Why You Should Choose A Website Over Facebook To Market Your Business?

WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE A WEBSITE OVER FACEBOOK TO

MARKET YOUR BUSINESS?

Many business owners today are in a dilemma due to the increase of social media activities especially the Facebook. Neglect their websites and cross over to Facebook or maintain them. It was reported that Facebook had about 2.19 active users in the first quarter of 2018. These are potential customers. But Facebook can never substitute a company’s website.

As a business owner, what would you rather do, Set up a shop in someone else premises or own a space fully dedicated for your business? In the first option, you are subject to the owners of the space. They can kick you out if you don’t adhere to their rules no matter how unreasonable or if they don’t want you there anymore. But in the second one, you are in control. What happens in other peoples businesses is not likely to affect you. The same is true with having your own website instead of owning a page in a social network, in this case, Facebook. They limit your engagement with your clients.

Your business does not own the Facebook page.

A business does not have full control of the Facebook page or account because Facebook can change their laws and policies anytime. Though the risk involved is minimal, like losing some important data, it is not very professional to have so many clients and potential clients visiting a website that is not yours apart from the company owned website

Competition on Facebook is a bit too stiff.

Since many businesses consider Facebook as a potential market for their products they have flooded Facebook with ads. A client cannot have a 100% concentration on your page without being interrupted by other businesses selling similar products. A company’s website is very strategic because a customer will have an undivided attention even if it is for a short time. A Customer can easily make a decisions to buy the products or the services on offer without being distracted by the competition.

Many potential customers do not have a Facebook account

The current global population was at 7.6 billion as of June 2018 according to the most recent United Nations estimates elaborated by Worldometers. But Facebook has only about 2.19 billion as indicated above. This is a very small percentage. Most of the people who might need your products and services may never know about them if you only use Facebook to showcase your products.

Unlike a Facebook account, a website guarantees long-term business relationship

Facebook might be a wonderful place to acquire new prospective customers but it does not offer a lasting business relationship. A company by encouraging their follower to sign up to their websites ensures that they will stay in contact because they get them to give their email addresses. You cannot be sure of being on the client’s Facebook newsfeed but you are guaranteed of being seen in their email boxes, whenever you send them a mail.

A website is not limited

A website that is professionally set up is an extension of what the company hopes to achieve in the long run. It provides its customers with all the information required and helps them understand the company’s plan of action. Your website makes you different from your competitors because you customize it to tell your story in a more attractive and enticing manner.

Your business website gives the freedom for branding, unique designs to meet your particular requirements and growth. But Facebook is phenomenal for some consumer based entities like hotels, bars, guest houses, etc.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

5 Ways to Build Website Traffic

Hopefully you have been checking the traffic – visitors to your website and reviewing how many people visit the site, are they first time or return visitors, what page do they look at and are they selecting an action on the website such as filling out a form, signing up for your newsletter, buying something or requesting information.

Do you want to build more traffic and get more visitors to your website? Here are 5 methods you can use to drive traffic.

Website Keywords and Search Engines. Look at your website and check if the „title“ „description“ and „keywords“ meta tags are added to your website pages. These are important in making sure your website is indexed by search engines like Google and Yahoo. In the text of your page – especially your home page – use the words that best describe you and the needs of your target audience as part of the body text. After all this is done – register the site with Google, Yahoo and other major search engines. All these have free submission forms but there is no guarantee how long it will take. Keep reviewing your statistics and you will see when you start getting traffic from search engines. Look at the keywords people are using to find your site and refine these keywords on your pages.

Email Newsletters and Announcements. Tell the people on your list(s) about your website and what they can find there and why they should visit. Add a signup form on the site and some incentive for people to sign up for your newsletter. Your newsletter and announcements will really build your RETURN visits to the website. Remember that people may visit thousands of websites and even if they like you on their first visit – they need to be reminded to return.

Links. Links from other websites to you build credibility and also improve your position in the search engines. These are called in-bound links. If you have a resource or links page on your site – you can link out to useful sites – and then contact the other website owner and ask them to link to you. If you have affiliates, partners, sponsors, or other relationships – send them the link to your website, your logo and a key phrase and ask if they will add your link to their website.

Signature File. Add your website address to your email signature file. Make this also an organization policy and have everyone create a standard signature file that includes the website link. Include the website address also in any paper correspondence, flyers, brochures, advertisements, articles and PR and of course your business card.

Online Social Networks. Create your own presence on the large social networking sites such as Facebook page and group and LinkedIN. Participate in the groups and discussion forums and include your website as part of your profile.

Using these methods you can increase the traffic to your website – but do remember that your website must be engaging and interesting to the person and have some appropriate calls to action – or your efforts will bring traffic but not help you in achieving your objectives.

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Makler Heidelberg

Data Science and Different Techniques

Data Science is a term that is getting quite popular these days. However, what does this mean and what type of skills do you need? In this article, we are going to answer these questions in addition to finding out some important information. Read on.

First of all, let’s find out what the term refers to. Basically, data science is a combination of many tools, machine learning techniques and algorithms. They are combined to find out hidden patterns based on the given raw data.

Primarily, data science is used for making important predictions and decisions through the use of machine learning, prescriptive analytics and casual analytics. Let’s get a deeper insight.

