Workplace English Podcast - Workplace English Training E-Platform
Summary: Workplace English Podcast delivers free bi-monthly MP3 podcast lessons for intermediate and advanced business English learners. Each podcast focuses on a particular business speaking skill (meetings, presentations, telephoning etc.) and language function (clarifying, disagreeing, questioning etc.).````The podcast lessons feature professionally recorded dialogues with detailed explanations of the target language and further examples of useful phrases. Premium Members can access a set of Study Notes, including a full transcript, extra vocabulary and review exercises.
Introduction Small talk is important because it helps to break the ice. Learn to engage in small talk at job interviews, sales meetings, or other business meetings and encounters. If it doesn't come naturally to you, take a few minutes beforehand to think of a few topics. You can always talk about the weather! You can ask about a friend, colleague or acquaintance you both know. You can ask someone how long they have lived in the area. Just find something to talk about other than business. In this podcast lesson, we'll listen in on two social/business encounters. The language in both is quite informal as you might expect in these situations. Situation 1 You’re now going to hear a conversation between Mark and his boss, Ms Davis. Mark is late for work again and his boss isn't happy with him. Mark is able to use small talk and a bit of humour to soften a difficult situation.
Interrupting may sound like an impolite aspect of conversation, but it can be effective if it is done with politeness and skill. Interrupting may be preceded by non–intrusive gestures such as lifting your hand so that the person speaking is not caught by surprise. People speaking in meetings often tend to get carried away with what they are saying and may not know when to stop, so it is perfectly acceptable to interrupt someone if you need to make a point or ask a question. In this podcast lesson you’re going to hear examples of effective as well as ineffective interruptions. You will also be introduced to the INSET technique for interrupting in business meetings. Understanding and applying this technique will make you a better contributor in your workplace meetings. Situation 1 In the first dialogue Andrew, Elsa and Brad discuss arrangements for an upcoming marketing tour. Focus on how each person interrupts another while they’re talking. Do you think these interruptions are effective?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Introduction We all make mistakes and learning how to correct them is an important part of doing business. But what about when other people make mistakes? It’s a good idea to learn how to criticize in a professional manner without causing offence, especially if you're talking to an employee. There are ways of telling someone they didn’t do their work as completely, correctly or accurately as they might have. In this podcast lesson we’ll focus on some techniques you can use to criticise in a way that won’t cause offence. We’ll also introduce you to some useful phrases to help you achieve this. Situation You’re now going to listen to a short dialogue. You’ll hear Mr Brown talking to Sandra, one of his employees, about some work she has done recently.
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.
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.
Introduction Empathy is the ability to understand how someone else feels by imagining yourself in their position. The ability to show empathy is a very important social skill in making and maintaining friendships. In business, too, it’s important to be able to show empathy with customers, clients and even co-workers, particularly when dealing with disputes, complaints and other negative situations. You're much more likely to be able to resolve a problem with someone if you show them that you understand their position or how they feel. Some people are naturally empathetic; others have to actively work on developing the skill. There are a number of useful techniques for showing empathy which we’ll look at in this podcast lesson. Situation 1 In the following situation, Mary discusses a problem with her colleague, John.
Introduction When you speak on the telephone to customers, your voice represents your company to the caller. Without the benefit of using body language (handshakes, smiles, nodding your head, etc.), your tone of voice and customer service techniques are all you have to gain customer confidence. You should always try to adopt a polite, friendly, helpful, efficient and professional tone when speaking on the telephone to customers. Using standard telephone expressions will make you sound polite and professional. Listening and taking the time to understand your customers will make you sound helpful and efficient. Situation 1 DVD retailer, Music Box Ltd, have just received this letter of complaint from Albert Hui, one of their corporate customers. Read through the letter and consider how you would handle the complaint.
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 1 You will now listen to a conversation between Sandra, a secretary, and Paul, a persistent caller.
INTRODUCTION In this podcast lesson, we’ll be looking at a number of useful techniques to help to you develop a conversation. When you are taking part in a conversation the most important thing is to react to what the other person is saying. If you don’t react, the conversation is likely to end very quickly. Reacting helps to show that you are listening, you are interested in what the other person is saying and that you want to keep the conversation going. We’ll demonstrate some basic conversation techniques through two dialogues. While you listen, make a mental note of the techniques used to keep the conversation going. SITUATION 1 You're now going to listen to two conversations between Paul and Nancy. In the first conversation, make a note of what Nancy says in reaction to what Paul says and vice versa.