Anna Calvi

Anna  Calvi

OU associate lecturer and materials writer. I have written materials on business communication, Academic English and Italian.


  • I wonder if an organisation such as the Open University that relies partially on state financial support is a social enterprise. It does have a social aim.

  • They may provide insufficient information but you can look up a word in more than one dictionary and learn which of the available dictionaries best fit each of your purposes. University students can access the full online version of many excellent dictionaries through their libraries - these are definitely not watered down.

  • Hello Hilary, I definitely prefer online dictionaries. There is no space on my desk for a dictionary because it is already occupied by two large screens, various textbooks and there is usually my large cat sleeping there too.. I find it difficult to read small printed words, while I can enlarge the online entries. If I need a great deal of information about a...

  • Anna Calvi made a comment

    This is the kind of information I or my students often need:
    Word family of which the word is part
    Collocations - though for this I prefer
    examples, particularly subject-specific examples

  • Whatever I do, I find that one source is never enough! I use , a search engine that directs you to several dictionary definitions so, if one dictionary is not completely helpful, I can easily access another one. This tool also helps to compare and contrast different online dictionaries and identify the ones that are particularly...

  • Hello, I live in the UK and I am an EAP lecturer but also teach sociolinguistics and intercultural communication. I am very much interested in dictionaries and I promote their use to both native and non-native students as they help them make sense of academic texts and help them develop their academic writing skills. One of the assignments my linguistics...

  • Suggesting a leasing company in order to gain a commission is seen as an unethical practice and dealers may select a company because they offer a higher commission rather than a company that better response to customers' needs and requirements. The presentation will show how using only one company will improve quality and customer satisfaction, ultimately...

  • Thank you for your contributions. You have advised Ian to include:
    • A clear statement of goals
    • A more detailed description of the solution, including ways to promote the scheme
    • Data supporting the description of the problem, proposed solution and possible benefits
    • A clear indication of how many employees are expected to take part
    • An analysis of...

  • I agree that data about costs need to be included. The problem could be more professionally written, but it needs to contain all the facts and the data necessary to convince the readers.

  • Yes, this proposal comes across as a statement of intent rather than a proposal to introduce car sharing. One of the problems is the use of the verbs 'should' and 'will' rather than language that presents car sharing as a possibility and the various measures as suggestions. A more thorough exploration of other options would help to convince the reader that...

  • Did this strategy help you to persuade your audience?

  • Nice example, Alex. Did it work? Did you persuade your audience?

  • Thank you for choosing a workplace example, Jenny.

  • Thank you for drawing attention to this ad: I noticed that the user featured in the add is a young blonde woman.I wonder if men, mature women and people who have different skin and hair colour would be persuaded to buy this phone. From my perspective, this advert scores low in empathy. Perhaps I am not their target...

  • Very interesting comment: a receipt can be seen as a persuasive text to buy more. My favourite supermarket includes the points I have accumulated in my shop and this encourages repeat custom.

  • This is a fair point. There is reseach showing that the social element developed by a community of buyers (social e-shopping) enhances the buying experience of some buyers and may lead to increased sales. In these cases, the seller provides an attractive website and lets shoppers persuade each other to buy.

  • Good point about reviews being prevented by sellers. As a customer, I find this reduces my motivation to buy a product. I'd rather see both positive and negative feedback to gain a complete idea about products. Some less positive comments (e.g. size 10 is very large) help me choose (e.g. I'll buy size 8) or may not be relevant to me. Overall, seeing a range...

  • Excellent example!

  • Welcome to Week 4!

  • Thank you, shi. Good to know that you enjoyed this week.

  • Thank you everybody for contributing to this discussion. Below is a summary of the points you have made. Do let me know if I missed anything and I'll add it to the list.

    • Easily accessible
    • Useful source of information
    • Effective way of sharing information/updates
    • Good way to stay in touch
    • Immediate feedback
    • Opportunities for...

  • Thank you, Gerard, for this useful advice. Yes, data protection and management issues need to be considered.

  • This is a good point. Your decision to use social networks depends on the business. It is also worth saying that time and human resources are necessary to make it work.

  • That's interesting,Shi, do you have to be able to write in Chinese to use it or are there threads in English?

