Monthly Archives: enero 2018

Ene 26

010 Collocations for plans and decision making

By Castells Immerscom Online Courses | Business English

Hi, and welcome back to the Art of Business English. In today’s episode we are going to take a quick look at some collocations to use when making plans or taking decisions. Both, very important aspects of business. Remember, collocations are very common in English, they help you sound more native and you need to understand them in context, especially when a speaker uses them. Therefore, the advantages to knowing them are that, even if you do not use them yourself, at least you will understand when one is spoken to you.

At the end of this episode you will be able to use a number of collocations for the following situations:

  1. Making decisions & offering solutions
  2. Making plans
  3. Rejecting plans

Before we start looking at the collocations, I will just give you a quick explanation of what a collocation is. The Oxford dictionary defines a collocation as;

“The habitual juxtaposition of a particular word with another word or words with a frequency greater than chance.”

Unfortunately, most non-native speakers of English will not understand this definition. An easier definition is the following;

“A collocation is a combination of two or more words that are commonly used together, in a way that sounds natural to native English speakers.”

So, why are they important in English. Well, if you want to sound more like a native speaker you need to use the correct words together. Hence, instead of “take a coffee” we say, “have a coffee”.

Now that we know what collocations are and why they are important, let’s dive in and take a look at decisions and solutions.

  Decisions & solutions

  • To be toying with an idea – This means to be considering something but not in a focused way. I am toying with the idea of changing jobs, but I am not sure if it is the right decision.
  • To unveil a plan – to show or make known for the first time. The company unveiled its plan to investors before going public.
  • To drum up support – To increase support for something. We need to drum up some support for this proposal or it will never get accepted.
  • Acting on a suggestion – To do something as a result of a suggestion. The boss acted on a suggestion from his sales manager to offer a discount.
  • To clear up – To resolve. We had to clear up the misunderstanding before we could close the deal.
  • To stick to the schedule – Keep to a plan. The company promised to stick to the building schedule and ensured the project would be finished on time.
  • Cover every eventuality – To consider all possible situations and difficulties. We need to cover every eventuality before we can give the OK.
  • Give rise to – Cause to happen or occur. This decision could give rise to some negative consequences.
  • To put off – To avoid doing something or postponing. We decided to put off the planning until we had adequate funding.

There are many more collocations associated with decision making, and I encourage you to look some up if you are interested in learning more.

Now we will look at some collocations for making plans.

 Making plans

  • To come up with an idea – To think of an idea, generally after a brainstorming session. We came up with some great ideas for the annual Christmas party, at Monday’s meeting.
  • To be underway – In the process or being done or carried out. Preparations are underway, and we expect to be able to start stage one of the project soon.
  • The necessary groundwork – preliminary or basic work. The team has put in the necessary ground work and we feel confident we have a well-organised project.

Again, these are a few collocations for making plans and there are many more. However, now I will move on to the last part of the episode and take a look at rejecting plans.

 Rejecting plans

  • To declare outright opposition – To be completely against something. The CEO declared his outright opposition to the merger plan.
  • To offer constructive criticism – Useful disapproval. Even though she didn’t like the plan, she did offer some constructive criticism.
  • To unanimously vote down – All members vote against. The board of directors unanimously voted down the budget proposal.
  • To turn down – To reject or refuse. We thought we had a great plan, however management turned it down.

 Final thoughts

There you have a short list of some interesting collocations for different stages of planning and decision making. My advice to you is to study this list and then make a commitment to use some of the expressions in your next meeting, email or conference call.

The secret to learning collocations is to understand them in context and then start applying them to situations in your daily business life. I would recommend starting with 2 or 3 collocations from the list and then once you feel comfortable using them, grab another 2 or 3 and incorporate them as well.

That is all we have time for today, but as always, please feel free to leave a comment or share this with some friends. If you do have any questions, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can reach us a or on our Facebook page,

Until next time, take care and enjoy improving your business English.

