I. Read the text and point out the main ideas which are discussed in it.
Text 1. Gender Politics
Comparisons are odious. We are all individuals and should be treated and celebrated as such. But fashion, after all, is a discipline built on comparison - this skirt looks better on me than that skirt; his bespoke suit fits better than my off-the-peg version; the Elvis-in-the-Vegas-years interpretation of "sparkly black tie" is much worse than the Armani red carpet version, and so on. So: comparing the woman senator who has become the first female elected president in Argentina and the woman senator who hopes to be the first female elected president in the US? Stronger souls than I would find that one hard to resist.
Indeed, stronger souls have found it hard to resist. It's been difficult to pick up a newspaper recently and not find a Hillary Clinton/Cristina Fernández mention in there somewhere - this despite Fernández's canny refusal to be drawn on the subject.
Pundits compare their hair: Fernández's lush, dark curls curving sensuously over an eye and Clinton's blonde helmet. They set Fernández's announcement that she hasn't had plastic surgery (but certainly wouldn't rule it out) against Clinton's obfuscation about whether she had her eyes done, as her former senate opponent John Spencer suggested. And they discuss wardrobes: Fernández's expensive and colourful designer outfits and Clinton's uniform-like dark trouser suits. Then they prognosticate on whether what happened in Argentina is a good sign for the senator from New York. Wait a minute - the countries are a little different.
But no matter, because apparently the idea of a woman being elected trumps all. That similarity invites an examination of all other similarities, especially physical ones. Ridiculous and reductive. No one would dare link French president Nicolas Sarkozy and US presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich just because they're both short.
And yet there is a way in which comparing Clinton and Fernández (and Sarkozy and Kucinich for that matter) is useful and valid. The quality that links all leaders, male or female, is simply that the way they look says something about the people who spend a lot of time looking at them. And that is worth thinking about. We vote for people who represent the way we want our country to be perceived: trustworthy, young, multicultural, whatever. Our leaders' self-presentation is fascinating not because of what it says about them, but because of what it says about us.
Pretty much every president of the US, for example, has been tall with lots of hair. Americans apparently identify power with height and follicular retention. Eisenhower was the exception, but he was a battlefield general, so his machismo wasn't really in doubt. It's not subtle - indeed, it's a bad cliché - but, generally, clichés are clichés because they are true. Why else would presidential hopeful John Edwards spend so much money on his lush brown locks? Indeed, Edwards' grooming budget simply highlights the fact that public interest in how a candidate looks is not a specifically female thing. But because females have more leeway with their clothes, the symbolism is more obvious, and the opportunity for discussion and analysis that much greater. The personal is political, and there is little that is as personal as what you put on your body.
Just consider Yulia Tymoshenko, the recently elected Ukrainian prime minister ousted from that same position a few years ago. Actually, consider her hair: baby-blonde and famously worn in a braid encircling her head à la peasant girl, a carefully calculated style that transforms her into a sort of living traditional icon, and which, when combined with her increasingly light-coloured clothing, sends a message of purity from corruption, nationalism, and avenging angeldom.
Or think of Ségolène Royal, whose understated and groomed beauty was seen as characteristically French, so much so that she was more often compared to Marianne, the face of the republic, than any other female political figure. She went far - almost to the Elysée - on the idea that she could represent people because, well, physically she seemed to represent them.
By this measure the flowered dress and wide, white figure-enhancing belt that Fernández wore on the day she won the election, along with her heavy eyeliner and tousled hair, are an in-your-face version of femininity, not unlike the typical Latin stereotype. "I am a woman," they say, "and I can eat you for breakfast" - which is pretty much what, as general wisdom has it, the voters want: someone to continue the economic recovery kick-started by her husband, not to mention build a profile internationally.
Likewise, you could see Clinton's trouser suits and simple shirts as the ultimate in corporate gender camouflage; sartorial attempts to uphold, not push, boundaries (despite her occasional penchant for wearing a Fernández-type pink or orange jacket). Her style is straight out of the C-suite, and suggests someone who will run a country in a businesslike manner as opposed to an ideological one.
In other words, Hillary Clinton doesn't look remotely like Cristina Fernández. But they both look a lot like a certain swathe of their countries.
II. Answer the following questions:
1. What do you think of connection between person's appearance and his/her position in the society?
2. How does Hilary's and Fernandez's appearance influence their social life?
3. Do women have to look after themselves more thoroughly then men?
4. How does the author connect Timoshenko's style with her policy?
5. Do you change you social status changing the appearance?
III. According to the text, are the following statements true or false?
1. For women it is possible to become an influential person in the country.
2. Being beautiful or handsome is very important in politics.
3. Leaders of a country have to look after themselves, as they represent the country.
4. According to American rules, height and follicular retention is power.
5. Timoshenko's appearance personifies the policy of her party.
IV. Match the words from the text with their definitions.
a) to foretell (future events) according to present signs or indications; prophesy
b) to proclaim or announce with or as if with a fanfare
c) enchanting or alluring
d) an expert
e) to inflict a punishment in retaliation for (harm, injury, etc.) done to (a person or persons); take revenge for or on behalf of
f) the capacity to remember
g) the act or an instance of making something obscure, dark, or difficult to understand
h) tending to seduce or capable of seducing; enticing; alluring
i) appreciative of or moved by qualities perceived by the senses
j ) offensive; repugnant
V. Read text II and try to explain what you should do and what you shouldn’t do when making a presentation?
Text II. Four Techniques To Guarantee You're A Terrible Presenter
As the business environment becomes ever more frantic, noisy and information-intensive, the ability to create and deliver an elective presentation to peers and customers has become important than ever. Not only have audience expectations changed dramatically over the past few years, but corporations increasingly look at a person's presentation skills when it's time to dole out promotions.
