Workplace English Podcasts

BEP 06 - Business Communication - Saying Goodbye

25 Jun 2019

In this podcast lesson, we'll be looking at some of the phrases you can use when you're saying goodbye to someone - either for a short time, or for a long time.

In our example, Victor is from another country, and he's about to go back home. At a conference, he meets Sam and Lin.

After completing all the listening and language exercises, you can download the podcast which includes the dialogues as well as detailed explanations of all the language points.

 

BEP 37: Wrapping Up a Business Presentation

30 May 2019

Presentations are an important aspect of working in a business environment. Since they give you an opportunity to showcase your abilities and thoughts, they should be planned well and organized in such a way that your main points are highlighted constantly. One of the best ways to do this is to end your presentation effectively. Remember, audiences tend to remember best what they hear last! An effective conclusion can help your listeners to quickly recollect your main points, and also set the stage for a discussion on the topic you have covered.

Here are some points to keep in mind for an effective conclusion to a presentation:

  • Always provide a brief summary of your main points (no more than two to three sentences).

  • Include recommendations for further research or exploration if possible.

  • End by checking with your audience if they need clarifications, or if they have any comments or questions.

Situation

You are now going to listen to a conversation with three participants. Tara is a language trainer at a large company. She has just completed a presentation on issues which need to be addressed by the company’s training department in the coming month. Alex and Rebecca are members of Tara’s team who ask her for clarifications.

 

BEP 21: Taking Telephone Messages

21 May 2019

Taking telephone messages well is a skill that saves time for both the caller and the receiver.

If you need to take a message for someone, get as much information as possible. Always include:

  • The date and time of the call.
  • The full name of the person calling (ask for correct spelling).
  • The company the caller is from.
  • The phone number and time available for callback.
  • The purpose of the call.

Give enough information to the caller so they know what to expect, such as when the person they are trying to reach will return.

 

BEP 24: Expressing Agreement and Disagreement

28 Apr 2019

Whenever people work together, there is always a possibility of disagreement. It’s usually fine to tell friends bluntly that you disagree with them. But in business, we have to be quite careful about how we disagree. It’s not that we can’t do it, but that we have to do it in ways that won’t cause offence. We have to disagree indirectly.

In this podcast lesson, we’ll be reviewing the language used to disagree politely with someone.

 

BEP 83: Expressing the Future and Future Certainty

29 Mar 2019

podcommunication

Introduction

In this podcast lesson, we’re going to look at how people talk about future events. We’re also going to look at how to express future certainty, that is, to say how likely something will happen in the future.

What is the difference in usage between the future simple ‘will’ and ‘going to’? Many native English speakers would have problems answering this question in a grammatical sense, but they would automatically know how to use both future forms in conversation. In the lesson, we’ll make clear the difference between them.

Although seldom used by learners of English, native English speakers commonly use the present continuous tense to talk about the future. Seems strange to use a present tense for this purpose, but in certain contexts, it’s the right thing to do.

Three common verbs are also used to express the future: ‘plan,’ ‘intend,’ and ‘expect.’ We’ll show you how to use these verbs correctly in the right context.

And finally, we’ll show you how to talk about a future event in varying degrees of certainty.

Situation

Merta Motorparts, is going through a merger and, as a result, many changes are being planned in order to prepare the company for their new owners. Listen in as three employees from the Finance Department discuss some of the changes and how these changes will affect them.

Notice the use of “will,” “going to,” and verbs such as “plan,” “expect” and “intend” to talk about the future. Notice also how the speakers speculate about the future, i.e. say how likely a future event will happen, using words such as “probably,” “likely,” “possibly,” etc.

 

BEP 12 - Telephone Talk - Sales Techniques

22 Mar 2019

Telephone selling forms a major part of many companies’ sales strategy. Some people find the technique comes naturally but for others it is very difficult and they need to make a conscious effort to develop the necessary skills.

In this podcast lesson we present you with two telephone dialogues showing the right way and the wrong way to handle this type of call.

