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Meeting Essentials
A business English study guide to communicating effectively in meetings





Written by

James Moss


Audio produced & recorded by

Paul Meredith


Online activities by

James Moss







Copyright 2008 Business English Pod Ltd.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written
permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Published 2008
! 2008 All rights reserved: businessenglishpod.com


Meeting Essentials



Table of Contents
(Click a unit title to jump to the start of that unit)


1. Unit 201 - Introduction pg 4-5
2. Unit 202 Expressing Opinions pg 6-14
3. Unit 203 Agreeing pg 15-24
4. Unit 204 Disagreeing pg 25-32
5. Unit 205 Making Suggestions pg 33-39
6. Unit 206 Accepting and Rejecting Suggestions pg 40-47
7. Unit 207 Clarifying What Was Said pg 48-56
8. Unit 208 Clarifying What Was Meant pg 57-65
9. Unit 209 Opening a Meeting pg 66-74
10. Unit 210 Managing the Discussion pg 75-84
11. Unit 211 Interrupting and Resisting Interruption pg 85-95
12. Unit 212 Finishing Up and Action Points pg 96-104
13. Example Phrases by Function pg 105-114
14. Audio & Online Activities (Click here to go to the webpage)
Meeting Essentials


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Meeting Essentials

This is an e-book brought to you by Business English Pod, the leading provider of
on-demand audio and study tools for business English communication skills, on
the Web at www.businessenglishpod.com. My name is Clayton and Ill be your
host for this series.

Whether you love them or hate them, meetings are part of almost every job. So
performing well in meetings is a very important skill. People who can express
their opinions, disagree politely, handle the discussion with skill and diplomacy
these kinds of people succeed in their careers and rise to the top in their
companies.

Meetings come in many types. They include large, formal conferences, like year-
end meetings, and small informal discussions, like a quick chat between team
leaders and their staff. In this 12-chapter e-book on meeting skills, we will learn
useful language for meetings of many different types. The goal is to study all the
essentials you need for participating actively in, and, when required, leading and
managing the discussion.

First we will cover agreeing, disagreeing and expressing opinions in three
chapters. The next two parts look at making, accepting, and rejecting
suggestions. After that, well handle asking for and giving clarification, in two
sections. Finally, in the last four chapters, well look at running a meeting; this
includes kicking it off, managing the discussion, dealing with interruptions, and
finishing up.

In all, this e-book has over four hours
of information-packed audio lessons.
The accompanying study notes
contain a complete transcript of every
chapter, vocabulary definitions, extra
practice questions, and study
strategies. And you can access a wide
variety of additional listening and
language development exercises on
the website, at
www.businessenglishpod.com.

In each chapter, I will introduce the topic, then play a dialog that demonstrates
the key concepts. Afterwards, in the debrief section, Ill take you through the
main points and explain important vocabulary and idioms. For each skill, well
learn more phrases that you can use. Then, finally, in the practice section of
each debrief, you will have the opportunity to use some of the language you
learned.

Learners often ask me how to study more efficiently and effectively. I have some
suggestions. Listen to each chapter and practice the example phrases multiple
times. First listen without the transcript; then, when you have time, go back and
listen again with the transcript. Underline and look up words you dont
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understand. Its important to study vocabulary in context: Pay attention to
collocations, or word partnerships, and words in whole sentences, with their
accompanying prepositions and other grammatical characteristics.

Do the practice section of each debrief at least a couple times; try substituting
different language the second time you practice. Substitution helps you increase
your fluency, that is, your ability to say the same thing in many ways. You can
also record yourself, write and act out dialogs, and practice together with a
learning partner. These and many more strategies are covered in the study
notes for each chapter.

Meeting Essentials is targeted for intermediate learners at or around the
Common European Framework (CEF) level B2. This corresponds to a BULATS
score of 3 or higher or an IELTS score of 5 or higher. The materials are
designed, however, to be useful to students at a variety of levels: Intermediate
learners will focus initially on language development whereas upper-intermediate
and more advanced learners can zoom in on skills development, high-level
vocabulary, fluency, confidence and enhancement of overall professionalism.

Meeting Essentials is an official publication of Business English Pod, Ltd.,
copyright 2008, all rights reserved.



Whats Included?

All Business English Pod e-books come with a variety of study resources to
provide learners with maximum flexibility and value.

You can access and download all the materials for this e-book on this webpage:

http://www.businessenglishpod.com/learningcenter2/ebooks/meeting-essentials/

Each e-book includes the following resources:




Podcasts
MP3 lessons you can listen
to on your computer, MP3
player or mobile phone.



Study Notes
PDF lesson transcripts
with extra vocabulary
and language exercises.




PhraseCasts
Compact MP3s of just
the dialog, phrases and
speaking practice.



Online Activities
Interactive quizzes,
listening and language
review exercises.



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Unit 202 Expressing Opinions

In this Business English Pod episode, well be looking at ways to give and ask for
opinions. Well be looking both at more formal (or careful) language as well as at
more informal (or direct) language.

Giving and asking for opinions is a very important part of meetings and
discussions of all types.

First lets listen to a more formal situation. Well be listening to part of a meeting
at DigiSoft, a multinational software company. Sheila, a vice president, is talking
Walt, George and Bruce, three software engineers, about the deadline for the
new software release. Release here means launch: That is, bring the product
onto the market


Vocabulary

Launch: To release a product onto
the market. Last April we
launched the new version of our
software onto the market.

Bugs: Problems with computer
software. There are a few bugs
with the system, so we are going
to have to do a slight redesign.

Rub it in: To remind someone on
purpose of something that is
uncomfortable or painful. Every
time I make a mistake, she just
loves to rub it in.

Overtime: Extra hours spent working. Anything over 40 hours per week is
considered working overtime here.

To burn the midnight oil: To work late into the night. I had to burn the midnight
oil to get the product done.

Deficiencies: Weaknesses. The product has a few obvious deficiencies.

Essential: Very important. Its absolutely essential that we consider a different
approach to this task.


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Dialogs

Dialog 1: Formal/Careful

Sheila: So, lets move on to the topic of release date. Gentlemen, when do you
think we will be able to launch this product? Walt?

Walt: Well, I tend to feel that... we should probably be able to start testing the
product in April. That means that if all goes well, we can have a first release in
May or June.

Sheila: I see. Thank you Walt. Whats your reaction to that Bruce?

Bruce: May or June...Well, from my point of view...that sounds about right.

George: Excuse me, may I come in here? I wonder if I could say something?

Sheila: Go ahead, George. What would you like to add?

George: Well, it seems to me that May is much, much too early. Actually, we
are still have some pretty major problems with bugs in the update engine, and I
just dont see how we will be able to...


Dialog 2 Informal

Ok, now lets listen to George, Bruce and Walt walk into the break room right
after the meeting. Sheila, their boss, is not here; this is a more informal
situation.

Bruce: Hey guys, did you see the Chelsea/Liverpool game last night? What did
you think, Walt? Quite a game, huh? Chelsea looked pretty good!

Walt: You always have to rub it in, dont you Bruce. You know Im a Liverpool
fan.

Bruce: How about you, George?

George: Actually, that was one of the greatest games Ive ever seen. But the
way you guys keep telling the boss we can finish the product by May, none of us
are going to have time to watch any more football games. Were all going to be
working overtime every night, burning the midnight oil!


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Debrief

So now youve heard both formal or informal. Lets look at the formal
conversation. How does Sheila ask for her employees opinions?

Sheila is in charge. She is the boss and the chairperson of the meeting. One way
for her to ask for an employees opinion is simply to say his name with a rising
intonation or tone.

Sheila: ... Gentlemen, when do you think we will be able to launch this product?
Walt?

Sheila also uses some other ways to ask for her employees opinions. All these
ways are relatively formal. They signal that this is a formal meeting. She says

Sheila: I see. Thank you Walt. Whats your reaction to that Bruce?

And

Sheila: Go ahead, George. What would you like to add?

Together with these speakers, try some other formal phrases for asking for an
opinion:

! How do you feel about that, Cecilia?
! Could you please share your thoughts on that, Sam?
! Whats your view on this, Richard?
! Tony, whats your feelings on this?

Now, lets look at the language Walt, Bruce and George use to express their
opinions in a formal situation. Walt says...

Walt: Well, I tend to feel that we should be able to start testing the product in
April...

This languageI tend to feel thatshows a careful, formal tone. Walt uses this
tone because he is talking to his boss, and perhaps because he is not sure
whether or not the others will agree with him.

Lets keep listening.

Sheila: I see. Thank you Walt. Whats your reaction to that Bruce?

Bruce: May or June...Well, from my point of view...that sounds about right.

Bruce likewise uses more formal, careful languageWell, from my point of
view. This makes him sound more polite, since he is talking to his boss. In
addition, it gives him time to think. Giving yourself time to think is another
reason to use these phrases.

How about George? How did he offer his opinion?

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George: ... I wonder if I could say something?

Sheila: Go ahead, George. What would you like to add?

George: Well, it seems to me that May is much, much too early.

Think about the ways that George uses to express his opinionI wonder if I
could say something, and Well, it seems to me that.... These ways expression
are also quite careful. George has a good reason to be careful, doesnt he? He
disagrees with his colleagues.

Now lets practice some further formal (or careful) phrases for expressing your
opinion:

! I have the impression that...he didnt really want to come.
! Dont you think that thats a little early.
! I tend to feel its a bit too early to start.

Next, Lets turn to the more informal discussion between Walt, Bruce and
George. Remember, they are in the break room right after the meeting. Bruce
asks George and Walt

Bruce: Hey guys, did you see the Chelsea/Liverpool game last night? What did
you think, Walt? Quite a game, huh? Chelsea looked pretty good!

This is an informal, relaxed discussion among colleagues. You can tell its
informal because Bruce uses the informal word guys to address George and
Walt. Also, he says What do you think? This is an informal way to ask for an
opinion. Walt says:

Walt: You always have to rub it in, dont you Bruce. You know Im a Liverpool
fan.

To rub something in is an idiom. It means to remind someone on purpose of
something that is uncomfortable or painful. Here, it is done as a joke. It sounds
like Walt is a Liverpool fan and he is unhappy because Chelsea won the game.

Lets keep listening.

Bruce: How about you, George?

George: Actually, that was one of the greatest games Ive ever seen.

How about you? is another direct way to ask for an opinion.

Next, notice how George starts his sentence with actually. Actually is a direct
or informal way to state an opinion. It shows us that George has something new
or surprising to say. With George, practice more direct ways to state an opinion:

! The point is...were doing very well in this market.
! The way I see it, were heading for trouble.
! Obviously, theres only one choice
! Basically, I think we have two options.
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Finally, lets listen to the end of the dialogue again.

Bruce: How about you, George?

George: Actually, that was one of the greatest games Ive ever seen.
But the way you guys keep telling the boss we can finish the product by May,
none of us are going to have time to watch any more football games.

George means that if Bruce and Walt keep telling the boss that they can meet
the May deadline, everyone is going to have to work very hard; in fact, they are
going to have to work so hard that they wont have time to watch any football
games. Listen to some more examples of this sentence pattern:

The way you are always looking at her, shes going to think you have fallen in
love with her. This means, Because you are looking at her very often, she will
think that you have fallen in love with her.

The way we are working, were never going to finish the project in time.

This means, If we keep working this slowly, we will not be able to finish the
project on time.

One last time, lets listen to the final part of the dialogue again.

George: ... Were all going to be working overtime every night, burning the
midnight oil!

To burn the midnight oil is an idiom. It means to work hard, or to work late
into the night, until past midnight. Because it is dark, you have to burn a candle
or a light, thus you have to burn the midnight oil.

Now, lets practice what weve learned today.

First, well try using the formal phrases we learned today for expressing an
opinion. Imagine you are leading a meeting at your company. In the prompt,
youll hear the name of one of your employees, and a topic. After the beep, use
some of the phrases you have learned today to ask for his or her opinion about
that topic. For example, if you hear, Sheila, stock price you can say, How do
you feel about the stock price, Sheila? Lets give it a try.

1) Prompt: George, new product launch
Learner:

2) Prompt: Jenny, sales performance
Learner:

3) Prompt: Max, employee turnover issue
Learner:
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Now, listen to some possible answers.

1) Prompt: George, new product launch
Learner: Could you please share your thoughts on the new product launch,
George?
2) Prompt: Jenny, sales performance
Learner: Jenny whats your view on the sales performance.
3) Prompt: Max, employee turnover issue
Learner: Max, what are your feelings on the employee turnover issue.

Good, now lets practice giving an opinion.

Imagine you work at DigiSoft and you are attending a meeting with you
manager, Pat. First youll hear a prompt telling you whether you should be
formal and careful, or informal and direct. Then, Pat will ask a question. After
the beep, respond appropriately with your own opinion. You should make up
any details you need.

