BEP 165 – English for Administrative Assistants (Part 1)

This is the first in a two-part Business English Pod series on the work of administrative assistants. We’ll be looking at vocabulary and collocations related to office duties and daily routines.

Before we start, let’s talk a bit about English collocations. Collocations are groups of words that are commonly used together. Native speakers are so used to using them, they know what sounds “right” and what sounds “wrong.” For example, in English the phrase “go online” is a natural way to refer to using the internet. But it wouldn’t be natural to say something like “proceed online” or “travel online”, even though “proceed” and “travel” are other ways to express “go.” You’ll hear lots of collocations related to office life in today’s dialog. Listen out for them and we’ll explain what they mean and how to use them in the debrief.

Now, on to the role of an administrative assistant. The job title of “administrative assistant”, or “admin assistant” for short, can cover quite a broad range of responsibilities. Admin assistants typically spend a lot of time handling data – whether it’s timesheets recording the working hours of other employees, or rosters used for scheduling meeting rooms. Much of what they do involves making sure that other employees are working as efficiently as possible.

In this episode we’ll talk with Christina, who works as an admin assistant in the human resources department of an auto parts manufacturer. Christina’s going to tell us about some of the responsibilities of her position.

Listening Questions

1. What is Christina’s first task every day?
2. How many employees are on the sales team?
3. When is the deadline for personal leave day requests?

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