English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I

English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Free

By British Council
12 Lessons
4.5
(6 reviews)

Are you starting out as a freelancer and looking to work in the international market? Maybe you're already a freelancer and want to increase your network of clients? Either way, this is the course for you! As well as teaching you useful language for scenarios you will meet as a freelancer, you will also learn ways to collaborate effectively in meetings, how to negotiate, as well as language and strategies for dealing with problems and issues. This course covers modules 5 to 7 of our longer English for Freelancers course. Want to continue your learning? Try one of our other mini-courses: English for Freelancers: Getting Started English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II English for Freelancers: Upskilling This course was created in partnership with Gaza Sky Geeks.

From the author:Are you starting out as a freelancer and looking to work in the international market? Maybe you're already a freelancer and want to increase your network of clients? Either way, this is the course for you! As well as teaching you useful language for scenarios you will meet as a freelancer, you will also learn ways to collaborate effectively in meetings, how to negotiate, as well as language and strategies for dealing with problems and issues. This course covers modules 5 to 7 of our longer English for Freelancers course. Want to continue your learning? Try one of our other mini-courses: English for Freelancers: Getting Started English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II English for Freelancers: Upskilling This course was created in partnership with Gaza Sky Geeks.

English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Lessons

Click through the microlessons below to preview this course. Each lesson is designed to deliver engaging and effective learning to your team in only minutes.

  1. 1.1 What makes a good meeting?
  2. 1.2 Interrupting
  3. 1.3 Language for meetings
  4. Module 1 Practice
  5. 2.1 Negotiating availability
  6. 2.2 Negotiating deadlines
  7. 2.3 Negotiating pay
  8. Module 2 Practice
  9. 3.1 Problems getting paid
  10. 3.2 Language for problems and solutions
  11. 3.3 Solving problems
  12. Module 3 Practice

Follow the interactions on each screen or click the arrows to navigate between lesson slides.

What you will learn

  • How to negotiate deadlines and pay
  • Language for participating in meetings, interrupting and making suggestions
  • Language to navigate and solve issues, including accepting criticism, scope/task changes mid project, responding to feedback
  • How negotiation differs in written and oral communication
  • When to use formal and informal language
  • Problem solving skills

English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I course excerpts

1.1 What makes a good meeting?

Have you ever been in a meeting and wondered what the point of it was? Learn what makes a good meeting.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 1: SELF-STUDY 1 What makes a good meeting?

1.1 What makes a good meeting?

What two other things make this meeting a ‘not-so-good’ meeting?

If this meeting had an agenda, it would be clear to everyone what the meeting was about. But it also needs a chairperson. The chairperson is responsible for making sure people stick to the topics. They also manage the meeting to make sure everyone gets their chance to speak and be heard and that one person doesn’t dominate. Berta does try to make sure Delphine gets heard. Watch the video again and listen carefully at about 59 seconds in.

How does the meeting end?

Now, watch a video of the same people doing the meeting better. Be ready for a question about how it is better.

How is this meeting better than the first meeting? Select two reasons.

1.2 Interrupting

Learn useful phrases for interrupting someone and handling interruptions.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 1: SELF-STUDY 2 Interrupting

1.2 Interrupting

In the second meeting you watched in the last lesson, there were a few points where people needed to interrupt because they had something to say. Interrupting can feel hard to do. But if you use polite language, interrupting will not seem rude to the other people in the meeting.

How many times does Berta interrupt Tim?

Next, you’ll listen to some more phrases for interrupting and letting people speak. Repeat the phrases until you can say them correctly.

1.3 Language for meetings

Learn phrases for keeping things moving and recapping important points.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 1: SELF-STUDY 3 Language for meetings

1.3 Language for meetings

So, to recap what you’ve learned so far: Having an agenda and a chairperson keeps a meeting on topic. Amplifying people’s voices makes sure everyone gets heard. Interrupting can be polite. 'Now, let’s move on to the next point on the agenda …' (That’s a useful phrase to keep things moving in a meeting.)

Delphine, the chairperson, also doesn’t disagree with anyone directly. She responds to the other suggestions by saying Some great points there, before she adds her own suggestion. When they find an idea they agree on, they use a few different phrases ...

As a freelancer, many of your meetings may only be with you and the client. But, even with only two people, most of the language you’ve learned in this module will be useful to keep meetings moving and to make sure both you and the client have understood.

