8 Tips to improve your English skills.

Tip 1: Practice to think in English.

english tips
Like a native speaker, you have to train yourself to think everything in English.
Here is some highlight for you to practice thinking in English:

  • Don’t translate between your native language and English.
  • Use a dictionary if you don’t know the word.
  •  Try to think in English every time everywhere. For example, if you want to hang out with friend after work, you should ask yourself questions and answer in English:
    – “Where should I go with him/her?”
    – “What kind of food should we have?”
    – “Oh! I should go to X Coffee with her, and tell her about ELSA App, which helped me a lot in learning English.”

2.  Talk to yourself in English.

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Sound crazy right? Actually, this will help you a lot.
Talking to yourself doesn’t need to be like walking around and talking to your own. You can:

  •  Read out loud the English book that you like.
  •  Use a mirror to practice talking in English.
  • Choose a topic and talk about it. Use your phone to record what you speak, so next time you can see how good or how bad your pronunciation is.

 

Tip 3. Get a friend to practice.

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It’s always better to have a friend to practice so that they can correct your pronunciation.

If you can’t find a partner or don’t have time to practice with your friend, try ELSA App. We will be your friend to help you improve English Speaking Skill.

Tip 4. Watch English TV Show, Movie.

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Let ELSA suggest you some TV Shows that will help you a lot in learning English:

🎫 Friends (1994 – 2004)
🎫 How I Met Your Mother (2005 – 2015)
🎫 Glee (2009 – 2015)
🎫 Gossip Girl (2007 – 2012)
🎫 The Big Bang Theory (2011 – present)

These movies help you not only practice American accent, but also understand American culture.

Tip 5. Writing in English everyday.

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Do you usually have grammar mistake while speaking English? So this is a good way to improve your grammar and learn new words to back up for your speaking skill. Use Grammarly to spot grammar mistake. This is a very helpful app.

And remember the very first tip, always think in English, whether you’re writing, speaking, reading or listening.

Tip 6. Learn with English Songs.

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This is an easy way to learn new words by listening to English songs. While doing this, you can both relax and learn how to say English words. Who knows, next time you might sing an English song with your friends.

Check lyricstraining.com. This is a very good website for you to learn English from songs’ lyrics.

Tip 7. Learn English phrases and idioms.

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Phrases, idioms or even Slangs are the important parts in learning speaking English. What if in the future, your native friend mentions a phrase or an idiom you don’t understand, why don’t prepare from now.

Besides, if you’re a willing-to-learn person, you will find many interesting facts behind those phrases and idioms: what its origin is, what it means, when people say it, etc.

Check out our next blog post next week. ELSA will give you most essential and common idioms that American usually use.

Tip 8. Read English Books and Newspaper.

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If you take an IELTS or TOEFL Test next month, you definitely have to do this. Reading documents in English helps you not only to be better in understanding English, but also to increase your vocabulary and back up for your speaking.

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10 Boring Words and What to use instead.

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When you describe a person or write an essay, sometimes you want to make your speaking or writing more colorful and more interesting.

Instead of using boring words with general meaning such as “pretty”, “smart”, “big”, “happy”, you can find some alternative words that ELSA suggested below.

1. PRETTY 

Inkedinstead 1_LI

beautiful (adj) /ˈbjuː.t̬ə.fəl/
Ex: She was wearing a beautiful dress.

lovely (adj) /ˈlʌv.li/
Ex: It was lovely to see your mum and dad at the school concert last night.

glamorous (adj) /ˈɡlæm.ə.əs/
Ex: She was looking very glamorous.

attractive (adj) /əˈtræk.tɪv/
Ex: I find him very attractive

elegant (adj) /ˈel.ə.ɡənt/
Ex: He assumed an elegant pose beside the fireplace.

stunning (adj)
Ex: He’s taken some stunning photos of her.

gorgeous (adj)
Ex: From our hotel, there were gorgeous views of the city.

cute (adj)
Ex: His baby brother is really cute.