But what if you 're tired of the rat race and just want to stay where you are in the corporate hierarchy, or better yet, to get fired, collect unemployment and move to Minnesota and fish for walleye?
If either is the case, here are guidelines for delivering a terrible, job-destroying presentation. Follow this advice and you're sure to fail the next time you stand in front of an audience.
1. Spend as little time as possible.
The problem with any preparation at all is that it severely undermines the efforts of people trying to sabotage their careers. It has the side effect of providing additional insight into the subject matter, which in turn allows you to better anticipate questions that will be posed. Also, credibility with your audience is dramatically enhanced when you move crisply seamlessly through your presentation. Additional practice will tend to keep you more on track and less apt to drill down into content not critical to your key points. Unfortunately, this can only impress those who are in attendance.
Finally, there is a direct correlation between fear and preparation. I've proven to myself time and time again that my confidence composure in presenting to an audience, especially large ones, is in direct correlation to my comfort level with the technology I'm using and my grasp of the information I'm presenting. Add to this the critical preparation step of running through your presentation a million times so that your interaction with the audience takes on a conversational tone, and you might end up feeling downright comfortable.
You see, audiences want desperately for us to succeed. Nothing makes them feel more uncomfortable than to experience a presenter who is clearly ill-prepared and struggling to keep their attention. So, if you're serious about tanking your career, instead of running through your presentation five times, just scan your notes before you take the stage: With any luck, you'll never be invited back.
2. Try to make your presentation look like everyone else's.
Thus may be one of the easier steps to follow in your journey to personal freedom. The software program you're probably using has provided some built-in assistance. Find a template that looks like one you've seen a thousand other presenters use, then use it yourself. That way your corporate identity will become generic and boring, too. If you must use a logo, by all means try to find one that is really jaggy. The best way to do this is to import a logo created specifically for PostScript print reproduction and use it in your electronic presentations. This will ensure your logo is totally illegible. Even if they do manage to read it, it will be clear to everyone that your presentation is an afterthought.
So by using a poor reproduction of your logo in your presentation, you will send a clear signal that it was the best you could throw together in the time you had, therefore reinforcing Step 1, total lack of preparation. Now you're on a roll. Your manager is coming under some pressure to alter your employment status, so you're halfway there.
3. Try to cram as much stuff on each slide as possible.
One of the best ways to totally confuse and disorient your audience is to place as much text and meaningless graphics on each of your screens as possible. Because an audience's natural inclination is to read what's on the screen, you have the opportunity to take the focus off of you for extended periods of time. You could take advantage of this to use the restroom, get some coffee or file your nails because they will still be reading when you return to the room. It may take some effort, however, to bring the focus back to you, but it can be done. Visual clutter also has another unintended result — loss of creditability.
We often fill our screens because of our fear of looking at and interacting with those who have come to listen. Our inability to crisply organize information does a disservice to our audiences. What could have made a decent detailed handout has made it to the big screen.
4. Add as many animations and sound effects as you can.
This diversion tactic is a proven way to take the audience's attention away from key messages and place it squarely on our prowess in getting the most out of the software. By concentrating on just this single area you may be able to reduce even good content in a professional business presentation into a circus sideshow. The gratuitous use of sound to punctuate anything that moves is a powerful tool; it might even irritate your audience to the point of a mass exodus. Don't let their initial chuckles fool you. These effects will soon grate on everyone's nerves.
As you have already discovered, all these steps are interrelated. The more stuff you can make move on screen, especially if there's absolutely no point to the movement, means that you spend less time actually working on your presentation's content, and draws attention away from the fact that your presentation lacks any real graphical impact.
You see, it's really very easy to coordinate a complete professional meltdown. The real challenge is for those poor slobs who actually want to move ahead in their careers.
VI. Answer the following questions:
1. Why do corporations increasingly look at a person's presentation skills?
2. What has the side effect of providing additional insight into the subject matter?
3. Is there a direct correlation between fear and preparation?
4. What happens if you only scan your notes before you take the stage?
5. What is the best ways to totally confuse and disorient your audience?
VII. Match the words from the text with their corresponding synonyms.
4) dole out
f) face to face
j ) patrimonial
VIII. Complete each sentence with the correct word.
1. Corporations increasingly look at a person's presentation _____ when it's time to ______promotions.
2. The problem with any preparation at all is that it severely _______ the efforts of people trying to __________ their careers.
3. There is a direct _________ between fear and _______.
4. That way your corporate identity will become ______ and boring.
5. The best ways to totally _______ and disorient your audience is to place as _____ text and meaningless _______ on each of your screens as possible.
6. Our inability to _____ organize information does a ________to our audiences.
7. The _______use of sound to _______anything that moves is a powerful tool.
You are going to hear Alan Worley, Sales Manager of Brother, an electronics firm, talking about sales presentations. Listen and make notes under the following headings:
a) presentation categories and techniques;
b) nerves: causes and cures;
c) ways of presenting information;
e) how to be successful.
I. Speak out:
a) Study useful language used in presentation.
b) Working in pairs, make mini presentations to each other to practise signalling different items. Choose on of the following topics.
1. The advantages and disadvantages of flexitime.
2. The advantages and disadvantages of open-plan offices.
3. The advantages of working for a large company.
4. How to motivate the workforce in large companies.