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For media and press enquiries please contact Paula Scott at Lime Green Communications (07932 740221 or paula@limegreencommunications.co.uk).


Article archive

EL Gazette, June 2013
Taking care of business (p7) and Learning the best in the business (p16)

EL Gazette, May 2013
Top Quality, Capital Value (p6)

EL Gazette, April 2013
Members come top of the class (p11)

EL Gazette, September 2012
London's pride scores a centenary (p20)

STM Magazine, November 2012
Agent of the Month (p18)

HR Magazine, May 2012
A Different Slant: English Lessons

Study Travel Magazine,
May 2012
Executive Language Courses (p34-38)

IALC News article, February 2012
Interview with Timothy Blake

Study Travel Magazine
, January 2012
Milestone anniversaries (p10)

London Business Matters, November 2011
Communication key to export success

International Accountant
, September/October 2011
Cross Cultural Communication - speaking the same language is not enough (p9)
Sam Thompson

London Business Matters, September 2011
Business Culture Shock
Sam Thompson


Press releases

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UK Lawyers lead the way in language training - but should look at new ways to cross cultural barriers (February 2012)

Recent research by the UK’s oldest accredited language school, The London School of English, shows that UK law firms are ahead of their counterparts in other UK sectors when it comes to language skills training.  However, they are still failing to train in more innovative ways to improve cross-cultural communication.

The research, which was undertaken to mark the school’s centenary, asked HR directors working in UK-based law firms about their training considerations for non-native English speakers, as well as native English speakers.

Almost half (46%) of law firms would consider language training for their non-native English speakers compared to 28% across other industries. However, despite the increased likelihood that international lawyers will be communicating with non-native English speakers, the firms are still hesitant to train in areas such as accent softening, voice projection, language moderation and cross cultural training which might improve understanding.

Over two thirds (71%) would not consider “accent softening” for employees with strong foreign or regional accents and nearly three quarters (74%) would offer no other form of language moderation training. Equally, despite the majority (65%) recognising the need for a good cultural understanding of overseas clients, only a quarter (26%) would offer training in this area. However, a further 23% agreed they would consider it.

Peter Thompson, Director of Courses at The London School of English comments: 
“The legal profession has a training culture which encourages the acquisition of new skills and it’s good to see law firms coming out better than other sectors. However, it’s disappointing to see a reluctance to train in certain areas. If a foreign business partner is prepared to negotiate with you in English, it is only polite to adapt your language to make yourself more easily understood. Native speakers of English sometimes fail to recognise the importance of this, or the competitive edge it can give.

“Training people to avoid confusing jargon, slang, and unnecessarily complex vocabulary could help to put your international business clients at ease, and might make the difference between success and failure during negotiations.”

Find out more at www.londonschool.com/pr-cst

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International communicators need more than good language skills (December 2011)

Recent research by the London School of English suggests that successful communication requires more than just excellent language skills. The survey forms part of a series of projects being undertaken by the London School of English to celebrate its centenary in 2012. It asked Human Resources directors in the UK about their attitudes to language, cross cultural, voice and business communications skills training. 

Over two thirds (67%) of those questioned believed that it was “very important” for business people to have a good cultural understanding of their trading partners.

“Business people need to adapt their behaviours to boost their chances of building successful international business relationships,” comments Sam Thompson, Head of Cross Cultural Training at the London School of English. “Speaking the same language is only half the battle; our training focuses on communication style and understanding the different cultures and working practices of potential business partners. We work with many different nationalities in this area. ”

Nearly half of all respondents (48%) believed that English spoken with a strong foreign accent would affect understanding. 

“This is an area which is often overlooked,” explains London School of English Managing Director, Hauke Tallon. “An individual may have excellent English language skills but if they have a strong accent they may find it difficult to make themselves understood. With the right voice training, it takes surprisingly little effort for someone with a competent grasp of English to soften their accent. This can make the difference between clarity and confusion.”

Hauke Tallon continues: “The world has changed a great deal since the London School of English began training students in 1912. Increasing globalisation and the emergence of new trading nations is placing mounting pressure on international communicators. As we enter the next 100 years in our School’s history, we see a growing need to train our course participants in a range of communication skills. Cross Cultural Training will help improve cultural understanding between potential business partners, Voice and Accent Training can help non-native English speakers communicate with each other and Communications Skills Training can help students to adapt vocabulary, speaking speed and presentation techniques to improve communication between different nationalities".

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Boost career prospects with 'English for Young Engineers' (November 2011)

The London School of English, which specialises in business language and communications training, is launching a new course for non-native English speakers working in engineering – both in the UK and overseas. The course, entitled English for Young Engineers is aimed at people in the early stages of their careers.