2. SMART

 

Inkedinstead 2_LI

bright (adj) /braɪt/
They were bright children, always asking questions.

ingenious (adj) /ɪnˈdʒiː.ni.əs/
Johnny is so ingenious – he can make the most remarkable sculpturesfrom the most ordinary materials.

brilliant (adj) /ˈbrɪl.jənt/
Her mother was a brilliant scientist.

gifted (adj) /ˈɡɪf.tɪd/
Schools often fail to meet the needs of gifted children.

wise (adj) /waɪz/
Was it Thomas More who said that the wise man learns from the experience of others?

clever (adj) /ˈklev.ɚ/
Charlie has a clever idea/plan for getting us out of our present difficulties.

intelligent (adj) /ɪnˈtel.ə.dʒənt/
Helen had a few intelligent things to say on the subject.


3. BIG

Inkedinstead 3_LI

huge (adj) /hjuːdʒ/
His last three movies have all been huge successes.

massive (adj) /ˈmæs.ɪv/
If the drought continuesdeaths will occur on a massive scale.

great (adj) /ɡreɪt/
The improvement in water standards over the last 50 years has been very great.

mammoth (adj) /ˈmæm.əθ/
It’s a mammoth undertaking – are you sure you have the resources to cope?

gigantic (adj) /ˌdʒaɪˈɡæn.t̬ɪk/
The cost has been gigantic.

enormous (adj) /əˈnɔːr.məs/
He earns an enormous salary.

giant (adj) /ˈdʒaɪ.ənt/
Dad terrified us with stories of a bigbad giant who ate little children.

tremendous (adj) /trɪˈmen.dəs/
They were making a tremendous amount of noise last night.


4. LITTLE
Inkedinstead 4_LI

tiny (adj) /ˈtaɪ.ni/
During surgerydoctors sometimes use a laser beam to vaporize tiny blood vessels.

small (adj) /smɑːl/
Only a small number of applicants are successful.

wee (adj) /wiː/
You were just a wee lad the last time I saw you.

minute (adj) /ˈmɪn.ɪt/
The documentary showed an eye operation in minute detail

slight (adj) /slaɪt/
He’s got a headache and a slight fever.

miniature (adj) /ˈmɪn.i.ə.tʃɚ/
bought some miniature furniture for my niece’s doll’s house.

petite (adj) /pəˈtiːt/
She was dark and petite, as all his wives had been.


5. FUNNYInkedinstead 5_LI

jocular (adj) /ˈdʒɑːkjələr/
Michael was in a very jocular mood at the party.

amusing (adj) /əˈmjuːzɪŋ/
He told one or two amusing anecdotes about his years as a policeman.

humorous (adj) /ˈhjuːmərəs/
Her latest book is a humorous look at teenage life.

witty (adj) /ˈwɪti/
She gave a witty, entertaining and articulate speech.

hilarious (adj) /hɪˈler.i.əs/
He didn’t like the film at all – I thought it was hilarious.

comical (adj) /ˈkɑː.mɪ.kəl/
He looked so comical in that hat.


6. SADInkedinstead 6_LI

depressed (adj) /dɪˈprest/
He seemed a bit depressed about his work situation.

woeful (adj) /ˈwoʊfl/
They displayed woeful ignorance of the safety rules.

gloomy (adj) /ˈɡluːmi/
The cemetery is a gloomy place.

miserable (adj) /ˈmɪzrəbl/
She’s miserable living on her own.

sorrowful (adj) /ˈsɑːroʊfl/
With a sorrowful sigh she folded the letter and put it away.

unhappy (adj) /ʌnˈhæpi/
That’s enough to make anyone unhappy.

mournful (adj)  /ˈmɔːrnfl/
He gazed mournfully out the window.