 

BEP 45: Business Meetings - Making Plans

07 Mar 2019

In planning a business event such as a conference, the type of language that we use commonly includes verbs which refer to the future. In this podcast, we will see how the future simple tense, ‘will,’ ‘going to’ and the present continuous tense can be used to refer to future actions. We will also look at examples of how modal verbs can be used in discussing business plans.

During the course of planning a business conference or workshop, we often need more than one meeting to plan the event. In this podcast lesson, we will listen to extracts from two meetings, one to plan a business conference and the other to discuss and assign specific tasks.

 

BEP 33: Dealing with Hostile Situations at Work

12 Feb 2019

Introduction

Conflicts between people are always going to happen. This is true for family relations as well as for workplace relations. Fortunately, most conflicts can be resolved. Patience is needed; so is a willingness to listen. And, of course, using the right words is critical. The English language has more than a million words. With some effort, you can find the right ones

Situation

Listen now to an exchange between Joe, the manager, and his subordinate Sally. Joe has generally tried to avoid encounters with her. He believes she has a hot temper and he doesn’t want to enflame it. This time, however, he has received a complaint from Rose, the project manager. And Joe must deal with the situation.

 

BEP 25: Communicating Action

23 Jan 2019

When a company moves to a new site it is known as ‘relocation’. This is a big decision, involving everyone connected with the company – staff, customers, suppliers and shareholders. It also affects the families, friends and communities of the people involved with the company.

Once the research into possible locations has been completed, an organisation must decide which relocation option is the most suitable, inform staff and plan the next stages of the operation.

After consulting staff about the options for relocation a final decision has to be taken and everyone informed. A number of things then have to be done to organise the relocation and for this an action plan has to be drawn up.

In this podcast lesson you will practise expressing action points, summarising information and informing colleagues of plans.

First listen to an extract from a business meeting about what has been decided about relocating the company to Bilton Oaks. Diana Riggs is chairing the meeting and the extract begins with her speaking. An action plan is also discussed, which involves assigning specific tasks to people.

 

BEP26: Dealing with Angry Customers

08 Jan 2019

We all deal with angry customers, and it's enough to drive people crazy. Angry and difficult customers are a major cause of workplace stress, and they take up huge amounts of your time and the resources of your organization. There are a lot of tricks and techniques you can use to deal with an angry customer. For now, let's focus on the most common mistake employees make when dealing with the difficult or angry customer. By avoiding this particular error, you can save yourself a lot of stress and time.

 

The #1 Mistake

 

When you are faced with an angry customer, you probably assume that the customer wants his or her "problem" fixed. That's a logical approach and it's at least partly true. Angry customers expect that you will be able to help them in some concrete way, by meeting their want or need. However, there's more to the story.

 

Ever notice that with a really angry person, even if you can "fix" the problem, the person still acts in angry or nasty ways? Why is that? Well, actually angry customers want several things. Yes, they want the problem fixed, but they also want to BE HEARD, TO BE LISTENED TO, and to have their upset and emotional state recognized and acknowledged.

 

What most employees do with angry customers is move immediately to solve the problem without giving that acknowledgment. Do you know what happens? The customer is so angry that he or she isn't prepared to work to solve the problem, doesn't listen, and gets in the way of solving the problem. So the number one error is moving to solve the problem before the customer is "ready", or calm enough to work with the employee. The result is the employee has to repeat things over and over (since the customer didn't hear), and has to ask the same questions over and over. And that's what drives people nuts.

 

The Solution

 

The solution is to follow this general rule: When faced with an angry customer, FIRST focus on acknowledging the feelings and upset of the customer. Once the customer starts to calm down as a result of having his or her feelings recognized, THEN move to solving the problem. You'll find that this will save you a lot of time and energy.

 

Situation 1

 

Here’s an example of a type of customer that is really feared. Now you’ll recognise Mr Tiger all right. In our example he’s turned up to the bank where Cathy works. As always, he’s angry. He’s been waiting about for nearly ten minutes. He may also have had a particularly bad day so far and wants any excuse to turn his anger on someone else. Let’s see how Cathy deals with him.

 

BEP 77: Strategy for Customer Service

26 Dec 2018

podcommunication

Introduction

Rule 1: The customer is always right.
Rule 2: If the customer is wrong, rule 1 applies.