The two-week intensive course is designed to help participants communicate more effectively in English when discussing technical matters. The focus will be on improving communications with clients, colleagues and subcontractors and there will also be opportunities to develop presentation skills.

“This course offers language training with a professional focus – very different from the general English people may have studied at school or university,” explains London School of English Director of Courses Peter Thompson. “There is very little time spent on language theory, this course is designed to develop the practical skills required in the workplace.”

There is a maximum of ten people per course and as all participants are at a similar point in their careers, the fortnight is an excellent opportunity to share the experience of other young engineers and build up an international network of contacts.

“It’s amazing what can be achieved in two weeks,” says Peter Thompson. “Our course participants are highly motivated and make fast progress. We know from our experience running similar courses for lawyers and business professionals, that this intensive approach can have a transforming affect on an individual’s career prospects.”

The London School of English is the oldest, accredited language school in the world and will be celebrating its centenary in 2012.

The first English for Young Engineers course will take place at the School’s Holland Park building in central London, in February 2012.

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Market Research with HR Directors - Research summary (October 2011)

UK-based businesses could be risking international growth by failing to invest in cross-cultural, language and communications training, according to new research by The London School of English.

How well is the international business community communicating? Business people may seem like they are speaking the same language but do they really understand one another?

How important is cultural understanding? Is it OK to accept a vodka from a Russian oil dealer at breakfast? Should you shake hands with an Iraqi business woman?

And should native English speakers adapt their spoken English when communicating with non-English speakers.  Is speaking loudly, clearly and slowly good enough?

New research undertaken by the London School of English shows how UK-based businesses are failing to train staff in good communication, language and cross-cultural skills. This could be costing the UK economy millions in lost deals and collapsed negotiations.

The London School of English celebrates its centenary in 2012 and this research is part of a series of projects designed to highlight the importance of language and communications training in the UK.

The research questioned 100 HR directors on their attitudes towards the importance of these skills and how they would approach training. It also asked about budgets and the effects of the recession. The questions were designed to cover the increasing number of professional non-native English speakers working in the UK as well as native English speakers.

A question of attitude

  • 41% of the HR Directors questioned believed that “English is the worldwide language of business so it is the responsibility of the non-native speakers to make sure they can understand English”
  • 42% disagreed with the above statement.
  • While 70% believed it was the role of the organisation to provide training, only 10% had allocated budget for language, cross cultural and voice training
  • 61% believed that the Government should contribute funds for language training to help UK businesses expand overseas.
  • 86% of HR directors felt overall training budgets would remain unchanged in the next 12 months

“The lack of importance – and budget - placed on language and communication training by UK-based businesses is startling,” says Timothy Blake, Chief Executive of the London School of English. “A failure to communicate effectively with overseas business partners is a classic British mistake and it’s disappointing to see that this is still not being addressed.

“In the current economic climate we need to ensure the UK remains a player in the world economy. If we aren’t prepared to reach out and communicate with business people from all cultures, countries and backgrounds, we are in danger of dropping further and further down the global business league.”

Lost in translation

  • 78% HR Directors questioned did not consider it necessary to train English speakers to moderate their vocabulary when negotiating with non-native English speakers
  • 79% would not train English speakers to project their voices clearly to assist non-native English speakers listening to the presentation.
  • Just 6% would allocate budget in this area.

“I’m surprised these percentages are so high,” comments Peter Thompson, Head of Courses and Training at the London School of English. “If your business partners are willing to negotiate with you in English, it is only polite to adapt your language to make yourself more easily understood.

“Training people to avoid jargon, slang, and unnecessarily complex vocabulary can help put your international business partners at ease and could make the difference between success and failure during negotiations.”

However, there are some encouraging signs:

  • The majority of those questioned (67%) believed (correctly) that native English speakers should speak more slowly when talking to a non-native English speaker.
  • And only 4% believed the “Basil Fawlty” approach of speaking “more loudly” would be effective.

Accent on communication

  • 63% believe that English spoken with a strong regional accent would not affect understanding by a non-native English speaker and 52% believe English spoken with a strong foreign accent would also not affect understanding.
  • 78% would not consider voice training to soften a regional accent and 69% would not suggest training to modify a foreign accent.

“This is a mistake,” says Peter Thompson, “There are now many non-native English speakers working in the UK. A Spanish negotiator working for a UK business may have excellent English, however if that is hidden under a thick Madrid accent it is going to be difficult for his (English speaking) Chinese counterpart to understand – particularly on the phone. Equally, a strong British regional accent can baffle an overseas business partner who might have learnt their English in Australia or the US.