Predictive Casual Analytics: Basically, if you need a model that can predict the happening of a certain event down the road, you should use this approach. For instance, if you offer money on credit, you may be worried about getting your money back from the debtors. So, you can develop a model that can do predictive analysis to find out if they will be making payments on time.

Prescriptive Analysis: Also, if you need a model that has the ability to make decisions and modify them with dynamic parameters, we suggest that you do a prescriptive analysis. It is related to offering advice. So, it predicts as well as suggests a lot of prescribed actions and the related results.

If you want an example, you may consider the self-driving car by Google. The data collected by the vehicle is usable for training these cars further. Also, you can use many algorithms to add more intelligence to the system. As a result, your car can make important decisions, such as taking turns, taking the right paths and speeding up or slowing down.

Machine Learning: For making predictions, machine learning is another technique used in data science. If you have access to some type of transactional data and you need to develop a model to predict future trends, you can try machine learning algorithms. This is known as supervised learning as you have the data to train the machines. A fraud detection system is trained the same way.

Pattern Discovery: Another way is to use the technique for pattern discovery. In this scenario, you don’t have access to the parameters for making predictions. So, you have to look for those hidden patterns that can help you make a meaningful prediction. And this is known as the unsupervised model because you have no predefined labels. Clustering is the most popular algorithm for this purpose.

Suppose you work with a telephone company, and there is a need to start a network of towers in an area. In this case, the clustering technique is the right one to decide on the tower locations. This will ensure the users in the area will get the best signal strength.

In short, this was an introduction to data science and the technique it uses in different fields. Hopefully, the information will help you get a much better idea of what the term refers to, and how you can benefit from it.

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Makler Heidelberg

Importance of Measuring Event Performance

Event managers are under considerable pressure to obtain metrics regarding their events and to ensure that they provide a return on investment. Being able to source these statistics and convert them into valuable information is something that many event managers struggle with. It can be difficult to know what to measure, how to measure it and then how to analyse the data.

The first stage in analysing an events performance is to understand why the event is being held in the first place. What are the goals and targets for the event? There are many reasons why companies host events:

· Build awareness of the company or product

· Generate sales

· Generate qualified sales leads

· Conduct market research

· To enter a new market

· To launch a new product or service

· To influence or build relationships with the press

· To educate or motivate partners and/or employees

· To help retain current customers

· To support the local community

It is a good idea to set one primary and one or two secondary objectives. Trying to set too many goals will dilute the main purpose of the event and will lead to mixed and confusing messages given to the delegates. Each event you hold may have different objectives, but it is important to understand exactly what this is, as without a clear objective you will not be able to identify and measure your event performance objectives.

Try and make your objectives and metrics as specific as possible. For example, if the primary objective is to create sales and the secondary objective is to generate qualified sales leads, some of the focused metrics will be:

· Revenue

· Number of transactions made

· Number of purchase orders received

· Expense to revenue ration (E:R)

· Return on investment ration (ROI)

· Number of new accounts/customers

· Volume of leads generated

· Quality of leads generated

Once you have identified the objectives and metrics, the next task is to obtain this information. This can be the hardest part of event performance analysis. It can be difficult to source this information, and difficult to convert it into valuable data.

Many event managers are turning to technology to help with this process. Event management software solutions aid event managers in the planning, management and analysis of events. They often come with build in reporting and analysis modules, making the measurement of event performance an easy task.

If generating leads is an important objective, event management software can help aid in the identification of lead quality and quantity. By understanding what makes a high quality lead, event managers can create tailored registration forms, capturing the delegate information that identifies poor and good quality opportunities.

Understanding the messaging that you’re conveying to delegates is also a key metric that should often be measured, but one that can be difficult to obtain. By utilising information that has been collected on the day or post event, managers will be able to improve future events as well as enhancing customer relations with delegates. Again, event management software can aid in this metric measurement. By providing a comprehensive feedback management tool managers are able to produce surveys which delegates can complete on the day, or which can be emailed out after the events. The results from online surveys can be automatically populated into the event management solution, ready for instant analysis.

Understanding delegates and their responses to the event will also help managers to accurately quality the event leads. Event management software will provide analysis tools which will enable managers to quickly drill down to the data held on the system. Providing customised reports as well as standard management information reports will illustrate how well attended events are, how well booked they are and how successful the programme was.

It is generally recommended that managers use 5% of their budget on event measurement and analysis. By investing in a total end to end event management software solution, mangers can ensure that accurate results of the events are consistently produced. Not only do event management software tools aid in the analysis of events, but they also make the planning, management and promotion of events easier, more efficient and far more cost effective.

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Makler Heidelberg

The Importance of Brand Messaging for a Successful Website Redesign

I’m sure you’ve landed on someone’s website and felt like something was just… wrong; or maybe you were suddenly turned off without even knowing why.

Chances are, you quickly clicked back to find a competitor’s website, where you felt more comfortable and secure.

Your visitors could feel the same way if you don’t pay attention to how you come across to your target audience.

That’s why it’s crucial to identify your brand style before you redesign your website.

