This Day In History

What significant event happened on this day in history?

  • 1755 Samuel Johnson’s “A Dictionary of the English Language” published in London.
  • 1877 1st telephone installed: Boston-Somerville in Massachusetts, USA.
  • 1896 First modern Olympic games close in Athens, Greece.
  • 1912 RMS Titanic (ship) sinks at 2:27 AM off Newfoundland, Canada.

Of all the four events listed above, the one about the RMS Titanic ship sinking is perhaps the most popular news still remembered by many today.

It was made famous by Director James Cameron who fictionalised a love story between two members from different social classes who fall in love and were tragically separated from each other after the ship hit a very big iceberg. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet both starred in the film as the lovers. You can watch the trailer for the film ‘Titanic’ here: eXJ6HgkQ

The real Titanic ship had an estimated 2,224 passengers on board and the crash with a massive iceberg at 23:40 on 14 th April, 1912 (Sunday) lasted until 2:20am on the 15 th April, 1912 (Monday) when the ship finally sank completely. It was reported that over 1,500 people died in this tragic event.

The National Geographic team has put together a CGI/animation recreation of how the Titanic likely sank in this video:

For your information: you can always learn more about any day of the year and view important events that occured during that day in history by searching here:

We hope you enjoyed learning a little about this day in history!

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Tips On Conversation Starters: How To Engage In Small Talk

Socialising is an excellent way to practise conversing in English. The more you do it correctly, the more fluent you become. The question is: how does one engage in “small talk” correctly, appropriately and politely in various social situations?

e.g.: Practice is the key to success. = Practice is the most important factor to achieve success.

Here are some tips of subjects to avoid in first-time conversations:

  • avoid bad body language (bad posture, crossing the arms, picking your nose);
  • avoid talking about religion;
  • avoid debating about politics;
  • avoid scrutinising and interrogating someone about their sexual orientation.

What is there left to talk about if you do not talk about the subjects above, you might ask. Well, actually, there are plenty of other topics to engage in small talk that are much friendlier
in nature and promotes greater harmony between you and the people you are meeting for the first time!

For your reading pleasure, please click on this link to read ‘7 English Small Talk Topics for Starting Friendly Conversations’:

In the blog post, you will learn different ways to initiate (start) a conversation with someone by means of:

  1. Introduction
  2. Universal Topics (weather, current news, sports and entertainment as well as other safe conversation starters)
  3. The Day
  4. The Workplace
  5. Observations (e.g.: “I really like your tie! Where did you buy it?”)
  6. Common Interests
  7. Questions

Explanations and relevant examples have been given in each of the parts. This blog post is also downlodable for free in the convenient PDF format which you can keep for future reference such as times when you have been invited to attend a party and you might be afraid of feeling awkward because you may not know a lot of people who are going for the occasion – in cases like these, we strongly recommend you to read the blog post in the link above before attending the party and mentally remember a few small talk topics which you can easily use to start a very friendly and easy-going conversation with anyone!

Importance of Relationship-Building

All relationships need effort to maintain – there are various ways one can improve on their interpersonal skills especially when attempting to resolve conflicts. This skill set will assist you in building strong partnerships within and outside your personal and professional lives.

Today, we would like to highlight ‘Seven Steps To Becoming An Effective Relationship- Builder’ at work as taken from this webpage:

This piece covers these topics:

  1. What do we mean by relationship-building?
  2. What does a competent relationship-builder do?
  3. How can I start to develop the competency of relationship-building?
  4. Seven steps to becoming an effective relationship-builder.

There will be two exercises/tasks at the very end of the article which you can try answering to check your understanding of the writing. Your results will show just how much you comprehend what you read.

We sincerely hope this reading comprehension exercise will hellp improve the way you manage your relationships at work!

Final Note

Finally, we have come to the end of this newsletter. Before we end, we would like to recommend a fantastic series of books by the well-known author Dale Carnegie who wrote the best-selling self-improvement books ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ and ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’ which has been translated into 40 languages including Japanese and Chinese!

Please feel free to browse through his books next time you are in a bookshop – you will certainly learn a lot about building greater self-confidence, enhancing communication skills and developing effective leadership skills from his work.

To end this newsletter, here is a 3-minute animated video about ‘How to Build Trust and Relationships’ inspired by the teachings of Dale Carnegie:

Until next time, have a wonderful week!