“Simple voice training techniques can be applied to soften accents and make sure messages get through.”

Mind your language

  • 58% of the businesses represented in the research employed non-native English speakers in management or professional roles (these included lawyers, accountants and import/export business people).
  • Of these, 98% believed their non-native English speakers could communicate effectively in English.
  • 45% believed it was the organisation’s role to identify a need for language training.
  • 28% said they would offer language training if it were necessary
  • Only 10% had budget allocated in this area

“I am amazed that 98% of HR Directors are so confident in the abilities of their non-native English Speakers,” says Timothy Blake, CE of the London School of English. “People working in specialist professions such as law, finance, engineering and even HR itself, often need training in the specific vocabulary, phrases and jargon used by these professions in the UK.

“At the London School of English we work with professionals of all ages, from all over the world, at all stages of their careers to continuously improve and refine their business English.”

Cultural misunderstanding

  • 67% of those questioned believed that it was “very important” for business people to have a good cultural understanding of their trading partners.
  • Only 23% would consider allocating time teaching staff to better control and manage meetings with trading partners from other countries.
  • Just 10% were prepared to spend money on cross cultural communications.

“It’s interesting that while there is a recognition of the need for better cultural understanding of our trading partners, HR Directors are unwilling or unable to invest in this crucial area,” says Sam Thompson, Head of Cross Cultural Training at the London School of English.

 “It’s very important that UK-based businesses adapt their behaviours to boost their chances of building thriving, long-term international business relationships,” continues Thompson. “Speaking the same language is only half the battle.

The London School of English

The London School of English (LSE) is the oldest accredited language school in the world and celebrates its centenary in 2012. It operates schools in London, Canterbury and Stockholm. This market research project is part of a range of centenary activity designed to highlight the importance of language and communications training in the UK.

The London School of English offers intensive English language courses ranging from elementary to advanced standard. These courses are designed to help individuals at every stage of their lives and range from academic preparation to highly-specialised, sector-focused business courses. In addition to language training, the LSE runs courses in effective cross-cultural communication, business communication skills and voice-training.  It works with small groups and on a one to one basis.

Course participants at the London School of English can expect to work extremely hard. The LSE’s experienced language trainers apply a variety of techniques to ensure students make rapid progress.  External experts are consulted to keep specialist courses up-to-date and to guarantee clients are supplied with the correct vocabulary and terminology for their chosen profession - whether this is law, business, energy, engineering or human resources.

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Market Research with HR Directors - Mind your language (October 2011)

UK-based businesses could be risking international growth by failing to invest in cross-cultural, language and communications training, according to new research by The London School of English.

Business people may appear to be speaking the same language but do they really understand one another? How important is cultural understanding? And should native English speakers adapt their language when communicating with non-English speakers?

The London School of English celebrates its centenary in 2012 and this research forms part of a series of projects designed to highlight the importance of language and communications training in the UK.

The research questioned 100 HR directors on their attitudes towards language and communication skills and their approach to training. The questions were designed to cover the increasing number of professional non-native English speakers working in the UK as well as native English speakers.

“These centenary research results show a shocking lacking of regard for our international, non-native English speaking business partners,” says Timothy Blake, Chief Executive of the London School of English. “The Brits may be reluctant to learn other languages, but this research suggests that we are not even prepared to invest in the training required to adapt our own language, accents and behaviour to help non-native English speakers understand us.”

Key findings:

  • 78% HR Directors questioned did not consider it necessary to train native English speakers to moderate their vocabulary when negotiating with non-native English speakers
  • 98% believed their non-native English speakers could communicate effectively in English.
  • Although 67% of those questioned believed that it was “very important” for business people to have a good cultural understanding of their trading partners; only 23% would offer training.
  • Only 4% believed the “Basil Fawlty” approach of speaking “more loudly” would be effective in communicating with non-native English speakers.

“A failure to communicate effectively with overseas business partners is a classic British mistake and it’s disappointing to see that this is still not being addressed,” says Timothy Blake.

“In the current economic climate we need to ensure the UK remains a player in the world economy. If we aren’t prepared to reach out and communicate with business people from all cultures, countries and backgrounds, we are in danger of dropping further and further down the global business league.”

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Market Research with HR Directors - Centenary research project - background information (October 2011)

To commemorate its centenary in 2012 the London School of English surveyed 100 HR Directors on the subjects of business communications and the importance of speaking appropriate English. The HR Directors questioned worked for international organisations in the fields of law, finance and general business.

