vicki-hollettbesig-berlin I train adults who need English for work, play and travel, so their key goals are to communicate across cultures, build relationships and get things done. I’ve written many popular Business English course books for Oxford University Press and Pearson, app content and training videos.
I’m particularly interested in:

  • business, technical and professional English
  • pragmatics and sociolinguistics
  • cross cultural issues
  • British and American English
  • English as a lingua franca

I grew up and spent much of my working life in the UK (operating in British English). I’ve also lived and worked in Japan and Algeria, and I’ve delivered workshops for teachers and trainers in many countries in Europe, the Middle and Far East and South America. For a dozen or so years I’ve been living in Philadelphia, USA where I continue to write courses, training materials and increasingly these days, I produce videos.

 Posted by at 6:50 am

  35 Responses to “About”

  1. […] (Teaching Villiage) About page and Vicki Hollett’s (Learning to Speak ‘Merican) Who is Vicki and What’s This Site […]

  2. Well, I’ve bought hundreds of copies of the Tech Talk series (probably more than anyone else), for use in the Saudi oil industry.
    When she says she’s interested in Technical English, she’s not kidding!
    I never had any issues from clients with those books and hope she does more plant process focused type stuff for oil and gas based energy industry.

  3. Thanks so much Angus and great to meet you. I’d like to write some more technical English training materials!

  4. Well, I think Oxford ought to keep us updated on any new Technical materials you do.
    Now what would be great… It’s something of the same quality standard as Tech Talk, highly presentable, job competency based, designed with both teachers and students in mind, and would bridge English training with Technical Training.
    You see, in Saudi Arabia, I have to put 3-4 teachers on in house materials design. And the results are only ever going to be of a certain “type.”
    That’s why I prefer Tech Talk- and its easy for me to design courses on that for companies because Tech Talk is easily presented as a purely functional syllabus- it’s explicit, and what I do is line up Tech Talk’s functional syllabus points with the job competencies of plant trainees. And there’s a really good match. And that makes it easy to implement. The teachers? Of course, they need to be weaned off grammar- but again, the book itself helps. You can teach Tech Talk to fill in the gaps- or to improve on job competence; It’s proper teacher management that makes the book work. Now when clients have moaned about the book- I’ve pointed out, “Is it the book, or how the book is taught?” With properly recruited, motivated teachers, who are also well managed, it doesn’t in any way devolve to just grammar. And the books are successful. Teachers in other schools in Saudi, less well managed, unclear about syllabus objectives, end up misteaching the book. And I see a lot of that, too. For me, I’ve discussed Tech Talk El and PI so many times in consultations, I feel I know it like an old friend. Honestly, when there’s a problem, it lies at the murky interface between teachers-and their director of studies. Nothing worse than when a company says, “We tried that book before and it didn’t work.”
    Really? How was it actually *taught*? And thus I begin the seemingly unending process of trying to educate customers.
    For us, bearing in mind we’re training several thousand Technical English students each year, our field, oil, gas, petrochemicals, needs stuff on valves, pumps, compressors, heat exchangers, distillation, etc. That’s a refined approach that might build on Tech Talk, good at the Intermediate levels, and allowing us to implement one series of books, rather than people getting used to Tech Talk- then having to jump to something else later. For us If you go down that road, if you ever decided to write technical english materials at the higher levels, of course- there will be plenty of interest from Sakhalin to Baku, to here in the Gulf.
    For me then, the logical extension of Tech Talk to the higher ability bands, if you ever wanted to do that, would have a certain slant- plant process, control, safety-environment, and equipment orientated- with stuff on Technical Report Writing and extended Technical Reading, lots of material on industrial communication- briefings, meetings, & e.mails.
    I think the market is just huge, really it is.

  5. It’s really nice to know about your blog. I’m Vietnamese and I like English that is the reason why today i find out your blog.
    And now i’m studying english so there are some questions but actually my teachers don’t know how to explain clearly. Could you help me?
    I’m building the website for students who wants to share english, but i’m not sure about my translaion.

    All the best for you.

    Thuy Linh

  6. Haven’t been here in a while and it looks like your blog has taken on a whole new look–it looks great Vicki!

  7. Thanks Vicki for the great presentations today and for teaching me the nuances of American and British compliments!

    We welcome you in Saudi Arabia!

  8. Oh you have found my blog! Thank you so much for writing, Tasneem. I really had a lot of fun today and it was a pleasure meeting you. Thank you so much for the kind words and making me so welcome!

  9. Hi Vicky,

    I just came across your blog and i didn’t read it all yet, but it has been a joy, and greatly recognizable! I am from the Netherlands (i assume the most blunt people in the EU) and i’m trying to learn the US language customs as i go, having me ending up apologizing, and explaining many times… And seeing your blog, i finally understand why 😀



  10. Oh welcome Danielle! I laughed when I saw you wrote the Netherlands has the most blunt people in Europe because it reminded me of a teacher training course I went on where I made friends with a teacher from the Netherlands. He was teaching Dutch to English business people, while most of the people on the course were teaching English to European business people. When they started talking about things like whimperatives, he said “but that’s precisely what I have to tell my students to avoid.” His British students were driving their Dutch counterparts wild with their indrectness.
    If you haven’t already seen it, I think you might like this post.

