English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II

English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II Free

By British Council
12 Lessons
4.0
(1 review)

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 language and strategies for saying 'no' while keeping the door open, and effective techniques for giving presentations and brainstorming ideas. This course covers modules 8 to 10 of our longer English for Freelancers course. Want to learn more? Try one of our other mini-courses: English for Freelancers: Getting Started English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I English for Freelancers: Upskilling This course was created by British Council 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 language and strategies for saying 'no' while keeping the door open, and effective techniques for giving presentations and brainstorming ideas. This course covers modules 8 to 10 of our longer English for Freelancers course. Want to learn more? Try one of our other mini-courses: English for Freelancers: Getting Started English for Freelancers: Communication Skills I English for Freelancers: Upskilling This course was created by British Council in partnership with Gaza Sky Geeks.

English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II 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 Offering alternatives
  2. 1.2 Emails for saying 'no'
  3. 1.3 Communication differences with saying ‘no’
  4. Module 1 Practice
  5. 2.1 Planning a presentation I
  6. 2.2 Planning a presentation II
  7. 2.3 Signposting language for presentations
  8. Module 2 Practice
  9. 3.1 Effective brainstorming
  10. 3.2 Sharing your ideas
  11. 3.3 Giving feedback on ideas
  12. Module 3 Practice

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

What you will learn

  • Language for turning down work or renegotiating deadlines
  • How to know your audience
  • How to prepare engaging content in a presentation
  • Language for presentations for presenting with confidence
  • Differences between online and face-to-face presentations
  • How to collaborate through brainstorming and planning

English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II course excerpts

1.1 Offering alternatives

Learn useful phrases for keeping the door open when saying 'no' to a client.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 1: SELF-STUDY 1 Offering alternatives

1.1 Offering alternatives

As a freelancer, you might feel like you should say ‘yes’ to every piece of work that comes to you.

1.1 Offering alternatives

It can be hard to know when to say 'no'. And it can be even harder to know how to say 'no' in the right way.

1.1 Offering alternatives

Sometimes you don’t feel a project is right for you because it really isn’t right for you. But it’s a good idea to stop for a minute to check if you’re just not feeling confident.

1.1 Offering alternatives

If your reason for saying ‘no’ is about time, this is another chance to negotiate.

1.1 Offering alternatives

Let’s look at an email. Mahmoud is thinking about saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a project from a client, Natasha.

1.1 Offering alternatives

Does Natasha accept Mahmoud’s suggestion?

Read Mahmoud's replies. Which one should he send if he wants to keep the door open for future work: the first or second?

Here are some more phrases for finishing the email. Choose the three phrases that leave the door open for future work.

1.2 Emails for saying 'no'

Look at appropriate reasons to give when wanting to say no or quit a project.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 1: SELF-STUDY 2 Emails for saying 'no'

1.2 Emails for saying 'no'

Saying 'no' to clients is actually one of the big advantages of freelance life compared with a traditional job. As a freelancer you have a lot more choice about the work you say 'yes' or 'no' to.

1.2 Emails for saying 'no'

You will usually say ‘no’ in an email. Let’s look now at how to write an email saying no to new work.

1.2 Emails for saying 'no'

Bushra has written the beginning of two emails to her client Taro. Which sentence should she put next? Dear Taro, Thank you for the offer of work on the Red Project.

How much information should you give about why you’re saying 'no'? Let’s look at Bushra’s email so far and what she’s planning to write next. Dear Taro, Thank you for the offer of work on the Red Project. It sounds really interesting but, unfortunately, I’m not able to start a new project at the moment. Select ‘Continue’ to see what Bushra plans to write next.

I’ve just started work on two new projects that finish at the end of the month. One of them might continue but it’s not clear yet. The other project is something new, so I’m not sure if it will take a long time. Both projects are quite similar to your Red Project. I’ll be sure to let you know in a few weeks when I’m available again. Does Bushra's email contain ...

Here are the sentences from Bushra's email again. She could make it shorter by deleting all of the sentences except one. Which sentence could she keep?

Finally, let’s look at how to end an email where you have quit a project. Which of these sentences should you NOT write?

1.3 Communication differences with saying ‘no’

Look at how 'no' can mean different things, depending on which client you are working with.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 1: SELF-STUDY 3 Communication differences with saying ‘no’

1.3 Communication differences with saying ‘no’

Different cultures often have different ways of saying things. One way of describing some communication differences is to look at high context cultures and low context cultures.