7. HAPPYInkedinstead 7_LI

glad (adj) /ɡlæd/
She was glad when the meeting was over.

jubilant (adj) /ˈdʒuːbɪlənt/
The fans were in jubilant mood after the victory.

joyful (adj) /ˈdʒɔɪfl/
It was a joyful reunion of all the family.

thrilled (adj) /θrɪld/
He was thrilled at the prospect of seeing them again.

cheerful (adj) /ˈtʃɪrfl/
He felt bright and cheerful and full of energy.

jolly (adj) /ˈdʒɑːli/
He had a round, jolly face.

delighted (adj) /dɪˈlaɪtɪd/
I was delighted that you could stay.



8. NICEInkedinstead 8_LI

kind (adj) /kaɪnd/
If an animal is badly injured, often the kindest thing to do is to destroy it painlessly.

benevolent (adj) /bəˈnevələnt/
belief in the existence of a benevolent god

thoughtful (adj) /ˈθɔːtfl/
It was very thoughtful of you to send the flowers.

gracious (adj) /ˈɡreɪʃəs/
He has not yet learned how to be gracious in defeat.

decent (adj) /ˈdiːsnt/
Everyone said he was a decent sort of guy.

warm (adj) /wɔːrm/
Her comments were greeted with warm applause.

courteous (adj) /ˈkɜːrtiəs/
The hotel staff are friendly and courteous.


9. LIKEInkedinstead 9_LI

admire (v) /ədˈmaɪər/
I really admire your enthusiasm.

appreciate (v) /əˈpriːʃieɪt/
You can’t really appreciate foreign literature in translation.

fancy (v) /ˈfænsi/
Do you fancy going out this evening?

adore (v) /əˈdɔːr/
 I simply adore his music!

cherish (v) /ˈtʃerɪʃ/
Cherish the memory of those days in Paris.

prefer (v) /prɪˈfɜːr/
The donor prefers to remain anonymous.


 

10. BAD

Inkedinstead 10_LI

evil (adj) /ˈiːvɪl/
the evil effects of racism

obscene (adj) /əbˈsiːn/
It’s obscene to spend so much on food when millions are starving.

terrible (adj) /ˈterəbl/
It was a terrible thing to happen to someone so young.

dreadful (adj) /ˈdredfl/
It’s dreadful the way they treat their staff.

brutal (adj) /ˈbruːtl/
With brutal honesty she told him she did not love him.

nasty (adj) /ˈnæsti/
He had a nasty moment when he thought he’d lost his passport.

wicked (adj) /ˈwɪkɪd/
Jane has a wicked sense of humour.

sinister (adj) /ˈsɪnɪstər/
There was something cold and sinister about him.

 

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What to say to your American friends on the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is the day Americans celebrate their country’s independence. What is the history of the Fourth of July and how do Americans celebrate it? If you have an American friend, what to say to that person? Let ELSA help you answer these questions?

Headline1

Fourth of July —also known as Independence Day or July 4th— is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. Since then, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

Headline 2

  • The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from 13 colonies. The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin (70) and the youngest was South Carolina’s Edward Rutledge (26).
  • In 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the new nation. Today the population of the U.S.A. is 316 million
  • One out of eight signers of the Declaration of Independence were educated at Harvard (7 total)
  • The only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served as President of the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
  • The first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. This was also the day that the Declaration of Independence was first read in public after people were summoned by the ringing of the Liberty Bell.

Headline 3

liberty2

Liberty /ˈlɪbərti/

59 Districts in America have the word LIBERTY

Pennsylvania has the most with 11

union

Union  /ˈjunjən/

136 Districts in America have the word UNION

Pennsylvania has the most with 33

EagleEagle /ˈigəl/

35 Districts in America have the word EAGLE

Eagle Pass, TX is the most populous

freedom1Freedom /ˈfridəm/

9 Districts in America have the word FREEDOM

New Freedom, PA is the most populous

 

Headline 4

info

Headline 6

“Celebrate freedom! Hope your Day of Freedom is filled with family, friends and fireworks!”Untitled-3

“Freedom, Liberty, Unity. Enjoy your Day of Freedom!”