  11. […] “Come to think of it, I know someone who can probably actually answer these”. Not only could Vicki Hollett do so, she also continued answering my child-who’s-just-discovered-the-power-of-the-word-why-style […]

  12. Well Vicki, It seems that we have a lot in common. I lived and studied in England. Worked as a researcher in Japan, and I was born and bred in Algeria … my home country. Three countries that you know well.

  13. […] to think of it, I know someone who can probably actually answer these”. Not only could Vicki Hollett do so, she also continued answering my […]

  14. I’d like to know how many hours of course Tech Talk was designed to and if the lessons would be better worked on either 60 or 90 minutes class. I’m raising those questions because I’ve never worked with this material and I wasn’t able to get sample pages. Thank you :o)

  15. by the way, I’m from Brazil.

  16. Hi Ana, nice to meet you. I always find ‘how long’ questions so hard to answer. It always depends on the context and students of course, but I’m sure you already know that. All that aside, and withoout knowing which level we’re talking about, (because of course higher level students will want and be able to sustain longer conversations when it come to the speaking tasks) given a choice, I’d prefer to walk into a 60 minute class with a Tech Talk lesson rather than 90 minutes.

  17. Yes, it is hard to answer. Thanks for replying :o) I’ll try it.

  18. Yes, it is hard to answer.
    Thanks for replying :o)
    I’ll try it.

  19. Well done on Tech Talk Ms Hollett. I have worked in many language schools in Europe and the UK since 1986. Once I see that any of your coursebooks are available, I know I’ll be able to prepare a good and enjoyable lesson. No other author has ever come close to meeting my very disparate students’ needs down the years.

    Many thanks and very best wishes,

    John Ward

  20. Wow! Thank you so much for the kind words John. Much appreciated!

  21. Dear Vicki,

    I work in the oil industry in the Middle East. I’ve just convinced my department to buy Tech Talk El and PI as I like the books. When you wrote each one how many contact hours did you envisage for each whole book?

    We also use the OUP Oil and Gas series, which is excellent.

    Thanks in advance.


  22. Hi Paul, great to meet you!

    It’s very hard to give a definitive answer to this because it all depends on student levels and circumstances, of course. The units all end with a speaking task which draws on the students thoughts and ideas so some might be condensed to take 10 minutes or expanded to fill 45 minutes or even hour

    That said, I do understand the need to plan so let’s have a stab at this. If you calculate that each unit will take 60 – 90 minutes, you’re looking at about 21 – 36 hours. Both courses also have workbooks as well, so if you want to add on workbook task time, it will be longer, of course.

    Hope this helps and do hope you and your students enjoy the course!

    Best wishes,

  23. Hi Vicki,
    Tech talk is a very good course. Congratulations on a job well done!
    I have taught tech to Saudi students. I have prepared a lot of supplementary materials to be used with tech talk elementary. I would like to share the material I prepared with you and other teachers. Is there any financial rewards for doing that?

  24. Hi Vicki,
    Tech talk is a very good course. Congratulations on a job well done!
    I have taught tech to Saudi students. I have prepared a lot of supplementary materials to be used with tech talk elementary. I would like to share the material I prepared with you and other teachers. Is there any financial rewards for doing that?
    I look forward to hearing from you.

  25. So glad you like it Eltayeb!

  26. Hi Vicki,

    It’s great to see a veteran in the business English space. I was just wondering whether the current demand is high for business English and the most common reason why people want to take the course. Thanks!

  27. Sorry I’m late picking up this message, Anna. I think the demand for business English has never been higher. Most people are learning English for business and professional reasons these days and in many countries, having good English is vital for getting a decent job and succeeding at work.

  28. I have the “old” (2003?) edition Tech Talk Elementary CD. I can’t track down anywhere the 2003 Student’s Book. If I buy the new edition will I find that the audio from 2003 is more or less the same?


  29. Yes you will!

  30. Hi Vicki,

    I’m looking for a class of 12 students that need to learn business English language in talking, emailing and ….
    I want to know if you can put such an online class. If so, I need the cost and …….


  31. Hi Rachel. I just need to check what you mean. Do you mean you’d like to take a business English class or that you’re a teacher who would like to run one?

  32. Hi Vicki,

    I’ve got the Business Objectives New Edition book (ISBN 0194513912. Copyright 1996, Impression 2002) I’m trying to find the audio that goes with this book. There are audio cassettes and CD’s for sale for the “New Edition”…. do they both have exactly the same content? Since in my search I am seeing the same book (same cover) with different shades of blue and different dates.

    Thanks for all your help sorting this out.

  33. Hi Doris. I’m not totally sure but as I recall no digital versions of the audio was ever made for the 1996 version. If you’re looking at the ‘international’ edition audio, you’ll find that a lot of the dialogues are the same, but there may be a few dialogues that are missing and others with small changes. Sorry not to be able to help more.

  34. Hi Vicki,

    Sorry to bother you about this, but it seems this might be the place for questions. I use Quick Work Pre-intermediate in my class, but now it’s out of print. It a necessary book for my class. What can I do? Can I be allowed to make copies? Or is there a stash somewhere I can get?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated,


  35. Hi Reymie. I am pretty sure no books exist any more. If I remember rightly, I own the copyright for the text of that book but OUP own the copyright for the images. I’ll write to them and ask if it’s Ok with them if you make copies.

    Warm wishes,

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