It is said that for every person who complains, there are 26 other people who suffer in silence, and each unhappy customer tells 10 to 16 other people. But if you address the problem in the right way, 90 per cent of the complainers will do business with you again. When people complain, they are usually angry or upset. This can be difficult to handle in a second language.

In this podcast lesson, we’re going to look at how the same customer complaint is dealt with in two completely different ways. One will be the right way and the other, the wrong way.

After you’ve finished listening to this lesson, make sure you review our study notes on a six-stage customer service strategy. You can apply this strategy to most customer service situations where you need to handle a face-to-face customer problem.

Situation 1

You're now going to listen to a conversation between a bank teller and a customer who has a complaint about the bank’s service.

 

 

BEP 93: Ending a Conversation Politely

13 Dec 2018

podcommunication

Introduction

You might think that ending a conversation is as simple as saying “Goodbye,” but it’s a little more complex than that. It’s also quite different from culture to culture. In western culture, we inform the person we are talking to gently by giving hints that we need to go or want the conversation to end. We try our best to avoid ending a conversation abruptly.

Certain phrases are used to indicate that someone has to go or would like to end a conversation. To end a conversation politely is quite a difficult skill to master, actually!

In this podcast lesson, we’ll show you how to end a conversation politely according to western culture.

Situation

You’re now going to hear a conversation between John and Naomi. They’ve just come out of a conference.

 

BEP 13 - Expressing Likes, Dislikes and Preferences

04 Dec 2018

Introduction

In this month's business speaking skills topic we’re going to be looking a various ways of expressing likes, dislikes and preferences. It is very easy to simply say ‘I like’ or ‘I don’t like’ something, but it is more difficult to state by what degree you like or dislike it. And, it’s often not just a question of directly stating how you feel about something. In many situations you’ll have to be careful about your tone – how direct or indirect your language is. Stating dislikes and preferences too directly can sometimes cause offence. You’ll need to consider who you’re speaking to and the context of the situation when choosing your words

Situation

Annie Dawson, a web designer at Booknet.com, an online book company, has been requested by her boss, Philip Telford, to create a website for the company’s new line of books. Since the books are educational, as well as entertaining, Philip really wants a visually appealing website which can capture the feeling of the company’s new line of books and, therefore, bring success to the new line.

You're going to listen to Annie presenting her draft website designs to her boss, Philip, to get his feedback.

 

BEP 57: Showing a Visitor Around

13 Nov 2018

Introduction

Showing a visitor around gives you a good chance to make a positive impression on your client. By welcoming a visitor warmly and talking to them clearly and politely about your firm, you can help to create a good business relationship between your company and your visitor’s. In this lesson, we’ll focus on how to make a visitor to your office feel welcome, and on language you can use to describe your building and your company. The use of correct tenses and the passive voice can be very important when showing a visitor around.

Situation

In this situation, you will find Kate, a manager at a design firm, talking to Tom, a client from an architectural company who is visiting her office. You will hear how Kate welcomes Tom and makes him feel comfortable. Then you will listen to how she shows him around the office and tells him about her company. She also listens carefully to his questions and uses different tenses while talking to him about different ways of working.

 

BEP 63: Business Presentations - Referring to Visual Aids

29 Oct 2018

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is certainly true of business presentations in which a graph, table or image can present a clear picture of what you want to say. Many people find it easier to understand information when it is presented visually, and visual aids are essential to most business presentations.

To create an effective presentation, it is important to strike the right balance between text and graphics. Text should be brief, and organised into bullet points for easier reading. You should use a combination of different kinds of graphics, such as images, graphs and pie diagrams, to keep your audience’s attention.

Every image or graph should be relevant to your topic. Never use an image just to brighten up your presentation.

You should also familiarise yourself with the operating system and projector well before your presentation, so that you do not have any technical difficulties during your presentation.

In this lesson, we will listen to two presentations where the speakers use visual aids to enhance the effect of what they are saying.

Situation 1

You will now listen to a presentation on product training made by Susan, who works as a trainer at an insurance company. Susan makes use of several visual aids during her talk on training needs assessments for a new product that is to be launched by her company.

 
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