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IVY-GRADE BUSINESS ENGLISH

“Business Bedrock Blocks & Bullets” Edition

Available in One Day and Weekend-Long Intensive Seminars

with J.I. Abbot

MFA in Literary Arts, Brown University

College Professor (English and Philosophy)

&

Strategic Communications Consultant

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I have recently tailored for a wide range of international business communities and schools new daylong and weekend-length seminars titled “Ivy-Grade Business English.”

I was first inspired to design this boutique training when I began to recognize the communications edge that I seemed to have, as an Ivy League university graduate, over many business associates I would meet in my work life—in corporate (financial and legal), not-for-profit, government educational, public relations, and marketing environments alike.

But I also realized that even though most of my co-students and other contemporaries who are also alumni of Ivy League schools share a remarkable set of the same “Business English Habits,” those habits don’t take full effect until they are consciously recognized and consistently practiced. And the good news is that of course they are not the property or trademark of the Ivy League!  Having many friends, colleagues, and contacts from truly all over the world, I began to see how much these sharp and perceptive business minds would benefit from exposure to the easy-to-acquire nuances of what I term “Business Bedrock Blocks & Bullets.”

Here’s one quick but potent example: the “Killer Connector.” What is the subtle instinctive difference between saying “With regard to our plan”. . .and “With respect to our plan”? Well, “with regard to” is softer—just slightly less formal. “With respect to” sounds and feels crisper—it’s got an edge to it! There is a time and a place for each—and each of these little conscious choices *do* build cumulatively upon one another…and do make for a different type of impact when this consciousness becomes second nature to us. For example, “With regards to”—with an ’s’ at the end—is NOT a real option: it’s just wrong. Yet how often do I hear this? ALL the time. . .and the cumulative result can be disastrous for how business contacts perceive one who makes such errors.

That’s just one example from the arsenal the Ivy-Grade seminar provides. The program is a 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (one or two-day) information-rich intensive in these tools and tactics. Participants will get practical grounding, training, and fine-tuning in the following areas:

  • The Business English Psychology of calling something a “challenge” (or “hurdle,” etc.) rather than a “problem”—with countless examples of crafting one’s sentences to situate oneself in them as the hero and not the victim
  • Why web-based social networking cultures—and even texting—are eliminating any single slang or casual English. . .and how you can use this *unprecedented* historical development to your advantage (”No One Slang Humor”—An Ivy-Grade Exclusive)
  • Why there is no substitute for CNN English—*and* the value of giving yourself a diet of 70% CNN and 30% Oxonian (Oxford) English
  • Why American English will always be a little barbaric and imprecise without the Oxford Comma
  • Why Commas (in general) Do Kings and Queens Make—and why mediocre minds settle for comma sloppiness
  • Why the “Poverty of Hyphens” in British English has over time made it a fuzzier and less assertive language for business
  • Why all business giants are Poets as much as battlefield tacticians—ask the best litigators if they count their syllables, and you’ll be surprised what you learn
  • The fine but crucial and lucrative art of crafting sentences that comprise just the right cocktail of formal and informal elements—hand-picked for any given context. Example: interweaving the *occasional* contraction into your business sentences. Caveat: NEVER say or write things like “should’ve.” It’s sophomoric, and your associate’s boss or boss’s boss will know it. It will lose you influence.
  • Take this from my college students and private trainees of the past two decades, many of whom are now fabulously successful businessmen and businesswomen: Reading almost ANYTHING in English for pleasure twenty minutes to an hour a day—even Sports Illustrated, even a well-scripted comic book!— will put you in a different “weight class” than most of the frankly lazy and pitiable Inaccurate Communicators out there who no longer “have time to read” in our ever-busier world. No Time to Read = No Time to Communicate Better. . . and = No Time to Compete
  • Acquiring New Habits: Why studying Google Trends must now accompany your morning breakfast and news routine—and how baffling it is that so few are still doing this
  • Why Gender-Neutral Language and equity is not just about political correctness but about the dignity or “Feng Shui” of enlightened business—and why understanding this or blowing it will at some point make the difference between getting or losing that multimillion dollar deal.

