Archive | January 2012

Why Learn English? 6 Reasons to Learn

…¿Por qué aprendes inglés? 6 motivos para aprender

There are so many reasons to learn English. We’ll talk about some common reasons to learn English but the important reason to learn English is…

Reason 1 You want to learn English.

If you do not want to learn English, it is very difficult to learn it!  If English is required for your job and you don’t want to learn the language, you won’t learn.  We have to want to learn.  This is why we couldn’t learn very well in high school or university — we didn’t want to learn but we had to take the English language course.  And how much do we remember from those classes? Little.

So, you want to learn English. Good! Congratulations! Learning English is developing the most important asset you have — yourself.  It is an invaluable tool for business, for life and for the future.

Reason 2 English is used for international business.

English is and will continue to be the dominant language for international business.  Colombia is developing its ability to export and import on an international stage.  Bogota is preparing to be the 4th largest corporate tourism destination in Latin America and this will see an uptick or increase in the number of international conferences held here.

And soon Colombia will have the ability to freely trade with dozens of countries… and that will be a sea change or significant change in the need for english.

Obama y Santos para TLC

Obama and Santos know FTAs are coming to Colombia!

Did you know? Colombia has or is completing more than 15 free trade agreements with trading blocs such as the European Union (27 countries including France and Germany), USA (including states of California and New York which have GDP higher than most countries in the world), Canada, Carribbean countries (Belize, Jamaica and all of those former British and Dutch colonies), Free Countries of Europe (including Switzerland and oil rich Norway), South Korea, Japan, Turkey, Jordan and more.   International business with these countries is done in English.

Reason 3 English is used for scientific thought.

English is used by business and by science around the world.  If you want to access the largest pool of scientific thinking, you need to learn English.

The Harvard Business Review doesn’t publish business case studies in Spanish.

The New England Journal of Medecine is written in English.


Without English, how will you be a mad scientist?

The report about the faster than light particle is now available in several languages… but the initial report? It was in English.

Software is generally programmed in English.

Engineering projects around the world use English.

Classes at the top universities in the world such as Yale, Princeton and Oxford are not taught in Spanish. You need English to learn there. (Plus quality TOEFL or IELTS test results!)

Reason 4 English is used for international standards.

International standards are written in English. For example, Colombia is adopting the international accounting standards (IFRS) which not surpringingly uses English.  Accountants will need to understand and use English.

Reason 5 Use English for traveling.

Viajar Estados Unidos

English improves your traveling experience

Whether going to Europe and the UK, the US, India or Asia… some ability in English will make your experience richer and more entertaining.

It is true that you can visit the US  without speaking English in parts of California, New York City and Miami… as a traveler you are missing out on the rest of the beauty and the experience of the United States.

Reason 6 Improve your Spanish.

Strange as it is to say… learning a second language improves your mother tongue and your precision in expressing ideas.  The same idea is expressed differently with different metaphors and images.  You also learn more about Spanish by reviewing tenses, prepositions, vocabulary and other parts of speech you use daily without thinking about them.

The greatest writers and poets were multilinguists.

What’s your reason to learn English? Tell us in the comments.

Want to start learning English Today? Contact Bogota Business English.


Wait, Hope, Expect y Esperar

In our series ‘common errores for Spanish speakers in English’ we have come across  native Spanish speakers that are used to using one verb in Spanish  esperar for 3 different meanings but in English we have 3 different verbs for these meanings. En nuestra serie de ‘errores comunes de español hablantes’ encontramos este problema de esperar. […]

How attention-seeking leaders are bad for business

…Como los liders que buscan atención son malos para el negocio

(versión en español aquí)

Attention Seeking Tantrum

Attention seeking can be bad!

This is part of the 7 habits of bad business leaders series.  Check out the other parts here. The purpose of the series is to break down the English language in Eric Jackson’s Forbes article for non-native speakers.

