The final day was mostly on fine-tuning. We covered style, tone, parallel writing, paragraph strength, linking, editing, proofreading and so on. Towards the end, Steve the instructor gave us pointers on how to write incident and recommendation report. I wondered – why Writing for Professions took 3 months in college when Steve could do it in just 3 days. Can’t we simplify things a little bit?

Speed Reading
While convincing everyone that reading is the best way to expand vocabulary, Steve gave an overview to speed-reading. In average, an American college graduate reads one page a minute, which is approximately 300 to 400 words a minute. 6-times world champion Anne Jones however, read the Harry Porter and the Deathly Hallows in less than 2 hours and reviewed it live on Sky News. She practically absorbed 4,215 words a minute – that’s more than 70 words in a second! I have no idea how that speed-reading is like. I would surely go cross-eyed at the end of that exercise.

In the end, Steve handed out to each participant the 5-minute presentation mini-DVD with written feedback. I was very pleased to see the comment from Steve. All in all, I think the course was an excellent starter for English-speaking professionals. All fresh hires should attend it.

Here is a snippet from mine:

“Your introduction was good and you remembered to say most of the key points – eventually. Your Conclusion was good – you lead into it well – except for the words “I think…” Don’t use this – you KNOW it is the end.

Your voice quality was excellent – you have a very high level of English and used your wide vocabulary well. Pace and volume were very good, with clear pronunciation and good use of intonation. You appeared relaxed in front of the group; you used your hands well and your eye contact was also very good.

You looked very comfortable in front of the group and this meant you came across as a very confident and experienced speaker. With more time to prepare, I’m sure you would have used slides to help your topic still further. Successful presenting is all in the planning – give yourself plenty of time to do that, have clear aims and you will produce presentations of the highest calibre.