Module 1 Practice

Review what you've learned in this module.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 1: PRACTICE Are you ready to review this module?

Module 1 Practice

Use what you learned this module to collaborate in a meeting.

Imagine you’re working with the team from LDC company.

Module 1 Practice

Right now, you’re all in a team meeting. What is the purpose of the meeting? Read the agenda to find out.

What's on the agenda today?

Module 1 Practice

Look at the agenda again. Has everything been discussed?

Module 1 Practice

2.1 Negotiating availability

Learn language and strategies for negotiating availability.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 2: SELF-STUDY 1 Negotiating availability

2.1 Negotiating availability

In this lesson, we are covering:

2.1 Negotiating availability

Accepting jobs and negotiating availability

2.1 Negotiating availability

Ameer is a freelance video editor.# His interview with XCorp went well and he has received an email. Swipe to read the email.# Image copyright Poyraz Tütüncü

2.1 Negotiating availability

From: sara@xcorp.com Subject: Job offer Dear Ameer, Thank you for the chat yesterday. Your skills and experience look like a good fit for us and we’d like to offer you the role of video editor. I’ve attached the contract and formal job offer for you to sign. Can you let us know what kind of availability you have in the next two to three weeks and we can organise a kick-off meeting? All the best, Sara

2.1 Negotiating availability

What do Ameer and Sara need to negotiate?

A negotiation about availability may be included at the end of a job interview. Listen to Bob, a project manager offering Fatima, a freelancer, a job.

2.1 Negotiating availability

Next you're going to listen to another conversation about availability. This time the client is Sam and the freelancer is Mohammad.

Now listen to the useful phrases and repeat them. Copy the pronunciation that you hear.

2.2 Negotiating deadlines

Learn language for making a deadline work better for you.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 2: SELF-STUDY 2 Negotiating deadlines

2.2 Negotiating deadlines

Now you've learned to negotiate your availability, let's look at something else you may need to negotiate many times during a project ... deadlines

What is a deadline?

You’re going to hear a conversation between Bob, the Project Manager, and Fatima. They’re discussing a deadline. Listen carefully to the language they use.

Which other phrase does Fatima use to show she isn't sure?

Which meaning fits both of these expressions from Bob and Fatima's chat? I can turn it around pretty fast. When can you have it on my desk?

Conversations about deadlines will happen many times during a project, probably during meetings or on Slack. Remember to always check the deadline, especially if the deadline was agreed in a call or meeting! Use the phrasebank on the next slide to help you have deadline negotiations.

2.3 Negotiating pay

Learn useful language and strategies for negotiating the rate of pay for a project.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 2: SELF-STUDY 3 Negotiating pay

2.3 Negotiating pay

Negotiating availability and deadlines, like you learned in the last two lessons, is easy. Negotiating about money can seem harder.

2.3 Negotiating pay

But ... talking about money is essential. This is a work context, and the client will expect you to ask, and even to negotiate how much the final fee will be.

2.3 Negotiating pay

The good news is ... if you know the right language, it's a lot easier.

2.3 Negotiating pay

At what point should you ask about money?

From: Monica@TDX.com Subject: Job offer Hi Ameer, Thank you for reaching out about the Blue project. Your skills and experience look like a good fit for us and we’d like to offer you 20 minutes of video to edit. We estimate that to be 15 hours work and we’d like the work to be delivered in batches of 5 hours. We can discuss deadlines that work for you. Does that sound like something you’d be interested in? If so, let us know what kind of availability you have in the next two to three weeks and we can organise a kick-off meeting. All the best, Monica

2.3 Negotiating pay

Which phrase goes best in the gap? From: ameerd@gmail.com Subject: re: Job offer Hi Monica, Thank you for providing the details. The project sounds really interesting and a great fit for me. I have availability for the next 3 weeks and can commit to the 15 hours. [________] Regards, Ameer

Which of the following phrases are also neutral and professional? Choose more than one

But what do you say if they can’t increase the budget? Read Monica’s reply and then Ameer’s reply and put the words in the right order to complete the sentences.

From: Monica@TDX.com Subject: re: Job offer Hi Ameer, I’m afraid our budget is fixed for this project. Would you still like to go ahead? Monica

2.3 Negotiating pay

Imagine Monica made another offer. Next you'll read Ameer’s reply after receiving a rate he feels he can accept. Some words are missing for you to complete the sentences.