The HR directors were interviewed about language training, communications skills training, cross cultural training and voice training. The survey asked questions about non-native, English speaking employees as well as native English speakers.

In addition to gauging participants’ opinions, the HR Directors were asked if they would recommend training and if they could allocate budget.

The London School of English is the oldest accredited English Language School in the world. It offers specialist business English language courses as well as cross-cultural communication training and voice training.  It worked in partnership with 20/20 Research on this project.

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100 years of language training: The London School of English celebrates its centenary (September 2011)

The London School of English will be celebrating its centenary in 2012 with a series of events, activities and projects designed to highlight the importance of language and communications training around the world.

As the oldest, accredited English language school in the world, the London School of English has played a significant role in improving the practical English language and communication skills of thousands of individuals over the last 100 years. Since its inception in 1912, the school has taken a people-focussed approach. It specialises in short-intensive training aimed at business professionals as well offering a range of general English courses.

Over the decades the London School of English has worked with numerous high-profile individuals including foreign politicians and diplomats, security service personnel, senior business people, international footballers and global pop icons.

“It is a great honour to be presiding over the School for this remarkable anniversary,” says the London School of English Chief Executive Timothy Blake. “Throughout our history we have offered a top-quality, personal service and this core aim remains the same.  I am well aware that to keep our place at the high end of this competitive field, we need to keep evolving and looking forwards. “

“We are constantly reviewing our teaching methods and refreshing our courses. In 2008 we launched online learning and this year (2012) we will roll out a blended learning course.  We have added an English for Young Engineers course to our successful Young Professionals strand and this will also launch in early 2012.

“I am particularly proud of our decision to offer general communications skills training as well as language courses. Excellent language skills will take people a along way but when combined with a flair for communication, the impact is far greater. Our recent expansion into cross cultural and voice training has proved especially popular.”

To commemorate its centenary, the School is working with a range of partners to celebrate the influence of the English language worldwide.

Hauke Tallon, Director of Sales and Marketing at the London School of English explains: “We are working in partnership with the Oxford University Press on a project tracking the changing trends in business English over the last 100 years and we have undertaken market research with the UK corporate sector to measure attitudes to language and cross cultural training. In the Autumn we are planning a big party at the beautiful Kensington Palace Orangery and we are also hoping to secure a high-profile guest to unveil a commemorative plaque at our headquarters in Holland Park, London.”

History

The original London School of English opened in Oxford Street, Central London in 1912 and by the 1950s was seen as a leading member of a growing sector. When the Government of the day established an accreditation scheme, the London School of English was the first school to be inspected and approved.

In 1960, the School was instrumental in the formation of ARELS (now EnglishUK) and Peter Fabian, Director of the School at the time, was one of the earliest Chairs of ARELS; later Timothy Blake, present Chief Executive of the school, was also Chair.

By the late 1960s the School was dominated by large numbers of part-time students. Peter Fabian took the decision to move the School to smaller premises in the upmarket residential area of Holland Park and concentrate on offering high quality, full-time intensive language training to serious-minded individuals. This focussed, personalised approach remains in place at the School today.

In the 1970s the London School of English was one of the first Schools of its kind to offer specialist business courses and by 1998 demand had once again outstripped supply so the School opened another building in nearby Chiswick.

The London School of English currently offers intensive English language courses ranging from elementary to advanced standard. Courses are designed to help individuals at every stage of their lives and range from academic preparation to highly-specialised, sector-focused business courses. In addition to language training, the LSE offers cross-cultural communication and voice training. 

As it celebrates its centenary, the London School of English currently operates schools in Canterbury and Stockholm as well as London. In addition, the School has franchise partnerships in South Korea, Georgia and Qatar.

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Cross Cultural Training – Join the Culture Club (September 2011)

If you’re travelling on business we hope you’ve packed some cultural understanding as well as your suit.

According to the London School English (LSE) - which has been training business people in language and communications skills for nearly a century – an insight into the cultural customs of your prospective business partners can make a dramatic impact on your chances of success.

“We think we live in a global world, but underneath the homogeneous business attire - cultural differences still run deep,” says Sam Thompson, Head of Cross Cultural Training at the LSE. “A failure to understand local practices can at best cause offence and at worst, cost millions.”

Demand for cross cultural training has soared with the emergence of so many new trading nations from the Arab and Asia-Pacific regions, South America and Eastern Europe.

