Business English

Business English Pod lessons are suitable for all levels of business English. The lessons look at all kinds of workplace English skills for meetings, presentations, telephoning, negotiating, socializing, travel, and business conversation.

BEP 406 – Financial English 4: Pitching a New Opportunity

BEP 406 LESSON - Financial English 4: Pitching to Clients

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson, the fourth in our series on financial English. In this lesson, we’ll focus on pitching a new opportunity to a client.

In certain ways, selling financial services is just like selling any other kind of product. You connect with people and you match your solution to their needs or desires. And, of course, you show how that solution is worth the money it costs. But with financial services, these activities are usually much higher stakes.

Working with other people’s money requires you to work on maintaining a strong relationship. It’s not a one-off purchase, but an ongoing transaction. You need to let them know how their investments are doing and show clients you understand them as people, including their concerns.

Then, when the time is right, you can pitch new opportunities. If you’re smart, you can set up a real win-win situation with your clients. If they earn more money, then you earn more money, and you both end up better off.

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to a conversation between Robert, an investment advisor, and his client Jessica. Robert wants to give Jessica an update on her current investments before introducing a new opportunity involving a hedge fund.

Listening Questions

1. What expression did Jessica use previously that Robert now brings back up in order to pitch her a new opportunity?
2. What does Robert say is the main benefit of a hedge fund?
3. How does Robert respond when Jessica expresses concerns that a hedge fund requires a big investment?

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Business English News 56 – Deglobalization

BEN 56 - Deglobalization

In this Business English News lesson on the trend toward deglobalization, we look at business English vocabulary related to economics and global trade.

The past few years have been a very interesting time for the world economy. A pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of global supply chains. Geopolitical tensions around the world have intensified, stoking inflation. In response to these disruptive forces, we are seeing a new international dynamic emerge, as Shroders reports:

A decades-long process of globalization is coming to an end as the world becomes more protectionist, favoring opportunities closer to home. Multinational corporations are diversifying where they produce goods and relocating closer to home. This trend represents backtracking from the globalized model of extended supply chains that have defined international trade in the past few decades.

Many saw globalization as an unassailable model for economic development, one that brought universal benefits. And there are many who see deglobalization, as it’s being called, as either regressive or bad for business. But the cracks in the globalized economy are evident.

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BEP 34c – Clarifying and Confirming What Was Said

Business English - BEP 34c - Clarifying What Was Said

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on how to clarify what was said during a conversation.

Communication is rarely easy. There’s so much that can go wrong in a conversation, especially on the phone. We might not hear someone well, we might hear them incorrectly, and we might not understand words or expressions in the same way. For that reason, we need to be able to clarify what was said.

There are a few basic ways to clarify that are extremely useful. We can use “WH” questions, like who, what, where, when, and why. We can ask people to repeat what they said and repeat things for people when they haven’t understood us. And we can use tag questions to confirm that we’ve heard correctly.

Today we’ll listen to a telephone conversation between three colleagues: Benny, Wim, and Andre. They are speaking on the phone for the first time in a while. During their conversation, they use several expressions to clarify what was said.

Listening Questions

1. What does the receptionist say that Benny doesn’t understand right away?
2. What question does Benny ask that Wim needs repeated?
3. What question does Benny restate about the river in Rotterdam?

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Skills 360 – What is DEI: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Skills 360 LESSON - DEI: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Welcome back to the Business English Skills 360 podcast for today’s lesson on the impact and implications of DEI – or diversity, equity, and inclusion – on the workplace.

As part of the “social” aspect of ESG, DEI has exploded in importance in recent years. Over 50% of employees in the US believe this increasing attention is warranted. And, as we discussed in our last lesson, customers are increasingly discerning when it comes to ethical performance.

So, it’s not just your HR manager who’s thinking about this anymore. The companies that are excelling in this area have it baked in at every level. And that includes commitments at the C-suite level. Given this explosion of attention, it’s worth unpacking exactly what we mean by these terms, and what it means for the workplace.

“Diversity” refers to the presence of different people in an organization. And while we might immediately think about gender and race, we’re also talking about age, disabilities, religion, and sexual orientation, just to name a few. Diverse organizations have many different people. “Inclusion” is an atmosphere where all these people feel a sense of belonging. And where there are systems in place to make them feel welcome and valued.

“Equity” can often get confused with “equality,” but it’s really not the same. Equity acknowledges that not everyone has the same starting point, and that some people might need additional support to take advantage of opportunities. So companies committed to equity focus on systems and processes that create fairness and recognize those different starting points.

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Skills 360 – What is ESG: Environmental, Social and Governance

Skills 360 LESSON - ESG: Environmental, Social and Governance

Welcome back to the Business English Skills 360 podcast for today’s lesson on “ESG,” or the environmental, social, and governance commitments companies make.

Along with DEI, which we’ll talk about next time, ESG is one of those acronyms that seems to be everywhere these days. Some companies have made huge strides in ESG, and many of them are reaping the rewards. Others have just started down the path. And then there are some that are resisting, for better or worse. Whatever the situation in your company is, it’s important for you to know what ESG is all about.

On a very simple level, ESG is about paying attention to the non-financial impacts, risks, and opportunities in business. The “E” in ESG stands for “environmental.” This refers to a company’s impacts on the environment, its greenhouse gas emissions, its care for natural resources, and its resilience in the face of climate change.

The “S” in ESG stands for “social.” This pillar is all about the company’s relationship with it stakeholders, both internal and external. That includes employee engagement, as well as relationships with the surrounding community and its people. Finally, the “G” in ESG stands for “governance.” This is all about ethical and accountable leadership, board oversight, equity, and transparency.

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