In my latest Tea Time Tip: Marketing For Busy Entrepreneurs, I shared some critical factors to ensuring your website redesign is a success so people feel comfortable, excited and engaged when they land on your site. You can watch it here.

In this article, I’m going to share 5 questions you need to answer to determine your business brand identity and create the most effective website possible.

1. What first impression do you want to give?

You have about five seconds to make a first impression. The key findings from a Google study showed that sites with low visual complexity and high prototypicality (how representative a design looks for a certain category of websites) were perceived as highly appealing.

Long story short: keep it simple and clean.

One of our clients wanted us to create a website for their collectible vintage card business. They do live „rips“ of unopened vintage sports cards (working with this type of business was a first for us)!

The challenge was to make their website, which features a huge range of sports cards from a number of decades, easy to navigate.

One of our solutions was to break down cards by year in the right-hand navigation, and to highlight featured packs on the home page.

My advice to you: put a lot of thought into how you organize your home page. If visitors land on a cluttered, confusing page, their first impression is going to be one of overwhelm, and off they’ll go to one of your competitors.

2. How are you using colours, images and fonts?

You should be following your brand guide when it comes to choosing design elements for your website.

If you don’t have a business branding guide, it’s time to create one to identify your style and give direction to team members.

Of course, smaller businesses won’t have as big a brand guide as corporations, but you need something that represents the visual elements of your website, or you’ll end up with a hodge-podge of elements that will confuse your visitors and sabotage your brand awareness.

We want our brand to emanate and the design and style elements we use in all our marketing materials.

3. Are your images high-quality, and delivering purpose and meaning?

Every image you choose for your website tells a story. If you pick poorly-lit photos or tacky stock imagery, you’re giving people the wrong impression. They may see your business as cheap, lazy and unprofessional.

Take the time to make imagery part of your brand identity. Define what you want your images to portray, and what should and shouldn’t appear on your website. Here are some examples I’ve seen in company’s business branding guidelines:

* Use softly-lit, neutral imagery that shows young professionals in a creative environment

* Avoid stock photos where people are looking directly at the camera

* Keep product-focused shots to a minimum; every photo should have at least one person in it

Pick the right photos to show off your unique personality and style, whether you hire a photographer or use stock pics.

There are so many different reasons why a small business owner may decide to rebrand a website: poor conversions and/or sales, confusing navigation or an outdated design, to name a few.

However, it’s essential to have strong reasoning, logic and stats behind rebranding your business. This guide will help you first understand whether or not you need to reinvent your business, and if you do, how to rebrand your website in the most effective way possible.

Read A Comprehensive 2019 Guide to the Website Redesign Process

4. Is your copy telling a compelling story?

The most important thing to remember when you’re writing about your product or service is that it’s about THEM, not you. It’s your opportunity to show and tell customers the benefits of using your product or service.

You can do this with:

* A captivating headline. Which article are you more likely to read: one that has the headline „Write Better Blogs“ or one that says „10 Surefire Ways to Write Blogs that Make Money?“

* Concise, yet informative and compelling copy. People get overwhelmed if they land on a website that has a novel on the home page.

Identify brand style and then tell your story succinctly and with purpose: what are the benefits your service offers? How can you help your target audience solve their problem?

Break up copy into digestible paragraphs rather than long blocks of text.

* Avoid industry jargon. Write in your customers‘ language. Avoid acronyms they won’t understand, or overly-technical language that only an expert would grasp.

Also, stay away from over-promising, or fluffy claims (Guaranteed to change your life! Lose 10 pounds overnight). Remember, you only have a few seconds to make a first impression.

* Choose your CTAs wisely. Your CTA (call to action) is what your content is guiding your customers towards. It’s the action you want them to take. By using something like „Click here,“ you’re not showing your visitors what they’ll get.

Use „Reserve your spot now“ or „Start your journey today“ or whatever it is that will resonate with your target audience.

5. How easy is it for people to connect with you?

Your contact page should be clearly visible in your top navigation bar, and if you have a physical location, you should embed a map on it along with directions to make it as easy as possible for people to find you.

Take a look at our contact us navigation. We feature it prominently in the top menu bar on every page of our site, plus we give another option right above, which enables our clients to call us for fast, professional service.

Your social media icons should also be front and centre so that people can connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest… whichever ones are relevant to you.

The more followers you gain, the more opportunities you’ll have to engage your audience and drive leads and sales. Here are some tips on social media selling.

The better you understand the importance of brand messaging, the more effective your website redesign?-and your business?-will be. Ask yourself these important questions and seek the help of a professional website design company to launch the most compelling, engaging and successful website possible! You and your customers will be glad you did.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

What Exactly Is a Good Web Design?

A good web design has a potential to engage the visitors & convert them to potential buyers. A website is said to be serving its purpose if it has the potential to generate online leads. Nowadays, it has become mandatory for the business houses to have an online portfolio in the form of websites. The webs provide them the flexibility to reach the targeted audience. But converting targeted audience into potential buyers & customers is certainly a challenging task. Your website plays a crucial role in this. If your web has a good design, then it can easily serve that purpose. The most pertinent question is how to design a good web. Presented below are some of the points that will help you in this.

