925 English Lesson 27 – Using Questions to Ask for Details

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In today’s 925 English video lesson, we’re going to learn how to use questions in English to ask for details.

It would be great if everyone always told us exactly what we need to know. But it doesn’t usually happen. When we want detailed information, we need to go out and get it. And that means asking people questions.

You can confirm information with simple yes / no questions, like “Do you sell printers?” or “Are you the manager?” But I want to start by looking at questions that get different kinds of information, not just a “yes” or “no” answer. And one of the best ways to get information is with WH questions. We have five WH words in English: who, what, where, when, and why. You might also use “how,” which has a “w” and an “h” but not in that order.

925 English is a course of business English video lessons for beginners (CEFR level A2) English learners. With 925 English lessons you can learn business English expressions to use in work and business.

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BEP 322 – Project Management 7: Debriefing User Testing

BEP 322 Lesson Module - English for Project Management 7: Debriefing User Testing

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for project management and debriefing user testing during a software project.

Ask anyone in the tech world and they’ll tell you that user testing is the key to good software development. In fact, that’s not quite true, because the key is actually good user testing. Users don’t always give you exactly the information you need. Or they may not give you all the information you need. For these reasons, you need to be able to do an excellent job of debriefing a user test with the users.

Debriefing basically means talking about an experience. Debriefing helps us understand a user’s thoughts and feelings during their experience with the software. And in software development, that means we can make the necessary changes to improve that experience.

Debriefing a user test effectively might require you to do several things. For one, it’s a good idea to start by setting the focus for the debrief. And later, you might have to bring the user back to that focus area. To get a general sense of the experience, you might ask for overall impressions. And to get more detail, you might ask the user to talk about the process of using the software. It’s also a good idea to acknowledge important issues when they come up.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a software developer named Jill debriefing a user test with Carla, an office worker. Jill’s company, OptiTech, has been developing new software for a logistics company where Carla works.

Listening Questions

1. What does Jill say she wants to focus on in the debrief?
2. How does Jill respond to Carla’s suggestion about being able to update a driver’s status?
3. How does Jill respond when Carla mentions that the routes are changing color too soon?

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BEP 280 – Sales English 2: Understanding Customer Needs

Business-English-Pod-280-Sales-Process 2

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on understanding your customer’s needs in the sales process.

As a salesperson, you can’t just walk up to a customer and start pitching your products. How do you know the customer actually needs your products? And why would the customer buy from you without knowing anything about you? No, the sales process doesn’t start with a pitch. It starts with making your initial approach and getting to know your customers, which is what we looked at in our last lesson.

So what come’s next? Well, once you’ve made your initial approach, you can move on to understanding the customer’s needs. And that’s what we’ll focus on in this lesson, because if you understand what the customer needs, then you can offer them the right solutions.

What are the techniques we can use to learn about a customer’s needs? Well, today we’ll cover several, including how to ask direct questions, present alternatives, and ask about priorities. We’ll also look at proposing the next step and asking about buying authority. Once you’ve done these things, you can move on confidently to matching your solutions to their needs.

In today’s dialog, we’ll rejoin Aaron, a salesperson with a commercial refrigeration company. He’s talking to a couple of potential customers at a new hotel: Eva, the hotel manager, and Robin, the head chef. Eva and Robin have just given Aaron a tour of the hotel’s restaurant, bar, and café. Aaron has learned a bit about their plans and now he wants to know more about their specific needs.

Listening Questions

1. Which area of the hotel does Aaron present an alternative option for?
2. What are Eva and Robin’s two major priorities?
3. What does Aaron say he is going to do next?

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BEP 279 – Sales English 1: Making your Approach

BEP 279 - Business English for the Sales Process 1

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s business English lesson on making your initial sales approach.

Sales is right at the core of business. It’s how you connect people with products, and turn products into profits. But most sales aren’t made with a single conversation. There’s a process involved. This process involves many different steps, and at each step, a good salesperson has to use their skills to keep the process moving forward.

In this lesson, we’ll focus on the initial step of the sales process: making the approach. This is when you talk to the potential customer for the first time. You want to establish a good rapport and ask some questions to start learning about their needs. We’ll learn how to compliment a prospect and ask open-ended questions. We’ll also cover how to show interest to get more information, show that you’ve done some background research, and reference other business connections. With these skills, you can get off to a good start with your prospect.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a salesperson named Aaron, who works for a company that sells refrigeration and cooling equipment. Aaron is visiting a new hotel in Thailand and talking with Eva, the hotel’s manager and Robin, the head chef. He has arranged to visit the hotel and hopes to start building a relationship and finding out about their needs.

Listening Questions

1. How does Aaron compliment his prospective customers?
2. What does Aaron show interest in to get more information?
3. What business connection do Aaron, Robin, and Eva have in common?

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BEP 24c – Diplomatic Language (Part 2)

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on using diplomatic, or indirect, language.

What do I mean by diplomatic language? Well, imagine you’re in a meeting and you disagree with someone. Is it okay to say “I disagree with you?” Well, maybe in some situations. But usually we need to be less direct. For example, you could say “I’m not so sure I agree with that.” Using “not so sure” makes it softer, or more diplomatic.

This kind of language is really important when we talk about problems, right? And we can use careful language to downplay a problem. What is “downplay?” That means to make a problem seem less serious. For example, maybe your coworker is worried about a computer problem. You could downplay the problem by saying “there’s no reason to think it will happen again.” You didn’t say there isn’t a problem, right? You just made it seem less serious.

So, what kind of careful language will you learn today? Well, you’ll learn how to disagree carefully and how to guide people to a key idea. You’ll also learn how to interrupt politely, downplay a problem, and highlight the main point.

In the dialog, you’ll hear a teleconference between four managers who work for a guitar company. In our last lesson, we heard Jack talking carefully about a problem at the factory. Some workers got sick, and the other managers were worried because the workers complained to the government. Now those managers want to know more about what might happen to the factory.

Listening Questions

1. Jack thinks the others are exaggerating, or overstating, the problem. What does he say before he tells them this?
2. Dan interrupts Jack when he’s talking. How does Dan do this? What does he say?
3. According to Jack, are these new problems?

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