Workplace English Podcasts

BEP 08 - Discussing Options in Meetings

03 Mar 2020

In this episode we look at how to discuss options and choices in meetings. We've looked before at formal meetings but today's meeting is a more informal one, to discuss a specific issue within the same department. The discussion is more free-flowing, or uncontrolled.

Situation 1

You're going to listen to a short extract from a business meeting in which a number of colleagues are discussing various options concerning the Internet side of their business operations.

During the meeting, the colleagues put forward and discuss various options concerning the best course of action to take both in the short term and long term.

 

BEP 03 - Controlling Business Meetings and Expressing Opinions

25 Feb 2020

In meetings, especially formal meetings, it's important to keep the discussion relevant, and to the point. So we're looking at some words and phrases that a Chairperson might use to stop irrelevant discussion and interruptions. We're also looking at ways of stating an opinion, and agreeing or disagreeing.
 

BEP 94: Complimenting Someone at Work

27 Dec 2019

podcommunication

Introduction

What is a compliment? If you say something nice about someone, that’s a compliment. You can “pay someone a compliment” by telling them how nice their new hairstyle or dress is, for example.

How often do you pay a compliment to your work colleagues? We all like to receive positive comments about how we look, but how you do it is important. To avoid making someone feel uncomfortable in a business or work situation, men should generally only compliment men, and women should stick to complimenting other women. This is especially true when commenting on someone’s appearance or clothes.

If you are complimenting someone on their work, performance, etc., then it’s acceptable to compliment the opposite sex. But beware, people who compliment too often are seen as being “phony” or fake, which is not a good thing.

Situations

You’re now going to listen to 9 short exchanges where you’ll hear people complimenting each other in workplace situations. After each exchange, you’ll hear our comments.

 

BEP 72: Welcoming Business Visitors

16 Dec 2019

podcommunication

Introduction

Knowing how to welcome business visitors is an important business speaking skill. This is often the first impression that a visitor will have of a company so you need to make a good impression. Treat visitors in a friendly and relaxed manner, and make sure they are comfortable if they have to wait around. Take an interest in who they are and what they've been doing.

Situation 1

Dan Roberts is an important client from England. He has an appointment to see Tina Chan, the sales manager, at 11:30. He arrives 20 minutes early so as to be in good time for the meeting. Tina Chan’s secretary greets him and makes him feel welcome. It is important for the secretary to make sure Dan is made to feel welcome and is comfortable while he is waiting for the meeting.

 

BEP 85: Telephone Communication Problems Part 1 - A Bad Line

28 Nov 2019

telephoning

Introduction

We’ve become creatures of telephone habits. Having made and received thousands of telephone calls in our lifetimes, it is easy to assume that we have reasonable telephone skills. Most people do not even think there are any special challenges of telephone communication.

When all parts of the communications process work effectively together, telephone communication is clear and useful. Sometimes, however, even a well-practiced communication process can go wrong. Problems can occur in any of the following four parts of sending a message:

  • Trouble sending: The sender doesn't speak clearly, speaks in a heavy accent or speaks too quickly. What happens to the message? Will it be received?
  • Trouble with the message content: The message is confusing, disorganized or irrational. Is it likely that the receiver will understand what is being communicated?
  • Trouble with the channel: There is background noise or a bad line. Will the message be transmitted effectively? Will it be received?
  • Trouble with the receiver: The receiver is not listening closely, has fallen asleep or is distracted. Will the message be understood?

In this podcast lesson, we’re going to focus on trouble with the channel, where because of background noise or a temporary loss of signal, the message is sometimes lost or cannot be heard clearly.

Situation

You’re now going to listen to Beatrice, from Sterling Associates, take a call from a client, Dan Tomkins. Dan wants Beatrice to reschedule a meeting for him.

 

BEP31: Pitching a Sale - Elevator Speeches

07 Nov 2019

Imagine you have just entered an elevator. As the doors start to close, a man enters and smiles briefly. A moment later, he starts to chat and asks what you do. The response you give is called an “elevator speech.” As the name suggests, the speech must be short enough to provide essential details before the door opens again and the man gets off on his floor.