Each “B.B. Block & Bullet” is immediately implementable, the moment one finishes the seminar. Humor and practical examples during the training cement the concepts in place, and will make retention nearly 100% for engaged participants.

The Ivy-Grade Business English seminar—Business Bedrock Blocks & Bullets edition costs a school or company $10,000 + my airfare and accommodations. . . or $20,000 for a weekend-length format. Fifteen to thirty participants per seminar. (I can alternately retain an associate at an added fee for a larger group.) Give your students the Ivy-Grade edge for their communications —without the Ivy League debt.

Contact J.I. Abbot at j.i.abbot@gmail.com or 860-523-0123 to schedule a Friday or weekend event.

IVY-GRADE BUSINESS ENGLISH

“Business Bedrock Blocks & Bullets” Edition

Available in One Day and Weekend-Long Intensive Seminars

with J.I. Abbot

MFA in Literary Arts, Brown University

College Professor (English and Philosophy)

&

Strategic Communications Consultant

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I have recently tailored for a wide range of international business communities and schools new daylong and weekend-length seminars titled “Ivy-Grade Business English.”

I was first inspired to design this boutique training when I began to recognize the communications edge that I seemed to have, as an Ivy League university graduate, over many business associates I would meet in my work life—in corporate (financial and legal), not-for-profit, government educational, public relations, and marketing environments alike.

But I also realized that even though most of my co-students and other contemporaries who are also alumni of Ivy League schools share a remarkable set of the same “Business English Habits,” those habits don’t take full effect until they are consciously recognized and consistently practiced. And the good news is that of course they are not the property or trademark of the Ivy League!  Having many friends, colleagues, and contacts from truly all over the world, I began to see how much these sharp and perceptive business minds would benefit from exposure to the easy-to-acquire nuances of what I term “Business Bedrock Blocks & Bullets.”

Here’s one quick but potent example: the “Killer Connector.” What is the subtle instinctive difference between saying “With regard to our plan”. . .and “With respect to our plan”? Well, “with regard to” is softer—just slightly less formal. “With respect to” sounds and feels crisper—it’s got an edge to it! There is a time and a place for each—and each of these little conscious choices *do* build cumulatively upon one another…and do make for a different type of impact when this consciousness becomes second nature to us. For example, “With regards to”—with an ’s’ at the end—is NOT a real option: it’s just wrong. Yet how often do I hear this? ALL the time. . .and the cumulative result can be disastrous for how business contacts perceive one who makes such errors.

That’s just one example from the arsenal the Ivy-Grade seminar provides. The program is a 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (one or two-day) information-rich intensive in these tools and tactics. Participants will get practical grounding, training, and fine-tuning in the following areas:

  • The Business English Psychology of calling something a “challenge” (or “hurdle,” etc.) rather than a “problem”—with countless examples of crafting one’s sentences to situate oneself in them as the hero and not the victim
  • Why web-based social networking cultures—and even texting—are eliminating any single slang or casual English. . .and how you can use this *unprecedented* historical development to your advantage (”No One Slang Humor”—An Ivy-Grade Exclusive)
  • Why there is no substitute for CNN English—*and* the value of giving yourself a diet of 70% CNN and 30% Oxonian (Oxford) English
  • Why American English will always be a little barbaric and imprecise without the Oxford Comma
  • Why Commas (in general) Do Kings and Queens Make—and why mediocre minds settle for comma sloppiness
  • Why the “Poverty of Hyphens” in British English has over time made it a fuzzier and less assertive language for business
  • Why all business giants are Poets as much as battlefield tacticians—ask the best litigators if they count their syllables, and you’ll be surprised what you learn
  • The fine but crucial and lucrative art of crafting sentences that comprise just the right cocktail of formal and informal elements—hand-picked for any given context. Example: interweaving the *occasional* contraction into your business sentences. Caveat: NEVER say or write things like “should’ve.” It’s sophomoric, and your associate’s boss or boss’s boss will know it. It will lose you influence.
  • Take this from my college students and private trainees of the past two decades, many of whom are now fabulously successful businessmen and businesswomen: Reading almost ANYTHING in English for pleasure twenty minutes to an hour a day—even Sports Illustrated, even a well-scripted comic book!— will put you in a different “weight class” than most of the frankly lazy and pitiable Inaccurate Communicators out there who no longer “have time to read” in our ever-busier world. No Time to Read = No Time to Communicate Better. . . and = No Time to Compete
  • Acquiring New Habits: Why studying Google Trends must now accompany your morning breakfast and news routine—and how baffling it is that so few are still doing this
  • Why Gender-Neutral Language and equity is not just about political correctness but about the dignity or “Feng Shui” of enlightened business—and why understanding this or blowing it will at some point make the difference between getting or losing that multimillion dollar deal.

