name, address, and phone number on the left hand side of the page, followed by the name, address, and phone number of the person you are writing to.


  1. Date
  2. No date required as it will be on the postmark
  1. Dear Mr. _____., Mrs. _____, or Ms. _____,
  2. Hello!
  3. How are you?
  4. Dear Sir/Madam,
  5. Esteemed sirs,
  6. To whom it may concern:


  1. Let me start by introducing myself.
  2. Please allow me to introduce myself.
  3. Let me commence by telling you who I am.
  4. You're probably wondering why I'm writing to you so let me explain:
  5. __________ (no preamble to the introduction is necessary)

My name is __________, and I am the __________ of XYZ Ltd., a company that specialises in __________.


  1. The reason I have decided to contact you is that I found out about the products / services you offer from your website, and I would be interested in doing business with you.
  2. The reason I have decided to contact you is that I found out about the products / services you offer from your website, and I think we could be good for each other.
  3. Hope you don't mind, but thought I'd drop you a line on the off chance we might be able to do some business together.
  4. Having visited your website, and having seen the products / services you have to offer, I believe we could well have common interests and it would be mutually beneficial for us to consider working together.
  5. A friend of mine suggested I should give you a try, and that's why I decided to get in touch to see if we could perhaps set something up together.


  1. I'll be coming to London next month (for my honeymoon, in fact - I'm just about to get married), and was hoping we could meet up for a few drinks to see if there's anything we can work on together.
  2. I will be visiting London on business next month, and would like to arrange to meet you if possible, to discuss in more detail what we have in mind.
  3. Coming to London next month for a few days, and was hoping I could kill two birds with one stone by fixing up a meeting with you at the same time to discuss one or two things I have in mind.
  4. I imagine you must be pretty busy, but was hoping you might be able to find some time to meet up with me next month so we could discuss one or two possibilities together.
  5. I will actually be visiting London in person next month, on some other business matters, and I was hoping we could use the opportunity to arrange a meeting to discuss ways in which we might be able to work together.


  1. I can do any day that suits you. And perhaps you could also show me the sights while I'm there, as I've never been to London before.
  2. Just let me know the date and the time, and I'll be there. And, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, I wonder if you could also put me up for a couple of nights to save me the cost of a hotel room.
  3. My timetable is flexible so I can make myself available any date and time that suits you.
  4. I can do any day that suits you, but not too early in the morning please because I generally like to have a lie-in.
  5. Please let me know the date and time that would be convenient for you, and I mark it in my diary.


  1. And last but not least, details of _____ would be a help too.
  2. And one more thing, before it slips my mind. I would also like to know _____
  3. It would also be helpful if you could let me know _____
  4. I would also appreciate it if you could let me know _____
  5. Additionally, some information about _____ would be a great help to me and very much appreciated.


  1. I would be grateful if you could get back to me as soon as possible
  2. please.
  3. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
  4. Please answer this quickly and don't mess me around.
  5. A quick response would be very much appreciated as time is of the essence.
  6. A quick response would be very much appreciated as I'm a busy man and don't take kindly to being made to wait for things.


  1. Sincerely,
  2. Yours sincerely
  3. Faithfully,
  4. Yours faithfully,
  5. Your obedient servant
  6. With all good wishes
  7. I remain, as always, yours truly
  8. All the best,

Suggested answers: 1b / 2a / 3a and 3d / 4a or 4e / 5a and 5d / 6b and 6e / 7c and 7e / 8c, 8d, and 8e / 9a and 9d / 10b and 10d (use 10b if the person is referred to by name at the start of the letter)


Please check the How to teach English to Business People course at Pilgrims website.

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