BEP 138 – Sailing Idioms: Company Performance (1)

In this Business English Pod episode, we’re going to look at how business idioms related to ships and sailing can be used to describe company performance.

The image of a ship is a powerful one in business. The ship is like a company – a huge entity that must be steered toward success, maintained properly, and carefully guided away from dangers like storms and rocks. Employees are often seen as a crew of sailors, a group that must work together as a team. So sailing idioms frequently appear when we discuss business in English.

Today’s episode starts a two-part series on sailing idioms. Lakisha and Warren are two colleagues discussing the decline of Trussock’s, an engineering firm that has been faltering since a new CEO took over.

Listening Questions

1) What are the major differences between Trussock’s old CEO and the new CEO?
2) What do Lakisha and Warren think will help change the situation at Trussock’s?

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BEP 74 – English Idioms: Business is War (2)

This is the second in a two-part Business English Pod series on English idioms related to war.

Everywhere you look in business, you will find the language of war: We often think – and talk – about business competition in terms of attacking and defending, gaining and losing ground.

During the first business ESL podcast in this series, we studied many such war and military related idioms. We learned the meaning of “taking flak,” “reinforcing one’s position,” “laying low,” “making a move” and many others. In this podcast, we will continue exploring useful war idioms.

The dialog picks up where we left off at the Luminex management meeting. Jane has just explained that they need to think “strategically.” He explains that this means “laying low,” by which he means waiting to take action until the economy improves.

As you listen, pay attention to the war idioms Jane and her colleagues use. You may not understand them the first time. After you hear the debrief, go back and listen again, then things should be much clearer.

Listening Questions

1) What does Jane mean when she says their competitor, Meyers, is its own worst enemy?
2) The speakers describe their new strategy as an “ambush” that will “surround” Meyers. Why do they say this? What is the strategy?

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BEP 73 – English Idioms: Business is War (1)

Business and war. War and business. It’s no accident that many business strategies and management techniques were first developed in the military. Actually, it’s quite natural that we think about business competition in terms of war. Companies fight each other for market share. We strategize about how to win the battle. You try to attack my market position, and I defend it. Business is full of such war idioms. Though it’s not the only way we think about business, it is certainly the main way we talk about it. Therefore, to communicate effectively in a business environment, we need to learn these war idioms.

In today’s dialog, the management at Luminex, a producer of LCD TVs, is discussing how to respond to a attack on their market position by a competitor, Meyers. Traditionally, Meyers has been strong in the premium (high value) market and Luminex has been strong in the mid-range market. Recently, however, Meyers has tried to take mid-range market share from Luminex.

Pay attention to the war idioms that the meeting participants use as you listen. Don’t worry if they don’t make sense to you the first time you listen. After you’ve heard the idioms explained in the debrief, go back and listen again, and the dialog should be much clearer.

Listening Questions

1) The first two speakers talk about “always being on the defensive” and “taking way too much flak.” What do they mean and what do they propose doing?
2) How does Jane’s point of view differ from the first two speakers?

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BEP 61 – American Sports Idioms in a Business Meeting

This is the first in a series of Business English Practice Pods that review and extend the language that is covered in the regular podcast. Practice pod dialogs will revise key language but in different situations. Also, they give you more opportunities to practice what you’ve learned.

We’ll hear several idioms from Sports Idioms 1 (BEP 57) and 2 (BEP 58) being used in a new context in today’s dialog:

– to play ball
– to stall for time
– to keep/have one’s eye on the ball
– to step up to the plate

We’ll see how these idioms are useful in a different context, a business meeting. After the dialog, we’ll hear some further example phrases and then have a chance to practice using these idioms. Jen, Ken and Ryan of Ambient are in a marketing meeting discussing Accent’s recent buyout of Telstar.

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BEP 58 – Water Cooler Chitchat: Sports Idioms (2)

Sports Idioms 2, is part of a series that focuses on informal conversation or small talk – water cooler chitchat. We’re continuing where we left off last time in BEP 57. Jan and Jen, employees of major American telecommunications company Ambient, are chatting about a recent event in the industry: Accent, a European telecom company, has taken over TelStar, one of Ambient’s American competitors.

Last time, Jen had just discussed how she was surprised that TelStar decided to play ball, that is cooperate, with Accent because the shareholders had been “stalling for time,” or delaying, for months. How does Jan respond?

Listening Questions

1) Who is McConnel and what do Jan and Jen think of him?
2) What do Jen and Jan say about Accent’s future in American market?

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