Each “B.B. Block & Bullet” is immediately implementable, the moment one finishes the seminar. Humor and practical examples during the training cement the concepts in place, and will make retention nearly 100% for engaged participants.

The Ivy-Grade Business English seminar—Business Bedrock Blocks & Bullets edition costs a school or company $10,000 + my airfare and accommodations. . . or $20,000 for a weekend-length format. Fifteen to thirty participants per seminar. (I can alternately retain an associate at an added fee for a larger group.) Give your students the Ivy-Grade edge for their communications —without the Ivy League debt.

Contact J.I. Abbot at j.i.abbot@gmail.com or 860-523-0123 to schedule a Friday or weekend event.


for Jon Persio

I have hidden myself in the romance

between brights and shadows, conquered

an anthill, evicted even the fifth column

of my own ants who found a natural

.

kinship there. It is not that I care

if I have a permit to do this. Well,

I care a little, but this hill is mine.

Tomorrow may bring someone else

.

seizing it and punctually deporting me,

but for now, I am the minor league monk,

the abbot of incandescent minutiae.

The roll call is easiest when it’s just me,

.

though I welcome visits, even find

dreaming impossible without them.

For at least this season, I’ll keep watch

here, whether it lasts a reasonable stay

.

or one lengthy beyond mercy. This cloister

without a walk, this hiddenness that shouts

to those who know me, and keeps a hush

with strangers, this portable, well-guarded

.

leap day that outfoxes all calendars

wishing to pin it down, this tenure

without location or school, this home

base that stands apart from the heart

.

asks for everyone’s patience if not

their patronage. May I be of service

even from a distance, may I light

a candle for all brothers as well as for

.

myself, may we sip, alone and together

from the stream that is this verse where

we ever alight, ever tend, ever fish.

This shelter is my hope if not my home.

I breathe poverty yet hold out hope for riches.

Night is the stuff of my eyes; the sun is the stuff of reverie.

How can I tell you that what breaches my peace also wakes me?

Deep within a terror is the whiff of redemption - well sometimes –

.

and other hours it’s just terror. Remove the quartz

pendant from my neck that someone once convinced me

was alive; tear off all talismans and mementos.

I am free of all but mental trinkets on my better days;

.

on my worst, I am but bric–a–brac myself.

Everything is sentiment or vacuum; I long

for a silence that does not answer back

in retaliation against my whispering.

.

How can I strip down and put on armor

in the same instant — own my errors

yet mount my defense to save kith, kin

and marrow as they deserve to be helped?

.

Somehow, I laugh at these impossible things

so swaddled in time. The insect that she compared

to castanets also lectures me on timing

and the rhythm of the seams between moments,

.

and still I smile, amid all the strangeness it is

to be me. I cannot summon a finite fiction

in which to ensconce this story, a plot

to give it absolution and definition.

.

Simply to endure can quench a thirst

I cannot reckon. Only to exhale

can mean as much as the air of fear.

