Workplace English Podcasts

BEP 96: Speculating About the Past

22 Oct 2020

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. 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 past situations using modal verbs.

Situation

You’re now going to listen to a conversation between John and Mary. John asks Mary for help in understanding the client files of a colleague who has recently left the company.

 

BEP 68: Telephoning - Checking Back and Confirming

20 Oct 2020

Introduction

Talking on the telephone is a skill that you can develop by paying attention to the different things that you have to remember.

Many times, you need to take down details like names, addresses and telephone numbers. You should always repeat these details back to the caller and confirm with the caller that you have noted them correctly. This is especially important if you are speaking to someone for the first time.

You should take down their name and contact details very carefully and confirm all the details with the caller before ending the call.

Situation

Andy Wang has been asked by his boss, the Training Manager, to collect some information on language consultants offering in-company training courses. Andy then phones World Language Centre after seeing an advertisement in an English language learning magazine. Amy Nassar handles all phone enquiries for World Language Centre. It's very important that she notes down the details of each enquiry very carefully. She has developed several techniques to ensure that she notes down the correct information.

 

BEP 07 - Business Telephoning - Key Phrases

13 Oct 2020

In this podcast lesson we look at making business calls in English and go over some of the key phrases for speaking on the phone.
 
First, listen to the two short phone calls. Then work through the debriefing and practice the phrases.
 

BEP 47: Business Presentations - Handling Questions

27 Sep 2020

At some point in your presentation you will be expected to answer questions from your audience. They might have some important questions that need to be answered before they buy into your message. Handling their questions with authority can make the difference for you between a successful presentation and a waste of time. This is the opportunity for the audience to test your knowledge on the topic and commitment to your message.

To some people the question-and-answer session can be the most exciting part of the presentation. To others it can be their worst nightmare simply because they have to speak on the spot without notes. In fact, there are some presenters who purposely avoid the question-and-answer session all together.

In this podcast lesson, you’re going to listen to the final part of two business presentations. You decide whether the presenters handled the question and answer sessions with authority.

 

BEP 38: Asking For and Confirming Information

28 Aug 2020

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 28: Structuring a Business Presentation

19 Jul 2020

The introduction to a presentation is a very important - perhaps the most important part of the presentation. This is the first impression that your audience have of you. You should concentrate on getting your introduction right. You should use the introduction to:

  • welcome your audience
  • introduce your subject
  • outline the structure of your presentation, and
  • give instructions about questions

Let’s now look at some useful language you could use for the four parts of an introduction.

 

BEP 49: Business Negotiations - Concluding a Deal

18 Jun 2020

Concluding a deal is the final part of a business negotiation, and often takes place after several talks and discussions have been held to negotiate every aspect of the deal. Participating in the conclusion of the deal usually means that you have been present at earlier discussions, or are familiar with the possibilities that have already been discussed. While concluding the deal, both parties are aware of each other’s positions and no new conditions are usually applied. The final discussion is conducted in a positive style because each stakeholder wants to get his or her conditions accepted without making the other feel defeated, which may lead to the deal not being signed at all.

In this lesson, we will examine two different deal conclusions, one which is accepted and another which is rejected. In each case, we see that there is a service or goods provider and buyer. Apart from price, there are other factors such as delivery dates, quantities, and other product or service details that are finalized at the conclusion of each deal.

Situation

You will now listen to a dialogue between Susan, the owner of a clothing store, and Brian, who represents a design store. Susan and Brian are concluding a deal their companies have been negotiating over the past few weeks.

 

BEP 35: Avoiding Communication Problems at Work

28 Apr 2020

One of the most important things to remember about business communication is that it takes place among people and that everyone’s opinions and feelings should be seen as equally important if the communication process is to be successful. In this business speaking lesson, we focus on how to avoid misunderstandings by keeping communication open and smooth.

You will now listen to a conversation Susan has during a meeting with a client, represented by James and Michelle. They are about to complete a business deal that will allow Susan’s company, which deals in ceramic kitchen products, to supply goods on a regular basis to the chain of home stores.

 

BEP 74: Giving and Receiving Verbal Instructions

10 Apr 2020

podcommunication

Introduction

The ability to understand verbal instructions is a necessary requirement in most workplaces across all industries. Giving verbal instructions is often the quickest and most effective way to communicate ideas. Having said this, verbal communication can often leave room for error and confusion.

In this podcast lesson, we’re going to look at a number of basic techniques to help you to deliver spoken instructions in a manner which will help minimise any error and confusion.

Situation

Kevin, the Head Receptionist at Biometrics, is training a new receptionist, Jenny, on her first day at work. Listen in and decide when Jenny doesn’t understand, when she clarifies, i.e. checks what Kevin means, and when she understands. Consider what techniques Kevin uses to ensure his instructions are given clearly and concisely.

 

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.

 
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