Attractive Theme: The theme or the webpage design of any website is very important. It is recommended to use the theme which perfectly manifests your business. For example, if you are selling natural products, then you can select any of the themes which match with your products. If you are into the fashion industry, then colorful themes would be considered as appropriate for your business.

Infographics: The statistics suggest that the websites that lack in the infographics attract less traffic as compared to the websites that have the rich infographic. It is recommended to provide rich infographics in the websites as visitors get easily attracted to those. A banner containing useful text has a positive impact on the mind of the visitor. This eventually increases the chances of conversion. The designers should keep one thing in mind that the banners should reflect the business motive of the company. This also offers a better impact on the mind of the people.

Interactive Interface: It is recommended to have an interactive interface on the website. What exactly does this mean? It means that you should design your website in such a manner that it offers flexibility to the visitors. Your visitor has come to your website after spending time on several other portals. If (s)he faces any issue or gets confused, he/she will waste no time in navigating to some other website. So, you must provide easy to use interface on your website. The call to action button should be provided in a clear manner so that visitor can easily make purchases.

User-friendly Navigation: The user-friendly navigation is very important to enhance your conversion rates. Too many links in the menu bar and side bar create confusion. Avoid providing too many links there. It is recommended to put only important links in the menu or sidebar. These will help in the easy navigation of the website.

Go Mobile Friendly: It is mandatory to have the mobile friendly responsive website. The reason being most of the internet users are using mobile phones to access information. If you have the mobile compatible website, then it ensures s better browsing experience which eventually results in conversion.

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Makler Heidelberg

Customer Support Software Changes the Way You Look at ROI

Companies must commit to continually measuring and monitoring their return on investment on all projects, but especially their predictive analytics projects. ROI affects and impacts marketing, IT, and the contact center.

Taking too short a view of ROI can negatively impact a company. Too many companies feel that if they do not recover every dollar spent on predictive analytics – and then some – within 12 months, then predictive analytics is a waste of money.

Predictive data analytics are tied to the long-term, to the ROI Cycle. This cycle begins with customer data which feeds equations to predict customer value. From there the company can understand and predict customer attitudes, expectations, and preferences. Then marketing can avoid activities that devalue the customer relationship and focus on those activities that build customer relationship and value. Contact agents can find the best way to satisfy customers and reach out proactively to cross-sell and up-sell. The customer is more satisfied, so he recommends the company and its products and he spends more on the company’s products.

Here are some substantial „indirect benefits“ which translate to ROI:

– Productivity

– Ongoing and incremental gains

– Retention

– Employee satisfaction

The amount and clarity of data generated can increase the quality of sales leads and, therefore, make sales teams more productive. Customer preferences for communications can make marketing efforts more effective. It also makes the people using them more productive.

Contact center agents have the most current information to up-sell and cross-sell additional products. Retention is more efficient than customer acquisition — and it is a major benefit of predictive analytics.

When predictive analytics give all employees access to the most actionable information, efficiency increases and productivity increases. Employees are empowered, effective, and happier. Companies win, customers win, everyone wins.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Teaching English for Communicative Performance and Business Communication

It is a challenge to us English teachers to manage with our own widely differing linguistic competence the large classes of mixed ability students. Non-availability or high cost of books and instructional material are the challenges just as tests and exams seem to have become the only goal in themselves. In addition, lack of students'(and even teachers‘) motivation, administrative apathy, inaccessibility to electronic media, journals and books, balance between the use of mother tongue and English to ensure acquisition of communication skills, or perhaps, a better teaching-learning situation in the mother tongue and other languages, and dissemination of best English Language Teaching (ELT) practices internationally, with an e-culture interface are the new problems teachers have to cope with.

As teachers we need to work on our own affirmative action programmes, despite constraints of our situation. In order to do something new, we may have to give up the old. As John Swales says, „We may need to recycle not only our projects and our programmes but also ourselves.“ In fact a practical teacher should be able to operate within, what may be called, „here and now“ state of affairs. It is with some sort of inbuilt flexibility and utilitarian purpose that one can practice ELT in the days ahead.

NEGOTIATING DIFFERENCES

With sensitivity for the language (to me, language use is more a matter of pleasure and beauty than of rules and structure), I would like to assert that the yardsticks of the British or American native speakers, or their standards as reflected in GRE, TOEFL or IELTS etc, or their kind of tongue twisting, are simply damaging to the interests of non-native speakers. We have to develop our own standards, instead of teaching to sound like Londoners or North Americans. Pronunciation must be intelligible and not detract from the understanding of a message. But for this nobody needs to speak the so called standardized English (that makes inter- and intra-national communication difficult). David Crystal too appreciates this reality and favours ‚local taste‘ of English in India and elsewhere. The problems of teaching, say spoken English, relate to lack of intercultural communicative competence.

Many of the misunderstandings that occur in multicultural or multinational workplace are traceable to inter-group differences in how language is used in interpersonal communication rather than to lack of fluency in English. In fact native speakers need as much help as non-natives when using English to interact internationally and inter-culturally. It is understanding the how of negotiation, mediation, or interaction. We need to teach with positive attitude to intercultural communication, negotiating linguistic and cultural differences. The focus has to be on developing cultural and intercultural competence, tolerance (the spread and development of various Englishes is an instance of grammatical and lexical tolerance), and mutual understanding. Rules of language use are culturally determined. I doubt all those who talk about spoken English, or communication skills, care to teach or develop intercultural communicative abilities. This presupposes a good grasp of one’s own culture or way of communication, or the language etiquette, gestures and postures, space, silence, cultural influences, verbal style etc.

