Delta Publishing Catalogue

Working Virtually

International Management English is a ground-breaking series developed by York Associates


Authors: Jackie Black, Jon Dyson

ISBN: 9781905085699

Working Virtually deals with the challenges facing those who have to work remotely from their colleagues using a range of technology to keep in touch. It covers all aspects of working in a virtual environment, from communicating effectively through to solving problems and building strong teams at a distance. 

Eight units focus on:

  • Understanding virtual communication
  • Preparing for successful communication
  • Working in virtual groups
  • Working with technology
  • Effective writing
  • Building relationships
  • Managing diversity
  • Teams and leadership

Every unitprovides comprehensive training in the skills needed to operate successfully in the world of international business: relevant language skills, communicative ability, people-management skills and intercultural competence. This training is delivered through extensive speaking and listening activities, professional input, skills practice, intercultural awareness-raising and case-study discussions.

In addition the book provides:

  • an audio CD
  • a learning diary
  • a needs analysis
  • a glossary of key terms
  • tips for more effective language learning and how to improve performance at work
  • the opportunity to develop a personal action plan
  • full answer keys and scripts of all the recordings.

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Jackie Black

Hello, I’m Jackie Black. I have been the training manager at York Associates, a language and communication training company, for the last three years but have also enjoyed being a member of the training team there for almost 23 years.  In parallel, I have a very different role as a director of our family-run delicatessen and catering company in York.

I studied French, linguistics and social studies at the now defunct Ripon and York St John teacher training college in the farming town of Ripon but spent much of my spare time here in York, a place I have grown to love.

After graduating, I took a teaching job in a private school in Athens, followed by a succession of administrative jobs back in the UK whilst I saved up enough money to enrol for my RSA TEFL course at International House. These administrative roles seemed incredibly tedious at the time but actually turned out to be very useful because I was sent on management courses, and also I learnt a great deal about book-keeping, PAYE, VAT and HR. I regularly find myself drawing on these skills when working with Business English clients and feel I can offer them genuine insights from my own experience, rather than depending on textbooks alone.

In my early years at York Associates I frequently worked with confectioners and product technologists from a local chocolate factory. This I enjoyed immensely, and still do. It combined language training with communication skills and intercultural training but there was also a certain degree of pastoral care, helping people to adapt to a very alien way of life and an even more alien dialect!

These days I run courses abroad on effective business writing for international companies, another aspect of training which I find very rewarding. Writing as a skill has become ever more complex for our clients in recent times as they often need to influence key decision-makers in their companies and this can be a great challenge.

My long freelance career with York Associates resulted in a permanent post with the company in 2010 and nowadays, I am also involved in the administrative side of the business. I have contact with clients and agents abroad, write course proposals, arrange accommodation and help trainers with new resources and technologies. I still train whenever possible, focussing more on courses with a virtual element because this is an area which interests me deeply, hence the book Working Virtually.

Jon Dyson

I was born in Huddersfield, but rather than spending my formative years in dark satanic mills or toiling down the mines (which were all closing anyway), I went to the local grammar school. At eighteen, the siren call of academia called, luring me to Sussex University, where I gained a degree in English Literature. Having decided I wasn’t too keen on a future lecturing in Dickens, E.M.Forster or Alexander Pope (much as I enjoyed their work), I spent two years in London, working in a variety of jobs offering post-graduate experience (without the qualification).

In 1983, through a combination of nepotism and cheek, I landed a job as a club rep for the then infamous “Club 18-30”. During my six months in Palma de Mallorca, I gained valuable experience in how to manage people, well and badly. As a ‘club rep’, I discovered that I had to reinvent myself as showman, actor, salesman, head teacher, counsellor, accountant, probation officer and detective, according to context and challenge. Armed with this eclectic set of skills, I came back to London and trained as an EFL teacher at Angloschool in Crystal Palace. I spent four years there, becoming a trainer and observer on their RSA Preparatory Certificate courses, before obtaining my RSA diploma in TEFL in 1986.

In 1985, I met my wife to be and consequently, I moved my life, lock, stock and barrel, to Barcelona. Nineteen years in Catalunya made me an honorary Catalan (at least, as far as my in-laws were concerned) due to my undying love for FC Barcelona, butifarra and bolets.

In 1991, I joined the language department at ESADE (Barcelona’s business school par excellence) and became co-ordinator of specialist advanced level business English courses for undergraduate studentsgoing on exchange programmes. Apart from classroom work on presentation, negotiation and report-writing skills, I also became editor of two publications – InHouse and InsidEsade – aimed at staff and students, thus beginning my interest in digital design, desktop publishing and gossip-mongering.

I returned to my Yorkshire roots in 2006 and now spend my free time with friends, traipsing the beautiful, if often sodden, countryside surrounding my home town. I also keep my culinary hand in by producing paellas and other Catalan favourites of mine, alongside a variety of Asian dishes and, recently, cakes.

I started working as a freelance trainer at York Associates six years ago and, since then, have become increasingly interested in the challenges of virtual communication and the proliferation of its applications in global business. As my two daughters live in Spain, I have practical experience of the challenges and joys of effective virtual communication, especially when trying to influence, organise and distance-raise my girls via video-conferencing, instant-messaging, email, text and phone. At times, the phrase ‘like herding cats’ comes to mind. I continue to try and keep up to date with developments in the field of digital communication and also have a particular interest in the influence of culture and personality on communication styles. At present, I am getting interested in developing material for voice skills in non-native speaker presentations.