1) Prompt: Careful, formal. Pat: So, do you think we should release the product
this month?
Learner:


2) Prompt: Careful, formal. Pat: What do you think of our customers new
product?
Learner:


3) Prompt: Direct, informal. Pat: So what should we do to increase sales?
Learner:


Now, listen to some example answers. Of course, your answers will be different.
These are just provided for reference.

1) Prompt: Careful, formal. Pat: So, do you think we should release the
product this month?
Learner: Hmmm. Dont you think thats a little early? I tend to think we
should release it next month.
2) Prompt: Careful, formal. Pat: What do you think of our customers new
product?
Learner: Well, I have the impression that its a very good product.
3) Prompt: Direct, informal. Pat: So what should we do to increase sales?
Learner: The way I see it, we should be advertising in more places.




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How did you do? To increase fluency, try substituting different language when
you practice again.

That concludes this episode. Weve practiced formal and informal ways of
giving and asking for opinions. Dont miss the online exercises for this and the
other chapters at www.businessenglishpod.com. There youll find lots of extra
listening, language and vocabulary practice.

In the next chapter, we will be looking at ways of agreeing and disagreeing in
meetings and discussions.
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Language Review

A. Jumbled Sentences
Rearrange the jumbled sentences to make phrases you can use to
ask or state an opinion:

1) whats that reaction to your Bruce
2) Simon comments any
3) the impression I have that
4) as I am concerned as far
5) my view of point from


B. Review of Key Language
To review important language and phrases, fill in the blanks with
language from the box. Then, in the space provided after each
sentence, indicate whether it is for ASKING for an opinion for
EXPRESSING an opinion. If it is the later, indicate whether it is
FORMAL (careful/indirect) or INFORMAL (direct). The first one has
been done for you.

dont point views
share obviously way
impression tend
basically feelings


1) How do you ___feel___ about that, Cecilia? __Asking__
2) Could you please _________ your thoughts on that, Sarah? _________
3) Whats your __________ on this, Richard? ___________
4) Frank, whats your ____________ on this? __________
5) I have the __________ that...he didnt really want to come. ___________
6) ___________ you think that thats a little early. ___________
7) I ___________ to feel its a bit too early to start. ___________
8) The ___________ is...were doing very well in this market. ___________
9) The ___________ I see it, were heading for trouble. ___________
10) ______________, theres only one choice ___________
11) _____________, I think we have two options. ___________

Study Strategy
What topics do you like to talk about? Sports? Stock market? Culture? Film?
Write down five questions that you find interesting, then practice answering
them. You can also practice role playing with a friend. Make a conscious effort to
use the phrases weve practiced in this episode.
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Answers

Language Review

A. Jumbled sentences
1) Whats your reaction to that Bruce?
2) Any comments Simon
3) My impression is that
4) As far as I am concerned
5) From my point of view

B. Review of Key Language
1-4 are ASKING for an opinion; 4-7 are FORMAL (careful/indirect)
phrases for EXPRESSING an opinion; 8-11 are INFORMAL (direct)
phrases for EXPRESSING an opinion.

1) How do you feel about that, Cecilia?
2) Could you please share your thoughts on that, Sam?
3) Whats your view on this, Richard?
4) Tony, whats your feelings on this?
5) I have the impression that...he didnt really want to come.
6) Dont you think that thats a little early.
7) I tend to feel its a bit too early to start.
8) The point is...were doing very well in this market.
9) The way I see it, were heading for trouble.
10) Obviously, theres only one choice
11) Basically, I think we have two options.


Links (click a link to open the exercise)
Unit 202 Expressing Opinions - Quiz
Unit 202 Expressing Opinions - Gap-fill 1 (Formal)
Unit 202 Expressing Opinions - Gap-fill 2 (Informal)
Unit 202 Expressing Opinions - Dialog & Vocabulary 1 (Formal)
Unit 202 Expressing Opinions - Dialog & Vocabulary 2 (Informal)
Unit 202 Expressing Opinions - Language Review 1
Unit 202 Expressing Opinions - Language Review 2
Unit 202 Expressing Opinions - Language Review 3
Unit 202 Expressing Opinions - Language Review 4
Unit 202 Expressing Opinions - Vocabulary Flashcards






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Unit 203 - Agreeing

Welcome back to Business English Pod! Todays episode is the first part in a two-
part series looking at agreeing and disagreeing. In these two episodes, well be
practicing different levels of agreement and disagreement, from weak to strong.

Appropriate agreement and disagreement is an important part of all meetings
and discussions.

In this podcast we focus on agreement. In the second show, well look at
disagreement.

Todays listening is from a meeting in the R&D department of PharmaTek, a
pharmaceutical company. Pharmaceutical means medicine (or drug). This
meeting is between Gene, the head scientist, and Louis and Karina, two
researchers. They are talking about the results of a new trial. Here, trial means
testthe test of a new medicine on animals or patients. The new medicine is
called Zorax.

What language do the speakers use to agree with each other? Lets listen.

Dialog

Gene: So, what do you think about the new Zorax trial? This could be the drug
weve all been waiting for. I think its going to be a big seller.

Louis: So do I.

Carine: Im sorry, but I really cant agree. After all, so far weve only carried out
two trials. And dont forget the strange results from the first trial.

Louis: Yes, I admit, the first trial was a little disappointing; but that doesnt take
anything away from these new results. Absolutely amazing!

Gene: Yes, fantastic, arent they?

Louis: Especially for men over 60.

Carine: Dont you think its still a little early to be so sure? Perhaps we shouldnt
count our chickens before theyre hatched. I still think there may still be some
issues with Zorax.

Gene: Do you really think so? Anyway, we dont have anything else coming
down the pipeline right now. We have to try to make this work.

Carine: Yes, of course, but our patients come first.

Gene: The patients always come first. We wont forget that. Now, Carine, lets
talk about these issues one by one...

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Vocabulary

(To be a) big seller: This describes a product that sells very well. In a years
time, the majority of our revenue could come from sales of this new product, so
its fair to say that its a big seller.
(To carry out/conduct a) trial:
In the pharmaceutical or
medicine industry, this refers to
trying out a new medicine or
drug on animals and, later,
human beings. This chemical
looks promising, but we need
to conduct human trials to be
sure.
Amazing: In slang/informal
use, this just means very, very
good. My trip to Brazil last
week was Amazing! I didnt
want to come back.
Fantastic: In slang/informal use, this means very, very good (like amazing
above). We had a fantastic time last night at the party you should have
come!
To count ones chickens before theyve (theyre) hatched: Idiom. This saying
criticizes the attitude of counting on something before it has been confirmed. I
know that we have a lot of possible new contracts, but we shouldnt count our
chickens before theyve hatched. We need to be more conservative in our
earnings estimates for the new year.
(To have/to be) an/some issue(s): In many industries, this is jargon (industry
language) for having a problem. Issue sounds less serious and more positive
than problem. Were having some issues with the new software, but nothing
that cant be solved before the product launch in two months.
To be coming down the pipeline: Idiom. Refers to something in the future
(usually a product or a new project) that is still in the planning stages. As for
next year, we have several projects coming down the pipeline that might
interest you.
To come first: To be the priority. Our sales team should come first next year
when we upgrade computers they really need new laptops.
One by one: One at a time. Lets deal one by one with the problems you
raised.
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Debrief

Okay, now, lets look at ways to agree. Remember, Louis agrees with Gene
about the trial.

Gene: So, what do you think about the new Zorax trial? This could be the drug
weve all been waiting for. I think its going to be a big seller.

Louis: So do I.

Here, the short answer so do I means I think so too. This is a common way
to show agreement. The agreement is strong. Here are some more examples.

A: I hate working in the evening.
B: So do I.

Here, so do I means I hate working in the evening too. You can also say I
do too.

A: I hate working in the evening.
B: I do too.

In negative sentences, you can also say I dont either, neither do I, or nor
do I. Nor sounds more formal than neither.

A: I dont like tomatoes.
B: I dont either.

A: I dont have time this weekend.
B: Neither do I.

A: We dont want to lose this deal.
B: Nor do we.

In short answers, sometimes you need to use modal verbs (such as will, can,
should, would and so on).

A: We wont do that.
B: Neither will we.

A: We can wait two more weeks.
B: So can we.

In addition to short answers, there are other ways to agree. For example, you
can use a standard phrase. Lets look at some standard phrases for agreeing.

! I entirely agree with you.
! Youre quite right.
! I couldnt agree more.
! Thats exactly how I see it.
! Thats just how I feel.
! Thats exactly how I feel about it.
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! Exactly!
! Absolutely!

Another way to agree is to use a synonym. Synonym means a word with the
same meaning. For example amazing and fantastic are synonyms. Listen
again.

Louis: Yes, I admit, the first trial was a little disappointing; but that doesnt take
anything away from these new results. Absolutely amazing.

Gene: Yes, fantastic, arent they?

Here are some more words that mean very, very good.

! Terrific!
! Wonderful!
! Splendid!
! Marvelous!

And here are some words that mean very, very bad.
! Awful.
! Terrible.
! Pathetic.
! Miserable.

Listen to another example.

A: That was just a miserable day.
B: Yes, awful, wasnt it?
A: Totally pathetic.

ok, so far, weve looked at two ways to agree: You can use a standard phrase,
or you can use a synonym. Another way to agree is to use an example. Louis
uses this way to agree with Gene. Lets listen again.

Louis: Yes, I admit, the first trial was a little disappointing; but that doesnt take
anything away from these new results. Absolutely amazing.

Gene: Yes, fantastic, arent they?

Louis: Especially for men over 60.

Especially for men over 60 is an example: an example of the amazing results.
This is agreeing by using an example. Lets practice some more examples of
agreeing this in way.

A: This food is great.
B: Especially the chicken!

A: Michael Ballack looked great last night.
B: Especially the way he passed the ball. That was amazing!

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Finally, well look at one more way of agreeingagreeing by making a general
comment. Listen to Gene agree with Carina.

Gene: ...We have to try to make this work.

Carine: Yes, of course, but our patients come first.

Gene: The patients always come first. We wont forget that.

The patients always come first is a general comment that shows agreement
with Carine. Lets listen to another example of using a general comment to
agree.

A: Chinese food is delicious.
B: Yes, all Asian food is.

Great! Now youve learned several appropriate ways to agree in a meeting or
discussion. Before we end the podcast today, lets look at a couple idioms that
are used in the dialogue. Listen to the end of the dialogue.

Karina: Perhaps we shouldnt count our chickens before theyre hatched. I still
think there may still be some issues with Zorax.

Karina says the company shouldnt count its chickens before theyre hatched.
Dont count your chickens before theyre hatched is an idiom (or proverb). The
verb to hatch means to come out of an egg. When a baby chicken comes out
of the egg, we say the chicken hatches. In this idiom, the eggs represent
potential (or possible) profit: We shouldnt count it until were sure of it.

Theres also another idiomatic expression in Karinas speech: I still think there
may still be some issues with Zorax. She says there may be issues with
Zorax. In business, issues means problems. So Karina means that there may
be problems with Zorax.

How does Gene respond? Listen again.

Karina: Perhaps we shouldnt count our chickens before theyre hatched. I still
think there may still be some issues with Zorax.

Gene: Do you really think so? Anyway, we dont have anything else coming
down the pipeline right now. We have to try to make this work.

Gene says the company doesnt have any more products coming down the
pipeline right now. This is another idiom. Pipeline means pipe; water travels
through pipes to get to your office or house. If there are no more products
coming down the pipeline, that means there are no more new products coming
out of R&D. We can also use this idiom to talk about business, projects and so
on. For example,

A: How does next year look for us?
B: Dont worry. Theres a lot of business coming down the pipeline.

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Now its your turn. First, lets practice agreeing with short statements such as
so do I, I do too, neither do we, and so on.

Youll hear a series of comments. After the beep, agree appropriately with each
comment by using a short statement. Are you ready?

Cue 1: I love chocolate.
Learner:

Cue 2: I dont really like working overtime.
Learner:

Cue 3: Were going on holiday in March.
Learner:

Cue 4: Were not going to hire any new employees next year.
Learner:

How did you do? Listen to some example answers.
Cue 1: I love chocolate.
Answer: So do I.

Cue 2: I dont really like working overtime.
Answer: Neither do I.

Cue 3: Were going on holiday in March.
Answer: So are we!

Cue 4: Were not going to hire any new employees next year.
Answer: Nor are we.

Now, lets practice using standard phrases to agree. Standard phrases include, I
entirely agree with you, or Youre quite right, or I couldnt agree more, and
so on. After each beep, use a standard phrase to agree. When appropriate, you
may also wish to use expressions that mean very good, like, Yes, terrific isnt it?
or expressions that mean very bad, like, I know its awful, isnt it? Lets begin.

