BEP 400 – Socializing with Colleagues 1: Meeting New People

BEP 400 LESSON - English for Socializing with Colleagues 1: Meeting New People

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for socializing with your colleagues. In this lesson we’re going to learn how to socialize with colleagues you’re meeting in-person for the first time.

What do you talk about when you meet someone new or see your colleagues socially? Some outgoing people apparently never have to think about it. They’re just natural socializers and feel comfortable with small talk. For most of us though, making small talk with new people or co-workers feels uncomfortable at best, or painful at worst. But it doesn’t have to be.

We call it “small talk” because it’s light, simple, and informal conversation. It’s not serious, deep, or overly formal. Small talk is often about personal matters, but not too personal if it’s at work. We often talk about places or things that are safe and avoid controversial topics. And there’s a flow to small talk that can be tricky to master. Your comments can’t be too short, or you’ll seem rude. But if they’re too long, people will lose interest.

So what can you talk about if you’re meeting colleagues for the first time at say a conference or a company retreat? Well, some key topics include your name and job, of course, but also places and travel. And key strategies include building on other people’s comments, making guesses or inferences, and using unfinished sentences to invite other people to speak. With a handle on these approaches, you can comfortably chat socially with your colleagues.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a conversation at a company retreat. People from a large company are gathering for meetings and team-building. We’ll hear Michelle, Jen, and Ryan meet each other for the first time. In their conversation, you’ll hear the topics and strategies that I just mentioned.

Listening Questions

1. What information does Jen give in her short personal introduction?
2. What comment or fact given by Michelle does Jen build on with a further comment?
3. What does Jen ask Ryan about once he has introduced himself?

Premium Members: PDF Transcript | Quizzes | PhraseCast | Lesson Module

Download: Podcast MP3

BEP 31c – English for Meetings: Responding to Suggestions

BEP 31 LESSON - English for Meetings: Responding to Suggestions

Welcome back to Business English Pod. Today’s lesson is the second in a series about handling suggestions in English meetings. Last time we looked at how to make suggestions. And this time we’re going to look at how to respond to suggestions.

Business is a team sport. And behind every successful team is a healthy internal dialog and debate. If you want to succeed in business and be a good team player, you need opinions and the skills to express them effectively. But that doesn’t only mean making your own suggestions. It also means responding to other people’s suggestions.

So in this lesson, we’ll learn different ways of responding to suggestions. That includes responding positively, by accepting or praising the idea. It also includes rejecting ideas or casting doubt on them.

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to a marketing team meeting at a sports shoe company. The four colleagues are talking about a new ad campaign. They are making suggestions for a “spokesperson,” or recognizable figure to promote their shoes. During the discussion they use a variety of techniques and language to respond to suggestions.

Listening Questions

1. What does Miguel think of Sven’s idea to hire an overweight business executive as a spokesperson?
2. How does Karen react to Miguel’s suggestion of hiring a famous sports star?
3. What is the group’s response to Karen’s final suggestion of hiring a golfer?

Premium Members: PDF Transcript | Quizzes | PhraseCast | Lesson Module

Download: Podcast MP3

Business English News 54 – Tech Takeovers

Business English News 54 - Tech Takeovers

In this Business English News lesson we look at business English vocabulary related to tech takeovers or mergers and acquisitions.

Takeovers are a huge part of the tech business, and they’re not always hostile. In fact, many young entrepreneurs build niche companies hoping to be acquired. And for the giants of tech, mergers and acquisitions are a critical growth strategy. With the personalities and egos involved, takeovers keep the news cycle buzzing, as the drama at Twitter has shown. According to the Guardian:

Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in 2022 promised the biggest shake-up since the company was founded. The former world’s richest man was keen to take on the project after becoming disillusioned by the site’s perceived biases and content moderation policy. But Twitter’s revolution became a bloodbath in the process, cutting staff by 80% to hone in on the new direction. Then they lost users and advertisers as a lean team struggled to manage disinformation, trolling and impersonation online.

Free Resources: PDF Transcript | Quizzes | Lesson Module

Download: Podcast MP3

BEP 30c – English for Meetings: Making Suggestions

BEP 30c LESSON - English for Meetings: How to make Suggestions

Welcome back to Business English Pod. Today’s lesson is the first in a series about making and responding to suggestions in meetings in English. This is part of a broader project to take another look at some of our older lessons.

Solving problems and coming up with ideas in groups is a big part of work. Succeeding in business means participating effectively in these kinds of group meetings. And to do that, you need to know how to make and respond to suggestions. It’s no use having a good idea if you can’t express it!

In this lesson, we’re going to focus on how to make suggestions. We’ll look at several different expressions we use to suggest ideas. Expressions like “one possibility,” and “maybe,” and “how about” are essential when you want to make suggestions in a meeting. And it’s good to have lots of different expressions for different situations.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a conversation between four people who work in marketing for a sports shoe company. They are discussing a new ad campaign and coming up with ideas for a “spokesperson,” or a famous person to advertise their new shoes. In their conversation, they use lots of expressions for making suggestions.

Listening Questions

1. What words does Sven use to introduce his suggestion of using a famous business executive?
2. What suggestion does Miguel introduce with the word “perhaps?”
3. How does Charles introduce his suggestion of choosing someone from a sport where it’s normal to be heavy?

Premium Members: PDF Transcript | Quizzes | PhraseCast | Lesson Module

Download: Podcast MP3

BEP 399 – English for Sales: Financial Services (3)

BEP 399 LESSON - English for Sales: Financial Services 3

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson, the third in a three-part series on how to sell financial services.

For people with money, choosing a wealth manager is a high stakes decision. They want to be able to sleep well at night, knowing their hard-earned money and assets are in good hands. They want to choose a financial services professional – or a firm – they can trust.

To build the trust required to sell financial services, you need to ask the right questions and provide the right information. To develop rapport and understanding with a potential client, you might ask about their major financial concerns. And you might have to answer tough questions about your performance to convince them that you’re the right choice.

In our last lesson, we learned a lot of great collocations, or common expressions, related to financial services. Some expressions are well-known, but you may find yourself explaining some jargon or special terms to a potential client. And at a certain point in the discussion, you’ll have to find a diplomatic way of introducing the topic of fees.

In today’s dialog, we’ll rejoin a conversation between Robert and Jessica. Robert works for Vickers Wealth Management as a financial advisor. Jessica is a potential client. She’s looking for someone to help manage her assets. Now, they’re nearing the end of their first conversation in Robert’s office.

Listening Questions

1. What are Jessica’s biggest worries about?
2. What is Robert going to send to Jessica to help her understand his company’s performance?
3. What special wealth management term does Robert explain to Jessica?

Premium Members: PDF Transcript | Quizzes | PhraseCast | Lesson Module

Download: Podcast MP3