BEP 364 – English for Startups 1: Preparing for a Pitch

BEP 364 - Business English for Startups 1: Preparing for a Pitch in English

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on preparing for a pitch in English to investors.

It’s easy to look around at the economy today and applaud the tech companies that made it big. But for every success, there are a hundred failures. Anyone who’s founded a startup or worked for one knows that new businesses face a lot of uncertainty and a world of challenges.

In this economy, the success of a startup depends on many factors. If you can learn to navigate the challenges, or to see them as opportunities, then you too might make it big. One important factor in startup success is good mentorship. There’s a strong tradition of established business people helping young entrepreneurs find the path to success.

And one of the most important opportunities a mentor can help you with is preparing for your first pitch to potential investors. If there’s any time that you should learn to take advice, it’s at this point. An English pitch to investors can make or break your company. And good preparation, as any mentor will tell you, is key.

Working with a mentor depends on you being open to input. That might mean accepting critical opinions and admitting your own weaknesses. But if you can do this, then you’ll be able to use your mentor to bounce ideas off, and to ask directly for help with challenges.

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to a conversation between Quinn – a young entrepreneur – and Kira, his mentor. Quinn is getting ready to pitch his online payments startup to a potential investor. And we’ll hear how he learns from his more experienced mentor.

Listening Questions

1. What strong opinion about his pitch does Quinn have to accept?
2. What weakness does Quinn admit to?
3. What challenge does Quinn ask Kira for help with?

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BEP 354 – Business English Coaching 3: Reviewing Progress

BEP 354 - Business English for Coaching Lesson 3: Reviewing Progress

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on reviewing progress in a coaching program.

Do you set goals for yourself? More than likely, right. And this is something we hear a lot about, especially in the New Year. Setting goals is a fundamental part of success. And if you are in a coaching role, you have probably helped other people set goals for themselves. But the real work isn’t in setting the goals; it’s in following through and putting energy into meeting these goals.

And as someone’s coach, your work isn’t done once you help someone decide on some objectives. The next step is following up, which typically means sitting down with the person you’re coaching to review progress. You ask them how things have been going, and listen as they describe what they’ve done. But sometimes, the person hasn’t really followed through. What then?

That’s when you prove your value by holding the person accountable. And that might include reinforcing your company’s values, as you try to hold the person to their commitments. Of course, the person might have encountered barriers, which you can ask about and discuss. Still, those barriers shouldn’t serve as excuses, and you may have to push the person a bit to reach their potential. And, of course, a good coach remains supportive throughout this kind of process.

In today’s dialog, we’ll continue listening to a conversation between two lawyers, Marion and Rachel. Marion has been coaching Rachel as she adapts to her new job as a young attorney. They’ve discussed some of the problems Rachel faces, and set some goals. Now Marion is following up and reviewing progress toward those goals.

Listening Questions

1. What does Marion ask Rachel about at the start of the conversation?
2. What short-term objective does Rachel identify for herself?
3. What does Marion say she is “sure about” and has “no doubt about?”

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BEP 353 – Business English Coaching 2: Setting Goals

BEP 353 - Business English for Coaching 2: Setting Goals

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on setting goals during a coaching session.

You’ve probably heard that an important part of coaching is listening and showing empathy. A good coach tries hard to understand the person he or she is trying to coach. That helps build trust, which creates a constructive relationship. But what is that relationship for? What kind of work does that trust allow?

Once you build a good relationship as a coach, then you can start talking about improvements. After all, coaches don’t exist just to hear about people’s problems. Their whole purpose is to help people get better. And a big part of getting better is setting goals, which is something a good coach can help with.

So how do we work with someone on their goals? Well, that might start with asking about their motivation. After all, goals have to be directed at something. If someone’s motivated by the idea of getting a promotion, then the goals have to relate to that. And that underlines the fact that they are the other person’s goals. We don’t set goals for them. We ask them about their goals. Then we can help them break their goals into smaller objectives.

Of course, another important role of a coach is to give encouragement. So when we help someone set goals, we are in a good position to show confidence in their ability to meet them. And finally, we might ask them about their next steps. That is, what are the concrete activities that the person will take as she tries to accomplish her goals?

In today’s dialog, we’ll rejoin two lawyers: Marion and Rachel. Marion has been coaching Rachel as she learns how to be a better lawyer. In the previous lesson, we heard Marion trying to figure out Rachel’s challenges. Now we’ll hear her help Rachel set some goals.

Listening Questions

1. What does Marion ask Rachel about at the start of the conversation?
2. What short-term objective does Rachel identify for herself?
3. What does Marion say she is “sure about” and has “no doubt about?”

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BEP 352 – Business English Coaching 1: Needs Analysis

BEP 352 - Business English Coaching 1: Needs Analysis

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for coaching.

Everyone understands the importance of a good coach in sports, but what about a good coach at work? In fact, coaching is an important part of every manager’s job. Managing people isn’t just about telling them what to do and how to do it. A good manager helps employees develop and reach their full potential, just like in sports. And that requires an open and constructive coaching relationship.

Coaching involves an ongoing dialog between you and the employee. Together you’ll assess the situation, set goals, monitor those goals, and adjust your activities and objectives as you go along. Yes, I said “together.” The 21st century manager isn’t the same as the 1980s manager. The relationship is different. You have to be the boss without being bossy. You need to maintain your authority and the employee’s autonomy at the same time. That’s a fine line to walk.

Coaching often begins with a needs analysis. That is, you’re meeting with an employee to figure out what is working well, what’s not working at all, and what can be improved. That conversation will involve a lot of open-ended questions. It will also involve showing empathy, which is an important part of leadership.

When you talk about the employee’s performance, it’s important to give very specific examples of behavior. It’s also important to ask for their perspective on those behaviors. Ultimately, you want to get the employee to agree about what his or her challenges are. Only then can you move on to talk about solutions.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Marion, an experienced lawyer, coaching a younger lawyer named Rachel. Marion and Rachel are having an open discussion about Rachel’s performance, and trying to establish what her needs might be.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Marion mention her own experience at her first job?
2. What example of Rachel’s performance does Marion bring up for discussion?
3. After assessing the problem, what does Marion ask Rachel at the end of the conversation?

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BEP 235 – English for Conferences 3: Actively Participating

Conference English Training

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on attending a conference.

Conferences in English and other corporate events can be fantastic learning opportunities. They can also be good chances to connect with other people in your field. But just how good they are depends on more than just the speakers, the workshops, and the other participants. How much you get out of an event depends in large part on what you as a participant do.

You need to put your best foot forward, get engaged in the activities, and meet the people around you. In this way, you’ll learn a lot and make some good connections. But if you sit back, don’t ask questions, and just wait for others to talk to you, you’ll miss out on a great opportunity.

Today we’ll learn some techniques that can be very useful at any kind of event such as a conference, a networking social, or a fundraiser. We will learn how to ask good questions and show you’re engaged. We will also learn how to ask people about their background, give a compliment, and connect a topic to your own experience.

In the dialog, we’ll rejoin a regional HR conference of a large American company. We’ll hear Hanna, a conference attendee, during a workshop. Then we’ll hear Hanna approaching the presenter – Brent – later during lunch.

Listening Questions

1. What concept does Hanna express interest in?
2. What is the first topic of discussion between Hanna and Brent during lunch?
3. What does Hanna think Brent did well?

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