Business English: What’s on the agenda ?

5th May 2020

Job interviews, and vocabulary for business meetings

AirAsia India Career For Freshers In 2020 [Apply Now Online]

Writing exercise

A candidate is writing to inquire about a vacancy at your factory:

Dear Owner,

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Nguyen Trung Hieu and I am 22 with a business degree from TDT University in HCM City.

I wish to start my business career and your company has a very good reputation.

Do you have a position for me within your organisation ?

I have worked as bookkeeper for my uncle’s business in Nha Trang Province and also I worked at Coffee House when I was a student in order to make some extra money.

Please write back if you can help me

Yours respectfully

Nguyen Trang Hieu

How would you reply to this request ?

What were the positive and negative attributes of this letter ?

Now … your turn. You want to apply for the job with Air Asia in India (don’t forget, flight attendants can be both men and women, although the advert doesn’t emphasis this fact).

How would you write the letter ?

What facts are important ? What skills do you think you need ? What type of personality is best suited to this service-orientated job ?

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Meeting language

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Here is a transcript of a short business meeting. Look at all the non-standard English, the phrasal verbs, idioms and expressions that make up so much of natural English.

Read the text and role play, focusing on intonation and stress.

Right … I think we should start now. Thanks. 

  1. OK, so, is everybody here? Who are we waiting for? Hmmm … well, I think we’ll have to make a start without them. We’ve got a lot to get through this afternoon. 
  2. Right, well, as you know, the purpose of today’s meeting is to see where we are with the marketing plan, and to work out what we still need to do before the launch, which is now just six weeks away. 
  3. By the end of the meeting, we need to have a list of firm action points for the next month. Hopefully we’ll then need only one more meeting next month to tie up any remaining loose ends.
  4. Did everyone get a copy of the agenda I sent round? OK, good. 
  5. As I say, we’ve got a lot to get through, so please let’s stick to the agenda. I’ve set aside two hours for this meeting, and we really can’t afford to run over. Ideally, we can cover everything in an hour and a half. Does that sound reasonable? 
  6. Ah, Helena, come and take a seat. We started without you. 
  7. So perhaps we can get the ball rolling by going through the list of action points from the last meeting. 
  8. Bill, you were going to look into the costs of the various options that came up last time. Could you tell us what you found out?

Now match the nine steps in the meeting introduction (1–9) to the descriptions.

  1. Stating the desired outcome. 
  2. Introducing the first point on the agenda. 
  3. Getting people’s attention, interrupting small talk 
  4. Handing over to the first speaker. 
  5. Dealing with non-attendees. 
  6. Dealing with a late arrival. 
  7. Explaining time limits and procedures. 
  8. Stating the purpose 
  9. Checking people have seen the agenda. 

Answers at end of blog

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A successful conclusion to a meeting

Answers:

Right … I think we should start now. Thanks.  = 3) Getting people’s attention

  1. = 5) Dealing with non-attendees
  2. = 8) Stating the purpose
  3. = 1) Stating desired outcome
  4. = 9) Checking agenda
  5. = 7) Time limits
  6. = 6) Late arrival
  7. = 2) First point
  8. = 4) Handing over to first speaker

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