You want to call attention to your business, right? Well, maybe. We’re going to look at the habit of bad leaders that can cause problems for themselves and their companies.

See the other articles in the series on leader isolation and behavior choices. Bad habit source material comes from Eric Jackson’s excellent Fobes article.

Bad habit #5: Leaders are consummate spokespersons, obsessed with the company image

Warning Sign:  Blatant attention-seeking

Habit 5 vocabulary: To be consummate is to be very skilled or perfect.

Company image or public image  is how the company is percieved by the public or by others.

Being obsessed is having a obsession o preocuppation with something. An obsession dominates and strongly influences one’s thoughts, feelings and desires.

Attention Seeking can lead to bad behavior

Bad attention-seeking behavior

A blatant action is a deliberate action or done on purpose.

Attention-seeking behavior is acting in a way such as  that calls attention to oneself.

Habit 5 idea: The idea is that these leaders are very skilled or perfect  at public interaction.  While this is good but they also are excessively preoccupied (obsessed) and spend less time on real problems and more time on what people think.

Uribe was seeking attention on Twitter

Sometimes attention-seeking causes a negative public image

The warning sign of this habit can itself be a problem. Attention-seeking behavior distracts from the business and its goals.  Though leaders want good public image, the opposite sometimes results from attention-seeking behavior!

Former President Uribe has recieved criticism for his attention-seeking tweets and political endorsements.  He seems obsessed with the image of his presidency. This attention seeking behavior has actually hurt his public image according to some.

Bogota Business English is an institute that makes learning fun and interactive with our consummate or excellent professional teachers.

Como los liders que buscan atención son malos para el negocio

…How attention-seeking leaders are bad for business

(versión en inglés aquí)

Attention Seeking Tantrum

Buscar atencion puede ser malo

Esta entrada es la primera parte del serie sobre los 7 habitos de malos lideres de negocio y se pueden mirar las otras partes acá. El proposito del serie es discutir el inglés usado en el articulo de Eric Jackson para hablantes no nativos.

Quieres llamar atención a tu negocio, no? Uhhm, quizás.  Vamos a ver un habito de los lideres malos que causa problemas para ellos mismos y sus empresas.

Bad habit #5: Leaders are consummate spokespersons, obsessed with the company image

Warning Sign:  Blatant attention-seeking

Vocabulario habito 5: To be consummate es perfecto o bien habil.

Company image o public image  es como se ve la empresa por el publico u otras partes.

To be obsessed significa tener una obsesion o preocupacion grave de algo o alguíen. Un obsession domina y influye bien los pensamientos, sentimientos y deseos de la persona.

Attention Seeking can lead to bad behavior

Que malo buscador de atencion

Un acción blatant es deliberada o heco a propositó.

Comportamiento de attention-seeking es actuar de una manera que llama atención a una persona misma.

La idea, habito 5 La idea es que los lideres son muy habiles o casi perfecto a la interaccion social y publica.  Es una habilidad buena aunque los lideres están preocupados demasiados (obsessed) y usan menos tiempo tratando los problemas verdaderas y más tiempo tratando de manejar la imagen de la empresa.

Uribe was seeking attention on Twitter

Buscar atencion a veces causa una imagen publica negativa

El señal de avertencia para este habito, comportamiento de busca atención, se puede ser un problema.  El comportamiento distrae la atención de empleados y el lider mismo del funcionamiento y las mestas de la empresa. Aunque los lideres queren una imagen publica buena, el contrario resulta a veces de su comportamiento de busca atención!

Por ejemplo, ex Presidente Uribe ha recibido criticos por que hizo unos tuits-tweets y refrendo political para llamar atención a la marca Uribe.  Se dice que está obsessed o obsessionado con la imagen de su presidencia pasada. Según a unos, el comportamiento de busca atención ha dañado su imagen.

Bogota Business English es un instituto que hace que el aprendizaje es divertido y interactivo debido de una parte a  nuestros profesores consummate o excelentes.

