Succeed in America

Overcome Cultural and Linguistic Barriers. Improve Effectiveness 

When it is OK and not OK to use the word OK (OK usage)

Everybody knows what OK means.  However, is it always used appropriately? Often foreigners and non-native speakers of English are not aware of multiple uses of the word “okay” assuming that it always means “yes” or “alright.”   For instance, in the official situation,  when your supervisor gives you an assignment (Could  you please make this report available [Read More…]


Ask questions. An easy way to speak up is to ask questions or to ask others to elaborate on a point they made. Example: “Excuse me, do you mean…..?” or, “I don’t understand, could you explain it in another way?” Politely asking questions lets you can get into the discussion. However, don’t overdo it — [Read More…]

How to Improve Your Speaking Voice

Whether we like it or not, we are judged by our voices.If you want to come across positively , you should pay special attention to your voice.When you express yourself at a meeting or make a presentation to a group of people it  is important to have an authoritative and appealing voice. Our voice, its [Read More…]

How to Ask for a Raise: a Few Tips on How to Ask for More Salary $$$ — American Business Etiquette, Business English ESL EFL

   In the current economic conditions, it is not unusual that your salary doesn’t increase each year that you have worked for a company.   If you haven’t received a raise each year you have worked for a company, the value of your salary has gone down.    Even a cost-of-living increase (COL) of 3 – [Read More…]

Spelling for Clarification: How to Speak on the Phone – ESL

Phone technology is not perfect. When transmitted over the phone, our speech becomes less intelligible. Often, some letters and intended sounds may sound exactly like other letters and sounds when pronounced over the phone. For instance, often, it is difficult to distinguish “f” from “s”, or A (letter A) from numeral 8 (eight), sound n  sound m. (This is an excerpt from How to Talk [Read More…]

Essential Tips For Humor in the Workplace – Humor in the Workplace is a Serious Matter

We all know that humor is good for you. Lighthearted laughter will regulate one’s blood pressure, accelerate recovery from illness, and decrease stress in the workplace. In other words, laughter can be good medicine.  [pullquote] How people perceive humor is culture specific [/pullquote]It’s true that all cultures enjoy humor and laughter, but how people perceive humor is [Read More…]

Gender Interaction in Business: Job Interview

In the business world, lack of information about etiquette and unspoken rules on gender interaction and norms can create misunderstandings crucial for an individual’s success. Consider the following job interview situation, adapted from the book How to Get a Job in the USA: Olga Petrovskaya did not understand why it took so long for her to [Read More…]

American Business Etiquette ESL: Small Talk in Meetings – When, What, and How (not to confuse with small talk at a job interview or a social event)

One of the most common questions I get from my seminar participants is “How do I begin a conversation at work?” In other words, “How do I start small talk?”  This is a great question because the importance of small talk is huge in business and you need to use it to your advantage.  And [Read More…]

Sexual Harassment or a Compliment? — Gender Interaction Across Cultures

Socially acceptable behavior varies across cultures—what holds right in one society may not be so in another. Consider this passage by Laura Klos-Sokol, cited in Riall W. Nolan’s book “Communicating and Adapting Across Cultures”:“Imagine a professional meeting beginning like this: a woman enters an office and introduces herself, extending her hand to shake only to have [Read More…]

Business English: Useful Phrases for Cell Phone Calls — ESL, ESL, ESOL

As Carrie Underwood once said, “My cell phone is my best friend. It’s my lifeline to the outside world.” I would add that it is becoming more and more common to make business-related phone calls over a cell phone. However, due to connection specifics, it may be challenging to sound professional especially if English is [Read More…]

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