Understanding and awareness of non-verbal behavior, cues and information is an integral part of interpersonal communication in many real-life situations, including business and commerce. Though research is needed to understand the role of visual support in our situations, it does seem relevant in making students aware of the context, discourse, paralinguistic features and culture. This can be advantageous in teaching soft skills which are basically life skills, or abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour, so necessary for successful living.

If one has to work abroad and use English with others there, one has to be sensitive to the culturally governed ways of speaking or talking to each other. The speech community’s (the language culture of the group of people) ways of communication cannot be taken for granted, when one seeks to learn or teach spoken English. People fail or suffer discomfort or embarrassment in negotiations in business or political affairs, or achievement of personal goals due to incompetence in persuasion, negotiation, mediation, or interaction. It is their performance, their intercultural interactional competence which matters; it lies in managing social interaction, and not just communication, in the narrow sense of the word, or use of right grammatical form, syntax, vocabulary, or even certain polite phrases. The goal is to enable one to express what one wishes to convey and make the impression that one wishes to make, using language with a sense of interaction and mutuality.

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION

In the context of Business Communication, it is not without a sense of social business for creating value and better business outcome. One needs to demonstrate social insights, too, in the use of, say, (social) networking sites, smart phones, mobile, tablet PCs, voice mail, electronic mail, and other e-business instruments such as computer network, teleconferencing and video conferencing that are being integrated to enterprise design. This means one needs to be able to share information, discover expertise, capitalize on relationship, and be collaborative in creatively solving business challenges. One needs to demonstrate leadership and management traits, innovation, and decision-making; one needs to be able to identify oneself with the shared values and beliefs of the organization one is associated with; and more importantly, one needs to demonstrate intercultural and interactive abilities with sensitivity for change and adaptation, if one is working in a foreign country or in a multinational company.

In short, one’s personal communication, both oral or written, needs to be in tune with the communication philosophy — goals and values, aspirations and pledges, beliefs and policies– of the organization one is working for, just as one should be able to blend with the host culture.

When I mention intercultural interaction, I point to the need for adapting to differences in life style, language, business philosophy as well as problems with finances, government, cultural shock, housing, food, gender, family etc. Although many of the people sent on foreign assignment know their (foreign) market, they are often unable to accept another culture on that culture’s terms even for short periods. Sensitivity for intercultural business environment, or being aware of each culture’s symbols, how they are the same, and how they are different, is important.

COMMUNICATIVE PERFORMANCE

The staff development programme of this kind provides us with an opportunity to revisit the issues related to ‚communicative‘ teaching, in general, and business communication, in particular. If communication is the aim of English (or any other language) teaching and ‚communicative‘ syllabuses fail to develop what Dell Hymes called ‚communicative competence‘ and Noam Chomsky mentioned as communicative performance, we need to reflect on our classroom practices, research and materials production from time to time. Chomsky’s focus was on the sentence-level grammatical competence of an ideal speaker-listener of a language, and Hymes, as a sociolinguist, was concerned with real speaker-listeners who interpret, express, and negotiate meaning in many different social settings; he brought into focus the view of language as a social phenomenon and reflected on its use as units of discourse. Socializing competence and performance, Dell Hymes also mentioned ‚appropriateness‘, that is, „when to speak, when not, and as to what to talk about and with whom, when, where, in what manner.“ This concept of „appropriate use“ as ‚communicative competence‘ was accepted by Chomsky and called „pragmatic competence“ (i.e. rules of use). Thus, Dell Hymes ‚communicative‘ is Chomsky’s ‚pragmatic‘ and includes knowledge of sociolinguistic rules, or the appropriateness of an utterance, in addition to knowledge of grammar rules. The term has come to negotiate meaning, to successfully combine a knowledge of linguistic and sociolinguistic rules in communicative interaction, both oral and written.

Michael Canale and Merril Swain in various papers on communicative competence have referred to „appropriacy“ in terms of ’sociolinguistic competence‘. In fact, they offer another term „strategic competence“, that is, the ability to use communication strategies like approximation (or paraphrase strategy, using, for example, ‚pipe‘ for waterpipe or ‚flower‘ for leaf to come close to the intended meanings), word-coinage, circumlocution (i.e. describing objects or ideas using „It looks like…“, „It’s made of…“ etc when one temporarily forgets an exact word), borrowing including literal translation and language mix, appeal for assistance, ie. asking for information appropriately using „Excuse me,“ „Could you…?“ „What’s the word for…?“ „I didn’t know how to say it,“ etc). mime and all that. Their strategic competence(Canale and Swain) refers to the ability to enhance or repair conversations and means the same as Chomsky’s ‚pragmatic competence‘ or Fluency. Brumfit and others too have used the term ‚pragmatic‘ in the sense of fluency.