There are certain things all elevator speeches have. You must tell your name. You must also give the name of your company. And then, you must tell why your company is different from or better than other companies out there. You could tell, for example, a unique approach you take. Or, you could explain the types of problems you solve. You could even tell a story that shows a successful result you had with a given client.

In this podcast lesson, we'll teach you how to create a professional elevator speech.

 

BEP 79: Small Talk with Colleagues

16 Oct 2019

small_talk

Introduction

Many of you will be working for international companies where you come into daily contact with foreigners, some of whom will be native English speakers. Whether you’re working face to face with a foreign colleague in your office, or just bump into a foreigner you know in your company canteen, a corridor, a lift or when you are arriving or leaving work, you’ll need to make some conversation. You don’t always need to talk about work although this is what you have in common and it is easier to talk about things that you both know about.

Social conversations are important when you want to build better relationships with people and when you want to develop closer friendships. If you want to become more than just work colleagues, you’ll need to talk about things other than work!

Situation

Marcel and Donna, two colleagues at AEN Publicity, are chatting at the water-cooler. They don’t really know each other very well, but are quite happy to exchange a few words. The conversation is very informal so you may come across some interesting new words and expressions.

 

BEP 88: Accepting and Refusing Business Invitations

30 Aug 2019

podcommunication

Introduction

Accepting an invitation is easy. Refusing an invitation is more difficult. In business situations, it’s particularly important to know how to refuse an invitation politely so you don’t cause offence to the person who is inviting you.

In this podcast lesson you’re going to learn how to make, accept and refuse invitations in a business setting.

Situation

You’re now going to listen to a short dialogue. Mary and David have just met each other at a business conference. During the conversation, Mary invites David to dinner.

 

BEP 75: Telephoning - Using Standard Phrases

06 Aug 2019

telephoning

Introduction

Making and receiving telephone calls is one of the hardest skills in English, especially for non-native speakers who often rely on non-verbal cues such as signs gestures and facial expressions to help their understanding.

In business situations, however, telephoning has a language of its own. We use standard phrases for every telephone function such as answering the phone, offering to help the caller, putting a caller on hold, taking a message, closing a call, etc.  Learning these phrases will help you not only better understand what the other person is saying, but also direct the telephone conversation so that you can communicate your message successfully and concisely. It’s a good idea for you to practice and becoming familiar with the most common standard telephone phrases.

In this podcast lesson, we’ll demonstrate the use of common standard telephone phrases through some short telephone conversations. Lynn is a receptionist at an international shipping company. You're going to listen to her take four routine calls.

 

BEP 95: Speculating About the Present

25 Jul 2019

podcommunication

Introduction

Speculating means guessing. When we make a guess about something, we may have some additional information which helps us to guess more accurately and with some degree of certainty. On the other hand, we may not have this information and in such cases our guess will be more uncertain.

Modal verbs allow us to speculate about past, present and future events. The modal verb you use depends upon how certain or uncertain you are. In this review we shall focus on speculating about present situations. When speculating, you should consider carefully the grammatical structures used. A review of the language focus page is recommended.

In this podcast lesson we shall focus on speculating about present or current situations using modal verbs.

Situation

You’re now going to listen to a conversation between Ben and Jenny. Ben wants to talk to Jenny about her job and her future in the company.

 

BEP 52: Chairing a Business Meeting

11 Jul 2019

Most formal business meetings are chaired by an individual who structures the meeting and ensures that different roles are assigned to the participants in the meeting. The chairperson also manages the opening and closing remarks of the meeting, which are both essential to the outcome of the discussion. Chairing a meeting involves knowing how to make remarks and comments at the right times, getting the conversation back on track if any deviates, and making opening and closing remarks that emphasise the main points of the discussion.

Usually, it is only formal business meetings which are chaired, which means that the chairperson’s language also has to be more or less formal in nature. The language and usage of expressions depend on what kind of meeting is being chaired. Business meetings that are internal to a company can utilize more informal language, while meetings in which clients are present are usually more formally organised and conducted.

In this podcast lesson, we will examine the usage of language expressions in six different aspects of chairing a business meeting.

 

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.

 
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