A happiness that is hapless can still save me.

Here is the rest of me; here is the dove of rest

I hide nothing, which betrays my peace and warfare.

Burrow yourself in my shade; let’s forgive our ghosts.

Sound the alarum called solitude, and fix upon

.

what you summon forth in me. I am yours as much

as that’s possible, though I freely bark my remorse

of not being yours before. I feint falsehood

somehow, an echo of earlier half-truths

.

that I’m hard pressed to lay to rest.

Everyone planted hydrangea this year,

which dampens my independence and heartens

my eye. I nap in the lap your world offers

.

and each of these details is the exhalation

of a dream. Why am I telling you all this

when, as Pound said, “I cannot make it cohere”?

What do I seek in your hard-earned peace,

.

what can I offer you in return? I give my hand

and a dry kiss that’s bolder than my brain.

Yesterday’s musics envelop my carrion mind

and exhort it to resuscitate or disappear -

.

no matter which, so long as it’s done.

Your response is classic: if I am true

then true is the robin and gossamer alike.

If I am here, I am here; if not, you will be.

.

Now is my day of my most placid melee

yet not the return of king and conqueror

but a divestment of fake thrones, a song

that lacks all borders and crash-lands at your feet.

There are people who supposedly

can look for the lost parts of us

and hook them back in place,

but I am thinking now that sometimes

.

these pieces have wills of their own

and either find their way back home

or move on to journey by themselves,

quietly or loudly, troubled or free.

.

A part of me, now severed, finds its way

into a song, and so I rendezvous

with different verses and melodies,

hopeful that I’ll locate this jigsaw piece

.

of spirit, this color of my inner eye,

this wisdom tooth of soul-space,

whatever the hell it is. It’s something

I really can’t name, but I think it fair

.

to say what it is not. It isn’t

a bone, or an organ, or vein ;

it isn’t even a thought or memory

but it has a rhythm I forget

.

so easily at times, until it remembers

me. It rides the various winds

where it decides to sit; it perches

on skyscrapers or country trees;

.

it’s a space between image and harmony

the spouse of my heart, in exile & rejoined

to me as it sees fit. It will not fit here

readily, but I come closer to its breath

.

as I measure out these words.

I mustn’t surrender to each whim

of this part, but I do need to forgive it

its vagaries. It has or is the wetness

.

of tears, the gap within silence.

I forge a way when it forgets me;

I pray for a long holiday when it remembers;

I sit as peacefully as I can recalling it.

My load is lighter as it grows

in basic weight; how could that be?

In poetry is near-weightlessness

suspending my burdens ’til another hour,

.

much as swimming is more forgiving

toward injured parts than the gravity of land,

much as a break is sometimes all we need

as work piles up higher than before.  .  .

.

and yet this is different, a difficult grace

that allows me to be free the more trapped I am

though I know full well the reprieve will only last

as long as I sit in quiet song-space.

.

My load is lighter as it hurts

and even as poems also hurt, they can bring calm

I write to pay bills no company ever sent

I write to save my life if nothing else.

.

My eyes are sharper when they rest

on one clear line piled on another.

My ears are open to impossible sounds

of any world, possible now delivered here.

.

My mind is a fighter, and I suppose

an argument of souls throws a challenge its way

My hands pick up what mind cannot mend

and piece together another night’s say.

If I come back in lesser form

as speck amid dust, as unmighty mite,

if I return to live as grass

let this one page remember more

.

of what I was, and where I wandered.

Sadly what we are equal to -

puff of smoke, insect wing -

may be our destination

.

as presuming otherwise impugns all poems

that peer into somatic core and aura alike

and find such humbling plausible.