Thus, communicative competence consists of LINGUISTIC competence (ACCURACY), PRAGMATIC competence (FLUENCY), and SOCIOLINGUISTIC

competence (APPROPRIACY).

The Linguistic competence or Accuracy in communication is much broader than mere grammatical competence; it includes the linguistic domains of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation as well as the linguistic skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing, spelling, discourse (particularly interconnections and interdependence of the sentences and paragraphs), and the ability to contrast with the mother tongue.

The pragmatic competence or Fluency in communication relates to ease and speed of expression, i.e. how to keep talking, how not to remain silent because one doesn’t know the word (the skill of paraphrasing), and other strategies of learning, including how to listen to oneself and so be able to self-correct and self-edit at once; that is, the ability to monitor immediately.

The sociolinguistic competence or Appropriacy includes varieties of text types (stories, dialogues, non-fiction passages etc) and functions of the language, different levels/degrees of formality or informality, or appropriacy and use of language in authentic situations.

I doubt if we follow such a communicative curriculum with understanding of communicative competence in terms of linguistic ability, pragmatic ability and sociolinguistic ability. But its adoption should help students become independent learners; it should equip them with linguistic forms, means, and strategies that would help them overcome communication difficulties both inside and outside the classroom. From this perspective, communicative competence should be thought of as communicative performance just as a communicative syllabus should be essentially performance-based, that is, increasing the learner’s proficiency.

To quote Brendan Carroll: „The use of a language is the objective, and the mastery of the formal patterns, or usage, of the language is a means to achieve this objective. The ultimate criterion of language mastery is therefore the learner’s effectiveness in communication for the settings he finds himself in.“

POOR COMMUNICATIVE PERFORMANCE

Work-related skills such as team work, cultural awareness, leadership, communication and I.T. skills are as vital as academic achievement for Business/Management students. It would be poor communicative performance if, for example, someone makes a multimedia presentation without knowing how to use the equipment and experiences technical difficulties, or „tries to liven up a dull topic merely by adding flashy graphics rather than by improving the content of the presentation. People who attend meetings unprepared waste others‘ time. People with poor listening skills frustrate those who have to repeat information for them. Those who make inappropriate grammatical or vocabulary choices embarrass themselves and those around them. Incompetent communicators hurt the organization they represent. This has especially been the case with hastily sent emails composed in a moment of anger.“

POSITIVE ATTITUDE NEEDED

Academic or professional communication skills, both written and oral, have to be imparted in such a way that students in their contexts are able to identify their own language learning needs and to set their own language learning goals. At college and university level, teachers may act as facilitators, just as they would need to teach with positive attitude for inter- and intra-cultural communication, the skills of negotiating linguistic and cultural differences.

It is with this sensibility for English language and its teaching in various contexts that I speak to you. Yet, as I say all this, I keep in mind the ground reality: that is, poor literacy skills, fluency, and even comprehension; poor communicative ability, with limited experiences in writing, speaking and listening unless, of course, teaching of English as a Second, or additional language improves from school level and need for a supportive classroom climate and positive student attitudes towards learning at post secondary level is recognized. Also, both teachers and students need to be aware of what to do, how to do it, and when and why to do it, as part of practicing self-regulation strategies.

The English Language Teaching community as also the other stake holders in the country should, therefore, revise and reformulate appropriate strategies and policies, with tolerance and multilingualism at the core, to remain relevant in the coming decades. The objective of looking back is to move forward with a reasoned perspective for taking measures to develop communication abilities and higher discourse competence, with a broadened inter- and cross-disciplinary bases, for learning to understand (rather than memorize) and apply in one’s own contexts.

COMMUNICATION IN BUSINESS

The digression apart, let me now come back to teaching communication in business. In terms of ESP, we should be aware of the ’specific purposes‘ of what we do in the classroom, just as we should do it in terms of students‘ specific needs. For example, if we teach written communication, we teach it in the specific context of Business, maybe, where applicable, in terms of ‚rhetorical functions‘, with a sense of logical organization of knowledge or information, as noticed in actual use. Students need to be exposed to range of authentic report material from business, commerce, finance, administration, marketing, production, personnel etc. They need to understand the logical steps in writing a report, from ‚collecting the information‘ through to ’summarizing‘ and ‚appendix‘. In short, they need to be presented with task-oriented activities that are both challenging and authentic in the field of business: they need to be forced to read and think about the content of the report; they need to be made to think about the structure and organization of the report; they need to think about the language used to express the content; and they have to be made to apply this knowledge to the skill of writing a report. The variety of writing exercises may include paragraph writing, expansion of notes, completion of paragraphs, sequencing of sentences into paragraph, and using the right punctuation marks, connectives, sub-headings, presentation of non-verbal information or transfer of information from text to diagram (graph, chart, table, outline etc); linking findings, conclusions and recommendations, extracting main points for making descriptive and evaluative summaries etc. We teach all this in terms of what the students already know and what they need to know. They unlearn, learn, and re-learn, both formal and informal expressions, within the conventions of the discipline they belong to.

As I already said, their career success depends on good writing and speaking skills, along with proper etiquette and listening skills and understanding skills. Skills that need particular attention are informational and analytical report writing, proposal writing, memo writing, letter writing, oral presentation, and a sense of grammar, punctuation, word, sentence and paragraph.

