Business English Pod publishes audio and video of cast lessons and online learning materials for intermediate and advanced business english learners. The lessons cover a comprehensive range of business english skills for meetings, presentations, telephoning, negotiating, job interviews, travel and more.
Welcome back to Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson on the business English skills everyone needs in order to be successful.
As any guru worth his weight in salt will tell you, business is all about relationships. That means connecting with new people, and maintaining good relations with people in your existing network. And one of the ways we do this is through small talk.
We call it small talk because it’s not about big important business topics. It’s about things like the weekend, the weather, sports, or family. Making small talk in English allows us to connect with people, find out more about them, and set a mood. This kind of conversation involves a back and forth of simple comments, questions, and answers. You need to show interest in the other person, but also reveal a bit about yourself. And it’s important to stick to topics that are common to both people.
Once you’ve broken the ice with small talk, then you can move on to bigger topics. And that’s where you bring in the skill of expressing opinions in English. Exactly how you do that depends on the situation. If you’re in a meeting and want to add your perspective, you might just introduce it with an expression like “the way I see things” or “as far as I’m concerned.”
But if you’re making a suggestion or pitching an idea, there are a couple of ways to go about it. You might do it carefully with words like “perhaps” or “maybe” or “we could.” Or, if you want to state something more confidently, you can use stronger words like “have to” or “should.” The important thing here is that you assess the situation and adapt your language accordingly.
After all, English conversation isn’t just about speaking; it’s also about listening, and that leads me to asking questions. I don’t just mean “yes or no” questions. I mean substantive questions that show that you’re listening and engaged. This also includes discerning and sincere questions about people’s ideas. This is a big part of being an active listener, which means listening to understand, not just listening to respond.
Of course, being a good listener doesn’t mean being a yes-man. Participating in a meeting or negotiations in English requires the ability to reject ideas. And that’s not as simple as saying “no” or “I disagree.” Most situations require a more nuanced or careful approach.
But be careful with this kind of softening language. If you’re in a position to say no or reject something, be clear about it. You can still be diplomatic without waffling. To do that, you can comment on the positive aspects of the idea, or the intention behind them, before saying “no.”
Rejecting ideas effectively is one aspect of being decisive and getting results. And that brings me to one last skill I want to mention today: getting people to take action. You’ve probably been in an English meeting where there was a lot of great discussion, but no real action points. So you need to learn how to delegate effectively.
Alright, so we’ve looked at five essential business English skills. Let’s do a quick recap: you need to know how to make small talk, express opinions, and ask good questions. At the same time, you need to be able to reject ideas and get action from people.
Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on resolving conflict in the workplace.
Conflict happens. There’s no way around it. But not everyone has the same attitude toward conflict. Some people run from it, or refuse to even admit it exists. Other people acknowledge it but simply hope it goes away on its own. And some people are able to approach it with confidence, dealing with it openly and honestly.
The first step in conflict resolution is for the people involved to sit down and try to work it out themselves. But that doesn’t always work, and in many cases it takes a third party to attempt to find solutions. That third party might be a peer, or colleague. But mostly it’s a manager or leader. In fact, helping mediate conflict between people is an important function of a manager.
Effective mediation is a tricky business. You need to help people have the open and honest conversations that they might not be able to have on their own. Part of that involves ensuring each person has their turn to speak. One of your aims, of course, is common understanding, so you may need to encourage empathy and confirm understanding at different steps along the way.
As a conflict mediator, your ultimate aim it to find a solution. To do that, you’ll want to have people agree on a common goal. You may also ask them to focus on positive actions, rather than negative ones. Positive actions are more solution-focused.
In today’s dialog, we’ll continue hearing about a conflict between Trevor and Andrew, two retail managers in the same company. Trevor has tried talking with Andrew about their personal conflict, but they haven’t been able to reach a clear solution. So their boss Ann has stepped in as a third-party to help resolve the conflict.
1. What does Ann do when Trevor interrupts Andrew at the start of the dialog?
2. After Andrew explains his side of the story, what does Ann ask Trevor?
3. What is the common goal for the solution Ann proposes?
Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on how to resolve conflict.
Just say the word “conflict” and people usually get uncomfortable. Most people want to avoid conflict at all costs. But conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. In fact, it’s a natural result of people working in groups. And in a healthy organization, conflict can actually be constructive. It can lead to personal and professional growth, as well as new ideas and ways of working.
But those positive results of conflict can only be realized if people are willing to face conflict directly and honestly. If people ignore conflict, or refuse to face it, then bad things can happen. Unresolved conflict leads to toxicity and poisoned relationships or teams. Given enough time, it can destroy a company.
So if you experience conflict with someone at work, what can you do? Well, the first step involves trying to work things out one-on-one. You need to talk, privately and openly. And when you do, it’s important to focus on the impact of the other person’s behavior and to try to identify the root cause of the problem. At the same time, you should consider the other sides views and ask them about their perceptions, rather than just focusing on yours. Stick to the facts as you try to resist arguing, and always look for possible solutions.
In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a retail manager named Trevor try to resolve a conflict he’s having with Andrew, a manager at another store in the same company. Trevor is trying to calmly deal with the situation and find a way to improve their working relationship.
1. What does Trevor say he felt as a result of Andrew’s behavior?
2. How does Trevor respond when Andrew gives him examples of employees that have changed workplaces?
3. What solution does Trevor propose?
925 English Video Lesson 28 – Using Hypotheticals in English | Business English Pod - YouTube
In today’s 925 English video lesson, we’re going to learn how to talk about hypothetical situations in English.
Humans are always using their imagination. Sometimes we think about what might happen in the future. Other times we have to imagine different situations in order to figure out what is the best decision to make today or in the future. And when we talk about ideas like this, we use particular words and structures.