Como se pronuncia Busy

Busy Bee pronuncia Busy asi Bzzzi

A Busy Bee!

Here’s a simple exercise to improve a very common word.  This word is common yet many Spanish speakers struggle to pronounce it well.

Busy – Occupied. (ocupado)

Pronounce “Busy.”  Go ahead. Did it sound like…

If so, congrats!  If not, let’s work on some rhyming words.

Fizzy – Carbonated (espumoso)

Dizzy – light-headed, spinning feeling (mareado)

Gaseosa Fizzy

Postobon soda is fizzy!

Fizzy and dizzy are pronounced as they look.. Fizi. Dizi. And busy is actually pronounced the same! Bizi.

So let’s practice pronouncing Busy, Fizzy, Dizzy.

My day is busy. The Sprite is fizzy. I feel dizzy.

He is busy.  The Colombiana is fizzy. The roller coaster looks dizzy.

Busy. Fizzy. Dizzy.

Good luck with your busy pronunciation!

Speaking of busy, personalized classes are the perfect answer for the busy professional that wants to improve their English. Contact Bogota Business English for your personalized program. Don’t get dizzy from English!

Me hace dizzy!

Uf, dizzy!

Divertido significa fun o funny?

Does divertido mean fun or funny?

En nuestra serie ‘errores comunes en Bogota’, notamos unos errores de pronunciación o malentendimiento de la parte de Colombianos.  ¿Cometes uno de los errores comunes?

Baby's Sexy and Baby Knows It

This Baby is Funny

There is a common mistake that I’ve noticed while teaching English to Spanish speakers.  For some reason, somewhere in their learning path, they have confused two very different adjectives.

Fun – enjoyable (divertido)

Funny – weird, amusing or causing laughter (chistoso)

Weeee is the sound that fun makes

This is fun. Never call it funny.

In English the two words sound similar but are worlds apart.  Think about this: Motorcycles are fun.  Clowns are funny.

Dates are fun. Jokes are funny.

Soccer is fun. Gringos speaking bad Spanish is funny.

Lets review some examples from awkward conversations:

Jeff: Tom check out my new motorcycle.

Tom: Wow, Jeff your motorcycle looks funny.

(NO! It looks fun. It looks funny means it looks weird.)

Tom: I love this joke. It is fun.

(Jokes are funny! Jokes can be fun but we probably mean funny.)

Tom: Janet I hope you enjoyed our date.

Janet: Thanks so much. It was really funny.

(NO! Funny dates mean weird dates.  Dates should be fun!)

Typical Confused Conversation

Tom: My weekend was funny. (meaning: My weekend was weird.)

Jack: How so? What happened?

Tom: I played football and watched movies. (Tom should have said his weekend was fun)

Jack: What? That doesn’t sound weird.

Use fun and funny correctly in your next conversation.  Some good conversation practice can be enjoyed at the Bogota Business English Conversation Club.

Motivacion de día: Apple piensa diferente

Motivation of the Day: Apple’s Think Different

Beautiful video from Apple about thinking different.

Hermoso video de Apple sobre pensar diferente..

Read the text while listening to Richard Dreyfuss.

Lea escuchando el texto…

Here’s to the crazy ones

The misfits

The rebels

The trouble-makers

The round pegs in the square holes

The ones who see things differently

They’re not fond of rules

And they have no respect for the status quo

You can quote them

Disagree with them


or villify them

About the only thing you can’t do

is ignore them

Because they change things

They push the human race


And while see them

as the crazy ones

We see genius

Because the people who are crazy enough

to think they can change the world

Are the ones who do


Misfits – weird people (los raros)

This is Thinking Different

Round Peg in a Square Hole

Round pegs in the square holes – people that act unexpectedly, maybe better. (los raros)

To be fond of – to like (caerse bien con algo o alguien)

Glorify – to say good things about something (glorificar)

Vilify – to say bad things about something (infamar)

Push forward – move something forward with force (adelantar bien)

Push yourself forward in English with some personalized classes with Bogota Business English.