1.3 Communication differences with saying ‘no’

Low context cultures, on the other hand, depend on the words they use to communicate meaning. They prefer communication that is direct and clear in its meaning.

1.3 Communication differences with saying ‘no’

Look at this conversation. Client: Can you finish this project by Friday? Freelancer: I’m not sure at the moment. But if not, it will be Tuesday at the latest. Is that OK? Client: Sure, Tuesday still works. Now both people are happy and there probably is no misunderstanding. The freelancer has not said a direct ‘no’ so feels comfortable with the conversation. They both now know it’s OK to push the deadline to Tuesday. The client has agreed that the work will be finished at some time between Friday and Tuesday.

In a face-to-face or video conversation, it can be hard to say ‘no’. This can even be hard for people from low culture contexts because sometimes saying ‘no’ in a direct way is uncomfortable for them too. Or sometimes, they know the other person might find a direct ‘no’ rude.

1.3 Communication differences with saying ‘no’

Here's a useful phrase for many situations where you want to say ‘no’ but can’t or don’t want to: Let me check and get back to you via email.

1.3 Communication differences with saying ‘no’

Sometimes it's easier to **write a polite email **than to think of the best, most polite way to say ‘no’ when speaking.

1.3 Communication differences with saying ‘no’

Module 1 Practice

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

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

Module 1 Practice

Use what you learned this module to say 'no' in a positive way.

You are a coder. One morning, 3 companies contact you to ask if you can work on projects.

Module 1 Practice

You're already busy and you can't say 'yes' to everything.

Module 1 Practice

Reply to each of them to negotiate the timeframe OR say 'no' but keep the door open.

Now look at the next offer...

Kate is from France. You haven't worked with her before.

Module 1 Practice

Kate works in a high-context culture. What do you think she means? 'I'm not sure. It may be difficult. We'll think about it and get back to you.'

2.1 Planning a presentation I

Pick up tips for making an online presentation as interesting as possible.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 2: SELF-STUDY 1 Planning a presentation I

2.1 Planning a presentation I

In this module, we’ll be looking at giving an online presentation. Everything you will learn is also useful for giving face-to-face presentations too.

2.1 Planning a presentation I

A presentation can be anything: a product demonstration, a sales pitch, or a TED talk, etc. Let’s look in more detail at three different styles of presentation.

2.1 Planning a presentation I

You’re going to plan a presentation in this module. Think of a topic you want to talk about for five minutes. Choose something you know about. You’re going to spend your time planning how to present it. You might not have time to also research a new topic you know nothing about.

When you have decided the topic of your presentation, think about whether you want to give information, to** demonstrate something or to persuade the audience to do something**.

2.1 Planning a presentation I

One thing all three kinds need is good visuals. Visuals are the **pictures or charts **(bar charts, pie charts, tables, etc.) that you use. They also include the design of the slides and of the text.

2.1 Planning a presentation I

Good visuals are ones that: Fit the topic Get the audience’s attention Make information easier to understand.

2.1 Planning a presentation I

Which THREE things make bad visuals?

2.2 Planning a presentation II

Discover ways to best plan and structure your presentation.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 2: SELF-STUDY 2 Planning a presentation II

2.2 Planning a presentation II

When you’re planning your presentation, which part is it best to plan first?

As part of the body of the presentation, you may want to tell a story about something that happened.

Stories can be a great way of presenting information that you want people to remember.

2.2 Planning a presentation II

Which of these three tips about stories is NOT useful for helping audiences remember your stories?

Which three things can you include in the conclusion?

Lastly, now that you know what your presentation is going to include, you can create the introduction. The main purpose of the introduction is to** make the audience interested** in what you’re going to say. One way you can do this is to ask a question at the beginning.

2.2 Planning a presentation II

As a final check, look at your presentation as a whole. This means finding the ‘overview’ or the ‘grid view’ so you can see all the slides at the same time.

2.2 Planning a presentation II

Make sure there aren’t too many text slides in a row without images. The audience will lose attention if text slide comes after text slide after text slide. Add surprising or interesting images before important slides that you want the audience to remember.

