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 ?

How to Write an Amazing Common App Essay (2020-2021) - Examples ...

Meeting language

Small Business Strategies that Make a BIG Difference | Santander ...

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

Business English: Time management

29th April 2020

These Business English blogs are aimed at upper-intermediate level students, and will include everyday phrases, expressions and idioms relating to various aspects of conducting business and workplace conversations.

Note down any phrasal verbs or expressions that you don’t know. A great way to improve your English is to add such language elements to your everyday speech, rather than just using text-book, standard English.

Business meetings

Checklist for an Effective Sales Meeting | SCORE

One view about how to plan a meeting:

Are all meetings cost-effective ? As the seconds tick away, you’ll start to appreciate what a terrible waste of time – and money– most meetings are. 

So what can you do? 

Firstly, make sure everyone arrives on time. No excuses. If five people at a meeting are sitting around waiting for a sixth person to turn up, just think how much money you are throwing away.

Secondly, get most of the work done before the meeting: send round detailed agendas, telling them what they need to do to prepare for the meeting. That means the meeting itself can focus on problem-solving and decision-making rather than wasting time explaining.

Thirdly, stick to the agenda. Don’t let anyone hijack the meeting by chatting about something irrelevant. Don’t let them take over yours. 

Fourthly, set a time limit and stick to it. There’s nothing worse than a meeting that goes round and round in circles with no decisions ever being finalised. A time limit can be a great way to focus everyone’s minds on the purpose of the meeting and the need to achieve something concrete … and then to go back to work and start implementing the decisions. 

Of course small talk has its place, but that place is not a meeting. 

This is one point of view – do you agree with it ? 

To what extent does small talk have a place in meetings ? 

Talk about your experiences. Does it vary from person to person and culture to culture ?

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This is a contrary (opposite) opinion; how do you evaluate this viewpoint ?

If you’re serious about making your meetings more effective, you need to give the participants plenty of time to ask questions, take the conversation in new directions, say things which may or may not be relevant, and above all, get to know each other. Of course, you need to make sure things don’t get out of control, but that means finding a sensible balance between small talk and getting down to business. 

A company which does not tolerate small talk may get things done more quickly, but that doesn’t mean it’ll do things the best way, making full use of the skills and ideas of its employees … and it may well find that it loses its best employees and its customers just as quickly. 

Which view do you agree with, and can you explain your reasons. Alternately, you may wish to select elements from both examples and make your own plan.

Asking about current projects: 

Complete using present continuous (verb + ing)

  1. What ___ you ___ ( work) on at the moment ?  // What are you working on at the moment ?
  2. How ___ it ___ (go) with your new assistant ? 
  3. ___ you ___ (make) any progress with your big project ? 

Asking about recent events: (use past tense)

  1. How ___ your presentation ___ (go) last week? 
  2. How ___ (be) your business trip ? When ___ you ___ (get) back? 

Asking about news: (uses past perfect)

  1. ___ you ___ (hear) back from that potential big customer yet? 
  2. What ___ you ___ (be) up to in your department? 

Asking about plans and predictions : future tense

  1. When do you think they ___ finally ___ (sign) the contract? 
  2. ___ you ___ (go) to the conference this weekend? 

Now match the questions with some answers from below. Try to practise with a friend or colleague

a) A little, but it’s very slow. We’re still tied up with the financing side of things, so it doesn’t feel like we’re getting anywhere. 

b) Absolutely! I’m giving a presentation! I’m really nervous about it, actually.

c) Ah, nothing, really. Nothing ever changes! Busy as usual. 

d) It was useful, but really exhausting. I just got back on Tuesday, so I’m still trying to get back on top of my inbox. But I’m glad I went. I made a few potentially useful contacts. 

e) Next week, hopefully, but they’re still not happy with our service charges, so it might still all fall through. 

f) Not bad, actually. He’s on a steep learning curve, but he’s trying hard, and he’s got a lot of potential. 

g) Really well. We had a good turn-out, and some people said nice things about it. Whether anyone actually buys the product as a result is another question!

h) We’re about to start working on the new marketing plan. It’s not due to be launched for another two months, but it takes a really long time to get ready.

i) We’ve been really busy preparing for next week’s quality inspection. We’re nearly ready, but there are still a few big jobs to finish. 

j) Yes, they emailed us this morning with an order for 500 units, so it looks like it’s all going ahead. Very exciting. 

Lastly, the final point on our agenda – what do you think of this list ?

It indicates what British people say and what they REALLY mean.

British business language translation - Tom McCallum - Medium