La fecha y la hora: ¿Cómo se programa una reunión?

…Dates and Time: How do you schedule a Meeting?

Do you want to schedule a meeting with your foreign client and have it sound good?

Uh, yes!  So let’s review some common ways to do this.  First though, review the rules for prepositions with the date and time.

We’re going to introduce some key verbs and nouns for scheduling a meeting.

Verbs that can mean meet // verbos que significa reunirse

Meet – reunirse
Schedule – programar
Organize – organizar
Meet up – reunirse
Set up – coordinar
Plan on meeting – reunirse
Be available to meet/Plan to meet – reunirse
Arrange – organizar
Have a… – realizar 

Nouns that can mean meeting // sutantivos que sigifican reunión

Call – llamada
Teleconference – teleconferencia
Face-to-face – reunion en persona
One-on-one – reunion de 2 personas
Meet-and-greet – reunion para introducirse

Question stubs // modelos para las preguntas

Can you…? – puedes…?
Can we…?  – podemos…?
Could you…? – podrías…?
Could we…? – podríamos…?
Will you be available to… – puedes…?
Let’s… – vamos a…
We will… – vamos a…
I want to… – Quiero…


President Santos, let’s plan a meet-up on Thursday at 3 pm.

Jenny, we will have a face-to-face with President Santos on Friday morning.

Hey boss, could you plan to meet the client on Tuesday at breakfast?

The clients arrive on Saturday and we will set up a face-to-face on Monday morning.

Let’s meet up!

Let’s organize a call.

I want to meet on Wednesday at lunch.

Can you plan on meeting me at the house on Easter Sunday?

Can we schedule a teleconference call on Feb 1?

Will you be available to meet at 9 am tomorrow?

Can you arrange a one on one at midnight?

Give us your examples! // Ejemplos tuyos por fa!

If you are interested in organizing a meet-up with Bogota Business English, contact them here.

How To Recognize Bad Leaders That Isolate Themselves

…Como se pueden reconocer los lideres malos que aislarse?

(para la versión en español, hacer clic aquí)

Isolation Can be BadThis is part of the 7 habits of bad business leaders series.  Check out the other parts here. The purpose of the series is to break down the English language in Eric Jackson’s Forbes article for non-native speakers.

Habits 3 and 4 really are about leaders who isolate themselves…

Bad habit #3:  Leaders think they have all the answers

Warning Sign:  A leader without followers

Bad habit #4:  Leaders ruthlessly eliminate anyone who isn’t completely behind them

Warning Sign:  Executive departures

Vocabulary:  To isolate is to reduce or elimate the connections to something. The idea of isolating or isolation is not always bad.  Isolation is good when you need to think without distraction tempoarily. But permanent isolation is bad. Would you want to be isolated from your friends and family forever?

Walter White was cutthroat, he was the danger

The face of a ruthless man from TV Series Breaking Bad

Acting ruthlessly is acting coldly or without caring about others.  Sometimes we say someone ruthless is ‘cutthroat.’  The TV series Breaking Bad, a great series to practice your listening, featured several  characters acting coldly or ruthlessly.

If you are not behind someone or something, you do not support or agree with them.  For example, President Santos is not behind Hugo Chavez but he is behind the legalization of marijuana. (Seriously, read about it here.)

An Isolated King is in Trouble

When you don't listen, you are on your own

Habit 3, the idea: If leaders think they have all the answers they do not listen to others.  Maybe they hear what others say but stubbornly disagree because they believe they are right. We call this a ‘know it all‘.  Who wants to be around that type of person? They isolate themselves unintentionally or without wanting or intending to.

Habit 4, the idea: Leaders that eliminate anyone that disagrees with them do not want internal opposition. They want people that agree with them.  So they make people leave by firing them or forcing them to quit. Clearly habit 4 is an intentional habit of someone that wants to isolate themselves.

