Workplace English Podcasts

BEP 49: Business Negotiations - Concluding a Deal

21 Jul 2016

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 66: Telephoning - Dealing with Persistent Callers

05 Jul 2016

Introduction

Persistent callers are people who keep calling until they can speak to a certain person. It may be your job to answer the phone and speak several times to the same caller. The caller may be trying to sell something, or may want to talk to someone in your office for a specific reason.

Even if the same person calls many times, you should speak to them politely but firmly. There are many ways in which you can politely tell a caller that they do not need to call again, or that they can leave a message for the recipient.

In this lesson, we will look at how to use specific words and phrases to deal with persistent callers.

Remember that you need to remain polite and patient while talking to callers, even if they call many times.

Situation

You will now listen to a conversation between Sandra, a secretary, and Paul, a persistent caller.

 

BEP 03 - Controlling Business Meetings and Expressing Opinions

01 Jul 2016

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 79: Small Talk with Colleagues

02 Jun 2016

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 71: Telephoning - Finalizing Agreements

06 Apr 2016

telephoning

Introduction

Quite often in business, a deal can be concluded without having a face-to-face business meeting. Where the terms of a deal are not so complex, or a deal has already been partially reached, much of the final negotiation can be done over the phone. In more complex situations, however, face-to-face negotiations are usually necessary.

If you would like to change the terms of an existing agreement, before you make your call to finalize the agreement, you should be clear about your starting and finishing positions. Do the calculations in advance and work out what a satisfactory outcome to the negotiations would be for you. Be aware of all the factors that have an impact on the deal; in most cases there will be some flexibility with these factors.

Situation 

Jenny Bond of United Wholesalers in London has just received the following fax from Bernard Chan of NEG in Hong Kong. NEG supplies fork-lift trucks.

FAX

Re: Special Order of 20 Fork-lift Trucks

Dear Jenny

We regret that our standard vehicles are not suitable for your purpose, but confirm that we can manufacture to the specifications you have forwarded.

Unless you can increase your order from 20 vehicles, however, there will be a substantial charge for this service.

Please let us know if you would like to pursue the matter further.

Yours sincerely

International Sales Director
Bernard Chan

Jenny then telephones Bernard to see if he will accept an order of 25 trucks so they can finalise an agreement. Let’s listen in on their conversation.

 

BEP 28: Structuring a Business Presentation

23 Mar 2016

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.

 

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 35: Avoiding Communication Problems at Work

29 Oct 2015

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 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 75: Telephoning - Using Standard Phrases

16 Aug 2015

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 11: Handling Questions on the Phone

19 Jul 2015

telephoning

In this podcast lesson we are going to examine the different types of questions that are used to clarify details and handle enquiries on the phone.

Customers and colleagues call you with questions. To answer their questions or to address their needs, you need to ask questions, too. But, all questions are not created equal; to get the kind of response you want, you need to know how to choose the appropriate type of question to ask.

Using effective questioning techniques allows you to get information you need. It also helps you stay in control of the conversation.

Also, when you are confronted with difficult situations, the use of different types of questions will help diffuse the situation.

We're not going to look at the five main question types and the various situations where these questions can be used.

 

BEP 44: Business Small Talk - Talking About Where You Live

21 Jun 2015

Having a conversation about where you live or come from is often an effective way of introducing yourself to another person, and also of getting to know more about them. In a business environment, we often get to meet people from other countries, or parts of our own country that we haven’t been to or don't know much about.

Keep in mind, though, that talking about your country or home town is just small talk. The topic of discussion does not matter as much as the flow of the conversation and getting on good terms with the person you are talking to. When talking about your country, try to avoid controversial topics such as religion and politics. You don’t want to antagonize or offend the person you are talking to in any way. The safest topics related to your country are about business, places of interest or current events. Keep your responses fairly brief and also open-ended, so that the listener has a chance to respond. Ask questions in turn about the listener’s country. You don’t want to dominate the conversation or bore your listener who may simply have used an opener like “Where are you from?” to start a conversation.

The two dialogues in this lesson present examples of how to talk about your country and your city. Listen for tips on how to respond to questions and also to give your listener signs showing you are interested in what he or she is talking about.

SITUATION 1

You are now going to listen to a dialogue between Jamal, a pharmacology consultant in New Delhi, and Debbie, an American who works for a company based in New York. Debbie has recently arrived in India. Jamal and Debbie have just finished a business meeting about Debbie’s plans to set up a branch office in India.

 

BEP 08 - Discussing Options in Meetings

02 Mar 2015

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 72: Welcoming Business Visitors

03 Dec 2014

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 68: Telephoning - Checking Back and Confirming

30 Apr 2014

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.

 
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