Being confident about pay is important – especially for women in digital freelancing. A report by Website Planet found that women freelancers earn 50-80% less than men on online freelance platforms. When women earn less it seems to be because they set their rates lower.

That means many women ask for less money right from the start. The report found that women charged and earned a lot less in industries like IT, logo design, translation, accounting and video production. Women earned more in SEO (only a little bit more) and, content writing.

So, women especially need to think about what rates they will accept for their work. Try looking at other people in your industry and find out what they are charging for the same kind of work you do.

Hopefully, now you’ve learned some useful language, you feel more confident about basic negotiations over payment.

2.3 Negotiating pay

The more you do it, the more confident you will feel! Don’t be afraid to ask about money. Your client will expect it and will often increase the money if they are able to and if you ask in the right way.

2.3 Negotiating pay

Module 2 Practice

Review what you've learned in this module.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 2: PRACTICE Are you ready to review this module?

Module 2 Practice

Use what you learned this module to negotiate with a client.

Imagine that you applied to start a new project with LDC company. You had a meeting with Tim to find out more about the role.

Module 2 Practice

After the call, he sends you an email. Read the email and see if you are interested in the position.

3.1 Problems getting paid

Learn useful phrases for politely asking about late payment.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 3: SELF-STUDY 1 Problems getting paid

3.1 Problems getting paid

Freelancing, like any kind of job, comes with its own problems. Some of the problems are the same as the kinds of problems you might expect in a traditional job.

3.1 Problems getting paid

As a freelancer, you have to deal with problems professionally and quickly. Otherwise, you might lose clients.

3.1 Problems getting paid

Some online platforms have a system to make sure you get paid for the work you’ve done. Search the platform you're using for 'payment protection' if you want to find out more.

3.1 Problems getting paid

For most freelance work, you will send an invoice and wait until the money arrives in your bank account.

3.1 Problems getting paid

If a payment is missing or late, you will need to contact the client. The language you use is very important. You want to be polite but still firm. Firm means you sound strong.

3.1 Problems getting paid

Watch a video of someone trying to write a polite but firm email. Is the email polite in the end? Is it firm?

3.1 Problems getting paid

Choose the two polite but firm phrases from this list.

In the next lesson, Self-study 2, you’ll look at other problems freelancers might have. Sometimes one email or one conversation will solve the problem.

If you need to keep sending emails, or you need to have the same conversation again, what might change?

3.2 Language for problems and solutions

Learn useful phrases for dealing with problems and suggesting solutions.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 3: SELF-STUDY 2 Language for problems and solutions

3.2 Language for problems and solutions

You have agreed to translate three articles for a client. Now they are asking you to find images to go with the articles. You think it will add about two hours' work to the original project. What should you do?

You’re going to read three emails from Yousef, a freelancer, to his clients. He’s dealing with the problems you’ve just seen. Read each email and answer the questions.

3.3 Solving problems

Discover more ways of solving problems by hearing about other freelancers' experiences.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 3: SELF-STUDY 3 Solving problems

3.3 Solving problems

You’ve learned some common problems that freelancers experience and the language for solving them.

3.3 Solving problems

Now let’s hear from three professional freelancers talking about problems they’ve met in their real working lives and how they solved them.

First you’ll hear from Peter, a freelance website designer. As you watch, think about the answer to this question: Did the project start well or badly?

How did Peter solve this problem?

How did Sam solve the problem?

Of course, not every project will have problems. And, even if you have problems, most of the time you will be able to solve them. If you do have difficulties, it can be really useful to get advice from online communities of other freelancers.

Module 3 Practice

Review what you've learned in this module.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 3: PRACTICE Are you ready to review this module?

Module 3 Practice

Use what you learned this module to deal with some problems.

Imagine you’re working on a new project to research photos for a language course. It's the first time you have worked with the client.

Module 3 Practice

You take notes during your call. At the end of the meeting, you follow up with an email...

Module 3 Practice

You finish the work to the new schedule. But there's a problem...

You check your bank account and you haven't been paid. You completed the work and sent your invoice over a month ago.

Module 3 Practice

English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I Course Author

British CouncilThe British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language.

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