BEP 194 – Small Talk before a Meeting in English (1)

English Small Talk Conversation 1

Welcome back to Business English Pod for the first in our two-part series on English small talk before a meeting in English.

This is a situation you’ve probably experienced countless times: you arrive for a meeting 10 minutes early. There are several people already there. You say hello and then what do you talk about? What do you say? In this situation, you need to be able to make small talk. Small talk is informal conversation. We use the term “small talk” because it is not about exchanging information or making decisions or having serious discussion. It’s a way to avoid uncomfortable silences and build stronger relationships.

Small talk might seem to be about nothing important, but small talk itself is important. Being able to make small talk will allow you to make yourself part of a group. It will set the stage for more serious types of communication. In this lesson, we’ll look at a few different ways to initiate and respond to small talk.

We’ll join three colleagues, Coby, Liz, and Shawn, who have arrived for a meeting and are waiting for a fourth person to join. As they wait, the colleagues engage in the type of casual conversation you’ll often hear in an English-speaking office.

Listening Questions

1. Why is Gordon going to be late for the meeting?
2. What did Shawn do on the weekend?
3. What sport is Coby talking about?

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BEP 186 – Air Travel: Connecting Flights

Welcome back to Business English Pod as we continue to look at the language and vocabulary of air travel.

Air travel relies on a very complex system of scheduling. Unfortunately, that means that travel plans don’t always work perfectly. The possibility of problems goes up whenever you have one or more connecting flights. What if one airplane is late? What if your bags aren’t transferred properly to your next flight? What if the connecting airport has delays?

Problems happen, and you need to be prepared to deal with them. This is what we’ll be looking at in this lesson. Last time (in BEP 185), we heard Robert check in for a flight to London, with a connecting flight in Chicago. Everything went smoothly at check-in. Robert stated his destination, checked his bags, chose a seat, and confirmed his gate and timing. But his connecting flight was scheduled to leave soon after he arrived in Chicago. And for that reason, a delay in landing has ruined Robert’s travel plans. …

BEP 185 – Air Travel: Checking In to a Flight

In today’s Business English Pod lesson, we’re going to look at language and vocabulary related to air travel, particularly checking in to your flight at the airport.

You’ve probably been in this situation before. You are taking a trip, either for business or pleasure, and you’ve already reserved your ticket. It’s the day of your flight, and you’ve packed your suitcase and another bag that you want to carry with you onto the plane. You make sure you have your passport and wallet, and you catch a taxi to the airport.

What’s the first thing you have to do when you get there? You need to “check-in,” as we say. So you find the correct airline desk and wait in line. Finally, it’s your turn to talk with the ticket agent. What is she going to ask you about? What information do you need to give her? And what information is she going to give you? This is what we’re going to talk about today. …

BEP 69 B – Telephoning: Taking a Message

Welcome back to Business English Pod. This is the second part of our look at answering the phone and taking a message. In this lesson, we’ll focus on taking a message.

Today’s lesson is also featured in our new eBook: Business English for Telephoning. This eBook covers essential language for many different types of business calls, including dealing with customers and complaints, making arrangements and checking on orders.

In our last lesson (BEP 69 A – Answering a Call), we looked at answering a call effectively. We heard an example of poor telephone skills and started in on a dialog that demonstrated good telephone skills. Today, we’re going to continue with that dialog and look at how to take a message. Have you ever missed a telephone message? Or have you received a message that didn’t contain the necessary information? If so, then you understand how important it is not just to take a message, but to do it right.

We’ll look at ways to ask someone to leave a message, information that should be included in a message, and how to offer help. You will also learn how to acknowledge, check back and confirm information that a caller gives you.

Now, let’s rejoin Mark, who works for a company called Trivesco. He is calling a shipping company, Daneline, hoping to speak with someone named Sylvie Petersen. Sylvie is not there, so Mark has to leave a message with Amy, the receptionist.

Listening Questions

1. How does the tone of Amy’s voice sound?
2. What information does Mark include in his message?
3. How does Amy make sure she has Mark’s phone number correct?

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BEP 69 A – Telephoning: Answering a Call

In this Business English Pod episode, we’re going to take another look at one of our most popular and important podcasts. Today we’re talking about using the telephone in English. This is something we all do, but we don’t all do well.

Today’s lesson is also featured in our new eBook: Business English for Telephoning. This eBook covers essential language for many different types of business calls, including dealing with customers and complaints, making arrangements and checking on orders.

Talking on the telephone has become an extremely important part of business. You need to be able to answer a call professionally and create a good image of yourself and your company with only your voice. Having effective telephone skills leaves a good impression on your customers, clients, and colleagues. People are busy, so you want to be very clear, polite and organized.

In this lesson, we’ll begin by looking at a bad example of answering a call and taking message. We’ll discuss why it’s a bad example, and then we’ll go into a good example of answering a call. I’m sure you’ll see a clear difference.

For our bad example, we’ll listen as Justin, an employee with Trivesco, calls a shipping company called Daneline. Justin is hoping to speak with Sylvie Petersen, but it is a receptionist named Amy who answers the phone.

Listening Questions – Bad Example
1. How would you describe Amy’s attitude?
2. Does Justin seem prepared?

Listening Questions – Good Example
1. What information does Amy include in her first sentence?
2. How does Mark Rand introduce himself?

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