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“On this special day here’s wishing our dreams of a new tomorrow come true! May your Independence Day day be filled with patriotic spirit!”

Untitled-3

“Happy Birthday America! Celebrating our independence, celebrating our freedom!”

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Different ways that Americans say “Hello”

Everyday English 2906

English speakers don’t always say Hello when they first met you. They may say different expressions, depending on how formal or casual the environment is. Learn the most common expressions that natives use to say Hello, so you won’t be suprised when someone says one of these lines to you in the future.

Greet someone

  • Hi, how are you?
    This is a very common greeting. It’s used as both a formal and casual greeting. You can use this when you meeting someone for very the first time.  You are not expected to answer this with a long explanation, so you should make your response brief. If someone says this to you, you can simply respond with “Good. How are you?”

 

  • How are you doing?
    This is a more casual way of asking “how are you.” It is used with people who you know well, and it invites the other person to tell you more about how they are. If someone says this to you, you can respond with “I’m doing well.”

 

  • How’s it going?
    This is another casual way of asking “how are you.” Unlike how are you doing, which is asking about how you are in that moment, “how’s it going” is asking how you are in general. If someone says this to you, your answer can refer to anything interesting that happened to you since last time you spoke to that person.

 

  • How are things?
    This is another casual way of asking “how are you,” but it is most often used to people that you already know. You can answer to this question by saying “good” or “not bad.” You can also share any interesting news about your life and then ask the person “how about you?”

 

  • What’s up?
    You can say this to your good friends in a casual environment. Americans often say this phrase when they are greeting friends that they are very comfortable with. When you say this, don’t be afraid to speak very enthusiastically. Like “What’s up!!!!”

What’s the key to learning conversational English? It is having the right tools and content to help you learn. Check out the ELSA app, where you can practice speaking these phrases. ELSA will tell you which words you’ve mispronounced and give you advice on exactly what to do to correct your pronunciation. In the ELSA app, you will find these phrases along with 80 other popular phrases under the Topic “English Essentials.”

Download ELSA App here:
iOS: http://apple.co/2t1rg5w
Android: http://bit.ly/2e1e5Jg

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80 English Phrases Every Traveler Should Learn

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The fastest way to learn to speak English fluently is to surround yourself with English speakers. Luckily, English is spoken in many parts of the world. What does this means for travelers? This means that you will have to opportunity to practice speaking English by traveling to many places around the world. But what would you say to English speakers that you meet them in your travels?

Check out these essential English phrases!

Greet Someone

You can use these phrases when you first meet someone. You will need to good greetings in order to start a conversation with anyone.  

 

Hello

Hello.  This is a formal greeting. You should use this when you are in a formal event (such as a business meeting or party) or with people you don’t know.  In addition, people also say “Hello” when they answer the telephone.

Good Morning

Good morning. This phrase is a greeting used by English speakers in the morning. It’s a casual phrase and you can say it in situations when you don’t know the other person or if you are greeting a stranger that you pass on the street. It’s only used before 12pm (noon). You should not use this phrase after 12pm.

Good Afternoon

Good afternoon. This is the phrase people use between 12pm and about 5pm. Similar to good morning, you can use this phrase in situations where you don’t know the other person very well.

Good Evening

Good evening. This phrase is used in the evening, between 5pm and 9pm. Again, you can use this with people you don’t know well.

Hey there

Hey thereThis means the same thing as “Hello” but it is a much more casual form of greeting. You should use this around people that you are know well.  In online dating websites, Americans often use this phrase when they initiate a message to someone that they’d like to go on a date with!tt23

 

What’s the key to learning conversational English? It is having the right tools and content to help you learn. Check out the ELSA app, where you can practice speaking these phrases. ELSA will tell you which words you’ve mis-pronounced and give you advice on exactly what to do to correct your pronunciation. In the ELSA app, you will find 80 English phrases that every traveler should know until the Topic “English Essentials.”

