BEP 34: Making Persuasive Arguments

04 Aug 2016

When you think about it, so much of business involves influencing others. Sometimes, the influence effort is effort-less. On other occasions, though, you will encounter objections. In this podcast, you will hear techniques that work, that help you get your message across. They will make your job of persuading others easier. Basically, when presenting an argument the recommendations are:

1.     Remain professional at all times.
2.     Restate the comment.
3.     Convert the objection to a question, if possible.
4.     Turn the objection around.
5.     Cite research.
6.     Anticipate objections.
7.     Involve others.

In the two situations that we’re going to look at, we’ll see how these recommendations are put into action.

BEP 67: Saying 'No' in the Right Way

22 Jul 2016


Most of us find it difficult to say ‘no’ when someone asks us for a favour, don’t we? It’s difficult to say ‘no’ when you know someone needs your help. It becomes even more difficult to say ‘no’ in the workplace, because you don’t want to offend anyone. However, it’s possible to refuse to do something in a polite and nice way that does not annoy anyone, hurt their feelings or cause offence.

In this lesson, we will look at how to say ‘no’ in the workplace in a way that ensures that the other person can see your point of view. You can do this by speaking factually, firmly and using a calm and polite tone.

Situation 1

You will now listen to two versions of a conversation between Jim and his boss. In the first version, Jim is not able to say ‘no’, and ends up having to do the favour and also make his boss feel that he is doing it unwillingly.


BEP42: Clarifying and Confirming Instructions

28 Feb 2016

When you’re given verbal instructions, it’s essential that you clarify anything you don’t understand or are unclear about. Even if you feel you’ve understood everything correctly, it’s a good idea to repeat back the instructions to whoever gave them to you to ensure that you haven’t misunderstood or missed anything. This will help to minimize any errors you might make whilst you are carrying out the instructions.

In this podcast lesson, you’re going to listen to two dialogues. In the first dialogue the instructions given are quite brief and straightforward. In this case, the listener waits until all the instructions have been given before making any clarifications. In the second dialogue, the instructions are longer and more detailed. In this dialogue, the listener clarifies the instructions at appropriate points while they are being given.

When listening to the dialogues, make a note of some of the common expressions used to clarify and confirm the instructions.


BEP 38: Asking For and Confirming Information

08 Jun 2013

Asking for information is an important aspect of business communication. It is especially important to be clear and direct while seeking information over the telephone, since not being face-to-face with the speaker may cause misunderstandings or mistakes in noting down details. Additionally, it is also important to verify or confirm the details that we receive, so that we can be sure that we have got the correct information.
You are now going to listen to a dialogue between Violet, the receptionist of a library, and Ryan, a potential member who has called in to ask about the process of getting a membership.

BEP 23: Questioning Techniques

09 May 2012

In this podcast lesson we're going to focus on questioning techniques once again. Questioning is the most important way of exchanging information in business situations. Since there are many situations where questions are used in gaining information, there are, of course, many different ways of asking questions.

The most important thing to consider when asking questions concerns your relationship with the person you are speaking to. Obviously, the closer you are to someone, the more informal your questions can be. It’s advisable, though, to be more polite than is usually necessary if you are unsure how polite or formal to be. Informal, direct questions may be considered impolite in certain situations with certain people; formal, indirect questions can often be considered inappropriate in other situations.

Would you use the same type of questions with your subordinate as you would with a customer? Would you question your boss in the same way you'd question your colleague? It's doubtful.


BEP 73: Making Polite Requests

02 Aug 2011



In business, we often have to ask someone to do something for us. There are many different ways of making requests in English; some requests are direct and others are indirect. In general though, the more indirect your request, the more polite it will sound. And unsurprisingly, indirect requests generally include more words than direct requests. In some cultures it may seem strange to use such polite language, but in western culture, it's very important to be as polite as possible, especially if you are asking someone to do something for you or requesting information from them.

In general, the language of a request becomes more polite if you are asking a big favour, and/or if you are speaking in a more formal situation to someone, perhaps to your superior at work or to a customer or client. When speaking to friends and colleagues in informal situations, however, requests tend to be shorter and more direct.

In this podcast lesson, you’re going to listen to a number of short conversations in which the speakers make different types of requests. Pay attention to the language of each request. At the same time, consider the relationship between the two people speaking as well as the nature of each request.

Situation 1

In the first situation, Rachel asks her boss, Mr Green, if she can have a day off work. Since she has a fairly formal relationship with her boss, she must be extra polite when asking this favour.