The methodology should encourage students to learn from each other via activities both of a productive kind and of a receptive nature. We may exploit developments in the case study approach, use role plays and simulations that place the students in realistic and stimulating situations to create spontaneous personal interaction and creative use of the language in a business context.

A mix of the task based approach, group work, and simulations should help the future business people develop the skills for meeting and negotiating as also for the necessary mastery of English for functioning autonomously in the field. The challenge is not to teach a descriptive course on discourse, but to provide for a pragmatic and custom-tailored input, ready for processing by the learners in an authentic learning environment.

In other words, in stead of mere ‚business communication‘, the emphasis has to be on, what I already mentioned, ‚interaction in business context‘. It is not merely the language of business, but also the cultural conventions of meetings and negotiations in an intercultural setting that one has to be aware of, and learn. As far as teaching is concerned, it is rather helping students with learning how to learn, how to create the learning opportunities for themselves, and understanding the ways in which language and business strategies interact. If we follow a learner-centred approach, a three-step procedure could be: first, to illustrate (=a good model), then, to induce (=induction for effective learning by the learner), and finally, to interact (=the outcome).

I would like to quote Christopher Brumfit from his opening speech to SPEAQ Convention in Quebec City (in June 1982): „…Being communicative is as much or more a matter of methodology as of syllabus or materials, and methodology is something that teachers are uniquely qualified to contribute to. We should therefore be willing to use our expertise, to innovate, to improve, to inform each other, and to criticize.“ What we are doing here, friends, is just to make a beginning, the beginning of a process of communicating, of understanding, that we can start but cannot finish.

ECLECTIC APPROACH

I am aware that there is no universal teaching method or ideal teaching material suited to many contexts of language teaching. Whatever didactic techniques one knows without excluding the behaviouristic drills, and practice and use of mother tongue, where appropriate, are all valid at different points in the teaching process. I stand for an eclectic approach as different methods for different students have always worked and there has not been one best method any time. With our freedom to choose and adopt any notion that serves our teaching ends, with a reasonable degree of historical sense, flexibility and adaptability that allows us to select among a variety of approaches, methods and techniques, we can meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. I see teaching communicatively essentially consisting of an eclectic methodology which incorporates what is valuable in any system or method of teaching and refuses to recognize bad teaching or defective learning. In any educational setting, sensitive and sensible application and continuing evaluation of the chosen practices should be inbuilt.

English has been practised in a social, economic, political, educational and philosophical „hot-house“, to use Peter Strevens‘ expression, and the hot-house in India differs in quality from state to state. It is necessary to create an enabling environment – managerial, administrative, institutional, academic, and curricular-to promote not only quality education and effective learning with exposure to lots of natural, meaningful and understandable language, but also genuine communication. This means learners should read and listen to live language; they should speak and write it in ways that can be understood by educated speakers everywhere. Moreover, they should eventually be able to produce and comprehend culturally appropriate natural discourse.

SUMMING UP

To sum up, we as teachers need to recognize the changes that have shaken all human conditions with new technology, new social structures, new values, new human relations, new functions. As Young Yun Kim notes: „The complexity, diversity, and rapid pace of change makes us ’strangers‘ in our own society.“ The challenge is, to understand the „sameness in differences“ for international/intercultural exchanges, or learning business negotiations and written communication. Language teaching alone may not develop communicative abilities in business English unless we realize that learning the language implies learning the culture also-one’s own culture and other’s culture. It is language and culture teaching together and sharing the „us“ and „them“ differences to reflect on one’s own culture from the viewpoint of an outsider, and thus, become less ethnocentric and more tolerant of the values of the foreign people and their ways.

The ESP of business communication seems highly culturally biased and value based, even as Western ethno-centricism, including the North American, may not be the answer to our communicative difficulties. But we have to be OPEN to all local peculiarities to communication and interaction. If we view English as the lingua franca for business negotiations, we should also not forget that it is NOT the mother tongue of any or most of the negotiators. To that extent, the English used is commonly a variety in which the mother tongue interferes not only phonetically and phonologically, but also in the cultural norms and attitudes expressed by the speakers. To quote Susanne Neimeir, „Their non-verbal behavior, for example, does not automatically switch to an ‚Englishized‘ non-verbal behavior but normally stays rooted in their home culture. Thus, even when they think the negotiation partner should have understood (verbal and non-verbal) signs they are using, misunderstandings still occur because signs may be differently encoded-and decoded-on the other’s cultures or may not be noticed to be signs at all.“

Therefore, we need to sensitize students to cultural richness and cultural diversity for developing mutual understanding and using individual and group knowledge constructively, and not stereotypically, in learning skills of business communication, both oral and written. It also seems imperative to integrate discourse analysis, decision-making and generic patterns of meetings and effective conversation and the role of cultural influences for success in actual business situations. In fact, it is significant to provide professional students with opportunities to experience what it means to communicate and to do business with different people who obviously are alike in several basic ways.