Cue 1: Its time to stop investing in the stock market and put your money in
something safer.
Learner:

Cue 2: Wow, it was a really hard day.
Learner:

Cue 3: Well, I really think we can expect good things from the new employee.
Learner:

Cue 4: That meeting was great! What a success!
Learner:
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How did you do? Here are some example answers so you can check.

Cue 1: Its time to stop investing in the American stock market and put your
money in something safer.
Answer: Thats exactly how I see it.

Cue 2: Wow, it was a really hard day.
Answer: Yes, terrible, wasnt it?

Cue 3: Well, I really think we can expect good things from the new employee.
Answer: Thats just how I feel.

Cue 4: That meeting was great! What a success!
Answer: Yes, wonderful, wasnt it?

Remember its always a good idea to go back and try the practice again.
Substitute different language to build up fluency.

Well, thats about all. Weve looked at many different ways of appropriately
agreeing, as we as some useful idioms.

In the next chapter coming down the pipeline, well be looking closely at
different ways to express agreement.

In the meanwhile, be sure to check out the online exercises at
www.businessenglishpod.com. There youll find a wide variety of practice for
vocabulary, listening, and language.

Thanks for listening!
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Language Review

A. Short Answer and Standard Phrases
Part 1: To review short answers for agreeing, match the responses on the right
with the dialogs on the left.
1)

I dont have time this weekend. a)

Nor do we.
2)

We dont want to lose this deal. b)

Neither do I.
3)

We can wait two more weeks. c)

I do too.
4)

I hate working in the evening. d)

So can we.

Part 2: To review standard phrases, put the following jumbled sentences in
order:

1) entirely I agree you with
2) quite you right re
3) t I more agree couldn
4) exactly that how I see it s
5) how just that I feel s
6) how exactly s it I feel about that

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B. Agreeing with Examples.
To practice agreeing by giving examples, fill in the blanks with the words from
the box. Then, match the statements on the left with the responses on the right.
Take note of key language for giving examples, such as, "Just have/take a look
at...," "Just look at...," "Take thix xx, for example," etc.

take example look instance especially


1) This food is great. a) Yeah. Just ______ at Fred -- he
hasn't made a sale in months.
2) Michael Ballack looked great
last night.
b) ________ the chicken!
3) The food is great, isn't it? c) Yes, ________ just Sudan alone --
slightly more than a quarter the size of
the US!
4) Africa is a big place. d) Yes! Take this pizza, for _________.
Delicious!
5) A lot of the younger guys in
the sales department just
can't keep up.
e) For ________ the way he passed the
ball. That was amazing!
6) Chinese food is delicious. f) Learning any language is difficult.
7) Learning Spanish is hard
work.
g) Yes, all Asian food is.

Study Strategy
Take any of the short exchanges in exercise A or B above and develop it into a
full dialog. You can either do this by role playing with a friend, or by actually
writing out the dialog. As you practice, be sure to use the different strategies
weve studied for agreeing.
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Answers
A. Short Answers and Standard Phrases
Part 1: Short Answers

1)

I dont have time this weekend. Neither do I. (b)
2)

We dont want to lose this deal. Nor do we. (a)
3)

We can wait two more weeks. So can we. (d)
4)

I hate working in the evening. I do too. (c)

Part 2: Standard phrases
1) I entirely agree with you.
2) Youre quite right.
3) I couldnt agree more.
4) Thats exactly how I see it.
5) Thats just how I feel.
6) Thats exactly how I feel about it.

B.
1) This food is great. Especially the chicken! (b)
2) Michael Ballack looked
great last night.
For example the way he passed the ball. That
was amazing! (e)
3) The food is great, isn't it? Yes! Take this pizza, for instance. Delicious! (d)
4) Africa is a big place. Yes, take just Sudan alone -- slightly more than a
quarter the size of the US! (c)
5) A lot of the younger guys
in the sales department
just can't keep up.
Yeah. Just look at Fred he hasn't made a sale in
months. (a)
6) Chinese food is delicious. Yes, all Asian food is. (g)
7) Learning Spanish is hard
work.
Learning any language is difficult. (f)

Links (click a link to open the exercise)
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Quiz
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Gap-fill
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Dialog & Vocabulary
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 1
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 2
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 3
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 4
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 5
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 6
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Vocabulary Flashcards
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Unit 204 Disagreeing

In the previous episode of this 2 part series, we looked at expressing agreement.
We practiced four ways of agreeing: Using standard phrases, using synonyms,
giving an example and making a general comment.

Today, were going to focus on disagreement. Well learn different ways to
disagree, from polite to strong.

Appropriate expression of agreement and disagreement is an important part of
all meetings and discussions.

As youll remember, the listening takes place in the R&D department of
PharmaTek, a pharmaceutical company. Pharmaceutical means medicine (or
drug). This meeting is between Gene, the head scientist, and Louis and Karina,
two researchers. They are talking about the results of a new trial. Here, trial
means testthe test of a new medicine on animals or patients. The new
medicine is called Zorax. Lets listen.

Dialog

Gene: So, what do you think about the new Zorax trial? This could be the drug
weve all been waiting for. I think its going to be a big seller.

Louis: So do I.

Karina: Im sorry, but I really cant agree. After all, so far weve only carried out
two trials. And dont forget the strange results from the first trial.

Louis: Yes, I admit, the first trial was a little disappointing; but that doesnt take
anything away from these new results. Absolutely amazing.

Gene: Yes, fantastic, arent they?

Louis: Especially for men over 60.

Karina: Dont you think its still a little early to be so sure? Perhaps we shouldnt
count our chickens before theyre hatched. I still think there may still be some
issues with Zorax.

Gene: Do you really think so? Anyway, we dont have anything else coming
down the pipeline right now. We have to try to make this work.

Karina: Yes, of course, but our patients come first.

Gene: The patients always come first. We wont forget that. Now, Karina, lets
talk about these issues one by one...

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Vocabulary

(To be a) big seller: This describes a product that sells very well. In a years
time, the majority of our revenue could come from sales of this new product, so
its fair to say that its a big seller.
(To carry out/conduct a) trial:
In the pharmaceutical or
medicine industry, this refers
to trying out a new medicine or
drug on animals and, later,
human beings. This chemical
looks promising, but we need
to conduct human trials to be
sure.
Amazing: In slang/informal
use, this just means very, very
good. My trip to Brazil last
week was Amazing! I didnt
want to come back.
Fantastic: In slang/informal use, this means very, very good (like amazing
above). We had a fantastic time last night at the party you should have
come!
To count ones chickens before theyve (theyre) hatched: Idiom. This saying
criticizes the attitude of counting on something before it has been confirmed. I
know that we have a lot of possible new contracts, but we shouldnt count our
chickens before theyve hatched. We need to be more conservative in our
earnings estimates for the new year.
(To have/to be) an/some issue(s): In many industries, this is jargon (industry
language) for having a problem. Issue sounds less serious and more positive
than problem. Were having some issues with the new software, but nothing
that cant be solved before the product launch in two months.
To be coming down the pipeline: Idiom. Refers to something in the future
(usually a product or a new project) that is still in the planning stages. As for
next year, we have several projects coming down the pipeline that might
interest you.
To come first: To be the priority. Our sales team should come first next year
when we upgrade computers they really need new laptops.
One by one: One at a time. Lets deal one by one with the problems you
raised.


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Debrief

As with agreeing, you can use standard phrases to disagree. Karina uses a
standard phrase when she disagrees with Gene and Louis.

Karina: Im sorry, but I really cant agree. After all, so far weve only carried out
two trials. And dont forget the strange results from the first trial.

Im sorry, but I really cant agree is a formal (or careful) phrase for
disagreeing. Perhaps Karina is being careful because she is talking to her boss,
Gene, the head scientist. Lets listen to some more polite phrases that Karina
could use.

! Well, I am not so sure about that, to be honest.
! Well, I dont know.
! Well, it depends.
! I dont really agree, Im afraid.
! Im afraid I dont totally agree with that.

There are also many informal (or direct) phrases for disagreeing. But be careful.
They are very strong.

! I disagree.
! I couldnt disagree more.
! I totally disagree.
! You must be joking!
! Come off it!
! Get real!

Another way to disagree is to use Yes, but... Listen to Louis.

Louis: Yes, I admit, the first trial was a little disappointing; but that doesnt take
anything away from these new results. Absolutely amazing.

Lets practice some more examples of the Yes, but... technique:

A: I just didnt think it was a very good presentationnot fluent, you no what I
mean?
B: Yes, but at least he was well prepared.

A: Our price is too high. We have to improve sales.
B: Yessales are important; but we cant lower our price.

To make these sentences even more polite (or careful), you can use though or
although to put your disagreement at the beginning of the sentence; then,
finish the sentence with a little bit of agreement.

A: I just didnt think it was a very good presentationnot fluent, you know what
I mean?
B: Mmmm... Although I thought he was pretty well prepared, he wasnt very
fluent, youre right about that.
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A: Our price is too high. We have to improve sales.
B: Mmm...Although I really dont think we can lower our price, I totally agree
that we have to do something to improve sales.

In addition to standard phrases and Yes, but..., there are more ways to
disagree. Lets look back at the dialogue again.

Louis: ...Absolutely amazing.

Gene: Yes, fantastic, arent they?

Louis: Especially for men over 60.

Karina: Dont you think its still a little early to be so sure?

This is using a negative questionDont you think...?to disagree. It sounds
careful and polite, doesnt it? Listen to another example.

A: Wow, that was a great movie.
B: But dont you think it was just a little too long?

Besides negative questions, you can also use other types of questions to
disagree. Do you remember how Gene disagrees with Karina at the end of the
dialogue?

Karina: ...I still think there may still be some issues with Zorax.

Gene: Do you really think so?

By asking a questionDo you really think so?Gene shows that he disagrees
with Karina.

We often use really? this way.

A: Its almost time to go home.
B: Really? But we just got here.

Now its your turn to practice. First well review formal and informal phrases for
disagreement. In a moment, youll hear a series of comments, each followed by
a beep. After each beep, use a standard phrase to disagree. A cue will tell you
whether to be careful (that is, formal) or direct (that is, informal). Remember,
careful phrases include Well, I am not so sure about that, to be honest, and,
Well, it depends. Direct phrases include, I disagree, or I totally disagree!

Are you ready? Lets try it.

Cue 1: Careful I just dont think its a good idea to sell the company.
Learner:

Cue 2: Direct Having money is more important than having free time.
Learner:
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Cue 3: Careful We should delay the launch date for the new product.
Learner:

Cue 4: Direct Outsourcing HR is a great idea.
Learner:


How did you do? Listen to some example answers to check.

Cue 1: Careful I just dont think its a good idea to sell the company.
Answer: Well, I dont know.

Cue 2: Direct Having money is more important than having free time.
Answer: I couldnt disagree more.

Cue 3: Careful We should delay the launch date for the new product.
Answer: Im afraid I dont totally agree with that.

Cue 4: Direct Outsourcing HR is a great idea.
Answer: You must be joking?

Keep in mind that You must be joking! along with such expressions as Come
off it! and Get real! are very strong and direct; they may be quite offensive in
some situations.

Now, lets another skill: Were going to review the yes, but method of
disagreement. For example, if you hear, The economy is bad, so we should be
careful, you can say something like, Yes, the economy is bad, but our
performance is still very good. Are you ready?

Cue 1: Our products are very competitive, so its time to enter a new market.
Learner:


Cue 2: We are lacking people with management experience, so we need to
recruit from outside.
Learner:


Cue 3: Its hard to lower construction costs when the cost of steel is so high.
Learner:



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How did it go? Listen to some example answers to check:

Cue 1: Our products are very competitive, so its time to enter a new market.
Answer: Yes, our products are competitive, but the market is also very
competitive.

Cue 2: We are lacking people with management experience, so we need to
recruit from outside.
Answer: Yes, our people lack experience, but they can be trained.

Cue 3: Its hard to lower construction costs when the cost of steel is so high.
Answer: Yes, the oil price of steel is high, but perhaps we can find better
suppliers.

Thats all this chapter. Weve studied several ways of disagreeing: using
standard phrases, using yes, but..., using negative questions (Dont you
think...?) and using other types of questions (Do you really think
so?...Really?).

Be sure to try the online exercises at www.businessenglishpod.com. There youll
find quizzes, vocabulary practice, and a variety of language and listening
exercises for each chapter.

Thank you for listening.


Study Strategy

For further practice, you can develop each sentence into a dialog with further
instances of agreement and disagreement. Write out your dialog, then perform it
with a friend. You may wish to record it as well, then play back the recording to
see how you sound.
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Language Review

A. Standard Phrases
To practice standard language for disagreeing, select the most appropriate
response for each blank from the box. As you do the exercise, observe the
differences between formal/careful/weak language and informal/direct/strong
language. As you do the exercise, note which of the phrases are more formal
and which are more informal.

depends disagree more disagree off
know real sure totally joking agree

1) Well, I am not so __________ about that, to be honest.
2) Well, I dont ___________ .
3) Well, it __________.
4) I dont really __________ , Im afraid.
5) Im afraid I dont __________ agree with that.
6) I __________.
7) I couldnt disagree ________.
8) I totally __________.
9) You must be __________!
10) Come __________ it!
11) Get __________!