  • Thank you for your comments. You have quite rightly thought about the kind of relationships that would justify the two levels of formality illustrated in this step.

  • Good point, Suzanne. Adam, may not be a work colleague.

  • @GerardFlanagan Thank you for writing an alternative version of the email which is more formal Email 1 but less formal than Email 2. I would say that each of the three versions assumes a different relationship between Peter and Adam so none of them is better than the others. There are many reasons that could justify the formality of Email 2. Peter may work...

  • I agree on style, Gerard, but regarding graphs, bear in mind that you have only seen the beginning of each section, which informs the audience about its content. After introducing each section, Claire shows diagrams and uses them to support her argument, but this is not shown in the video.

  • Great advice, Gerard. Thank you for sharing

  • Yes, this often happens!

  • This is a really helpful piece of advice, Gerard. Background information can be shared before the presentation. If this is part of a meeting, any background information can be sent out with the agenda.

  • Very good points. This is just an interview, but let's see what you think about the presentation itself.

  • Thank you for making these important points about slides.

  • Good points - I particularly agree with the idea that the audience need to be involved and engaged.

  • I like the idea that your audience should feel at ease in the context in which your presentation is delivered. They will be more receptive to your ideas and may even accept to interact. How do you create this comfortable environment?

  • Yes, passion and confidence are important and should be demonstrated right at the start

  • This is a great way to start , but you need to check that this method is appropriate to the context and audience of your presentation.

  • Good point: use clear language and avoid ambiguity. This involves understanding your audience and their expectations.

  • Thank you for your contributions. You said that presentations should:
    - be well researched
    -be engaging but also informational
    - involve the audience in some way
    - include humour
    - have a good content
    - be clear, succinct and to the point
    - be supported by appropriate visuals and supporting evidence
    - be delivered using language that the audience will...

  • Welcome to week 2!

  • Hi Diane, not being able to contribute happens to everybody, even those of us who are not reserved at all and sometimes when your turn finally comes, what you wanted to say doesn't seem relevant anymore. It all depends on how well the meeting is managed by the chair.

  • Video conferencing is another way to refer to virtual meetings. This kind of meeting can be attended using a computer or a smartphone.

  • I like your point about the need to keep staff engaged and awake after lunch and yes, knowing Julian's availability would help you plan.

  • I agree with you, Sarah. What you say shows that a good understanding of the company, its staff and its culture is very useful when planning a meeting.

  • Breaks are very important, I agree. I just wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to give the IT news before Julian's presentation as staff need to be introduced to the topic of Julian's presentation.

  • This approach seems to work well because it gives your guest flexibility. What do you think about the idea, suggested by one of your colleagues, of inviting him to stay for lunch to enable staff to talk to him informally?

  • This is an interesting approach. Dividing the time into blocks and placing the breaks between them seem a good way to start.

  • Thank you for completing week 1.

  • This is a great idea.

  • @GerardFlanagan This is a very interesting example. What do you do when you are told 'yes' but you suspect that this is not an honest answer?

  • Thank you Ivani and Nishi for giving us such interesting examples of cultural differences and the rationale behind them.

  • This seems to be the best way. Use the model as a guide, but allow yourself time to learn about individuals from other cultures before coming to conclusions about them.

  • Excellent point, Georgina.

  • Hello everybody, my name is Anna and I am the author of this course. In the next four weeks, my colleague Olivia Kelly and I will moderate your discussions and support your learning. I look forward to reading your posts!

  • Hi Rejoice, if you upgrade and pass the assessment (the quizzes at the end of each week), you will gain a certificate of achievement. This page explains the benefits of upgrading:

  • Message for Pieter. I haven't been able to access your recording. Please provide another link or email me your recording:

  • Excellent. Do let me know if you need any help. My email is:

  • Hi Yaruo, drafts are not awarded a mark. I have given you feedback. You should see a small blue pen icon in the grade column. If you click on it you should be able to access my feedback.Please let me know if you can see it.

  • Hi Yaruo, I returned my feedback ten days ago.There should be a button at the bottom of step 6.7. Have another look and let me know.

  • I have now given feedback to those who have submitted their first draft. I hope you will find it useful.