2.2 Planning a presentation II

2.3 Signposting language for presentations

Learn useful language for telling your audience where they are in the presentation and where they're going next.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 2: SELF-STUDY 3 Signposting language for presentation

2.3 Signposting language for presentations

As you’ve seen, presentations are usually planned in three sections. And the language that you use falls into the same three categories, more or less. Image copyright Mat Wright

2.3 Signposting language for presentations

This language is called signposting. Signposting tells people where they are in the presentation and where they’re going next.

2.3 Signposting language for presentations

Next, you’re going to watch a video of a freelancer called Antony practising part of a presentation. Which part is it?

Antony wasn’t happy with his first try at giving his presentation. Which four problems did the first part have? Go back and watch the video again if you want to.

We are only seeing a small part of the presentation but the introduction could be more interesting if Antony used a rhetorical question. For example: Did you know that many professional photographers don’t even own a camera? Or he could show a series of amazing pictures that were taken with a phone and then ask the audience this question: Do you think the photographer used a professional camera or their phone?

Module 2 Practice

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

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

Module 2 Practice

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

Module 2 Practice

Use what you learned this module to edit a presentation.

This is Mona.

Module 2 Practice

She made a presentation. She's not sure if it's ready. Can you help her?

Module 2 Practice

What advice can you give Mona about her slides?

Module 2 Practice

3.1 Effective brainstorming

Learn what makes for an effective brainstorming session. Is it about quantity or quality of ideas?
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 3: SELF-STUDY 1 Effective brainstorming

3.1 Effective brainstorming

Brainstorming can be in groups, but you can also use brainstorming techniques alone as they help with creativity.

3.1 Effective brainstorming

It’s important to approach brainstorming in the right way so that you, and everyone else, have maximum freedom to be creative.

3.1 Effective brainstorming

Watch the beginning of a brainstorming meeting. What is the aim of the session?

3.1 Effective brainstorming

Watch the video again, if you want to. How does the host, Jo, make people feel comfortable?

After the two minutes are finished, what are they going to do?

3.2 Sharing your ideas

Learn useful phrases for sharing your ideas confidently, asking to hear ideas and reacting to ideas positively.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 3: SELF-STUDY 2 Sharing your ideas

3.2 Sharing your ideas

Another way of doing a brainstorming activity is to share a Google doc where everyone can write their ideas. This is a good idea for when people are in different timezones or working different hours.

3.2 Sharing your ideas

It’s also good if some people are more confident in writing than in speaking.

3.2 Sharing your ideas

In the video that you’re going to watch, the ideas-sharing part is quite short. We don’t hear all of the participants' ideas, but in a real meeting each person should share all their ideas. As you watch, think about the answer to this question: How do the others react when someone shares an idea?

In the video, people react to ideas

3.3 Giving feedback on ideas

Learn useful language for giving feedback on ideas and giving criticism where necessary.
English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II Course - Lesson Excerpt

MODULE 3: SELF-STUDY 3 Giving feedback on ideas

3.3 Giving feedback on ideas

The last stage of a brainstorming session is where you start deciding which ideas to move forward with. In the last lesson, you saw some phrases for responding to ideas. All of these phrases were positive. Should all the feedback on the ideas in this last stage be positive too?

Which two ideas get the most criticism?

Four of the phrases below appear in the video when they’re giving criticism. Which phrase was not in the video because it’s too negative for a brainstorming?

Using hesitant language and avoiding directly negative feedback could be cultural. Most of the people in this meeting are British. Brits are often not very direct and like to be polite.

3.3 Giving feedback on ideas

However, it’s also partly because brainstorming works best in a very positive, welcoming atmosphere.

3.3 Giving feedback on ideas

The phrases for keeping things moving or making a decision are useful if you’re the chairperson and also if you’re brainstorming in a group with no chairperson.

The phrases also act like the signposting language in a presentation that you learned about in Module 9. They will help you understand where you are in the meeting.

Module 3 Practice

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

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

Module 3 Practice

Use what you learned to collaborate and share your ideas.

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

Module 3 Practice

Right now, you’re all in a brainstorming session to come up with new ideas for a social media campaign.

Module 3 Practice

Join the team call. Do you have your pen and paper ready to ‘sketch’ your ideas?

Module 3 Practice

Now the team is giving feedback on one idea that they want to take forward.

Module 3 Practice

But... you don’t like this idea. It’s very complicated. Give some criticism.

Module 3 Practice

English for Freelancers: Communication Skills II 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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