B. Disagreeing with Questions and with Yes, but
To practice disagreeing by using the "Yes..., but..." technique and by asking
questions, match the statements on the left with the responses on the right.

1) Our price is too high. We have to
improve sales.
a) Mmmm... Although I thought he
was pretty well prepared, he wasnt
very fluent, youre right about that.
2) Our products are very
competitive, so its time to enter
a new market.
b) Yessales are important; but we
cant lower our price.
3) I just didnt think it was a very
good presentationnot fluent,
you know what I mean?
c) Yes, our people lack experience, but
they can be trained.
4) We are lacking people with
management experience, so we
need to recruit from outside.
d) Yes, our products are competitive,
but the market is also very
competitive.
5) Wow, that was a great movie. e) Really? But we just got here.
6) Its almost time to go home. f) Dont you think it was just a little
too long?

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Answers

A. Standard Phrases
1) Well, I am not so sure about that, to be honest.
2) Well, I dont know.
3) Well, it depends.
4) I dont really agree, Im afraid.
5) Im afraid I dont totally agree with that.
6) I disagree.
7) I couldnt disagree more.
8) I totally disagree.
9) You must be joking!
10) Come off it!
11) Get real!

B. Disagreeing with Questions and with Yes, but

1) Our price is too high. We have to
improve sales.
Yessales are important; but we cant
lower our price. (b)
2) Our products are very competitive, so
its time to enter a new market.
Yes, our products are competitive, but the
market is also very competitive. (d)
3) I just didnt think it was a very good
presentationnot fluent, you know
what I mean?
Mmmm... Although I thought he was
pretty well prepared, he wasnt very
fluent, youre right about that. (a)
4) We are lacking people with
management experience, so we need
to recruit from outside.
Yes, our people lack experience, but they
can be trained. (c)
5) Wow, that was a great movie. Dont you think it was just a little too
long? (f)
6) Its almost time to go home. Really? But we just got here. (e)

Links (click a link to open the exercise)

Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Quiz
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Gap-fill
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Dialog & Vocabulary
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 1
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 2
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 3
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 4
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 5
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Language Review 6
Unit 203-04 Agreeing & Disagreeing - Vocabulary Flashcards
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Unit 205 - Making Suggestions

Todays show is part of a two-part series on making, rejecting and accepting
suggestions. Reject means to say no. And accept means to say yes.

Making, rejecting and accepting suggestions appropriately is an important part
of meetings and discussions of all types.

In this episode, were focusing on making suggestions. Next time, well look at
accepting and rejecting suggestions. This dialog takes place at a sports shoe
company called Stratos. Youll be listening to Karen, a marketing manager, meet
with three members of her team, Charles, Sven and Miguel. They are choosing a
celebrity spokesperson for a new product. Celebrity means a famous person.
Here, spokesperson is someone who gets paid to be in an advertisement for a
product.

In the dialogue, target market is the place where you want to sell your
product. And target consumer is the type of customer you want to sell your
product to. In this case, the product is a special kind of new sports shoe made
especially for overweight people. Overweight is a nice way of saying too heavy
or not fit.

Okay, lets listen. As you listen, pay attention to the language the speakers use
to make suggestions to each other.

Vocabulary
Spokesperson: A famous person usually an athlete or movie star who
(usually in return for money) advertises a product. Nike usually gets famous
sports stars to sponsor their products.
To go around the table: To hear everybodys opinion one at a time. Lets go
around the table to see if we all agree.
Overweight: Adjective. A polite way to say someone is not thin. Overweight can
have a range of meanings from slightly fat to very fat.
Fit: Adjective. 1) To be thin and healthy. I really want to get fit in the new year,
so I went on a diet and Im exercising every day. 2) To be suitable for
something. Hes not fit to manage the company.
If it isnt broken, dont fix it: Idiom. Also, If it aint broke, dont fix it (American
slang). It criticizes the approach of always trying to improve things that are
already okay. Look, lets stop looking for things to change and just release the
product on time If it isnt broken, dont fix it.
Target market: The market one is trying to sell something to. The target
market for this new kind of sports car is urban professionals with an income over
80,000 euros per year.
Target customer: Similar to target market, but target customer refers to the
customer you are trying to sell something to. Our target customers are women
in their early 30s with children.
Agile: Adjective. Able to move flexible and quickly. What makes her such a
great sports star is her amazing agility. In this business environment, only
agile companyies with the ability to make quick decisions will succeed.

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To kill two birds with one stone: Idiom. To get two things done at once. We can
kill two birds with one stone by improving our training system - the number of
staff who leave the company will decrease and our sales will improve.

Dialog

Karen: Okay. Now, lets talk about who we want to use as a spokesperson for
this product. Lets go around the table. Shall we use a sports star? Or someone
else? Svenwhat do you think?
Sven: Well, one possibility would be to use a famous overweight business
executive or CEOsomeone who is really successful.
Miguel: Sorry, can I come in here?
Karen: Yes, go ahead Miguel.
Miguel: Thats a good idea, but Im not sure it would work.
Karen: Why not?
Miguel: Well, for one thing, our customers want to be fit, not fat.
Karen: Well, then what do you suggest?
Miguel: Perhaps we should just use a famous sports star like we usually do. If it
isnt broken, dont fix it, you know what I mean? We could try getting Rooney, or
Nadal.
Karen: Good suggestion. But I can see one or two problems with that, to be
honest.
Miguel: Oh?
Karen: First off, our target markets are the UK and the U.S. We need someone
who both Americans and Britons really like. Secondly, our target customer is
kind of special...
Charles: Ive got a suggestion.
Karen: Go ahead Charles.
Charles: Its just an idea, but how about choosing someone from a sport where
its normal to be heavy. American football, for example. Heavy, but agile;
overweight, but strong and fast. You know what I mean?
Karen: Right, I can see what you mean. What do others think?
Miguel: Yes, that might be worth trying.
Sven: Okay, but what about the UK? Who are we going to use on this side of the
Atlantic?
Karen: Hmmm... let me think about this. Shall we try to find someone in golf?
Thats popular in the U.S. and in the UK. That way, we can kill two birds with
one stone.
Everybody (chorus): Thats not a bad idea! Good idea! Yes, I think that would
be worth trying.
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Debrief

Karens team has a lot of ideas. What language do they use to make their
suggestions? First, listen to Sven.

Sven: Well, one possibility would be to use a famous overweight business
executive or CEOsomeone who is really successful.

How does Sven make his suggestion? He says, One possibility would be to...
Instead of will, he uses would. The use of would here means it is just a
suggestion. Past modal verbs (should, could, might would) are often used like
this in suggestions.

Now, listen to Miguel make a suggestion.

Miguel: Perhaps we should just use a famous sports star like we usually do. If it
isnt broken, dont fix it, you know what I mean?

Perhaps we should... is another polite way of making a suggestion. Notice the
use of just: Perhaps we should just use a famous sports star.... This shows
that what he is suggesting is no change from the normal way of doing things.
Thats why he says, If it isnt broken, dont fix it. This is an idiom. It means,
dont change something if it is already working fine. In informal American oral
English, you can say, If it aint broke, dont fix it.

So, so far we have two ways of making suggestions:

One possibility would be to...
and

Perhaps we should...

Now, lets look at a couple more ways to make suggestions. Listen to Charles.

Charles: Ive got a suggestion.

Karen: Go ahead Charles.

Charles: Its just an idea, but how about choosing someone from a sport where
its normal to be heavy.

First Charles shows that he has a suggestion: Ive got a suggestion. Then, since
he is talking to his boss (and perhaps since he is not sure everyone will agree
with him), he uses a careful, polite way to introduce the suggestion: Its just an
idea, but how about... How about is a normal way of making a suggestion.
Its just an idea, but... makes it extra polite.

Instead of how about, you can also say what about. How about and what
about are followed by a verb +ing

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How about washing the dishes?
! Its just an idea, but what about eating lunch together?

These are sometimes followed by a phrase (or sentence.) This is more common
with how about:

How about you wash the dishes and I dry?
How about we have lunch together?

Finally, lets look at a couple more way of making a suggestion. Listen to how
Karen makes her suggestion: Shall we try to find someone in golf? You can also
say What if.... For example:

What if we...cut costs by finding a new office?

Now, with Karens team, practice the ways of making suggestions that we have
learned so far:

! Well, one possibility would be to...hire more staff.
! Perhaps we should...have more vacation?
! Its just an idea, but...how about leaving a little bit early today?
! Shall we try to look at this from another point of view?
! Well, what if we try to open a new store in Germany?

Now, its your turn to talk. In a moment, youll hear a series of cues followed by
a beep. After each beep, use the information supplied in the cue to make a
suggestion. For example, if you hear, Get Beckham to sponsor the product,
you can say Well, one possibility would be to get Beckham to sponsor the
product. Are you ready? Lets give it a try.

Cue 1: Launch the new product in Q1 next year.
Learner:

Cue 2: Open a Branch in Slovenia.
Learner:

Cue 3: Give employees larger bonuses
Learner:

Cue 4: Hold English trainings
Learner:

Cue 5: Schedule weekly meetings to check on progress.
Learner:

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How did you do? Listen to the examples to check your answers. Remember,
there are many possible ways to respond to each question.

Cue 1: Launch the new product in Q1 next year.
Answer: Perhaps we should launch the new product in Q1 next year?

Cue 2: Open a Branch in Slovenia.
Answer: Its just an idea, but what if we open a branch in Slovenia.

Cue 3: Give employees larger bonuses
Answer: Well, what if we try to give employees larger bonuses?

Cue 4: Hold English trainings
Answer: Well, one possibility would be to hold English trainings.

Cue 5: Schedule weekly meetings to check on progress.
Answer: Lets schedule weekly meetings to check on progress.

Now that youve heard examples, go back and practice again. Substitute
different phrases to build fluency.

Thats all for this chapter. Weve covered many useful expressions for making
suggestions. Be sure to check out the online exercises at
www.businessenglishpod.com. There youll find extra practice for developing
your vocabulary, listening and language.

In the next chapter, well use the same dialog to cover rejecting and accepting
suggestions. Well also look closely at some idioms that were used in the dialog.

Thanks for listening!
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! 2008 All rights reserved: businessenglishpod.com 38

Language Review
A. Making Suggestions
Revise key language by filling in the blanks with words from the box.

idea try but should possibility
what if about would another

1) How _________ washing the dishes?
2) Its just an _________, but what about eating lunch together?
3) What _________ we...cut costs by finding a new office?
4) Well, one _________ _________ be to...hire more staff.
5) Perhaps we _________...have more vacation?
6) Its just an idea, _________...how about leaving a little bit early today?
7) Shall we _________ to look at this from _________ point of view?
8) Well, _________ if we try to open a new store in Germany?

B. Jumbled Sentences
To review the language for making suggestions, put the following jumbled
sentences in order:

1) we launch year should perhaps product new Q1 in next the

2) it idea just an but if we what open branch in a Slovenia s

3) if what try we give to employees bonuses larger well

4) to one possibility well be trainings English hold would

5) progress schedule meetings weekly check to on s let


Study Strategy

What kind of suggestions do you have for making your office, company, or
government better? Make a list of 10. Pretend you are in a meeting in which you
have the opportunity to make your suggestions. Using the language we have
learned today, practice forming sentences. Do your bet to use a variety of
language in order to practice fluency.
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! 2008 All rights reserved: businessenglishpod.com 39

Answers

A. Making Suggestions
1) How about washing the dishes?
2) Its just an idea, but what about eating lunch together?
3) What if we...cut costs by finding a new office?
4) Well, one possibility would be to...hire more staff.
5) Perhaps we should...have more vacation?
6) Its just an idea, but...how about leaving a little bit early today?
7) Shall we try to look at this from another point of view?
8) Well, what if we try to open a new store in Germany?

B. Jumbled Sentences

1) Perhaps we should launch the new product in Q1 next year?
2) Its just an idea, but what if we open a branch in Slovenia.
3) Well, what if we try to give employees larger bonuses?
4) Well, one possibility would be to hold English trainings.
5) Lets schedule weekly meetings to check on progress.


Links (click a link to open the exercise)

Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Quiz
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Gap-fill
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Dialog & Vocabulary
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 1
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 2
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 3
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 4
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 5
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 6
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Flashcards



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! 2008 All rights reserved: businessenglishpod.com 40

Unit 206 - Rejecting and Accepting Suggestions

Todays show is the second part of a two-part series on making, rejecting and
accepting suggestions. In the first episode, you practiced making suggestions. In
this episode, well look at appropriate ways to reject and accept suggestions.