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Ene 18

009 5 Top Tips to study independently your business English

By Castells Immerscom Online Courses | Business English , Interview


Hello again and welcome back to the Art of Business English. Well, it is that time of year again when we start a new year full of promise and new year’s resolutions. As a result, today I want to share with you some tips on how to realistically improve your business English and stay motivated.

 As with many things, people often start out with very idealistic expectations and are highly motivated, however, within a short period of time they have found themselves demotivated and start with the excuse making stage. Once the excuses start being created it is easy to give up and stop trying to achieve the thing you have set out to do.

 So, how can we overcome this? Well, I am going to take a little different approach than most English trainer. At the end of today’s episode, you will be able to do the following:

 Set the right vision for your language learning

  1. Understand goal setting and how to reach objectives
  2. Develop a study plan
  3. Appreciate the power of reading
  4. Understand and use translation methodology


So, let’s take a look at these 5 top tips.


In order to really stay motivated with your English you need to have the right vision. This means many things in one word. The reason that I have put “independently” in the title of this article, is that you as a learner need to have the vision and motivation to study independently. It is not enough to go to class once a week and then do very little or nothing for the next 6 days.

 Vision is having the correct attitude and perspective. If you don not really understand your reasons for learning a language, then it is hard to stay on point (stay focused).

 Developing your vision is very simple, as with most things. Firstly, you will need a pen and paper, or you can download my free cheat sheet. Once we have this ready we need to simply brainstorm and list out our reasons for wanting to learn or improve our business English. The key is to do it from a problem to solution perspective. This way we can start to set objectives and measure if we have achieved our goals. Reaching your goals will keep you motivated.

Goal setting

 Understanding the power of goal setting is critical to learning or improving new skills. My first piece of advice is related to personal development and not necessarily Business English. Setting goals and being motivated is the only way to improve your life. We can only improve our situation one of 2 ways. One, by learning new skills and two by meeting new people. So, learning a new language is a new skill that can improve your life.

 My first piece of advice is to set the goal of waking up 30 minutes before your usual wake up time. How does this relate to my English? Well, it is simple, in 30 minutes you can achieve a lot in the morning. All the most successful entrepreneurs have a morning routine. For example, my routine is the following:

 Wake up at 7am, mediate for 5 minutes

  • Stretching and yoga for 10 minutes
  • Crunches and push-ups, 5 minutes
  • Reading 3 or 4 pages of my book, 5 – 7 minutes
  • Thinking about the top 3 things to achieve that day and writing them in my diary, 3 minutes

 See how many things I have achieved in 30 minutes? Well, it is that simple. As a learner of English, you can use 10 minutes of your morning routine to read in English, do some simple grammar exercises, learn some new vocabulary in context or listen to the news. If you multiply this by a month and then 6 months and then a year, you will suddenly see how powerful just spending 30 minutes every morning can be. Apart from that you feel GREAT! You start your day energised and super motivated.

 So, as I mentioned earlier, at the Art of Business English we believe in a holistic approach to learning English. You cannot improve your English if you don’t set achievable goals. Achievable is the key word. You must be realistic about how much you can learn in a specific period of time. It is much better to set SMALL short-term goals and continually reach them than big goals that are hard to measure and time consuming to achieve.

 For example, my goal this week is to read 1 small new paper article a day in Spanish, and then read the same article in English (Most major news outlets carry the same news all over the world, so it is easy to read the top news in both Spanish & English).

 You can see from this example that the goal is short, 1 week and measurable.

Study plan

 If we go back to the cheat sheet, which you downloaded earlier, you will see that there is a study plan. It is super simple. You fill out the boxes and outline a study plan for 1 month. You use this plan every morning for your 5 – 10 minutes of English.

 In the second part of the guide, there are some links to resources that will help you find material, or you can request material from AOBE, we are more than happy to develop material for your needs.

Remember, the secret to your study plan is setting daily tasks, that build up to the completion of your learning objective. The learning objective must be measurable.


