Ian Hoffman Interview

Taleninstituut business English trainer Ian Hoffman comes heavily qualified on the pure business training side of the fence as well as language teaching.

He has a background in Acting, Education, and Professional Communication. He was a Marketing Communications manager and small business owner.

This diversity of experience have all helped Ian to become a rounded business language trainer. “I think it would be fair to say I am a coach, trainer and facilitator in the process, as well as a language teacher,” says Ian, “For me it’s about getting to know the person behind the business: Discovering the patterns of language errors, the strengths and weaknesses in vocabulary, language, grammar and cultural understanding.”

“So many factors go into a successful business language course,” he continues, “The enthusiasm of the participant in brushing up e.g.: perfect tenses, prepositions and conditionals. The challenge for the participant of enriching business vocabulary in reading business articles, understanding them and pronouncing words clearly.”

Like any good trainer, Ian also really enjoys watching the progress of each client through a course, “Witnessing the fluidity of conversation midway in the course and the gaining of confidence at the end, is a joy to behold.” He smiles and adds, “Also the continual feedback and seeing the participants’ language, management and leadership skills grow as he/she applies the tools provided in the sessions and at work is very rewarding.”

Ian has been teaching English for over twenty years. He started teaching English as a foreign language then termed TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at the age of 23 to a group of Israelis in South Africa. This was initially just a way to supplement his income during his acting studies. However, the satisfaction teaching provided him led Ian to Israel where he taught English for the Hospitality industry, Business English and Communication studies and then entered the corporate world of Adult English Education.

As a result of this diverse experience, he likes to keep up with all the latest trends in delivery and technology. “Language teaching has changed with the influence of the Internet and social media,” he explains by way of example, “The tools to acquire and advance in the language provides endless creative opportunities for a new way in to achieving ones goals. The participant being curious, focussing on the visual vocal and verbal information out there with regard to language acquisition and enrichment.”

“There are so many more opportunities of self – study including e-learning which when facilitated can only enhance skills, he continues, “But I think both the success of participant and trainer is the chemistry created through a shared target set out by the trainer and embraced by the participant.”

Ian sets a lot of store by the idea of making sure that both trainer and client are on the same page with regards to the outcomes and methods of the training, and that each course can and must be tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual client. He explains that “The trainer “Building a Belief” in the process from the outset is of key value to the success of tailored program. The energy and “fireworks” in a positive learning environment is recognised early in the process when both are on board and focussed to achieve results.” Part of how Ian achieves all of this is through his favourite opening activity for groups.

“I like to set up an exercise called ‘Guess my Fantasy Profession.’ This really opens the door for open questions and gets participants listening actively and interacting with enthusiasm and energy. The exercise calls for each person in the group to take a turn as the presenter where they have to talk indirectly about what their Fantasy Profession is and not give away any really obvious clues or hints. The other participants then have to guess what the profession is from the visual, verbal and vocal skills the presenter gives.

Ian’s Language Learning Tip:

Remain open to the learning process that you have committed to and do what is required to see it through. Do whatever you can to keep you levels of enthusiasm high, as this will keep you energised and focussed, which in turn increases how much you learn.

Here at TalenInstituut Nederland (The Dutch Language Institute) we understand the needs that companies face as well as the fears individual learners feel. This is why we offer flexible, fully customised Business language courses (including English) to businesses and individuals. Through a process of interviews and meetings we establish the unique needs and competence of our clients and design each and every course around those. To find out more about our Business Language courses, visit our website and ask us for a quote:


© Taleninstituut Nederland
By: David Chislett
Trainer Business English