As youll remember, the listening takes place at a sports shoe company called
Stratos. Youll be listening to Karen, a marketing manager, meet with three
members of her team, Charles, Sven and Miguel. They are choosing a celebrity
spokesperson for a new product. Celebrity means a famous person. Here,
spokesperson is someone who gets paid to be in an advertisement for a product.

Okay, as you listen, pay attention to how the speakers accept or reject each
others suggestions.
Vocabulary
Spokesperson: A famous person usually an athlete or star who (usually in
return for money) advertises a product. Nike usually gets famous sports stars
to sponsor their products.
To go around the table: To hear everybodys opinion one at a time. Lets go
around the table to see if we all agree.
Overweight: Adjective. A polite way to say someone is not thin. Overweight can
have a range of meanings from slightly fat to very fat.
Fit: Adjective. 1) To be thin and healthy. I really want to get fit in the new year,
so I went on a diet and Im exercising every day. 2) To be suitable for
something. Hes not fit to manage the company.
If it isnt broken, dont fix it: Idiom. Also, If it aint broke, dont fix it (American
slang). It criticizes the approach of always trying to improve things that are
already okay. Look, lets stop looking for things to change and just release the
product on time If it isnt broken, dont fix it.
Target market: The market one is trying to sell something to. The target
market for this new kind of sports car is urban professionals with an income over
80,000 euros per year.
Target customer: Similar to target market, but target customer refers to the
customer you are trying to sell something to. Our specific target customer is
women in their early 30s with children.
Agile: Adjective. Able to move flexible and quickly. The noun form is agility.
What makes her such a great sports star is her amazing agility. In this
business environment, only agile companies with the ability to make quick
decisions will succeed.
To kill two birds with one stone: Idiom. To get two things done at once. By
improving our training system, we will decrease the number of staff who leave
the company and increase our sales; thus, with this action we kill two birds with
one stone.
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Dialog

Karen: Okay. Now, lets talk about who we want to use as a spokesperson for
this product. Lets go around the table. Shall we use a sports star? Or someone
else? Sven what do you think?
Sven: Well, one possibility would be to use a famous overweight business
executive or CEO someone who is really successful.
Miguel: Sorry, can I come in here?
Karen: Yes, go ahead Miguel.
Miguel: Thats a good idea, but Im not
sure it would work.
Karen: Why not?
Miguel: Well, for one thing, our
customers want to be fit, not fat.
Karen: Well, then what do you suggest?
Miguel: Perhaps we should just use a famous sports star like we usually do. If it
isnt broken, dont fix it, you know what I mean? We could try getting Rooney, or
Nadal.
Karen: Good suggestion. But I can see one or two problems with that, to be
honest.
Miguel: Oh?
Karen: First off, our target markets are the UK and the U.S. We need someone
who both Americans and Britons really like. Secondly, our target customer is
kind of special...
Charles: Ive got a suggestion.
Karen: Go ahead Charles.
Charles. Its just an idea, but how about choosing someone from a sport where
its normal to be heavy. American football, for example. Heavy, but agile;
overweight, but strong and fast. You know what I mean?
Karen: Right, I can see what you mean. What do others think?
Miguel: Yes, that might be worth trying.
Sven: Okay, but what about the UK? Who are we going to use on this side of the
Atlantic?
Karen: Hmmm... let me think about this. Shall we try to find someone in golf?
Thats popular in the U.S. and in the UK. That way, we can kill two birds with
one stone.
Everybody (chorus):Thats not a bad idea! Good idea! Yes, I think that would
be worth trying.


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Debrief

Heres another good idea: Lets study the dialogue to learn about accepting and
rejecting suggestions. First, well talk about rejecting suggestions.

When rejecting suggestions, its important to avoid hurting peoples feelings.
Lets think back to Karen and her team in the dialogue. During their discussion,
what language do they use to reject suggestions they dont like? First listen to
Miguel reject Svens suggestion.

Miguel: Sorry, can I come in here?

Karen: Yes, go ahead Miguel.

Miguel: Thats a good idea, but Im not sure it would work.

Miguel interrupts politely: Can I come in here? Then he says, Thats a good
idea, but Im not sure it would work.... This is a good careful way of rejecting a
suggestion.

Later, Karen rejects Miguels suggestion.

Miguel: ...If it isnt broken, dont fix it, you know what I mean? We could try
getting Rooney, or Nadal.

Karen: Good suggestion. But I can see one or two problems with that, to be
honest.

Karens way of rejecting Miguels suggestion follows the same form: First she
praises the idea: Good suggestion. Then she politely rejects it: But I can see one
or two problems with that, to be honest. Here, adding to be honest to the
sentence makes it even more polite. You can add to be honest to almost any
rejection. You can also use frankly speaking, or to to be frank the same way.
Lets practice that together.

Good suggestion. But frankly speaking I can see one or two problems with that.
Thats a good idea, but Im not sure it would work, to be frank.

To reject suggestions, you can also say...

Im not really sure about that...
and
Do you think so?

So now youve learned ways to make suggestions and ways to reject
suggestions. Next, well look at ways to accept suggestions.

Karen and Miguel like Charles suggestion, dont they? Charles wants to use a
sports star who is heavy but agile. Agile means quick and skillful. Lets listen
again.
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Charles: Its just an idea, but how about choosing someone from a sport where
its normal to be heavy. American football, for example. Heavy, but agile;
overweight, but strong and fast. You know what I mean?

Karen: Right, I can see what you mean. What do others think?

Miguel: Yes, that might be worth trying.

Right, I can see what you mean... and Yes, that might be worth trying... are
two ways to accept suggestions. What else can you say?

Okay, lets do that.
Thats not a bad idea.
Yes, I think that would work really well.
Good idea!
Great idea!

Okay. So today, youve learned many ways to reject and accept suggestions.

Now, before we finish todays show, lets look at an idiom Karen uses at the end
of the listening.

Karen: Hmmm... let me think about this. Shall we try to find someone in golf?
Thats popular in the U.S. and in the UK. That way, we can kill two birds with
one stone.

To kill two birds with one stone is an idiom that means to do or accomplish two
things at one time. You can say, That way, we kill two birds with one stone or
That will let us kill two birds with one stone.

Now, lets practice what weve learned. First lets go over rejecting suggestions
politely. Youll hear a series of suggestions, each followed by a beep. After each
beep, use a polite phrase to reject the suggestion. For example, if you hear,
What if we cut the sales training budget, you can say, Well, I can see one or
two problems with that idea or Well, I dont know. Are you ready? Lets give
it a try.

Cue 1: What if we hold the meeting next week?
Learner:

Cue 2: I think we should buy new computers.
Learner:

Cue 3: Lets try to hold the training in a pub.
Learner:

Howd you do? Listen to some examples to check your answers:
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Cue 1: What if we hold the meeting next week?
Answer: Thats a good idea, but Im not sure it would work

Cue 2: I think we should buy new computers.
Answer: Do you really think so? Im not so sure about that.

Cue 3: Lets try to hold the training in a pub.
Answer: Frankly speaking, I can see one or two problems with that idea.

Practice 2
Now lets practice accepting suggestions. After each beep, use a phrase for
accepting the suggestion, like, Okay, lets do that, or Thats not a bad idea.

Cue 1: How about we all go on an outing together next weekend?
Learner:

Cue 2: What if we hold a party to increase morale?
Learner:

Cue 3: Were wasting a lot of time. Is there any way we can hold fewer meetings?
Learner:


How did you do? Its always a good idea to go back and practice again. This
time, substitute different language to build fluency.

Cue 1: How about we all go on an outing together next weekend?
Answer: Great idea!

Cue 2: What if we hold a party to increase morale?
Answer: Yes, I think that would work really well.

Cue 3: Were wasting a lot of time. Is there any way we can hold fewer meetings?
Answer: Thats not a bad idea.

In this episode, weve learned appropriate ways to accept and reject
suggestions. Weve also reviewed useful idioms.

Remember, you can download this and many other shows on to your MP3 player
and practice on the go! That way, youre always killing two birds with one stone.
Listen to Business English Pod on the way to work, in the car, on the train, in the
bus... just about anywhere!

Peter: How about listening in a meeting with your boss...
Clayton: I dont think that would be such a good idea to be honest...
But remember to try our online exercises at www.businessenglishpod.com.
There youll find great extension exercises for building your vocabulary,
practicing your listening, and developing your language.
Thank you for listening!
businessenglishpod


! 2008 All rights reserved: businessenglishpod.com 45

Language Review
A. Accepting Suggestions
Part 1: Jumbled sentences put the words in order to form phrases for
accepting suggestions.
1) speaking frankly that I see can one problems or two with

2) good that a idea but Im not sure work it would to frank s be


3) do so think you

4) i not sure really that about m


Part 2: Fill in the missing words.
if would not idea about well way

Cue 1: How _______ we all go on an outing together next weekend?
Learner: Great _______!
Cue 2: What _______ we hold a party to increase morale?
Learner: Yes, I think that _______ work really _______.
Cue 3: Were wasting a lot of time. Is there any _______ we can hold less
meetings?
Learner: Thats _______ a bad idea.

B. Rejecting Suggestions
Part 1: Jumbled sentences put the words in order to form phrases for
accepting suggestions.
1) let okay do that s
2) not that idea a bad s
3) think I would that well work really yes

Part 2: Fill in the missing words.
really hold speaking but sure good problems

Cue 1: What if we _______ the meeting next week?
Learner: Thats a _______ idea, _______ Im not sure it would work
Cue 2: I think we should buy new computers.
Learner: Do you _______ think so? Im not so _______ about that.
Cue 3: Lets try to hold the training in a pub.
Learner: Frankly _______, I can see one or two _______ with that idea.
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Study Strategy

Using the language we have studied in Unit 205 and 206, play a game with your
friends or colleagues: Every person playing should write down several common
problems people have, such as how to quite smoking or how to make more
money. Put all the cards in a pile. Then, take turns drawing cards and asking the
rest of the group for their suggestions. Accept and reject suggestions as you see
fit. After everyone has had a chance to give you a suggestion, give your card to
the person whose suggestion you liked best. At the end of the game, the person
with the most cards wins.

Answers
A. Accepting Suggestions
Part 1:
1) Frankly speaking I can see one or two problems with that.
2) Thats a good idea, but Im not sure it would work, to be frank.
3) Do you think so?
4) Im not really sure about that.

Part 2:
Cue 1: How about we all go on an outing together next weekend?
Learner: Great idea!

Cue 2: What if we hold a party to increase morale?
Learner: Yes, I think that would work really well.

Cue 3: Were wasting a lot of time. Is there any way we can hold less meetings?
Learner: Thats not a bad idea.

B. Rejecting Suggestions
Part 1:
1) Okay, lets do that.
2) Thats not a bad idea.
3) Yes, I think that would work really well.

Part 2:
Cue 1: What if we hold the meeting next week?
Learner: Thats a good idea, but Im not sure it would work

Cue 2: I think we should buy new computers.
Learner: Do you really think so? Im not so sure about that.

Cue 3: Lets try to hold the training in a pub.
Learner: Frankly speaking, I can see one or two problems with that idea.

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Links (click a link to open the exercise)

Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Quiz
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Gap-fill
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Dialog & Vocabulary
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 1
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 2
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 3
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 4
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 5
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Language Review 6
Unit 205-06 Making / Accepting / Rejecting Suggestions - Flashcards



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! 2008 All rights reserved: businessenglishpod.com 48

Unit 207 Meetings: Clarifying what was said

This is the first in a two-part series on clarifying. To clarify means to make clear.

Today well learn phrases and skills for clarifying what was said. For example, I
didnt quite catch that. Could you say that again? This is useful when you dont
hear clearly or when someone speaks too fast.

Then, in the second podcast, well be looking at language for clarifying what was
meant, for instance What exactly do you mean by that?

The listening today is from a shipping company. Youll hear Wim Zeldenhuis and
Andre De Vries in Rotterdam call their American colleague Benny McClenahan in
Boston. First the receptionist in Bennys office picks up the phone...