 Reading is very powerful and underutilized. Everyone wants to talk, however, if you are studying independently, then reading is your best friend. The beauty of reading is that you can do it for pleasure. I recommend finding a magazine you like, for example, Time, photography, interior design, whatever you’re interested in and order a yearly subscription. Reading magazines is great because the articles are short, there is lots of vocabulary and the topic is something that you’re interested in.

 The benefits to reading are massive. You can do it any time, independently, you can learn vocabulary in context and write it down on your vocabulary list, you are subject to vocabulary you don’t hear everyday and you are indirectly learning grammar structures and word order.


 I am a great believer in the translation methodology and I use it with my students frequently. It is very useful for people who have a lower level and can help them advance much faster than if working with a teacher who only speaks English.

The secret to the translation methodology is finding a native English teacher who all speaks Spanish fluently. They can then show you the differences and similarities between English and Spanish structure.

For example, you may translate a sentence literally and to a native speaker this will sound strange. However, your native English teacher can show you the correct way we would say this sentence in English. Hence, the grammar rules can be taught through translation making it easier for the learner to understand and advance through the material.

Once, a learner reaches a good level of English, then less focus can be placed on translations and more on 100% English based training.

The only downside to this top tip, is that it is more difficult to study independently as you need to good trainer or take an on-line course that uses this methodology.


Well, there you have it, 5 top tips for help you to study independently and stay motivated to reach your learning objectives in 2018.

As always, if you have any questions then do not hesitate to get in touch with us via Facebook or email.

If you’re interested in taking some business English courses, we are always working on new material and are happy to provide all our listeners and readers with a free coaching session.

Take care till next time.

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Ene 10

008 Todo lo que he aprendido al fundar una empresa a los 20 años por Chris Markovic

By Castells Immerscom Online Courses | Business English , Interview

Bienvenido de nuevo a Art of Business English. Hoy le ofrecemos una entrevista muy especial relacionada con mi reciente viaje a Australia.

¿Recuerda lo que estaba haciendo por un trabajo cuando tenía 20 años? ¿Seguía estudiando en la universidad? Bueno, en el episodio de hoy estará aprendiendo de alguien que comenzó su negocio a la temprana edad de 20 años. Hoy, Chris Markovic compartirá con nosotros las lecciones que aprendió en el pasado tras casi 20 años desde sus inicios en su negocio.

Cuando Chris comenzó tenía grandes expectativas y sueños. Tuvo que aprender rápidamente y tomar riesgos para tener éxito. Hoy, Chris tiene un negocio exitoso que le va viento en popa aunque ha tenido sus altibajos. Por esto, hoy va a compartir con nosotros algunos de sus secretos para el éxito.

Si alguna vez ha soñado con abrir su propio negocio, tome un bolígrafo y papel y prepárese para tomar algunas notas a medida que obtenemos una visión increíble, de primera mano con los pros y contras de comenzar un negocio a los 20 años de edad.

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Ene 02

007 My experiences from living in 5 different countries with Janice Mason

By Castells Immerscom Online Courses | Business English , Interview , Podcast

Hi everyone and welcome back to The Art of Business English. Firstly, a Merry Christmas and happy 2018 to everyone. I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and new year’s. I would like to personally all wish you the best for 2018 and hope that you all have your new year’s resolutions ready to make a 2018 a massive year for each and every one of you.

I have just returned from 3 weeks in Australia and while I was there I decided to hunt down some friends who could share with us their experiences with business and living abroad. Today Janice Mason will be sharing her experience from living in 5 different countries and what you should consider when trying to find your place in a new society.

From a very young age she was traveling abroad and living in many English-speaking countries. Originally from England Janice has now retired in Western Australia, however today she will give us some insight into what it is like to be a young mother of three, living in countries where you don’t have a visa to work and some of the ways you can reinvent yourself in order to adapt and thrive in a new home.

If you have ever wanted to pack your bags and move to a new place with no plan, job or direction, then this episode will be very interesting for you.

Best wishes and a happy new year.

Andrew Ambrosius

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