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3 Secrets to a successful summer internship

summer internship

Finding an internship can be hard. But getting the internship is only the first step. After your internship starts, it is up to you to make the most of it.  Even if you work for free, your internship could be worth a fortune. You will gain valuable job experience and make connections with people who can help you develop your career.  

The team at ELSA have worked in many internships, at both large companies like Microsoft and Google, and at unpaid internships.  Check out ELSA’s latest module content under Topic > Education > Consonant Cluster to find out what these top 8 tips are, and the four most common mistakes in your internship you should avoid.

Let’s take a sneak peek of some important lessons we have learned on how to succeed at an internship.

  • Meet and greet your coworkers

Internships are an excellent opportunity to meet people at the company.  Many of the people you meet at your internship will move onto other jobs, but if you stay in touch with them, you can help each other in your careers for years to come.  Invite your coworkers and other interns to eat lunch together.  Try to attend every company event that you get invited to. If there are other interns at the company, you can start a Facebook group for all the interns.  Finally, be sure to add your contacts into Linkedin so you can keep in touch.

One year, I interned at Microsoft in the United States. In that summer, thousands of interns from hundreds of universities around the world worked at Microsoft. I stayed in touch with several interns who I met that summer. Even though we worked together for only one summer, we remained good friends. Ten years later, we still referred job opportunities to each other and periodically share career advice with each other.

  • Ask your supervisor for feedback

Your supervisor can give you guidance that will help you succeed at your job and also in your long-term career. To make the most of your relationship with your supervisor, be sure to establish up front what they expect you to deliver. List out the top tasks that they’d like you do accomplish. Prioritize those tasks in order of importance, so you know what to focus on.  Then you should check in with your supervisor periodically to get their feedback on how you’re doing. You can simply ask: “Can I have your feedback on how I’m doing?” or “Is there anything I can do to improve?” and then listen to what they have to say.

The Microsoft summer internship program requires interns to meet with their supervisor once a week for feedback. Even if a supervisor has been working closely with their intern all week, they would still schedule time each week to give feedback to their intern.

 

  • Set personal goals

 

Spend some time thinking about how you want your internship to help your career. Do you want to keep working at the company after school begins? Would you like to come back again next summer? Do you want your boss to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you? Are you just exploring whether or not you like a particular role or industry?  Once you’ve established what your goal is, it will be much easier to find ways to reach those goals. Consider telling your supervisor and coworkers about your goals so they can help you reach them.

More more tips about internships, check out the ELSA app. From your ELSA App, go to the topic: Education. You’ll find 8 tips and 4 mistakes you should avoid, to make your internship a success!

ELSA – your world’s smartest English pronunciation coach

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[New feature] Refer a friend. Earn free ELSA

refer

Want to earn free days of ELSA PRO?

ELSA has a new feature where you can now earn 7 free days of Pro for each Facebook friend you invite to ELSA! To invite your friends, just go to Profile and press “INVITE FRIENDS.”  7 days will automatically be added to your account when your friends sign up. This feature is currently available on Android only. Coming later on iOS.

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[New Feature] Learn English with videos on ELSA

OKBX0U0

What could be more fun than learning to speak English on ELSA? Today, we’re announcing a new way to learn English – by watching videos! You can now watch videos of real American pronouncing the words that you are learning. Many of these videos let you see the speakers’ mouths, so that way you can learn how their mouth move.

Reduce your English accent by watching videos on ELSA
To get started, just go to the Dictionary, type in any word or phase. ELSA will search for YouTube videos with people speaking the words you entered. If ELSA finds a video, then a video button will appear on the bottom right of the screen. Press the video button and begin watching the videos!

In the spirit of videos, here is a 2-minute video tutorial on how to use this feature on ELSA:

Link to video: https://youtu.be/kpz68GtzsKc

ELSA – your world’s smartest English pronunciation coach

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Five common American job interview questions for customer service jobs

You are looking for a job in customer service. You are a little nervous because the interview will be in English, but deep down you know you’ll be successful if you got the job. Now you just need to ace your interview!  To pass the interview, here are the most common customer service interview questions you’ll need to prepare for. You can practice answers to these on ELSA, in under the Customer Service topic.