Vocabulary

Conference: 1) Meeting. Often goes
together with video, audio, or
telephone. 2) Large gathering of people
from the same industry. Ive got a
telephone conference with the head office
on next Tuesday.
To catch sth: In the dialog, this means to
hear something. Im sorry could you say
that again? I didnt quite catch what you
said.
(To put someone on) hold / to hold: To wait
on the telephone line. Im sorry shes not
in right now. Is it all right if I ask you to
hold / put you on hold?
To have (got) someone on the line: A phrase that we use to inform someone of
a call for him or her. Hello, Ms. Smith? Ive got a Mr. Wagner on the line. Hes
calling about the new supertanker project.
To put somebody through: To transfer a call to someone. Yes, John, thats fine
please put him right through.
How have you been holding up? This means, How have you been doing? Its
been a long time since we last spoke How have you been holding up?
To miss something: In the dialog, this means not to hear something clearly.
Sorry, I missed your name. Could you say it again?
Freezing: Very, very cold. Wow -30! Its freezing outside!
(To be) on mute: When you press the mute button, your phone stops sending
audio. This feature is useful if you want to discuss something private, but its
main use is to cut down on noise during large conference calls. I cant hear
anything please take your phone off mute. There! Thats better. What were
you saying?
Seagoing vessel: A vessel is a ship and seagoing means it can sail on the sea (as
opposed to just a river). "Our global fleet of over 5,000 seagoing cargo vessels
can deliver your goods anywhere in the world for less money."
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Dialog

Receptionist: Good afternoon, De Groot and Smit, this is Anna, how can I help you?
Wim: Yes, this is Wim Zeldenhuis in the Rotterdam office. Im here with Andre DeVries.
Receptionist: Uh huh.
Wim: We have a conference scheduled with Benny McClenahan. Could you put us
through?
Receptionist: Yes, of course. Sorry, I didnt quite catch your name. Mr. ...?
Wim: Zeldenhuis
Receptionist: Z-E-L...?
Benny: Z-E-L-D-E-N-H-U-I-S
Receptionist: Z-E-L-D-E-N
Benny: ...H-U-I-S. Zeldenhuis
Receptionist: Thank you. Can you hold please?
Wim: Yes, of course.
Benny: Benny speaking. How can I help you?
Receptionist: Hi Benny. This is Anna. Ive got a Mr. Zeldenhuis on the line from
Rotterdam.
Benny: Sorry, who did you say?
Receptionist: Mr. Zeldenhuis. Z-E-L-D...
Benny: Ohp, I know.
Receptionist: Hes calling together with a Mr. De Vries.
Benny: Great. Put them right through.
Receptionist: All right. Here they are.
Benny: Wim? Andre?
Wim: Yes! Hello Benny! This is Wim.
Andre: Hi Benny! This is Andre.
Benny: Wow, its great to hear you two! How have you been holding up?
Wim: Sorry, Benny, I missed that. Could you say that again?
Benny: No problem. I said how have you two been doing? I hear its cold there!
Wim: It sure is. Its freezing. Theres ice everywhere.
Benny: Oh my goodness!
Andre: But its not much better in Boston, right Benny?
Benny: No, its not. We havent seen weather like this for years. [silence] So... is ice
slowing down shipping on the river any? [silence] Hello? Wim? Andre? [silence]
Maybe your phone is on mute?
Wim: Oh, sorry about that.
Benny: Thats okay.
Wim: Sorry, what did you just say?
Benny: Yeah, no worries. I said, is the weather affecting shipping on the river?
Wim: [laughs] Well, I think Andre can tell you about that.
Andre: You wouldnt believe it! Of course, it doesnt affect the seagoing vessels. But
on the river, were seeing partial blockage of the...
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Debrief

All right. Now, lets go through the dialogue bit by bit.

Remember, its very important to ask when you dont understand. That way the
communication can keep going forward. Lets start at the beginning.

At first the receptionist, Anna, doesnt hear Wims name clearly, does she? She
says, Sorry, I didnt quite catch your name. Here, catch means hear or
understand.

Wim repeats his surname, but she still doesnt catch itperhaps because its an
unfamiliar foreign name for her.

So what does she do? She doesnt ask him to repeat again, which might irritate
him. Instead, she signals to Wim to spell his surname by starting to spell it
herself.

Receptionist: Z-E-L...
Wim: Z-E-L-D-E-N-H-U-I-S
Receptionist: Z-E-L-D-E-N
Wim: ...H-U-I-S. Zeldenhuis

Asking someone to spell his name is a great skill for dealing with difficult words or
names. She could have also asked:

! How do you spell that?
! Would you mind telling me how thats spelled?
! May I ask how thats spelled?
! Could you spell that for me, please?

Then, when Benny answers the phone, he doesnt catch Wims surname either.
How does he clarify it?

Receptionist: Hi Benny. This is Anna. Ive got a Mr. Zeldenhuis on the line from
Rotterdam.
Benny: Sorry, who did you say?

Benny says, Sorry, who did you say? You can use the same kind of sentence
form (or pattern) with all of the 5 WsWhere, when, why, what and how,
including how much, how many, and how long.

A: Tomorrow, were going to Madras.
B: Sorry, where did you say?
A: I said Madras.
B: Oh, Madras.

A: Theyre arriving at 4:00 a.m. in the morning.
B: Pardon me, when did you say?
A: 4:00 a.m. In the morning.
B: Oh dear. Thats what I thought you said.

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Okay, lets get back to the dialogue. To greet Wim and Andre, Benny uses an
idiomatic expression. He says, How have you been holding up? This means
How have you been doing? Its informal and familiar. Its usually used to ask
someone how they are doing during a difficult situation. For example,

A: I heard its been a hard week. How are you holding up?
B: Fine, I guess. Yeah, its really tough. But well survive.

Remember, Wim doesnt hear clearly or doesnt understand. Lets listen again.

Benny: Wow, its great to hear you two! How have you been holding up?
Wim: Sorry, Benny, I missed that. Could you say that again?

I missed that is a useful expression for when you didnt hear clearly. You can also
say:

! Im sorry, could you repeat that, please?
! Sorry, what did you say?
! Im afraid I didnt catch that. Could you say that again?
! Sorry, Im afraid I didnt quite hear what you just said. Would you mind
saying it again?

More informally, you can just say:

! Pardon?
! Come again?
! What was that?
! Say again?

Now, heres a question that many students ask: When do you use it and when
do you use that?

Lets listen to two short dialogues:

A: My name is Karamasov.
B: Sorry, what was that?

A: My name is Karamasov.
B: Sorry, Im afraid I didnt catch your name. Could you repeat it?

As you can see, that usually refers to what the other person said. It refers to
what I just said.

Okay, lets look back at another part of the listening. It is a special case of not
being able to hear.

Benny: Hello? Wim? Andre? [silence]
Benny: Maybe your phone is on mute.
Wim: Oh, sorry about that.
Benny: Thats okay.

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What is happening here? Andre and Bennys phone is on mute. Mute means
makes no sound. Benny could also say:

! Can you take your phone off mute?
! I think you need to hit the mute button. There. Thats better.

Heres a tip. As you know, in teleconferencesespecially when there three, four
or more locationsyou should keep your phone on mute when youre not talking
to avoid background noiseor to keep your boss from hearing what you really
think of her!

Finally, lets look back at the end of the dialogue. Wim says sorry for not hearing
what Benny said. How does Benny respond? Listen again:

Wim: Sorry, what did you just say?
Benny: Yeah, no worries. I said, is the weather affecting shipping on the river?

When someone asks you to repeat something, you can say no worries. This is
a good informal spoken English expression. It is used for small things to say It
doesnt matter.

Benny says, Sorry, who did you say? You can use the same kind of sentence
form (or pattern) with all of the 5 WsWhere, when, why, what and how,
including how much, how many, and how long.

A: Tomorrow, were going to Madras.
B: Sorry, where did you say?
A: I said Madras.
B: Oh, Madras.

Now, its your turn to practice. Were going to study clarifying with the 5 Ws
what, where, when, why and how. Lets review how thats done. Listen to this
short dialog.

A: Weve got a train to catch at 6 A.M.
B: Sorry, when did you say?
A: 6 A.M.

You can use the same way to clarify with any of the 5 Ws and with how much
and how many. Just ask, Where did you say? or How much did you say? and
so on.

Now you give it a try. First, youll hear a statement. After the beep, ask a
clarifying question about the statement and wait for the answer. If you like,
when you hear the answer you can add a personal reaction like, Oh dear! Is
that right or Oh I see. Thats what I thought you said.

Practice Dialog 1
Prompt: I lost $3,000 on the stock market last month.
Learner:
Prompt: $3,000.
Reaction:
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Practice Dialog 2
Prompt: Were going to relocate the factory to China?
Learner:
Prompt: To China.
Reaction:


Practice Dialog 3
Prompt: Weve got sixty new employees joining the company.
Learner:
Prompt: Sixty.
Reaction:


Practice Dialog 4
Prompt: Weve got to cut costs because of falling sales.
Learner:
Prompt: Because of falling sales.
Reaction:

How did you do? Listen to the answers to check. Youll notice that weve added
personal reactions to the end of each dialog.

Practice Dialog Answer 1
Prompt: I lost $3,000 on the stock market last month. <thinking time, beep>
Answer: Sorry, how much did you say?
Prompt: $3,000.
Reaction: Oh dear! Im sorry.

Practice Dialog Answer 2
Prompt: Were going to relocate the factory to China? <thinking time, beep>
Answer: Sorry, where did you say?
Prompt: To China.
Reaction: To China! Thats what I thought you said.

Practice Dialog Answer 3
Prompt: Weve got sixty new employees joining the company.
Answer: Sorry, how many did you say?
Prompt: Sixty.
Reaction: Wow, thats a lot.

Practice Dialog Answer 4
Prompt: Weve got to cut costs because of falling sales.
Answer: Sorry, why did you say?
Prompt: Because of falling sales.
Reaction: Oh my that doesnt sound good.

Clarifying with the five Ws is a very useful skill for meetings. Go back and
practice again, this time adding a personal reaction to each dialog. If youve
already tried adding personal reactions, substitute different language to develop
fluency.

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Well, thats about it for todays show. Today weve studied several different ways
to clarify what was said. Weve also learned some useful tips and idiomatic
expressions. Remember if you dont understand something, its very important
to ask for clarification so that the communication can go forward.


For further practice, be sure to complete the online exercises. There youll find
quizzes, language development exercises, vocabulary extension, and much
more.

In the next chapter, well be taking a close look at clarifying what was meant,
which is another important skill in meetings and discussions.

Thanks for listening, and see you next time!



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Language Review

A. Key Phrases
Choose the appropriate question from the box below to clarify the following
statements:






1. Lets meet at 12.15.


2. Id like to order 33 sandwiches for our sales meeting.


3. Just let him know John Higinsbottom called.


4. I met Frank from Cemex at the conference and he said they expect strong
demand in the second quarter from Chinese customers.



B. Clarifying What Was Said
To review key phrases for clarifying, put the following jumbled sentences into
order.

1) do how you that spell
2) mind would how you me spelled thats telling
3) I how ask spelled thats may
4) you for spell that please me could
5) I sorry m repeat you please that could
6) did sorry say you what
7) I Im didnt catch afraid that
8) you could that again say
9) said I m you quite I what hear didnt afraid just sorry
10) saying mind again it would you

Study Strategy

Have a friend read a text to you aloud. Every time they comes across a detail
(number, figure, time, name, place, etc.) they should mumble the words, that
is, they should read them softly and incomprehensibly. Then its your job to
clarify with the five Ws as we practiced in this episode. For example, What did
you say? Who did you say? When did you say? Oh, I thought thats what you
said. As much as that! After youve finished, switch roles.

Sorry, how many was that? May I ask how thats spelled?
Sorry I missed that, who did say? When did you say?
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Answers

Listening Comprehension:
1) Shipping
2) De Groot and Smit
3) Its very cold in both cities
4) Their phone is on mute


Language Review:
A.
1) When did you say?
2) Sorry, how many was that?
3) May I ask how thats spelled?
4) Sorry I missed that, who did say?

B.
1) How do you spell that?
2) Would you mind telling me how thats spelled?
3) May I ask how thats spelled?
4) Could you spell that for me, please?
5) Im sorry, could you repeat that, please?
6) Sorry, what did you say?
7) Im afraid I didnt catch that.
8) Could you say that again?
9) Sorry, Im afraid I didnt quite hear what you just said.
10) Would you mind saying it again?

Links (click a link to open the exercise)

Unit 207 Clarifying What Was Said - Quiz
Unit 207 Clarifying What Was Said - Gap-fill
Unit 207 Clarifying What Was Said - Dialog & Vocabulary
Unit 207 Clarifying What Was Said - Language Review 1
Unit 207 Clarifying What Was Said - Language Review 2
Unit 207 Clarifying What Was Said - Language Review 3
Unit 207 Clarifying What Was Said - Language Review 4
Unit 207 Clarifying What Was Said - Flashcards



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Unit 208 - Clarifying What Was Meant

In the previous episode, we talked about clarifying what was said, for example,
What did you just say? I didnt catch that.

In todays show, well look at clarifying what was meant, for example, What do
you mean by that? or What Im trying to say is... Clarifying the meaning is an
important part of all communication because it helps us avoid misunderstanding.

Todays listening comes from SwiftWire, a start-up technology company. A start
up is a new company. Michael is the founder of SwiftWire; Founder means
hes the one who started the company. Hes talking to two colleagues, Ryan, the
chief technology officer, and Rachel, the marketing director. They are discussing
the recent launch of a new product line.

While you listen, pay attention to the language they use to clarify meaning.