For example, when we introduce a hypothetical – or imagined – situation, there are a few expressions we can use. We often start with the words “say” or “suppose.” So, something like “suppose you were the boss” is understood as “imagine you were the boss.” You can also ask a question using “what if,” such as “what if you were the boss?” That word “if” is especially important. We’ll see that word again later in this lesson.
925 English is a course of English video lessons for beginners (CEFR level A2) English learners. With 925 English video lessons you can learn business English expressions to use in work and business.
According to Donald Trump, “trade wars are easy to win.” However, as usual, reality appears to contradict Trump’s claims. In the current dispute between the U.S. and China, it doesn’t look like a winner will emerge any time soon. As CNN notes:
The Trump administration made good on its threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports from 10% to 25%, marking a sharp rise in tensions between the world’s two largest economies. After months of talks aimed at ending a year-long dispute that has already hurt global growth and rattled stock markets around the world, the latest US salvo risks triggering a new wave of tit-for-tat responses.
You may know all about the basic English job interview questions. And you might be comfortable talking about your basic qualifications and experience. But most companies don’t stop the selection process after one round of interviews. They create a shortlist and invite a few outstanding candidates back for a second interview.
In many cases, that second interview is what we call a behavioral interview. Interviewers will ask questions about how you acted or reacted to challenges in past work, and how you dealt with or adapted to different situations. In this way, they can find out whether you have the right attitude, approach, and abilities for the job.
The behavioral interview is a special opportunity to demonstrate soft skills, such as leadership, or how you take a principled approach to problems. You might also want to show that you can remain calm in conflict. In many cases, the STAR approach can help shape your responses. This is when you describe four things: the situation, the task, the action, and the result. And in this kind of English interview, you have to be careful, because some interviewers will try to give you leading questions to get you to reveal mistakes or problems.
In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Kat, who is applying for a job with a private healthcare company. She is being interviewed by Denise. Denise is asking Kat some tough behavioral questions, and Kat is doing a good job of demonstrating some important soft skills.
1. What example does Kat give of how she showed leadership and went above and beyond?
2. What situation does Kat describe in response to a question about an unpopular decision?
3. What attitude or attribute does Kat demonstrate when describing a situation of conflict?
Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on succeeding in a technical interview in English.
While we have lots of lessons on job interviews in English, nearly all of them are about the first round of an interview, or the initial screening interview. If you succeed at that, you’ll get called back for a second interview. And it’s the English interview skills for these 2nd round interviews we want to look at now. Today, we’ll focus on the technical interview. And in the next lesson, we’ll look at the behavioral interview.
Just like any interview, preparation for a technical interview is key. And you can think beforehand about how you might show things like innovative experience or a learning attitude. You might also decide to highlight certain attributes that you think are beneficial, like being a team player.
But what about the problem-solving part of the technical job interview? Can you actually prepare for every possible problem? No, you can’t. But remember that the purpose is not to trick you, or make you feel stupid. The interviewers just want to see how you approach problems. So it’s important for you to start by clarifying the question, and then clearly explaining your solution.
In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a software developer named Kevin, who’s doing a technical interview for a new job. Kevin not only has to face questions about his experience, but he also has to explain a solution to a technical problem. He’s being interviewed by Mick. We’ll hear how Kevin navigates the interview.
1. What kind of experience does Kevin demonstrate when he talks about an exciting project he worked on?
2. Besides having a happy client, why was the project so successful?
3. When Mick gives Kevin a technical problem, what is the first thing Kevin does?
925 English Lesson 27 - Using Questions to Ask for Details | Business English Lesson - YouTube
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.
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve looked at a lot of different English idioms connected to food. It should be no surprise that so many expressions are related to eating and drinking. After all, we do it three times a day, or more. Food is not just a necessity, it’s a big part of life and culture.
When you’re looking at idioms, it’s important to remember that they are fixed expressions where the words don’t have a literal meaning. So when you hear that someone is “in a pickle,” you have to understand that there’s no actual pickle. It just means that someone’s in a difficult situation. You have to figure it out from the context, because there’s not really an obvious connection between pickles and difficult situations.
In the lesson, we’ll rejoin a conversation between three colleagues. Jessie has been trying to convince Luke and Ben to join her in starting a business together. Today, we’ll hear them talking about the possible challenges of running their own business.
1. What example does Ben give of a possibly difficult business situation?
2. What does Jessie say is one important benefit of running your own business?
3. According to Jessie, what is necessary for people to have a good business partnership?
Welcome back to Business English Pod! In today’s lesson we’re going to take another look at English idioms related to food.
What do you think when someone says that another person is “out to lunch?” Of course, it might mean that the person is actually out of the office, at a restaurant, eating a nice sandwich. But it might have nothing to do with actually eating. “Out to lunch” can mean acting crazy, not paying attention, or not understanding reality. In other words, “out to lunch” is an English idiom.
An idiom is any expression where one thing actually means something else, like when “out to lunch” means crazy. English has a huge variety of idioms for every situation. And many of those idioms are related to food. Some are related to meals, like “to put food on the table” and “to sing for your supper.” And others are related to specific foods, like “cool as a cucumber” and “small potatoes.” Learning idioms like these is a great way to improve your English.
In today’s lesson, we’ll continue listening to a conversation among three colleagues. Jessie has just told Luke and Ben about her idea to start a business. She wants them to consider joining her in the new venture. During their discussion, they use many English idioms related to food.
1. After saying he likes Jessie’s idea, what does Ben say he’s concerned about?
2. How does Luke feel about managing people?
3. What does Jessie think about the fact that they are always talking about how bad their workplace is?