Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Katarina on Mindful Speaking/Speech (Transcript Available

Welcome back to another ESL podcast, everyone! Today was a special day to debut not only the ESL podcast, but the transcript! Now, I must warn you, I didn’t go through the entire manuscript, but here it is, along with the YouTube video and podcast for you guys who are interested in listening and following the transcript at the same time!




Guys, welcome back to our studios Esl podcast with me today. I have the wondrous Katrina life. Yes. It’s funny because last time I didn’t pronounce your name, I just second Trina. Damn it. But anyways, cause Trina Iceberg, but I’ve had her on before to talk about quite a few things. This is our third time coming on already and today the topic is about mindfulness speech and of course speech within the English language classrooms. So Katrina again, thank you so much for coming back on.


Yes, thank you for having me. I love being on your show. So thank you again and I’m, it’s time to guide us. We need to figure out what mindful this talk is. So I want you to give us a nice broad definition of of what this is that we’re going to be talking about today.:

Speaker 2:

Yes. So mindfulness in general is paying attention on purpose to the present moment. Nonjudgmentally so at mindfulness definition can relate to any activity that you do. So including speech. So there’s a whole category of mindfulness that’s called mindful communication and it is doing just that. It’s being present while we speak. So there are several techniques that help us do that. It could literally just being aware of the body, um, like we feel more grounded when we feel a connection to the earth. It could literally be as simple as okay, feeling that my feet are planted on the ground, feeling that my hands are planted on my knees, the table, wherever, so that that physical sensation is part of it, but then also pay to pay attention to the present moment. Important components of that mindful communication is so paying attention to your, uh, pace of speech.:

Speaker 2:
So slowing down and being very aware of different things you’re saying. . I was actually just at a mindful communication retreat this past weekend and it was reiterated there that the most important thing that we can do for mindful communication is to pause. The most important thing because a lot of us, when we are feeling some kind of anxiety and any social situation, whether it is our native language or a foreign language, one of the first things that we do is we speed up or pace super, super, super, super fast because things feel uncomfortable and awkward. Whereas if we take a time to pause, we can first of all register with a person we’re speaking to, just said so that we can have a more thoughtful response instead of a response that we were thinking about while the person was speaking, when we should’ve been listening.:

Speaker 1:
Oh my God, I love that. I’m so happy you said that. And so listening first, that’s what I actually learned is Stephen Covey’s book, you know just recently and the thing is poor listeners, I forgot they were like four different things, but one thing is you have in our ready your idea in mind and how you’re going to reply and you’ve already tuned out to what the person was saying.:

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And then the other person can tell if you’re not engaged, either person can tell. If you were to take, and I’m, I need to say we because I am so guilty of this too, when I get either really, really excited or like, oh, I’m not sure what to say. So instead I’m going to speak a mile a minute, but if we take the time, rice,:

Speaker 2:

Speaker 2:
Even if it’s literally a second or two, we can take in what the person says and then one of the most gracious things that we can do to show respect to the other person is literally just rephrase what that person said to say, oh, so if I understand you correctly what you were seeing or oh, so you mean blank or to ask a follow up question and then that shows respect and then we are forming that. We have all humans have this need for connection by simply asking a question where we are rephrasing what the other person said. It’s validating what they’re saying and showing that we care. We’re creating connection, which is going to make the entire rest of the conversation go way more smoothly.:

Speaker 1:
Wow. I’m so happy you said that man, because again that just right after listening first asking the follow-up questions to check for understanding. Honestly, if you’re on the speaking end and you hear someone asking you and reiterating that over, that means they’re very, very too, you know, they’re very tuned in and that will allow the speaker to possibly even open up even more. And then you will be more into you, you know. And that’s a good way to practice because let’s just say if people have labeled themselves a poor listener, you know, this is a technique that they could start using immediately.:

Speaker 2:

Speaker 1:
Okay, so when it comes to slow him down the speech and I’m so happy you mentioned that too because yesterday I was watching a video. Tom Bill you if you don’t know him, he’s like with him. Yes, I enjoy him. Yeah. Yeah. He brought someone on to talk about, I don’t know, speeding up, accelerating English, learning accelerated, whatever learning. Right. But this guy was speaking at, like you said, a mile a minute. And I saw some of the comments in some people were like, dude, this guy, they said something about his speaking and how fast he was speaking. And this also reminds me of Tony Robbins. This reminds me of Gary v Eh, they cannot be understood by non native English speakers. So, how important is it for you, you know, to teach or you, you know, you haven’t taught out there and Greece, Panama to slow down your speech and how do you see you, you know, you’re the respondents, right? Okay. So your students responding to that and saying, oh, okay, now I can understand you more because you know, you’re putting in content words and focus words in this and that. So, yeah. What do you think:

Speaker 2:
that, yeah, that case is so important because when I take the time to pause, not only am I showing respects to the other person in the conversation, but it’s allowing me so much time to process everything. I’m able to process nonverbal things. So if I’m teaching in a classroom, I, I can take the time to look around and faces and see, hmm, do I see any questioning looks, do I see people slumped over? Do I see low energy? Do I s um, it gives me all of that time for those nonverbal cues. And there have been times where I have gone on a long tangent and then someone will say, teacher slowed down, or teacher I don’t understand. And then it’s harder to go back. It is harder to go back and rephrase everything and it’s harder to remember what I’ve even just,:
Speaker 1:
exactly, yeah. So from a student standpoint, do you know your students saying teachers slowed down t shirt? I don’t understand. Um, some things that I do while teaching of course is if I say a big vocabulary term for whatever reason, I could pick it up while I’m speaking very quickly. And then I break it down into, it’s like micro form. So if I say, oh, this building is gargantuous, I can say, you know what that means very, very big. So then I just add a couple of, you know, whatever you call it. Yeah. So adverbs, whatever you call it, and um, to intensify. So they understand that I’m not using big language to make them feel uncomfortable because even, you know, from us, you know, going to school and whatnot and you know, sitting in front of those professors, they just have a tendency of using these very, very big words that no one really cares about.:
Speaker 1:
And I don’t know why. And you know what, that’s something that I want to address too, because there are a lot of foreigners that come to non native English speaking countries and they use language and they use these big words that not many people are gonna understand. And why is it that we’re so accustomed to doing that? I mean, I don’t know if you’ve seen that. I’ve seen it like on videos and I’m like, dude, you got to not dumb it down, but just make it more literal, make it very easy to understand. You want to seek to be understood. You don’t want to use big words to try to know. No one really cares about that unless you’re at a gala convention. You know what I mean? So,:
Speaker 2:
and I, I’ve heard, and I don’t know who I heard it from, um, but I’ve heard this multiple times that if you truly are a master at whatever your teaching or talking about, you can explain whatever concept at a fourth grade reading level. Yeah. And a fourth grade reading levels. So I, and I taught fourth grade for several years and like I said, this is something that’s easy for me to relate to. But for some people, if it is harder for them to simplify their language, just imagine that you’re speaking to students, um, or you or anyone that, you know, a neighbor, kid, a niece and nephew, and just simplify. If it’s harder for you to simplify the vocabulary, simply pause more or form smaller sentences. Because another thing we can do while we’re processing during the pause is think about, hm, what is the sentence I want to say next and how can I simplify that?:
Speaker 1:
And so that’s going into thought groups too, because I’ve realized, and, and it’s funny because I’ve been looking at this pronunciation, but for quite some time already, and it’s taught me so much in terms of a speaker because I understand what content words, our focus words put in emphasis and bad stress on different words to show, you know, how important it is. I’m like, oh my God, that was such a long flight. So I’m emphasizing that along was even longer than the long, you know what I mean? But again, it could be in WWE idioms, that could be a huge problem too. But anyways, um, I’ve implemented what I’ve learned from that and the pronunciation, the thought groups and everything get now I put that into, of course, my very own speech. So when it comes to being a learner of English, what are some, now let’s, let’s go, let’s dive a little bit more into mindfulness too, because we talked about that just a little bit briefly and whatnot.:
Speaker 1:
So mindfulness, it doesn’t necessarily relate to meditation and whatnot, but it’s just being, being in one. This is what, of course Michael Bernard Beckwith would say, you know, just being in tune with your breathing and being in tune with your thoughts, your feelings, everything. And so you do these yoga retreats and when it comes to yoga, a lot of people think yoga is more feminine than masculine. But a lot of people and students who aren’t like, you know, they don’t practice yoga. This get actually really, really, really helped them with their exams. I saw it on Twitter and I remember these students were so stressed that they were bad students. Next thing you know, they implemented yoga and change was on believable. And the thing is yoga also practice mindfulness. So tell me about that.:
Speaker 2:
You can practice mindfulness during any activity. So during yoga for example, um, and mindfulness is awareness of any one or more of the senses. So sometimes for me it’s just focusing on the sound of something. During Yoga, it might literally be focusing on how does my body feel as I’m stretching, what am I feeling in the body? And part of mindfulness is also doing it nonjudgmental. So if something hurts or if it’s difficult to hold a particular pas, I’m not judging myself of, Oh, I should be able to pull that pose longer or I should be able to lift my leg higher. It’s just noticing what is and just being with it. So yes, that does it makes sense then that people who practice yoga would show more success in other areas of life because they are practicing mindfulness and mindfulness studies have shown time and time again, benefits of increased focus, empowerment, less reactivity, all of these things that help us with our academic success.:
Speaker 1:
Wow. And so, I mean, would this, of course the anxiety, the stress, all of these feelings that directly, like they’re very complete, they’re completely opposite of what mindfulness is. If people say they get very nervous or they get nervous when they speak. So an ILS test, right? So for a lot of my ILS learners out there, you know, they say, oh, I get very nervous when I speak. I start stuttering. What is it that, what’s the, excuse me, a nice simple technique that they can use that they can do. You know, probably just before the talk may be five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, something like that.:
Speaker 2:
That’s a great question. There are so many simple mindfulness exercises. So first of all, when you are speaking to someone, feel the body, pay attention to your body sensations so that that could be, like I said before, pay attention to the feeling of your feet on the floor or your hands or whatever. The body sensation. Notice what is my heart to doing. So sometimes when I’m starting to feel anxious or whatever the emotion is, I’ll put one hand on the heart, one hand on the belly and I’ll label it. Okay, I am anxious because I’m about to take a test. Okay? So literally you are, what happens when you take the time to do that is you are switching from to diff activating two different parts of the brain. So the Amygdala is the archaic part of the brain, the fight or flight brain that is literally this protecting us from, you know, freaking out that part of the brain.:
Speaker 2:
I’m like, oh my gosh, there was a creature chasing me. Yeah. But if we take the time to switch from that freak out mode to deeper, a deeper level thought of what is the emotion, I’m immediately switching from activating the Amygdala to the prefrontal Cortex, which is the deeper level thinking of critical thinking. Anything else of all? I’m just feeling anxious because in once you put a label on something, it makes it less scary. Yeah. So that is a technique, but as, oh, there’s so many breathing techniques. Um, so if someone is standing, there’s a way we start off many of our mindfulness classes where we call it, um, step, step, breath. This is something that you can do, um, where you literally, you’re standing in, nobody can even tell that you’re doing this. It’s literally shift your weight from one foot to the other slowly and then take an inhale and an exhale.:
Speaker 2:
Because at that moment of time, you are placing your focus on physical sensations. So it helps to relieve the anxiety. So it’s literally, okay, I’m shifting weight from one foot to the next and focusing on my breath. Simple one one that I do a lot right before something that I’m, that makes me nervous or if I notice my heart rate has increased, is I just do square breathing. Um, and it’s one of the most simple breathing techniques. And so it’s called square or box breathing because it has four equal parts like a square. So start with whatever number of seconds is easy for you. It should not stress you out. So that can literally start with inhale for four seconds, hold your breath at the top for 40 seconds, exhale for four seconds and hold the breath out for four seconds. And so I literally repeat that over and over and over until I feel a decrease.:
Speaker 2:
If you’re able to do more, more seconds, um, I usually do eight seconds a piece, but again, we don’t want anything that’s going to freak you out more because you’re holding your breath too long and you’re so, and if for you it’s two seconds or three seconds to do that. But one of the powerful things is is that most of us, when we are really anxious, we remember to inhale but we don’t remember to exhale. Exhaling lets out all of them. It cleanses us, right? It lets it gets rid of all of the bad stuff that we don’t want. So if anything, just try exhaling equally as long as you inhale or even longer for the axial.:
Speaker 1:
Thank you so much for sharing that. I love that because I mean people could use this when they fly like me, like what I go and planes and I know there’s a big cloud system that’s coming and doing, it starts shaking even just a little bit. My palms immediately get like sweaty, right? The moisture begins to come and I’m like okay, calm down, calm down, calm down. It’s, so that’s a technique that I could use to, you know what I think I’ve been practicing mindfulness for very, very long time because you know what I do when I actually go on the sky, you know the train out here and I have to stand up. I kind of sway side by side and I don’t know. Every time I do, I do. Sometimes I could notice myself doing it, but I do have that sense of calmness rather than just standing there just very stagnant. If I’d moved from like side to side, I feel so much better because I don’t, I don’t know, it’s like a sense of calm that comes over me. And I think I’ve been doing that for, I don’t know how many years, but then you just mentioned in that, you know, the foot on this side, this side, I’m like, oh my God, I try to do. And I think that’s brilliant.:
Speaker 2:
And as long as you’re focusing on a sense or more in this case, you’re focusing on that sense of touch, right? And feeling grounded. If you’re focusing on that, you’re being present. That’s mindfulness. So it’s, for some people it might be something else. I know of people who always, uh, you know, they might touch a stone or a coin that’s in their pocket. They’re focusing on the, the feeling of that texture, that texture. It’s not judgmental. It’s just something they’re doing in the present. That’s mindfulness. So you know, even something like that for, if you are nervous and you’re, you know, you’re paying attention to the physical sensation of a coin in your pocket, you can do that while still speaking. But it’s something that brings people that sense of calm because it’s that groundedness. It’s okay. Something that I know that’s there. And along the lines of that, you know, since we’re talking about speech, one of the techniques that I just learned about in this, um, retreat over the weekend was that:
Speaker 2:
a lot of times we think that it’s the other person controlling the conversation because we’re so stuck in our own self consciousness. And if we want to take a break, and maybe it’s the other person who’s talking a mile a minute, or maybe they’re just really emotional, or maybe my head is spinning because of what the other person is doing, we can be advocates for ourselves. And a simple way to do this is literally just put your finger apps stick out one finger, right? It’s a universal symbol for wait, pause, whatever. You can use that as your moment to politely interrupt and say, Ah, so if I understand you correctly, what you’re seeing is that allows the other person to pause and realize, oh my gosh, I was just speaking really fast or dominating the conversation or I was really emotional. Right? Cause they get caught up in that and it just gets worse and worse and worse.:
Speaker 2:
And then it gives them the time to think about the other person. Because if you say, if I understand you correctly, then it puts the idea in their head that, oh, maybe I’m not thinking as clearly or um, showing up as clearly as I think to the other person. And then that allows the balance between the two people to be respectful. Because a lot of times that a person may not realize that, um, cause they’re so emotional or so into whatever they’re speaking about that they’re forgetting about the balance. So being an advocate for yourself. So if, if I’m speaking to somebody in it, they’re speaking a different language and I want them to slow down, that’s a technique I can use. Literally just stick out the finger and say, oh, excuse me, I just want to make sure I understand. Do you mean,:
Speaker 1:
oh my God dominated the conversation. Can you enlighten me that cause I feel like I’ve walked. Yeah. You know what, enlighten me with dominated the conversation. Cause I think this could be good for not only me but for a lot of people out there too. What does the baby, my dominating the conversation we’re talking about. So like yesterday I was having a conversational students, then I caught myself and say, you know what? For two hours I want you to at least take the majority of the time to talk. It is up to me to ask the perfect follow up questions to ignite something in you where you can continue building up off the conversations. But I do catch myself talking too much and I’m like our city of shut up. And so then I say, what about you? So tell me about dominating the conversation. This can be very good,:
Speaker 2:
right? Well, like a lot of things in life, many times less is more. So even if I am a teacher and I have really great intentions on teaching my students about something, if I go off on a super long story, I might lose them. Whereas if I were to keep my explanation of a word or a certain piece of content, if I were to keep it to a sentence or two, that could be more powerful. So dominating the conversation can be well intentioned. Um, for some people they might just be so into talking about themselves that they don’t even realize, I haven’t given the person a chance to speak. And so sticking out your finger gently is a very polite way to bring that to someone’s attention. Or also, how many times have we been in socialist social situations? Like maybe I’m at a party and someone’s talking my ear off and I really want to get away.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. Or I, and they just won’t stop talking and I don’t know when are they ever going to take a breath so that, you know, we also, we need to take accountability for our own comfort and whatever we want and not let someone else monopolize our time. So that could be an opportunity to do that. Um, so dominating the conversation, like I said, and like you said, a lot of times we don’t realize it. We don’t realize it that we’re talking for a really long time. So it’s up to the everybody in the conversation to make sure that they are using both verbal and nonverbal communication to get whatever they want out of the conversation. And along the lines of getting out whatever somebody wants out of a conversation, the conversation, you could start with an intention. That’s why a lot of meetings start with an agenda or an objective. Just like a teacher might start with an objective of today we are going to learn about blank. So if at any point a student is getting lost during a lesson, they can bring it back to, ah, so what was the adjective that you started explaining? You know, it gives people more context to come full circle.:
Speaker 1:
So this actually gives students a little bit of a control. Even if the teacher goes off on a tangent and goes blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They can kind of guide the teacher back to what is being explained. This could be very good for test prep courses. Yeah.:
Speaker 2:
Well then the same thing that a teacher might do is I might tell students if they’re, if we’re going around the room and sharing, I might say we each have two minutes and we need to be mindful of that. So don’t tell your entire weekend with every single task you completed. But Cher, you have two minutes to share about your favorite experience this weekends. So it’s, it’s giving each other boundaries. It creates regrets and that way it’s, especially if you’re in a classroom setting, the teacher is lighting those ground rules for respect so that instead of one student speaking 20 minutes of the class and other students not getting a turn there, letting people know the boundaries of this is what you were allowed to do. This is what is respectful for everyone to have a fair term.:
Speaker 1:
Wow. Just brilliant, mad. Oh, and I was, what I was going to do, I was going to guide this into another segment, but I believe that segment would be like at least another 45 minutes. So I was like, no, I’m not going to go into that. Well, we got plenty of episodes coming up. But to bring this all full circle, Katrina, for someone to summarize this in general, for the people who are looking to implement this in their working lives and their daily lives and in their lives where they have to communicate with foreigners on a regular basis, multinational companies, whatever you want to call it, give me a couple of techniques such as that one you gave right there. That is a brilliant technique. Are there any other like, you know, one to two techniques that someone can use in case, either they’re getting lost or they want to apply more close listening skills?:
Speaker 2:
Yeah. So don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask for help because a conversation is going to be far more embarrassing if it goes longer without understanding than if you cut it short, ride away. Someone, now I’m having a hard time understanding your speaking candy. Please slow down. Okay, that’s good. Um, ad and expressing right away:
Speaker 2:
the fact of what is difficult for you. Right? So if for example, a lot of people understand more vocabulary and so the understanding the comprehension part of the conversation is way easier than producing the speech. So that might start off with early in the conversation. Maybe the English language, like I understand a lot of English, but it, it helps me when you speak slowly or if or let them know. If I don’t respond right away, it’s because I am processing. I’m trying to understand all of those things are supporting the speaker, right? The English language learner. But it’s also giving that to the other person to allow them to be mindful of the communication. So another thing is just show on your body language if you don’t understand. Um, so it might look like this where you tend to your head to the side and you’re, yeah, you’re touching your face even if you don’t want to express, um, the whole word of what does that mean? Literally just use a universal. Hmm. Huh.:
Speaker 2:
My favorite one is like, that’s my favorite one that I’ve heard. I’ve heard varying percentages, but they say that the majority of communication is nonverbal. It’s about 70% nonverbal. So by you nodding or by you turning your head to the side and tapping your face, you are able to express either yes, I understand. Or know. I don’t understand. So by all means, if you don’t understand, don’t keep nodding. Right, right, right, right. Oh I like that. I like that. Thank you. That was a really, really good one. Especially for a lot of people like in Japan, China, you know they keep saying they got that straight face, like that stuck phase, but at the same time to do with this and then I say, so what did I, and so people, they make that mistake, that nonverbal communication such as they are understanding what you’re saying right now, but in fact they don’t understand the speaking end sight, you know the speaking.:
Speaker 2:
Then you can say, so what do you think about that? Or add an end like a follow up questions for understanding. Right. Until a lot of other questions that might be good to ask is if you’re using inferencing skills and you think you understand, just follow up with, oh, is that the same as blank the person, the opportunity to explain yes or no and then relate it to something that you already know, right? So you are working on, you are activating that background knowledge building on top of something that you already know. You’re allowing the other person to do that when you bring up something that you do already know also. Um, it’s, it’s helpful for many people if they pause and they say, can you spell that word for me? Please? Lot of times hearing different accents. A person might be speaking a word that you already know, but with how they’re saying it in their accent and how it blends into the word next to it, it sounds like a completely foreign word. So just take the time because once you ask the simple question of how do you spell that, it allows the other person to share even more information about it. Like, if I’m asking about the name of a place, they might say, ah, this is how you spell the name of the place and it’s located on this corner next to this other business. Right. So by asking one question, you’re opening it up for the person to answer many questions,:
Speaker 1:
man, that is brilliant. Oh boy. I wish we could keep going because I get could treat them with the gems as all ways mad. Oh I want to continue. But boy, yeah, thanks to be like, but anyways, could treat a man. Thank you so much for sharing a lot of that. And the thing is a lot of people, you guys can begin to apply the majority of these techniques right away. I mean even with Katrina, you tell it to me, some of these things I’m like, well I could start doing that too. So all of this, both native and non native English speakers, both teachers and students, both the priest in the pastor, it doesn’t matter who it is. You can begin to apply this and again, interrupt and politely showing nonverbal communication signs such as you don’t understand particular things or what people are talking about.:
Speaker 1:
Um, these are great things that you could use. So again, Katrina, oh my God, we’re gonna have to, I’m going to have to wake up a little bit earlier just in case technology doesn’t work so we can extend this more. But, uh, there was a question that we have for one of my students, but we won’t be able to tackle that today because this is going to be at like a podcast on its own too, in terms of what happened with my previous students. You know, how not to learn English, all that great stuff. So we’re going to be diving into that, but good. Trita thank you so much for coming on. Again, it’s Arsenio’s Esl podcasts. Yes. Thank you for having me. Absolutely. Guys, if you have any questions, if you’re interested in what uh, Katrina has going on, I always put the links in the profile.:
Speaker 1:
You’ll see it on my Instagram. You’ll see it on the Facebook pages of both her and mine. Ell Teaching, you guys will see that everything is in the description. If you’re watching this on youtube, if I could somehow get it on you tube or if you’re watching this or listening to this in podcast form, whatever it may be. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for to dinette and Katrina have you back on? Probably, Ooh, it could be as little as a week sign because we lost about a month, so I tried to say every two weeks. I’m looking at Regan you back off to tackle the other question and the other questions we might have coming up soon from other students. I look forward to it. Awesome. Thank you so much. And guys, or with that being said, thank you so much for tuning into another ESL podcast gets Frieda.:
Speaker 1:
Thank you for taking the time. That is a cute little, uh, it’s that curious George. Oh Man. I used to have a haircut like him a long time ago. I swear I had a haircut like him a long time ago when people were like, you look like curious George. I was like, your mom looks like curious George. And so yeah, those are the good days. When I was young, oh my God. Who is curious? Judge tells them who curious. George is curious. George is the character of a beloved classic Children’s Book Person. Myself, I could resonate with him because he was a curious monkey owned by the man in the yellow hats. He often would escape because he was exploring his curiosity and it would get him into fun little adventures of mischief of this ship. And that’s why they call this the curious George. Curious George. But I haven’t seen you in a long time. I haven’t been called you in a long time either. That’s because I don’t have hair and I don’t get haircuts like you anymore. But he should take that as a compliment. I mean his, his cybers go all the way to go. But yeah.:
Speaker 1:
So anyways, thank you so much for giving that wonderful introduction stories, man, when I was young, this, those stories. Oh my God. Anyways, okay guys, I’m gonna close this bad boy out. Thanks for introducing this to curious over there. We’re going to get into the ape over there on your table next time, so you make sure he’s here. Next, stop. That one right over there. So we’ll, we’ll talk, we’ll talk about you next time is to AP. So, uh, again, thanks so much for tuning in and guys, I stay two for Katrina will be coming on as early as next week for, of course, the Q and A’s. So stay tuned for that. I’m your host stars. Savio as usual.:

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Special – IELTS – Improving Fluency & Coherence

Welcome back, my students of the world! It’s time to go over two criteria that the examiner will assess you on in terms of speaking: Coherence & Fluency.

The notes that I recently showed you in the last live coaching will help you organize your ideas in a logical way.

One way to link your ideas is by using words and phrases like after, that, because of this, but, also, etc. We can also connect ideas using pronouns.

Tactic: It is important to use a variety of language.  Don’t REPEAT! I can’t stress this enough.

  • Think about the topic
  • Organize your ideas (improve your coherence).
  • Keep going during your talk (improve your fluency).

Task 2

Describe a person who has been an important influence in your life.

You should say…..

  • who this person is and how long you have known him or her for
  • why you chose this person
  • how this person has influenced your life

and explain how you feel about him or her.

Typical Notes

Who and how long? Les Brown/70 years old/speaker and transformational coach/lives in America/never met him.

Why I chose him: inspired me to get out of my rut in Thailand, made goals, learned about personal development, transformed my life completely.

How he has influenced my life taught me how to keep going/ stop becoming a victim/ don’t give up/ passion in what I do.

My feelings grateful/admiration/proud

Some things to think about. 

When you make notes, how do you write them? List? Scattered? Mindmap? Do you write single words? Long phrases? Whole sentences?

Idea connecting phrases

  • I’ve decided to talk about….
  • I’ve known him/her…
  • I chose him/her because/……
  • I think she/he has influenced my life by…..
  • When I think of him/her, I feel…….


