BEP 300 – External Meetings in English (Part 1)

BEP 300 - English for Meetings 1

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on taking part in an external meeting in English.

When you think of business English meetings, you might immediately think of staff meetings, project meetings, or other internal meetings with people in your company. But in business we often have to work with outside companies or organizations so we have to deal with external meetings as well.

External meetings in English can be quite tricky situations. Because everyone might have different goals and opinions, you need to be very diplomatic. You want to be careful not to promise too much while trying to get others to commit. In this way, external meetings are a lot like negotiations, where you try to make an agreement that is in your favor.

In this back and forth of negotiation, you have to convince other people of your position. And when they attempt to convince you of something, you have to respond skillfully. That could mean remaining non-committal, when you don’t want to give a clear yes or no answer. It might also mean saying that you don’t have the power or responsibility to make a decision.

But if everyone remains non-committal and says they can’t make decisions, how can people come to an agreement? Well, sometimes you need to introduce creative solutions or ideas. But even when someone presents a good idea, you shouldn’t always just agree right away. Like I said, this is sort of like a negotiation. So you might want to express doubts about an idea, rather than just accepting it immediately.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a meeting between several people discussing the construction of a strip, or small shopping, mall. Jennifer is the architect on the new development, and Carlos is a consulting engineer. They need to come to agreement with Frank, who represents the local government. The meeting is chaired by Nicky, the project manager.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Jennifer think the city should give the developer a break on the number of turn lanes?
2. Who does Frank say insists on having two turn lanes?
3. What solution does Carlos suggest?

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