So while I seek a greater birth

.

among the earthly, shapely, wise

as I’ve been fortunate to meet

I brace myself for dusthood

I prepare for something less than song

.

or pleasantries of listening and each taste

I share freely with you

I wonder how my straying these days

in little ways and paths much greater

.

will jettison me when I wander no more

If I return in lesser form

read my words to each moth you find

to random weeds in your backyard

.

to raindrops freed from leafy gutters

and maybe I will feel your tones

and seek a higher poetry

and maybe I can reach a place

.

among the earthly shapely wise

I write this piece slowly and deliberately, to savor what scent of nourishment arises alongside the fumes of a dark barbecue of hate. This is a reminder that many, many believers in one faith think to themselves, “my God is bigger than your god,” or something close to that. And then they share some version of it with others - for example that “you are running away from God” - meaning their own spin on Deity. If we are patient, a whiff of goodness accompanies our hearing such words when they’re verbalized, because we pick up a clean scent of tolerance in our own hearts.

It is not that all faiths are the same - not by a long shot. Every human expression of faith contains its own warts and ugly points along with its more durable redeeming qualities. Human beings are competitive and selfish wanderers as often as they are compassionate pilgrims, and so that one-upmanship and straying from listening deeply to others should be expected. And yet, so caught up are we in the hues and melodies of our own faith tradition, that such features are sometimes all we want to see and hear in front of us. . .no, all around us. Just as one can wrap oneself in a flag, we can scroll ourselves up in scripture, and in doing so, seeking out all heresies and anything which seems to obscure truth, actually block the sun and cool breezes which are everyone’s birthright, everyone’s blessing.

So how does one maintain fairness and discernment about the features we find superior in our own tradition juxtaposed against another’s faith? It is difficult to listen when our headphones are blaring, when our ears are plugged with the sealing wax that makes the voice of our own religion official. So we must really labor at cleaning out the avenues of the senses, and especially those of sight and hearing. Then we can perceive that someone appearing to run from our own deity is really moving rapidly to an oasis in the desert of their own spiritual longing.

Now, if that oasis turns out to be a mirage, we should not gloat over our victory. Rather, we should reflect if our own god is gloating, or instead, if our own god takes many forms according to all the needs, successes, shortcomings, warts, beauty marks, dimples and precious distinct faces of the human fold. And we might next invite the other man or woman into any of our homes - that is, our temple, church or even household. There, putting off a careful discussion of points of meeting and items of difference until tomorrow, we can all breathe in the aroma of welcome which is a love we inherited to use and use again.

Where does our wisdom come from? Somehow we can reach into our hearts and pull out insights that our minds would be unlikely to muster. This is because our hearts do not belong to us per se, but to a greater heart. Our mind and heart connect through the superhighway of our nervous system, but there is a power in our chest of which the pump of the physical heart –and usually our brain, too — remains ignorant.

It is by a form of poetry or music that the wisdom wider than our minds enters us. Our hearts are “bigger on the inside,” to give a nod to the famous series Dr. Who. I say poetry or music because the timing and percussion of wisdom are as important as its content. Sometimes we cannot or will not reach into our depths to notice and commune with this higher knowledge. In this, we are out of tune and off-kilter in our timing with the rhythm and music of our inner worlds and with heavenly time. Listening to music or reading poetry may remind us to reset our internal clocks, but only if we do not use our connection to such art as a way of congratulating ourselves on our sophistication and culture.

In the end, I know little that is real apart from what I am told when I listen to whatever this transmission is.  I only face the danger of corrupting the higher rhythm with my daily sophistry and the grocery list of everything to which I selfishly cling. In this sense, everything I am pronouncing here is more a yearning than what is yearned for. Therefore, I need to be honest and admit that I impart an inevitable corruption to the wisdom music in my effort to channel it. Nonetheless, we can all persevere in sharing that which we cannot express in the cadences of our native tongue, recognizing that all translation is a tragic yet somehow redemptive exercise.

Now I will be silent, because listening trumps speech whenever we have said our fill and perhaps overfilled the space around us with our voice. And I wish you a good experience communing with the wisdom wider and more tuneful than our daily thoughts, and thank you for your patience as I’ve tried  to communicate what this phenomenon seems to me to be.

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