BEP 182 – Handling a Crisis 4: Moving Forward

This Business English Pod lesson is the final part in our series on handling a crisis. We’ll see how to start moving forward after the first phase of a crisis has passed.

A crisis is a stressful situation. People are under pressure and meetings or conversations can be tense. But if everyone maintains the same goal, and a good leader gives direction to a group, a crisis can be overcome. And overcoming a crisis means talking about how to move forward.

In our last episode, we heard a conference call, as the team of Frank, Mike, Sandy, Monika, and Simone re-evaluated the situation and tried to gain some perspective. They talked about how the crisis has been handled, and things became a little tense, especially between Simone and Mike.

In this episode, we’ll continue with that conference call. Mike and Simone continue to disagree, while Sandy and Monika try to support Mike, and Frank tries to take control of the situation. Let’s listen as they figure out how to move forward at this stage of the crisis.

Listening Questions

1. What does Sandy say about the company’s history?
2. According to Monika, what are the local people worried about?
3. What does Frank think about the group of people?

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BEP 181 – Handling a Crisis 3: Gaining Perspective

This is the third in our Business English Pod series on handling a crisis. In the first part of a crisis, there may be a lot of confusion and activity. But if you make it through that part okay, what comes next?

At a certain point after the critical phase, people will come together to re-evaluate the situation. Team work is important. People need to be working together to handle the crisis. If they don’t, if they disagree and try to go in different directions, it won’t be good for the company. Unity is absolutely essential. It takes good leadership to establish that unity early on, but it takes good team work to maintain it.

In our last lesson, we heard Mike the production engineer talking with the VP of Communications in Singapore, Monika. She was getting some information from Mike about an accident and creating a communication plan. That was still the critical phase of the crisis.

In this episode, we’ll hear a teleconference meeting after that critical phase. It’s time to think about what has happened and re-evaluate the situation. We’ll hear Mike and Monika, as well as Frank the American boss, Sandy the plant manager, and a lawyer named Simone. Let’s listen as they try to gain perspective on the crisis and figure out how well they’ve handled the situation so far.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Mike say “sorry” to Simone?
2. What does Monika want to focus on in the discussion?
3. What does Sandy think about Simone’s concerns?

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Skills 360 – Diplomatic and Direct Language

In this Business English Skills 360 lesson we take a look at the language we use in a crisis. In our last two lessons (BEP 179 and BEP 180), we listened to a team dealing with a serious crisis: an accident at a factory. You probably noticed how some of the people are quite careful about the words they use.

A crisis is a sensitive situation. Emotions are running high and people are on edge. There is the potential for conflict if you do or say the wrong thing. At the same time, the clock is ticking and you may not have time to manage everyone’s feelings. For these reasons, you have a very fine balancing act between being diplomatic and being direct.

So, when should you be diplomatic and when should you be direct? Well, you need to assess the situation and determine which is best. Diplomatic language can protect people’s feelings. It can also avoid conflict and build trust. Those can all be very important in a crisis, when everybody needs to be on board with a plan. On the other hand, direct language can show a sense of urgency and seriousness, and it can prevent confusion. Those are also important in a conflict, when things must happen quickly and misunderstanding is just not an option. Remember that to be a good crisis manager, you need to adapt your style and strategy to the situation.

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BEP 180 – Handling a Crisis 2: Strategizing

In this Business English Pod lesson, we’ll see how important it is to strategize and plan when you’re handling a crisis.

Any crisis is a test of business strength. To be more specific, it’s a test of people in business. There’s nothing like a crisis to show us who can handle the pressure and who will crack. Can your business come through a crisis well? Do you have people with the right leadership skills and decision-making abilities to handle the crisis successfully? Let’s see how our team handles things.

Our last episode was about taking control in a crisis. We heard Sandy and Mike report a factory accident to their boss Frank. Frank handled that early part of the crisis well. He calmed his employees down, gave them clear orders, and reassured them.

Today, we’ll see how they develop a strategy to handle the crisis. Mike has been instructed to call the company’s VP of Communications in Singapore. Her name is Monika Jing, and she’ll show some clear thinking in assessing the problem and making a plan going forward.

Listening Questions

1. Who has Mike talked to about the incident?
2. What does Mike say could happen if the situation is really bad?
3. What does Monika want Mike to do while she contacts other people?

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BEP 179 – Handling a Crisis 1: Taking Control

This is the first in a series of Business English lessons on handling a crisis.

Imagine this: it’s four o’clock in the morning and you’re sound asleep. The phone rings. It’s one of your managers. There’s been a terrible accident! What do you do? What do you say?

At some point in your career, you will have to deal with a major crisis. It could be a labor strike or an environmental disaster. And there are minor crises, like missing an important delivery or running out of paper, that can happen every day. These events can certainly do damage, but how much? That depends on how you deal with them.

Good crisis management is the key. Your success and reputation depend on it. So in this lesson, we’ll look at what happens when a crisis breaks, or begins. This is all about “Taking Control in a Crisis.” We’ll cover some useful techniques and language to deal effectively with that early morning phone call about an accident.

We’ll hear Sandy and Mike, who work at a factory in China that has just had an accident. Sandy is the plant manager, while Mike is the lead production engineer. A pipe has burst, releasing gas and injuring two workers. Now Sandy and Mike are calling their boss, Frank Menzies, in the U.S. Let’s listen as Sandy and Mike deliver the bad news and Frank takes control of the crisis.

Listening Questions

1. Why isn’t Mike on the call at the beginning?
2. What information about the incident does Frank want to know?
3. What does Frank instruct Mike to do at the end?

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