  • Thank you everybody for your feedback and good luck with your future business communications.

  • I agree, Patricia, that the style of Ian's proposal is not very appropriate to a business context. We don't know anything about his context but a more objective style would be appropriate.

  • This is a very well communicated comment to Ian.

  • Thank you for your suggestions. Including supporting evidence (facts and figures), financial information, a more detailed solution, alternative solutions, a clearer goal, a call for action would help Ian to write an effective second draft.

  • This is a good way to respond to your audience.

  • Good strategy Jennifer. Coming back to it in as little as an hour can really help to find errors and inconsistencies.

  • This is an interesting point, Joan. I wouldn't have one either because 600 calories in a meal would be too much for me. Sometimes, figures are not persuasive enough!

  • Thank you for this example showing that some elements of FACE are used in political campaigns.

  • Very interesting example.

  • Yes, a proposal can be presented through an oral presentation.

  • This is definitely helpful in a report. Start your paragraphs with a general sentence that makes a point, explain it and illustrate through examples.

  • Good to see that you find the PEST model useful. However, bear in mind that this model is only appropriate when your goal is to analyse the external environment.

  • @PWeerasinghe Time constraints are a problem, I agree, but planning can take minutes and saves you a lot of time. Unless you are told to write a report within hours, you should be able to review your first draft the next day and identify errors and inconsistencies. If the report requires an extensive investigation, you may be given more time so it makes sense...

  • Good point. You'll learn more strategies in the next few steps.

  • Thank you for these examples. Yes political campaigns are very good examples of persuasion. Politicians learn about their audience and are very good at targeting them.

  • Thank you for your examples. Many of your examples are adverts that clearly illustrate the FACE factors. It would be interesting to look at more examples of other forms of communication that use the FACE factors.

  • Very good analysis

  • This is a very good example

  • Anna Calvi replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    This is a very good point, Xavier. To avoid manipulating people, it is necessary to explain and illustrate your point, but also acknowledge different views and challenges.

  • This is a good example

  • Yes, this is often a good strategy.

  • Welcome to Week 4!

  • Yes, all these rules reduce the spontaneity of online participation. On the other hand, we need to recognise that online contexts are different from face-to-face situations, so it is important to learn how to behave. The key facts to remember are that what we write will be read by a large number of people we don't know and that everything is recorded....

  • Thank you for your participation and see you next week!

  • I agree, GM. However, this is not always possible because the two colleagues work in different locations and/or don't have the time to meet. This is why it is very important to be very careful when we write an email.

  • Good point. Most employees need to be on-board or it won't work.

  • It is an idea. It is the integration of social-networking technologies (wikis, blogs, online discussion boards) in enterprise websites .

  • It's good to hear that you are finding the course useful, Kendra.

  • @AndrzejSiek I agree that rhetorical questions wouldn't be appropriate at the beginning of Claire presentation. Perhaps, she could use them in the main body of her talk just to attract attention to a key piece of information; for example: 'so how would our sales be affected? We have calculated that...'

  • A rhetorical question is a question for which you don't expect an answer. You ask a question and then give the answer. It's a way of preparing the audience for the answer you are about to give.

  • This is an excellent learning outcome, Kharina.

  • @MartinWatkins What would you do to make this presentation more engaging in its context?

  • Hi Jane. You are right that Claire is not real. The presentation has been scripted for the course and Claire is an actor. The purpose of this task was to identify the structure of this talk and discuss the usefulness of a clear organisation.

  • They are very important!

  • Do the examples help you understand the meaning of signposting phrases?

  • Pace is very important. Bear in mind that we have only seen the beginning of each section, so it s harder to follow.

  • Claire did say that she had some hostile colleagues who were likely to try to prevent her team to introduce the new financial system. Perhaps they wanted to find a different solution. To be able to complete the project, she needed their support. Regarding the supporting evidence, bear in mind that we have only watched the beginning of each section. The...

  • Very good point. Hopefully, Claire's audience knew what upsell means.

  • Testimonials may not be appropriate in her context and it must be difficult to convince customers to agree to be filmed.

  • Very true. Perhaps, Claire could have dressed more conservatively.