  • Why do you want to work in customer service?

A job in customer service centers around listening to your customers and solving their needs.  A good answer will mention your interest in customer needs. For example: I enjoy working with people and addressing their problems.

Why do you want to leave your current job?

Do be tactful with this answer and avoid speaking about your frustrations with your current role or boss. A good answer will focus on the positive: My current boss wants to keep me at the company. She also knows I have outgrown my position.  I am applying for this role because I would like to develop a new skillset. My current boss would be happy to be my reference.

  • What are your strengths?

Your answer should map to strengths that are useful in customer service. For instance: My strongest strength is my problem-solving skill.  I am good at finding solutions to customer complaints.

  • How do you deal with a difficult customer?

A job in customer service requires you to be adept at handling difficult customers. A good answer to this question shows how you can make the customer feel understood. For example, I listen patiently and remain calm under pressure.

  • Do you have any questions for me?

Show your interviewer how you are interested in working at the company for the long term. You can ask about the future prospects of your role and your company. For example: “Can you tell me about my career paths here?”

If you have more tips about interviewing for customer service jobs, please add a comment below!

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Top 10 skills for customer service jobs (part 2)

1969817 (1)

Thank you, everyone, who read Part 1 of 2 of this post and for all your great comments. I received so many user comments about learning customer service skills that I am writing a second blog post. Without further ado, here are 5 additional skills that are essential for a successful career in customer service. As you read each skill, ask yourself if you have mastered each one. If you are applying for a job in customer service, you’ll need to talk about how you have these skills so you can ace the interview. If you already work in customer service, you’ll need to develop these skills in yourself so you can succeed at work.

Patience [ˈpeɪʃəns]

People who work in customer service must be able to remain calm during stressful situations. When your customers are frustrated or are asking for something that you simply can’t deliver for them, you must have the patience to not become upset yourself. Remember not to take anything that your customer say personally, because their frustration and anger is not personal. They are feeling upset about their situation but that is not a reflection on how you’re doing at your job.

Problem-solving [ˈprɑbləm ˈsɑlvɪŋ]

For those who work in customer service, one’s problem-solving skill can often be the deciding factor between successful and unsuccessful employees. You are continuously challenged by customers who present their problems to you, and your job is to help them find solutions. The best way to be good at problem-solving is to practice solving lots of problems. If you’re new on the job, shadow your coworkers to learn how they solve the problems.

Positivity [ˌpɒz ɪˈtɪv ɪ ti]

Your positive attitude will not only help you succeed with your customers, but will also help strengthen your relationship with your coworkers.  A Stanford University study on “positive intelligence” showed that your positivity predicts how successful you will be in your career. Being positive can help those around you feel more positive.   Furthermore, when you feel positive, you’ll naturally notice more of the benefits of your company’s product and service, and you can, in turn, convey that to your customers.  

Conflict Resolution [ˈkɑnflɪkt ˌrɛzəˈluʃən]

In a customer service job, your job is to essentially solve your customer’s problems.  But there are times when you can’t find a solution to their problem. What do you do then? This is where your conflict resolution skills will be useful. You may need to soothe your customer by giving them a discount, pointing them to another place where they can get more help, calling in your manager. Whatever the resolution, remember to stay calm and think positively!

Persuasion [pərˈsweɪʒən]

Last but not least, a large part of your job is to turn frustrated customers into happy customers.To do so, you’ll often need to convince your customers of something you recommend. This is where your persuasion skills come in. To be persuasive, you must be able to speak from your customers point of view. The famous American businessperson, Dale Carnegie, recommends that you end your sentence by describing the benefit to your customer. When you are recommending a solution, tell the customer what’s in it for them. You can say to them “And the benefit to you is …”

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