Global language of business: English, please!

It’s not so much about the language. It’s about simplicity.


By: Ove Sjøstrøm


Former BBC journalists, Rosie Goldsmith and Max Easterman, are highly experienced presenters. After 20 years they left the BBC and are now teaching presentation skills to professionals around the world. They also offer courses in co-operation with SpeakLab in Bergen, Norway.

During the one-day SpeakLab course you will receive personal and constructive feedback on your presentations and performance. But why do Norwegians need to practise their English and presentation skills?

Language of business                                                                                                                          

We met Rosie Goldsmith for a chat in Bergen. This is the third time she and Max Easterman have been to Bergen to give language and presentation training. The former BBC presenters have known Siri Lill Mannes and Arne Møller from SpeakLab for a couple of years now.

The two Norwegians had already started their company and one of their thoughts was: Norway needs to do some of this training in English. Then they met Rosie Goldsmith.

«We are all very passionate about using our skills as journalists to tell and show other people how their businesses, their individual lives, their media company, whatever, can be improved with a few additional skills and some training», says Goldsmith.

English is the global language of business. Many global companies have made English the mandatory corporate language. And more and more Norwegian companies are also making English their official working language. But for Norwegians it is not so much about the language.

– Keep it short and simple

The biggest problem training in English when it is not your first language is not actually the language.

«This is one thing that’s really important to remember, because Norwegians speak great English. I mean, you grow up speaking English, you learn it at school. You often read English», she says.
According to Goldsmith, the problem is how we use the language.

«I hope that some of the lessons we teach, how to use the language, can also be applied when you do presentations in Norwegian.»

She continues:

«Because it’s about simplicity and clarity. We call it KISS. Keep it short and simple. It’s about working out what your key messages are for every single presentation and talk you give.»

The secret is not to include everything you know about a topic.

«It’s not necessarily about telling people one million different things they didn’t know; it’s actually about telling them three things.»

A small festival

The co-operation with SpeakLab was initiated through pure coincidence at a small town literature festival in Skudeneshavn, Norway.

«I love that place and I go every year. I’m a journalist and a presenter and I’ve worked for the BBC for 20 years. One thing I do is travel around the world and interview people on stage at festivals, so I interviewed Siri Lill Mannes. We got on extremely well, not only as journalists, but also as individuals. And we understood what we were trying to do with media and presentation.»

– Will you be back soon?

«I have made a motto for myself. I only want to do things that I really enjoy, with people I like and respect, and I definitely respect Arne and Siri Lill», she says.

The next course will be announced on SpeakLab’s webpage.


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