Bush had Yes Men behind him

Bush Was Slow... to Recognize Mistakes

These type of leaders show up in politics.  Often political leaders remove dissenting or disagreeing opinions from their ‘inner circle‘ or small group of trusted advisors and supporters. The problem with removing dissenting opinions is that one only surrounds themself with ‘yes men‘ or people that never disagree.  You don’t get good feedback and you become slow to recognize mistakes.

Learning English in isolation or without good feedback is a slow way to learn a language.  Find yourself a good institute with great teachers like Bogota Business English.

¿Como se pueden reconocer los lideres malos que aislarse?

…How to Recognize Bad Leaders that Isolate Themselves

(para la versión en inglés – english version click here)

Isolation Can be BadEsta entrada es la primera parte del serie sobre los 7 habitos de malos lideres de negocio y se pueden mirar las otras partes acá. El proposito del serie es discutir el inglés usado en el articulo de Eric Jackson para hablantes no nativos.

Los habitos 3 y 4 tratan los lideres que aislanse…

Bad habit #3:  Leaders think they have all the answers

Warning Sign:  A leader without followers

Bad habit #4:  Leaders ruthlessly eliminate anyone who isn’t completely behind them

Warning Sign:  Executive departures

Vocabulario:  To isolate es reducir o eliminar las connexiones de algo a otros elementos. La idea de aislarse o en inglés isolation está bien a veces. El aislamiento o isolation en inglés es bueno cuando necesites pensar sin distraecion. Aunque el aislamiento permanente es malo. Quires estar aislado de los amigos  la famila para siempre?

Walter White was cutthroat, he was the danger

La mirada de un man ruthless de serie Breaking Bad

Acting ruthlessly significa comportarse frio o sin cuidar otros.  A veces se dice alguien ruthless es ‘cutthroat.’  La serie Breaking Bad cual un buen recurso para practicar escuchando a inglés (mira otros recursos para practicar  inglés acá) destacó varios personajes comportandose frio o acting ruthlessly.

To be behind alguien o to be behind algo, significa que respaldas a la persona o estás de acuerdo con algo.  Por ejemplo, President Santos is not behind Hugo Chavez but he is behind the legalization of marijuana. Santos no respalda a Hugo Chavez pero está de acuerdo con la legalización de marijuna. (En serio, leer más.)

An Isolated King is in Trouble

Cuando no escuchas a otros, estás solo

Habito 3, la idea: Si los lideres creen que tienen todas las respuestas, es decir saben todo, no van a escuchar a otros.  Tal vez escuchan a otros pero sotenen de manera terca sus ideas por la creencia que tienen la razon. Se llama en inglés un ‘know it all‘.  Quien quiere trabajar con ese tipo? Los lideres de habito 3 se aislan sin querer o se aislan  unintentionally.

Habito 4, la idea: Los lideres que eliminan la presencia de la gente que no se acuerda son los lideres que no queren oposicion interna.  Quiren la gente que están de acuerdo con el lider.  Ellos hacen que la gente salga por la despedida o la renuncia forzada. Habito 4 es claramente un habito intentional o intencional para aislarse.

Bush had Yes Men behind him

Bush was slow... to recognize mistakes

Notamos este lider en la politica. Los lideres politicos sacan usualmente la gente de opiniones en contra o descrepantes, dejando un ‘inner circle‘ o un consejo pequeño de personas de confianza y partidarios.  El problema con eliminar las opiniones en contra es que se rodea con  ‘yes men‘ o los hombres que dicen que ‘si’ a todo.  En tal caso no recibas buena retroalimentacion y seas lento para reconocer los errores.

Aprender inglés en aislamiento o sin buena retroalimentación es una manera lenta para aprender un idioma.  Busca un buen instituto con muy buenos profesores tal como Bogota Business English.