Verena Bach has taught business German at the Taleninstituut for six years and hails from Frankfurt originally.
Her background is in visual communications and she worked for many years in advertising as a stylist and make-up artist. It was then that she started her training career when she began to not just provide these services, but to in fact teach and train styling and make-up skills with individuals and companies.
“I actually met Andreas from the TalenInstituut when I was training a group at a company,” Verena explains of how she transitioned, “After the Crash in 2008, I saw that I was going to need to find other ways to continue working. When I saw the language lessons TalenInstituut offered, I realised that, as a native Garman speaker with business experience, this was something I could do as well.”
Verena has been resident in Amsterdam since the mid-eighties and has always worked as an independent with her own business. “Although I only teach German with the TalenInstituut,” she smiles. She loves the challenge and the creativity of language training. “The need to tailor-make each course according to the needs of each client is something that really feeds me,” she explains, “I feel more like a coach than a teacher. I wasn’t really fond of school when I was young, so I appreciate that we are free to do whatever each person needs and not just teach the same programme over and over.
I like figuring out how each client learns and what materials they really need.”
“I see myself primarily as a creative person, so I really enjoy the fact that we build very personal programmes for our clients.” She continues, “In my experience, people come to us to learn German for mostly business related reasons. They want to enter the German market. They need German because English is not as widely spoken in Germany as in the Netherlands. But there is also a bigger cultural difference between Dutch and German than many people think. So the training is important in addressing that.”
“Even though business culture is becoming much more global, German business is still much more hierarchical than in the Netherlands where structures in general are flat. Many people underestimate how important this difference is!”
Verena’s lessons are very focussed and practical. “I often focus on helping people with preparing presentations, sales calls and selling in German,” she says. “If there is not a lot of time, we sometimes will even teach the language, actual sentences, without doing the grammar. You have to know the right words, know how to build sentences and how to articulate your words. The grammar is more in the background and helps recognizing the structure of the language. I focus on making sure you can TALK more than to master all the grammar.”
To achieve this, Verena uses a lot of interactive lesson forms and role plays to get people actually talking, not just learning grammar. “I am always inventing new things to do. I realised that you always need new things to use. And that most people learn by seeing and doing, so I use a lot of action based lessons to help people remember what they are learning.”
Verena’s Language Learning Tip:
When listening to a text, don’t just focus on understanding the message, but think about each word and what it means. People think they are good at German when they can understand conversations, but they cannot actually speak. So make sure that when you are working with a text, either written or recorded, that you know what each word means… even try and memorise them. Then you can apply them in a context.
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 German) 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: www.taleninstituut.nl
© Taleninstituut Nederland
By: David Chislett
Trainer Business English