A software, IT, database, and web design company needed to prepare their IT specialists to also be consultants, and communicate with and sell to colleagues and clients in Scandinavia, with ambitions of spreading throughout Europe. The employees ranged from IT consultants to more dedicated sales associates. There were three main areas to be developed.
Speaking and selling their products over the phone
Emailing or speaking through video chats with colleagues
Comfort level when speaking in a general manner with both native and non-native speakers
There were a variety of challenges for each person involved in the group, and an additional challenge involved tailoring the class topics to fit the needs of each group member. The students were a mix of B1 to B2 in level, although all needed similar practice with work specific vocabulary and expressions.
The programme developed for this company focused on job specific skills, and using a variety of mediums to reach our aims.
The first step of the programme was centered around what the products of the company, the history of the company, and this company’s niche in the local and regional market. The grammar and vocabulary followed the overall subjects approached in this initial step.
Once the group participants were able to describe their company and its benefits in a general sense, we were able to move forward in a more direct manner. Each week consisted of 2 x 60-minute face-to-face sessions and 2 x 15-minute phone call. In each class, we focused on topics ranging from presentations to language to build trust to soliciting information to getting buy-in. Each of these topics were completed by developing the language skills needed to perform these skills in both casual and formal settings. The phone calls were then used to perform specific role plays based on the topic for that week.
Another step was to have each student take turns giving a short presentation to the class regarding a topic that was instrumental in their work. This practiced their public speaking and their ability to take and answer questions in real time.
Finally, we made the classes focus on building confidence and being comfortable in a wide variety of situations through in-class role plays. The students participated in role plays that combined relevant grammar with work-related situations.
The students who were involved in this course were able to improve their work-related vocabulary, their sales skills, their confidence in speaking with native speakers, as well as their presentation and phone call skills. The key to success in this programme was to approach the needs of the students in a varied manner with an emphasis on work-related vocabulary and sales skills.
In the future, when a phone call from a client in Sweden interrupts one of our former students, we are confident that they will answer that call with self-assurance in their English skills.