BEP 361 – Virtual Teams 3: Video Conferencing with Clients

BEP 361 - Business English Video Conference Meetings 3

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for video conference meetings with clients.

In the past, meeting with clients often meant you had to travel. That might mean across town, or it might mean across the country or overseas. But with modern video conferencing tools, you can now meet with your clients without ever leaving your office.

But running a virtual meeting in English doesn’t look exactly the same as an in-person meeting. While you use a lot of the same skills, those skills will sound a bit different in action. And there are some new skills you’ll need to develop, as you have to manage not only a group of people, but also the technology.

At the start of a meeting, you’ll probably get things going with a semi-formal welcome, before giving a rough outline for the meeting. At some point, you’ll have to ask for people’s patience while you take care of a technical issue, like sharing your screen or admitting new people to the meeting room.

One big difference between in-person and virtual meetings is how you deal with questions. Yes, you’ll have to call on people that you can see have a question, but you may also need to deal with questions or comments that come through the chat function.

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to a meeting being run by Adam and Cathy, two business consultants. They’re talking with a group of managers, including Sophie and Fareed, at Healthwise, a chain of health food stores that is trying to improve their online sales. You will hear Adam and Cathy demonstrate the skills you need to run a client meeting by video conference.

Listening Questions

1. What is the rough outline for the meeting that Adam provides?
2. Adam asks for his clients’ patience while he deals with what technical matter?
3. How does Adam know that Sophie has a question?

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BEP 360 – Virtual Teams 2: Managing Remotely

BEP 360 - Video Conference English Meetings

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on managing remotely by video conference in English.

Managers today have to juggle lots of different communication channels, even more so with the rise of remote teams and virtual meetings. It’s not all face-to-face anymore, with so many teams working remotely and videoconferencing with apps like Zoom becoming a daily occurrence. And this means managers need a new set of approaches and skills to manage their teams. One situation where we see these skills come into play is in virtual meetings and one-on-one chats with your team members.

When you’re holding a video conference in English with a team member, you’ll typically start with a bit of small talk before switching to the main topic. With remote work, people may have more anxiety, and as a manager part of your job is to relieve that anxiety. Emotional leadership and building trust may also require you to show vulnerability.

At the same time, supporting your staff will involve outlining very clearly your expectations about communication. After all, we have so many more options in today’s business world. For example, if you’re using Zoom or another video conferencing tool, you’ll find yourself sending resources through the chat function, rather than handing someone a document or sending a link through email. And as people adapt to new ways of communicating, you will have to give solid technical or logistical advice.

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to a conversation between Heather, a manager in a consulting firm, and her employee Adam. Adam is a junior consultant preparing for a meeting with an important client. Heather is demonstrating her skills in managing her team remotely.

Listening Questions

1. What does Heather say to show her vulnerability?
2. What expectations does Heather emphasize about communicating with clients?
3. What bit of technical advice does Heather give Adam?

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BEP 359 – Virtual Teams 1: Video Conference Meetings

Business English BEP 359 - Virtual Teams 1: Video Conference Meetings

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for video conference meetings.

The business world has seen an explosion in video conferencing in English. With tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, more and more people are working from home. And more and more meetings are happening virtually instead of in-person. Staff meetings, client meetings, project meetings, even social functions are happening online.

This shift in how we work in virtual teams brings many new challenges. And if you’re leading a team, or managing a group, or facilitating a meeting, you need a new set of skills in addition to the ones you already have. You have to manage the group in different ways, and manage the technology effectively.

This all begins with establishing ground rules at the start of a meeting. You’ll also want to provide clear advice on how to use different meeting software. And you might also have to interrupt the meeting to deal with sound or video problems.

Interacting in virtual meetings feels different. It doesn’t flow the same as a face-to-face meeting, so you might find yourself asking people to take turns, or trying to facilitate open discussion.

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to a weekly check-in meeting at a business consulting firm. The meeting is being led by Heather, a skilled and experienced manager. We’ll also hear Dave, Cathy, and Adam, three members of her team. During the check-in, Heather has to juggle the technology and the people.

Listening Questions

1. What ground rules does Heather establish at the beginning of the meeting?
2. What does Heather do when there is some background noise?
3. How does Heather get an open discussion going at the end of the conversation?

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