Dialog

Michael: The news isnt great Im afraid. I know all of us had very high expectations
for the launch, but were going to have come to grips with the situation.
Rachel: Sorry, but I dont quite see what you mean. What are you getting at?
Michael: Well, Rachel, what Im saying is... weve had a closer look at the numbers,
and it isnt pretty.
Ryan: I see. So in other words, youre saying its been a complete failure? Is that
right?
Michael: That would be one way of looking at it. I prefer to see it as a challenge. But
to salvage this situation, we really have our work cut out for us.
Rachel: What exactly do you mean by salvage? Do you think we are going to have
to scrap the whole product line?
Michael: Im afraid so. Actually, Im thinking about how to salvage the company. Its
going to take everything we have just to keep this company afloat.
Ryan: Is it really that bad? I mean, we do have strong investor support dont we?
Michael: Let me make sure I understand what you mean. Youre asking if our
investors will stay with us through this, is that right?
Ryan: Yeah, thats right. I mean, theyve been very enthusiastic from the beginning.
Theres always going to be a few problems along the way.
Michael: Well, unfortunately, its not that simple. They want to know who is going to
take responsibility for this mess. They want to see some major adjustments, you see.
Rachel: Wait a second. What do you mean by adjustment? Were not talking about
redundancies here, are we?
Michael: (sigh) Actually, its funny you should mention that, Rachel. You know, no
one has contributed more to this project than you have. And we all really appreciate
that...
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Vocabulary

To have high expectations for someone or something: In this expression,
expectations are similar to hopes. High expectations means high hopes. We had
really high expectations for the new year, but weve been disappointed so far.
To come to grips with something: This means to understand and acknowledge how
bad a situation is. Sandy has been saying there are no problems with his job, but
all of his colleagues have told me how bad he is getting on with this boss. Hes just
going to have to come to grips with the situation before its too late.
What are you getting at? To get at something means to imply something or
say it indirectly. What are you getting at? is a way of clarifying something that
you dont feel was stated directly or clearly. Youve been talking all afternoon,
but Im still not sure what you are getting at. Just tell me directly yes or no?
It isnt pretty: This is a
euphemistic expression.
(Euphemistic means, for
example, saying something is
not very bad when you
mean, in fact, it is very, very
bad.) In this case pretty
means good. It isnt pretty,
then, means the situation is
very bad. Well, I just finished
talking to the boss, and it isnt
pretty some of us are going
to lose our jobs.
Salvage: To save something bad or old or to take the useful parts from
something bad or old. Generally, to save a bad situation. Weve been losing
money for five years. Now its time to just see if we can salvage anything.
To have ones work cut out for one: This means that there is a lot of work to be
done. We havent started yet planning the fall 2008 product launch, and its
already March We really have our work cut out for us!
Scrap: To sell a machine (for example, a car) as old metal. To throw away. In
business, to stop or get rid of something. We have to scrap this project before
its too late weve lost enough money already.
To keep the company afloat: Idiom. Imagine the company is a ship. To keep the
company afloat means to keep it from sinking, i.e., failing. Weve got to lay
people off and cut costs whatever it takes to keep the company afloat.
Enthusiastic: Adjective. To be very excited and positive about something. Im
very enthusiastic about our new project I think its going to be a big success.
(To be a) mess: To be disorderly or problematic. Union-management relations
are a real mess right now. The contract negotiations have totally broken down.
Adjustments: Small changes. Of course, in the dialog, this is another
euphemistic expression (see "it isn't pretty") because Michael means, in fact,
that some big changes need to be made. We need to make some adjustments
to our hiring practice.
Redundancies: Lay-offs, that is, letting people go to save the company money.
Were going to see a lot of redundancies in 2009 if we dont start cutting costs.
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Debrief

It doesnt look so good for Rachel, does it?

Lets go through the dialogue together and look at the language that the three
colleagues use to clarify what they say.

Also, along the way, well take a look at some of the idioms they use.

Listen to the beginning again.

Michael: The news isnt great Im afraid. I know all of us had very high
expectations for the launch, but were going to have come to grips with the
situation.

What does it mean to come to grips with the situation? To grip something is
to hold something tightly in your hand. To come to grips with is an idiom that
means to fully understand or accept a difficult a situation. So Michael is
preparing everyone for bad news.

But Michaels statement a little unclear, is it? Another way to say unclear is
vagueits open to interpretation. To understand better, Rachel asks for
clarification.

Rachel: Sorry, but I dont quite see what you mean. What are you getting at?

What exactly are you getting at? is a useful expression to clarify meaning
when something is vague. You could also say:

! What exactly do you mean by that?
! Sorry, what do you mean by that?
! I dont quite see what you mean. Could you be a little more specific?
! Sorry, Im not with you. Could you explain what you mean?
! Sorry, I dont follow you. Could you run through that again?
! Sorry, that was totally clear to me. What exactly are you driving at?

Okay, lets get back to the dialogue. Remember, Rachel has just asked for
clarification. How does Michael respond?

Michael: Well, Rachel, what Im saying is... weve had a closer look at the
numbers, and it isnt pretty.

Michael uses the phrase what Im saying is... to clarify his meaning. He doesnt
need to say this, but perhaps it gives him a little time to think. There are many
other expressions he could use, for example,

! I think what Im getting at is that...
! What I mean to say is that...
! To make a long story short...

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Now, when Michael says the numbers arent pretty, hes still being very vague,
isnt he? Ryan decides to use his own words to check.

Ryan: I see. So in other words, youre saying its been a complete failure? Is
that right?

What is Ryan doing? First he acknowledges Michael by saying I see. Then he
checks backSo in other words.... Then he confirmsIs that right?
Acknowledge, check back, and confirm. Lets practice that.

A: I just think its been really hard. And, well, you know. Its not the best way to
do things.
B: Uh huh. Let me make sure I understand what you mean. Youre saying that
this is just not going to work, right?

A: Well, lets see. I think its just time to try something different.
B: Okay. Let me get this straight. What you mean is that weve got to invent a
new strategy. Have I got that right?

A: Its important that we keep the quality high at any cost.
B: I understand. So, were not going to put profit before quality. Am I correct?

Acknowledging, checking back and confirming is an useful skill. It can be used
for simple things, like checking a phone number, as well as more complex
things, like making sure you understand a vague customer demand.

Now, Ryan has just asked Michael if he thinks the project was a complete failure,
right? So how does Michael reply?

Michael: That would be one way of looking at it. I prefer to see it as a
challenge. To salvage this situation, we really have our work cut out for us.

Salvage means to save. To have your work cut out for you means that you
have a lot of work to do. So Michael thinks the project can be saved, but its
going to take hard work.

Isnt it interesting how Michael is negotiating with his colleagues about how to
look at the situation? When Ryan asks if the project is a failure, Michael says
That would be one way of looking at it. I prefer to see it as a challenge.

While clarifying, were not always just trying to make something clear?
Sometimes were also trying to get people to see things our way, arent we? This
is negotiating the meaning. Listen to another example:

A: I think hes hard to work with.
B: Thats one way of looking at it. I think hes impossible.

So back in our dialogue, Michael has just said that its going to take a lot of hard
work to salvage the situation. How does Rachel respond?

Rachel: What exactly do you mean by salvage? Do you think we are going to
have to scrap the whole product line?
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Rachel asks if the project will need to be scrapped. To scrap something is to
throw it away. Notice that she asks for clarification about a specific word
salvage. She says, What exactly do you mean by salvage. This is a good
expression for asking about a single word or expression. Here are some other
phrases you can use.

Could you just go over what you mean by a big change?
Sorry, I dont understand exactly what you mean when you say come to grips?
Can we just go back for a moment to what you said about timing? Im not quite
sure what you mean by as soon as possible?

Lets get back to the dialogue again. Remember, Rachel has just asked Michael
what he means by salvage? Does he mean that the product will need to be
scrapped?

Michael: Im afraid so. Actually, Im thinking about how to salvage the
company. Its going to take everything we have just to keep this company
afloat.

Michael says its going to take everything they haveall of their effortjust to
keep the company afloat. Afloat means floating, like a boat. Its going to take a
lot of hard work to keep the company from sinking or going out of business.

Notice how Michael uses Actually.... This is a way of introducing something
that is new or surprising. Michael is not just worried about salvaging the project;
actually, hes worried about the whole company. This is another kind of clarifying
the meaning. Listen to another example.

A: So what youre getting at is that we need to get a new computer system right
away?
B: Sorry, thats not exactly what Im saying. Actually, I think we can use the
current system a little while longer.

Great. Before we finish the program today, lets listen again to the end of the
dialogue. Michael has just said that there needs to be some adjustmentssome
changesin the way they do things.

Rachel: Wait a second. What do you mean by adjustment? Were not talking
about redundancies here, are we?

What does Rachel mean by redundancies? This is a nice way to talk about
laying off or dismissing employees. Redundant means repeated or extra. To
make people redundant means to dismiss them because their job no longer
exists. So redundancies refers to dismissals from work.

When Rachel asks whether there are going to be redundancies, she is asking
whether anyone is going to get fired. How does Michael reply?

Michael: (sigh) Actually, its funny you should mention that, Rachel. You know,
no one has contributed more to this project than you have. And we

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Its funny you should mention that.... is a way of directing the conversation.
Here funny means coincidentalsomething that happens by chance. This
phrase refers to what someone just said in order to change or build on the topic.
Listen to another example.

A: I just ran into in the elevator after he met with the boss. He looked a little
nervous.
B: Really? Its funny you should mention that. I mean, I saw his manager just
now, and he was looking pretty angry. I wonder whats going on?

So in our dialogue, it sounds like Michael is using the chance that Rachel gives
him to bring up the subject of firing someone. Who do you think its going to be?
If I were Rachel, Id be pretty nervous.

Now, its your turn to talk. Were going to practice clarifying a vague statement
and acknowledging, checking back, and confirming.

First, youll hear a vague statement. After the beep, ask for clarification. For
example, if you hear, We had a hard year last year, you can clarify by asking,
What exactly do you mean by hard? Then, acknowledge, check back, and
confirm the reply. For example, if you the reply is, I mean, sales dropped 30%,
you can say, I see. So youre saying sales fell 30%, is that right?

Are you ready? Give it a try.

Practice 1
Prompt: Weve got a lot of work to do.
Learner:
Prompt: I mean, weve got to finish all these reports by Friday.
Learner:


Practice 2
Prompt: Im afraid if performance doesnt improve, theres going to have to be
some changes around here.
Learner:
Prompt: I mean, we may have to lay some people off.
Learner:


Practice 3
Prompt: Katy is a nice person, but shes not exactly the best worker.
Learner:
Prompt: Well, shes always coming late to work, and she always leaves 20
minutes early.
Learner:

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How did you do? Now listen to the example answers to check your work.

Practice 1 Answer
Prompt: Weve got a lot of work to do.
Answer: What exactly do you mean by that?
Prompt: I mean, weve got to finish all these reports by Friday.
Answer: Okay. You mean we have to get all these reports done by Friday,
right?

Practice 2 Answer
Prompt: Im afraid if performance doesnt improve, theres going to have to be
some changes around here.
Answer: Sorry, Im not with you. Could you explain what you mean?
Prompt: I mean, we may have to lay some people off.
Answer: I understand. So you mean that theres going to be layoffs if
performance doesnt improve, right?

Practice 3 Answer
Prompt: Katy is a nice person, but shes not exactly the best worker.
Answer: I dont quite see what you mean. Could you be a little more specific?
Prompt: Well, shes always coming late to work, and she always leaves 20
minutes early.
Answer: Okay. So what youre saying is that she always comes late and always
leaves early. Is that right?

The two skills we just practiced clarifying vague statements and
acknowledging, checking back, and confirming are essential communication
tools. They are not only useful for making sure that you totally understand; they
can also help the person you are talking to feel that you are actively listening.
Its good to go back redo the practice. The next time you try it, substitute
different language to help develop fluency.


Well, thats it for todays show. Weve looked at a variety of ways to clarify what
we mean, including asking for clarification, acknowledging, checking back and
confirming, and negotiating the meaning. Weve also looked at a wide range of
useful idioms.

For further practice, be sure to check out the online exercises that accompany
the e-book. There youll find extra listening and language development
exercises.

Study Strategy

Acknowledging, checking back, and confirming is a key skill for making sure you
have understood. With a friend, play the vague game. Pick a sensitive topic,
for example, a coworker neither of you like, or a love affair someone has had.
Then, take turns making vague statements about the topic. The other person
uses the language we have studied in this episode to clarify what was meant.
After youve finished, switch roles.
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Language Review

A. Key Phrases
Complete the sentences below using the words from the box.

investor come to grips with redundancies
scrap challenge

1. The tests were a complete failure so we had to the project.
2. If we want to makes this a success, we need to the
problems.
3. The project wasnt a complete failure but it will be a big to
meet our original objectives.
4. Our are not going to be happy if we miss our sales targets.
5. US automobile manufacturers plan to announce more
this week in order to control costs.