IELTS Live Coaching PDF – Episode 003

YouTube – Coming Soon

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 11 – Grammar – State & Action Verbs

People! Welcome back, and as promised, I told you guys that I would be coming up with much more material.  This season is going to be pretty extended, so I want you to brace yourselves for a long, but very fun season!

Read the sentences.  Do the verbs describe states and situations? Or do they describe actions?

  • Be sure to tune into my podcast for the answers!
  1. I have a big garden.
  2. I love warm weather.
  3. I like sitting out there.
  4. My picture looks like me.
  5. The flowers smell good.
  6. I don’t believe that’s true.
  7. I know why I drew a flower.
  8. I think I’m the opposite.


Verbs of feeling and liking: hate, went, prefer, need ___________, ___________.

Verbs of thinking: _____________, ____________, ___________

Verbs of the senses: __________, ______________ hear, see, taste, sound, feel, seem

Verbs of possession: _____________, own, belong


Task: Decide if each verb describes a state or an action.

  1. I look/am looking for my shoes.  Do you know/Are you knowing where they are?
  2. Isn’t she beautiful? She looks/is looking like a film star.
  3. My sister has got/is having a new job.
  4. My sister can’t speak at the moment.  She has/is having a shower.
  5. Do you know/Are you knowing the answer now?
  6. I don’t understand/am not understanding a word you’re saying.
  7. Don’t worry about your competition.  I believe/am believing in you to get the job done.
  8. I don’t like/am not liking this movie.  I want/am wanting to leave now.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 6 – Pronunciation – Ignoring The Consonant in Speech

Yes! A lot of my students have asked this question, so here it is, along with some sentences for you to repeat out loud.  This exercise will enable you to take out the unnecessary, second-to-last consonant, which is impossible to say. Let’s go over it.

/kt + s/ = / ks/

Fact = facs – Not Facts

Facts of life = facs of life

Act = acs

Acts appropriately = acs appropriately

direct = direcs – Not Directs

Direcs this project


/pt = s/ = /ps/

Adapt = adaps – Not Adapts

Adaps to the changes

Concept = conceps – Not Concepts

Conceps in math

Accept/Acceps – Not Accepts

Acceps responsibility


/nd + z/ = /nz/

Sends = Sens – Not Sends

Sens a signal

Lend = Lens – Not Lends

Lens a hand

Friend = friens – Not Friends

Friens and family




Napoleon Hill: Cooperation – Introduction

As always, I love using Gary Vee to kick off the blogs because he has a way of doing things that’s very unorthodox.  He doesn’t have that “mastermind” group, as one asked him at a keynote speech.  He says he listens to the market and opinions of other people as his fundamental way of getting ideas out there.

On the other hand, you’ve heard of Harvey Firestone, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison hanging out together on a wintry winter deep inside forests – exchanging ideas.

Everyone has their own way of doing things.

If I look back at my life, and what’s currently happening and ask myself: “Arsenio, do you have a mastermind group?”


Sometimes I get off track with distractions.  If someone comes into my life, I get sidetracked if we’re not aligned with things and fall into a weird state of mind where I feel….depressed.

Who’s in my ear every morning? Well, if I need a jump, I listen to Eric Thomas, who’s an outstanding motivational speaker.  This comes when times are tough.  However, when I’m on fire and need to get things done, I go straight into Gary Vee’s podcast or YouTube video.  This gives me a lot of ideas and puts me in such a positive state of mind.  I surround myself with figures all around the planet whom don’t even know they’re part of my mastermind group.  Who says it has to be physical?

In Napoleon Hill’s Book, Co-operation is the beginning of all organized effort.  Remember what I talked about in the first lesson of this course in terms of Andrew Carnegie accumulating a gigantic fortune through organized efforts.  Gary Vee also talks about being in that community of people, which I’ve met a lot of on his page.  I have a handful of awesome entrepreneurs in my Facebook area because of that community on his page.

First, the co-operation between people who group themselves together or form alliances for the purpose of attaining a given end, under the principles known as the Law of the Master Mind.

Second, the co-operation between the conscious and the sub-conscious minds, which forms a reasonable hypothesis of man’s ability to contact, communicate with and draw upon something greater.

Before we get into the basis of this lesson, there was something that struck me while reading a particular page of this lesson.

“If I can impress my subconscious mind with the desire to arise at a specified time and it will awaken me at that time, why do I not form the habit of impressing it with other and more important desires?”

Pretty interesting theory, ey? This is basically saying if you feed your mind over and over the information you want at any given time, you will win.


Dale Carnegie + Tedx = How To Keep Your Audience

So, I’m going to post a variety of videos today in regards to how public speakers can deliver a remarkably powerful message to keep the audience.