In today’s globalized business context, while teachers of business English have to be aware of various analytical and practical approaches to business communication, especially as intercultural understanding and strategies of flexibility, adaptability and tolerance are some of the keys to make the best of economic opportunities, students of Business communication have to learn to find their own strategies, or use of structural and stylistic devices for successful business interaction. Their verbal communication in the ‚ESL‘ context, to my mind, would be largely ‚EIL‘ to be able to work together, using English as the common language.

I hope at the end of the programme, having shared with each other what some of you have done and how, we will emerge more enlightened and aware about what more we need to do to succeed in the days ahead. Mutual interaction should help us envision a possible policy framework required to support teaching for economically valuable language skills at tertiary and/or professional level.

(Text of the author’s Special lecture delivered at the AICTE SPONSORED STAFF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME ON ‚EMERGING TRENDS IN BUSINESS ENGLISH AND THE METHODS OF TEACHING‘ at National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), Berhampur, Odisha on 23 March 2012.)

Copyright:

–PROFESSOR (DR) R.K.SINGH

Dept of Humanities & Social Sciences

Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad 826004 India

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A Website That Attracts Millions! Here’s How to Build It

So far, websites have become an inseparable part of businesses and organisations. Building a website is pretty much a handy job if you have an efficient website development agency at your end. They are the ones to settle for a reliable framework that will go perfectly with your goals, particular business type and the online exposure you want. With no stress or risks, you can get a beautiful website crafted in no time. However, the website is just a laying stone for your online presence. What are the other mainstay aspects that help it fetch millions of visitors every day from the search engines? Well, here we are to discuss that in the below section. Read on to know the key measures to undertake to make sure that your website is not only crafted and designed well but also help it stand as an out-of-the-box creation.

#1 Get an unforgettable domain name

This is perhaps the first step to make your website an offbeat one from the rest. The domain consists of two segments, one is the extension (like, .au, .ca, .com and .org) and other is the second-level domain that includes the name of the company, service or business name. Obviously, choosing the best combination of both will help you strengthen your business’s credibility. For, the latter, try putting either brand name or keywords with a higher volume of searches.

#2 Partner with a reputed web development firm

An obvious step it is! You need to get a team that has recognition and are reliable enough for any scale of web projects. More the years of their experience more is their ability to mould the website as per your unique requirements.

#3 Great layout and organised structure

Okay, this is a kind of prerequisite to distinguish your website from the peers. A fancy site layout cannot attract visitors, but a clean and professional layout does. Try maintaining one or two synchronised colours for your website as that fosters a brand identity. Likewise, do not opt for a dismantled structure as that hampers navigation. Follow an organised and uniform structure, so that visitors know where the buttons are.

#4 Getting most-engaging content

Engaging content having a touch of the branding elements will do great for your website. While the only secret to keep every visitor hooked is providing helpful, informative, as fun-oriented content, images, graphics and slides, incorporating branding will let visitors perceive that company cares for them and are there just to meet their needs.

#5 Be considerate of the search engine aspects

To make sure website has a great number of visitors flowing in, work on the aspects of SEO beforehand. For keeping the rank of your website higher in the search engines and to escalate traffic visits, you need to add relevant keywords, meta tags, titles and descriptions on every page besides embedding content and developing URLs, because that helps site fetch top rank in the search engine.

Whether you are a small entrepreneur, startup business or an established business house, your online site has to be something more striking than the similar existing sites. While the task of development relies entirely on the hands of your assigned development team, keep close interaction with them to ensure other the site’s above aspects are tweaked well to capture highest visitors.

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Google AdWords Strategies That Will Work – The Easiest Way to Find a New Market With This Source

When it comes to making a lot of money online you are going to have to make sure you are in a market that will actually make you a lot of money. In this article I want to show you exactly how you can use Google AdWords to figure out which markets are going to work for you to make you a profit.

Why You Need To Use Google AdWords To Do Your Market Research…

When it comes to figuring out which market is going to work to make you the most amount of money you are always going to want to use Google AdWords to figure this out.

The reason is because you can get access to so much data that will help you out. You have to realize that if you are looking at a niche and see that there are lots of competitors in that niche, that is a good sign that you might have a good market on your hands that will potentially make you a lot of money.

You have to realize that if advertisers are spending money on Google to get visitors to their site they are probably making money. They wouldn’t be spending money on AdWords month after month if they were not making a profit.

So you have to realize that when you see people in your niche buying traffic, you want to make sure you watch what those advertisers are doing so you can better understand how they are making money.

The Easiest Way To Find A Market With Google AdWords.

Step #1 – You have to make sure you are focused on making sure site owners are buying advertising for more then a month.

It is great that a site owner is buying advertising in your market but you have to make sure they are spending money for more than a month. The reason that you have to make sure of this is because of the fact that you want to know if they are making a profit or not.

If they are spending money on AdWords for more then a month, the chances are pretty good that they are making a profit! If they spend money with Google for a week and quit, they are probably not making a profit.

Step #2 – Make sure they are selling expensive products to the visitors in their niche market.

You have to follow what they are doing and make sure they are selling expensive products to the people who are coming to their site. The reason that you need to make sure of this is because you want to be able to go into a market that is full of customers who will spend lots of money to get stuff from you. It is pretty hard to make a profit in a market if you can only sell $20 ebooks!

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