BEP 03: Controling Meetings and Expressing Opinions

04 Jun 2018

In this podcast lesson we’re looking at a more formal meeting – and in particular at the role of the chairperson – or the person who runs the meeting.

Our Chairperson is SIMON. Let’s look at how he starts things off.

Has everybody got a copy of the agenda?

Would you mind taking minutes John?

Not at all.

Good. Well then, let’s get started.

SIMON first makes sure everyone has an agenda – or a list of the items to be discussed at the meeting.

Then he asks someone to take minutes – or keep a record of the meeting. Then he announces the start of the meeting – he officially begins it.

Let’s practise some useful phrases for these three purposes.


BEP 02 - How to Lead a Meeting

28 Oct 2017

This podcast is from the beginning and end of a meeting held to discuss some urgent building work at a factory. It’s going to be run in a more formal style with firm direction from the chairperson because it involves making a decision about an expensive investment.

Other types of meetings that benefit from having someone to lead the discussion are Teleconferences – having a chairperson can help make sure people speak in turn rather than all at once!


BEP 50: Business Meetings - Discussing Business Proposals

03 Feb 2017

A meeting to discuss a business proposal is usually an integral part of creating a business plan. While it is common for the proposal to be written by one person, it is also common for team members or prospective clients to be available during such meetings to give their opinions and input on what they feel should be changed or included. The person who has written the proposal should be prepared to answer questions on the content and should be open to the revisions that may be necessary.

The functional language involved in such a discussion focuses around two key areas. Firstly, we often find the conditional tense being used in such discussions, since the proposal has not been accepted yet. Secondly, auxiliary and modal verbs (also known as helping verbs) are commonly used along with words and phrases indicating personal opinions and suggestions as the speakers speculate about the future.  

An unsolicited proposal is one that is created by a small company or charitable organization that wants to collaborate with a larger firm to increase the scale of its activities, and that approaches larger firms independently with its proposed course of business.

In this dialogue, you will hear a conversation that two members of a non-governmental organization (NGO) have with a prospective charitable donor. Joyce has written the proposal and is discussing the details with her colleague, Nicholas, and the prospective donor, Michelle.

Before moving on to the listening exercise, read the outline of the proposal below.


BEP 09 - Reporting on Progress

14 Sep 2015

In meetings and teleconferences a common task is to update participants on the progress of a project or your area of responsibility. In this podcast lesson we focus on the verb tenses and language used in reporting on progress.


BEP 16 - Business Meetings - Developing an Argument Part 2

09 Jan 2014

Following on from Part 1, Jack is giving an update on the Costa Rican project. Dan is against the idea, because as production manager, he doesn’t want to lose all his staff. Angie, as HR manager, also does not want to lay off US staff, and is worried about the problems of hiring foreign workers. Angie and Dan gang up on Jack with many good objections to his outsourcing plan. Jack tries to defend his plan, but comes up short.


BEP 58: Teleconferencing: Communication Problems

06 Feb 2013

In the modern business world, teleconferencing is an essential means through which business associates in different places communicate with each other. Teleconferencing may be done through audio or both audio and video channels, and is a cost-effective way of conducting business meetings with colleagues and associates who are in different parts of the same country or the world.

Because teleconferencing is dependent on long-distance communication and sometimes unreliable technology, problems in communication can often arise. For example, participants may not be able to hear each other because of audio problems. Also, a frequent concern is that native speakers of English tend to speak very quickly, and non-native speakers may find it difficult to follow what they are saying over a conference call. In such cases, it is useful to know how to interrupt politely, ask for clarifications, and handle general problems in communication.


You will now listen to a teleconference with three speakers who are all from the same company, but work in different locations. Jack, a senior level associate at a global insurance agency, is facilitating the teleconference from his office in London. The participants are Jack’s colleagues Michelle from Hong Kong and Patrick from Edinburgh.