We know how a lot of speakers are: monotone speakers, talkers, bores, we have a wide variety.  Dale Carnegie talks in his book about how someone, with the power of conviction and passion, can lure the audience in and keep them.  It’s a combination of using the right emotion while speaking from the heart.  Let me give you a few examples and rundowns of what I think are and aren’t speakers who deliver the power of eloquence.

Regardless of him being Sir Ken Robinson, this monotone type speaking just kills me.  We have all had the professors in our past who can ramble for 2-3 hours and put everyone to sleep within the first 15….Ken is one.  No disrespect to his message, but the hastily speaking and lack of passion made me turn this one off within a few minutes.  Yes, he had some humor and there were some applauses, but you also have to evaluate the crowd he was speaking to.  13 years ago and in a foreign country, people wouldn’t get the majority of his jokes and probably wouldn’t understand half of his presentation because of how fast it is.

Yes, I will say this….having the accent she did with little to no grammatical mistakes was great, and even delivering the message about compassion and how NIST (international school in Bangkok) does separate themselves from just about 99.9% institutions around the world (including the most prestigious universities), if she would’ve spoken with a little more passion, it could’ve been great.  Also, the papers is one thing Dale Carnegie would talk about in terms of a distractor.  People would be glued into what she’s holding….so I say forgo the papers.  If you need to glance at something and get a hold of yourself, then so be it.  It also sounded a bit like verbatim to me, too.

2:09 – 2:38….this is one of the most remarkable storytellers I’ve ever seen.  Don Jose Ruiz….just simply amazing and definitely the most riveting of them all (debatable against Lisa Nichols).  This is how you tell a story, like I’ve mentioned a many of times on Tedx podcasts, with passion and conviction.

One of my favorite speakers of all-time.  The way she describes her stories in vivid detail is awe-inspiring.  How’s she able to make that audience feel everything she’s saying….there aren’t a lot of people like her in the public speaking realm.  This is how you relate completely to the audience.

A combination of remarkable finesse, humor, tears, and rejoice.  Les Brown is someone I’ve learned so much from and that I feel overtime I put him on in the morning.

Listen closely to the audiences.  See how they react.  When you do, you’ll see that some of these speakers merely talk on stage and others take the audience on a roller coaster.

Honorable Mention – Ray Lewis

TEDx – Getting Personal

Audiences could be warm, fuzzy, empathetic and loving; other audiences could be cold and monotonous to the point you lose inspiration in even giving a talk.

If you look at comedic stand-ups (although TED is much difference from hurling jokes at people), they look at people in the audience who’s enjoying their show, not the one’s who are disinterested.  There are tough crowds all around the world.  In America, L.A. and New York could have the toughest.  Across the pacific, Sydney and especially Melbourne would be just as difficult.  Why? Not sure….but a lot of people are apprehensive with letting someone put “thought” into their minds.


I like to look at my stage at a 180 degree angle and I find someone at the 180, 45, 90, 45, and 180.  When you’re talking and speaking amongst everyone, everyone seems to be interested.  There will be a handful of people who are fully engaged in your ideas, so it’s imperative to communicate with all sides of the audience.

Scientists have said that the act of two people staring at each other triggers an adoption of the emotional state.  It’s kind of like a sync.  What’s the best way to do that? SMILE! In a world where we don’t see a lot of people smiling, this is now a technology that can transform how a talk is received.

Showing vulnerability and opening yourself up is extremely crucial, too.  Looking back at Ray Lewis’ Ted Talk, he wasn’t afraid of showing the audience the pain he went through as a child when his step-father would beat his mother.  He had no shame.  However, it’s also important that you don’t overshare.  Don’t talk about you ex wife or ex gf….that could leave the audience squirming for retreat.

Making them laugh….naturally, triggers one of the best emotional reactions.  It’s kind of like if you meet someone by greeting them…and someone botches the handshake and you guys end of laughing.  Because of that emotional trigger, you’re more prone to memorize that particular person’s name because the laughter you both had.  That’s how you could be remembered on stage, but don’t force it.  If you’re not funny, don’t be funny.  If you’re serious, be serious.  If you’re egomaniacal, adopt a new personality before your talk.

And of course, learning how to become an influential story teller.  I’ll post a YouTube video from A-Fest in regards to Don Jose Ruiz and the wondrous Lisa Nichols.

YouTube –

01:02:23 Lisa Nichols “Run, Leap, Soar”

02:09:07 Don Jose Ruiz “Expanding Art from the Heart”

Podcast –