Don’t make these mistakes; five common cross cultural slip-ups

  1. Failing to show due respect. Always be aware of how people of different cultures would prefer to be addressed.
  2. Over-relying on written communication. In some parts of the world key matters should always be dealt with face-to-face.
  3. Appearing to rush. Not all cultures like to get down to business quickly. Indeed, many don’t.
  4. Forgetting the importance of ‘small talk’. In many regions it is expected and valued.
  5. Expecting others to behave in the same way you do.

Find out more about Cross Cultural Training by  visiting www.londonschool.com/cct or contacting culture@londonschool.com or +44 20 7605 4123.

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New Corporate Identity for the LSE (July 2011)

The London School of English is preparing the way for its centenary in 2012 with a fresh new brand identity.  The UK’s oldest accredited language school will be unveiling its new logo design in early June.  This contemporary visual identity will be rolled out across stationery, signage, online communications and brochures over the next six months. It will also form the basis for an advertising campaign early next year.

The new logo contrasts a traditional typeface with a modern minimalist lime green frame. The frame is open at one end and can be interpreted as both an open door and a speech bubble.

Marketing Director Hauke Tallon believes that in the busy language travel market the new logo will help The London School of English, and their Canterbury school, CLT, stand out from the crowd:  

“We have commissioned a fresh new identity which reflects the forward-looking nature of our business. We are innovators and we open new doors and career paths for our clients. A big part of our business is verbal communication so we are looking forward to making good use of the speech bubble element of the design. There are literally hundreds of language schools in London alone and we have been in business long enough to understand that a strong identity is crucial in this crowded marketplace.”

This image change signifies a broader transformation within the London School of English as it works towards its centenary celebrations next year. A dynamic marketing and communications strategy will be rolled out over the next 18 months to establish more effective lines of communication and a programme of investment in buildings and infrastructure is being implemented. As always, courses are being reviewed with the possibility of new ones being introduced next year.

Hauke continues: “We are proud of the quality programmes and services we deliver to our customers; however this milestone provides a unique opportunity for us to explore new ways to improve.  Reaching our centenary may not require radical change but we do feel that a fresh identity – one which reflects the progressive nature of our business – will ensure we remain a market leader in language training for the next 100 years.”

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New Online Legal Course (May 2011)

International lawyers working in the UK could benefit from a new online training specially designed to help non-native English speakers with legal English. The course, entitled Word Mine – Legal English, is an innovative development from the long-established London School of English.

Word Mine - Legal English is a vocabulary learning system for lawyers and trainee lawyers.  It is likely to be of particular interest to lawyers undertaking an English law conversion course. Using dynamic and interactive technology, Word Mine guides participants through 400 words and terms that are commonly used by lawyers in English.  This revolutionary programme makes new and technical legal terms easy to learn by regularly recycling the vocabulary - including meaning, spelling and pronunciation.

According to the Director of Courses, Peter Thompson, this six-month programme is designed to achieve real results by combining online activity with support from a dedicated mentor. “Learning online is time-efficient and can be extremely effective; however we are aware that participants will have questions while they are undertaking the course. We are offering weekly contact with a mentor to address this.”

Word Mine – Legal English is part of an extensive range of more traditional English courses for lawyers run by the London School of English. These include options for commercial lawyers, public sector lawyers, newly qualified lawyers and preparation for TOLES and ILEC. These courses take place at the School’s convenient Holland Park location where legal professionals provide regular sessions as well as advice on course content. 

For more information about Word Mine – Legal English and other London School of English language training visit londonschool.com

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Introduction to the London School of English

The London School of English (LSE) is the oldest accredited language school in the world. It operates schools in London, Canterbury and Stockholm. The schools in London are conveniently located in Holland Park and Chiswick. In addition, the School runs franchise partnerships in South Korea, Georgia and Qatar.

The LSE offers intensive English language courses ranging from elementary to advanced standard. These courses are designed to help individuals at every stage of their lives and range from academic preparation to highly-specialised, sector-focused business courses. In addition to language training, the LSE runs courses in effective cross-cultural communication as well as voice-training. 

Course participants at the London School of English can expect to work extremely hard. The LSE’s experienced language trainers apply a variety of techniques to ensure students make rapid progress.  External experts are consulted to keep specialist courses up-to-date and to guarantee clients are supplied with the correct vocabulary and terminology for their chosen profession - whether this is law, business, energy, engineering or human resources.

Outside the classroom, course participants at the London School of English will find they are part of an international community of like-minded people. They are encouraged to speak English at all times whether this is with host families, in the school restaurants or on the many social events and networking opportunities organised by the LSE.

In 2012 the London School of English will be marking its centenary with a series of celebratory events.


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