B. Clarifying What Was Meant
Part 1: Clarifying General and Specific Points
Put the jumbled sentences in order.
1) exactly you do that mean by what
2) what sorry mean do you by that
3) I what quite see mean you dont
4) you be a little more specific could
5) Im sorry you not with
6) understand I dont what when you mean you say come to grips sorry
exactly
7) quite not sure you mean as soon as possible by what Im

Part 2: Acknowledging, Checking Back and Confirming
Fill in the blanks with the words below.

understand straight got saying
understand correct right mean

A: I just think its been really hard. And, well, you know. Its not the best way to
do things.
B: Uh huh. Let me make sure I ______________ what you mean. Youre
______________ that this is just not going to work, ______________?

A: Well, lets see. I think its just time to try something different.
B: Okay. Let me get this ______________. What you ______________ is that
weve got to invent a new strategy. Have I ______________ that right?

A: Its important that we keep the quality high at any cost.
B: I ______________. So, were not going to put profit before quality. Am I
correct?
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Answers

Language Review

A. Key Phrases
1. scrap
2. come to grips
3. challenge
4. investor
5. redundancies

B. Clarifying What Was Meant
Part 1: Clarifying General and Specific Points
1) What exactly do you mean by that?
2) Sorry, what do you mean by that?
3) I dont quite see what you mean.
4) Could you be a little more specific?
5) Sorry, Im not with you.
6) Sorry, I dont understand exactly what you mean when you say come to grips?
7) Im not quite sure what you mean by as soon as possible?

Part 2: Acknowledging, Checking Back and Confirming
Fill in the blanks with words from the box.
A: I just think its been really hard. And, well, you know. Its not the best way to
do things.
B: Uh huh. Let me make sure I understand what you mean. Youre saying that
this is just not going to work, right?

A: Well, lets see. I think its just time to try something different.
B: Okay. Let me get this straight. What you mean is that weve got to invent a
new strategy. Have I got that right?

A: Its important that we keep the quality high at any cost.
B: I understand. So, were not going to put profit before quality. Am I correct?

Links (click a link to open the exercise)

Unit 208 Clarifying What Was Meant - Quiz
Unit 208 Clarifying What Was Meant - Gap-fill
Unit 208 Clarifying What Was Meant - Dialog & Vocabulary
Unit 208 Clarifying What Was Meant - Language Review 1
Unit 208 Clarifying What Was Meant - Language Review 2
Unit 208 Clarifying What Was Meant - Language Review 3
Unit 208 Clarifying What Was Meant - Language Review 4
Unit 208 Clarifying What Was Meant - Vocabulary Flashcards
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Unit 209 - Opening a Meeting

This episode is the first in a two-part series on opening and managing meetings.
In this part you will study how to open a meeting. In the second part you will
learn how to manage the discussion.

The listening takes place in the Singapore offices of Daneline, an international
shipping company. Martin, the GM, is chairing a meeting with Sandra, David and
Sam to discuss a budget shortfall. Shortfall means their budget has fallen short
of expectations. In other words, they dont have enough money, so they need to
make some cuts. To chair a meeting is to lead the meeting. We can say that
Martin is the chairperson. So in these two episodes on opening and managing
meetings, youll be learning language for chairing meetings.

Vocabulary:

Agenda: The list of items that you plan to cover in a meeting. We can run
through the agenda, or receive a copy from the agenda. Also, you can stick
to the agenda, which means to follow it. I think this is a bit of a side track. Can
we please stick to the agenda.
Server: A computer that delivers information or software to other computers on
a network. A server can be down, which means to malfunction, or be up
which means to be running normally. I havent been able to send e-mail all day.
Maybe there is something wrong with the mail server.
Gym memberships: A gym, short for gymnasium, is a place to do exercise in
order to keep fit. A gym membership is a monthly or yearly card that lets you
visit the gym without paying by the time. For New Years, we gave ourselves
gym memberships trying to lose weight and get fit. Wish us luck!
Demotivated: To lack morale or to feel that you have lost motivation. After our
top manager criticized the project, we all felt totally demotivated. No one wanted
to work any more.
Potential: Basically this means possible. A high-potential employee is someone
who has great potential, i.e. great possibilities. In the dialogue, potential cuts
are possible areas where the Daneline team can cut the budget. I think there
are many potential areas for improvement in our work.
Outsourcing: This refers to another company, usually called a vendor, perform
some service for you in exchange for money. By finding a vendor that can
perform the service for less money than they themselves could do it, companies
save money. With industrialized countries outsourcing manufacturing to
industrializing countries, the balance of the world economy shifted in the late
twentieth century.
Shortfall: A sum or amount that is less than expected. Were going to have to
make up for shortfalls in our supply if we have any hope of meeting our
production schedule.
To tighten ones belt: Idiom. To cut costs. Weve got way too much fat in this
program its time to tighten our belts and save some money.
To kick off: To begin. Id like to kick off by saying Welcome! to everybody.
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Dialog

Martin: All right. Is everybody here? Great. I think we can get started. Well,
good morning everyone. Im sorry I had to call this meeting at such short notice.
Did you all get a copy of the agenda?

Sandra: Sorry, Martin, do
you have an extra copy?

Martin: Havent checked
your email this morning
Sandra? Late again, huh?

Sandra: Oh, come on
Martin. You know Im
never late. I think our
server is down or
something.

David: Here, you can look
at mine.

Sandra: Thanks Dave.

Martin: After the meeting, make sure to call IT.

Sandra: Already have.

Martin: Good. Okay. As you know, the main objective of this meeting is to
agree on ways to make up the budget shortfall of $154,000 shortfall were
facing. I hate to say it, but its belt tightening time.

Sam: Speaking of belt tightening, whatever we do we cant cut the free gym
memberships. That would be totally demotivating, dont you think?

Martin: Lets get to that in a moment, Sam. Let me first go through the agenda.
As you can see, we have a lot to cover. As you can see from the agenda, there
are 10 areas weve identified for potential cuts. Well run through them in order.
Any questions before we start?

Sandra: No.

Martin: Well break for lunch at 11:30, if that suits you.

Sam: Thats fine.

Sandra: Fine by me.

Martin: Good. Okay, lets move straight to the first point on the agenda:
Outsourcing cleaning. Sandra, would you please kick off?


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Debrief

There are many ways to open a meeting. It depends, obviously, on the type of
meeting and the situation. But there are six key points that you will always need
to consider when starting a meeting:

1. Getting everybodys attention.
2. Welcoming and thanking
3. Introducing any new colleagues
4. Explaining the objectives
5. Looking at the agenda, and...
6. Asking someone to start.

Lets look at how Martin handles each of these steps.

First getting attention. What does Martin say at the very beginning of the
meeting?

All right. Is everybody here? Great. I think we can get started. Well, good
morning everyone.

This language attracts everyones attention and lets them know the meeting is
starting. What else could Martin say?

! Okay. Lets get down to business.
! All right then. Can we get started?
! Okay folks. Lets get started, shall we?
! All right. Can I get everybodys attention? I think its about time we get
started.
! All right everybody. We need to get this show on the road.

The last exampleWe need to get the show on the roadis an informal idiom
that means we need to start.

So Martin has gotten everybodys attention. Whats next?

Well, good morning everyone. Im sorry I had to call this meeting at such short
notice. Did you all get a copy of the agenda?

To create a professional atmosphere, Martin is sure to welcome and thank
everyone for attending. Practice some more ways to do this.

! Well, good afternoon everybody. Its good to see you all here. Did everyone
get the agenda?
! Great! Thank you all for coming.
! Hello everyone! Im glad to see you all here. I know its a long way for some
of you to come. I really appreciate your being on time and ready to work.

What is the reason that Sandra doesnt have a copy of the agenda? Shes having
some email problems. She says I think our server is down or something. A
server is a computer that delivers information or software to other computers on
a network. But by saying or something, Sandra shows that she doesnt really
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understand whats going on. This is a good example of useful vague or unspecific
language. Lets practice some more examples of or something.

A: Have you found the problem with the numbers?
B: Weve been looking all afternoon, but still cant seem to find it. I think theres
a problem with the spreadsheet or something.

A: The boss is looking really happy. He must have gotten a bonus.
B: Or something. I heard he has a new girlfriend. Maybe thats it.

So Martin has gotten everybodys attention, and welcomed and thanked
everybody. Whats next? If there are any new colleagues to introduce, he can do
that now. For example, he could say:

! First of all, Id like to introduce George from the Hong Kong office. Would you
like to say a few words about yourself, George?
! Everybody say hello to Kerumi. Shes visiting us from the Japan office.

In this case, however, there is no one new to introduce, so Martin just moves on
to the next thing, explaining the objectives of the meeting.

As you know, the main objective of this meeting is to agree on ways to make up
the budget shortfall of $154,000 shortfall were facing. I hate to say it, but its
belt tightening time.

To tighten ones belt is an idiom that means to reduce waste or expenditures.
Expenditures means spending. So when Martin says Its belt tightening time,
he means its time to cut spending.

How does he explain the objective of the meeting? He says, As you know, the
main objective of this meeting is to.... That is a good way to tell everybody the
purpose of your meeting. What are some other ways?

! The reason were meeting today is to work out ways to deal with the
marketing challenges that were facing.
! The primary purpose of this meeting will be to start a discussion on ways to
cope with the huge increase in demand that were seeing.
! The main problem that were facing is how to manage our growth.
! The main thing Id like to accomplish today is defining the key problem areas
that we see with our current plan.

Notice the strong use of word partnerships or collocations in each of the
examples youve just listened to: We face, cope with, deal with or define
problems and challenges. By the way, challenge is a good word to use: It
sounds more optimistic than problem.

Now what happens? Sam, the operations manager, changes the subject doesnt
he? He says, Speaking of belt tightening, whatever we do we cant cut the free
gym memberships. That would be totally demotivating, dont you think? For
definitions of gym memberships and demotivating, be sure to check the learners
notes.

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When Sam changes the topic, Martin says Lets get back to that in a moment
Sam. This is a good expression for controlling the meeting. Well be looking at
ways of leaving and returning to the main topic in more detail during the second
episode.

So far Martin has got everybodys attention, welcomed and thanked everybody,
and explained the objectives. He still needs to look at the agenda, doesnt he?
How does he do that?

Let me first go over the agenda. As you can see, we have a lot to cover. As you
can see from the agenda, there are 10 areas weve identified for potential cuts.
Well run through them in order. Any questions before we start?

Potential means possible. Martin plans to run through them in order, in other
words, to deal with them one by one. Again, pay attention to the collocations
and useful language in this example. Go over the agenda, have a lot to
cover, potential areas for cuts, and run through something in order are all
useful expressions. Now, lets take a look at some other ways to look at the
agenda.

! Lets take a quick look at the agenda. As you can see, its broken down into
five main parts.
! Ive divided up the meeting today into three parts.
! Ive prepared some figures to help us compare the two options. Ill distribute
them now.

Next Martin talks about lunchtime plans. When you open a meeting, introducing
the agenda is obviously a good place to talk about any other important rules or
housekeeping details, such as when you will take a break, how long the meeting
will last, what people should do if they have to take a phone call and so on.

After confirming when theyll break for lunch, the final thing Martin needs to do
is to ask someone to start. He says

Good. Okay, lets move straight to the first point on the agenda: Outsourcing
cleaning. Sandra, would you please kick off?

As you may recall from Business News 06, outsourcing means to have another
company, usually called a vendor, perform some service for you. So outsourcing
cleaning means that instead of having their own cleaning staff, Daneline will hire
a cleaning company to do it for them.

Please kick off simply means Please start. This is a common business idiom
that comes from football, where kick off means to start the game. Later we will
do a whole podcast just on sports idioms.

What are some other ways to kick off the first item on the agenda?
! Great. Well, we have a lot to cover, so lets get down to business. George,
could you start by explaining the background on the first item?
! All right then. Lets start then, shall we? Katy, why dont you tell us what
youve been thinking on the advertising issue.
! Right. Susanne, would you be so kind as to begin?
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Now its your turn to speak. Were going to practice opening a meeting. Imagine
you are a manager at Daneline, and you are holding a meeting to discuss the
budget shortfall your team is facing. Give a short speech to them to open the
meeting. Remember to include all six parts. Do you remember what they are?

1. First get everybodys attention. For example, you can say, Okay. Lets
get down to business.
2. Next, be sure to welcome everyone and thank them for coming. Well,
good afternoon everybody. Its good to see you all here. Did everyone get
the agenda?
3. The third part is to introduce any new colleagues, but lets say everyone
knows each other, so this step is not necessary for the practice.
4. Fourth, explain objectives. For example, The main problem that were
facing is how deal with the budget shortfall.
5. Next, look at the agenda. To keep it simple, you can say the agenda is
divided up into two parts discussing the problems and brainstorming.
Brainstorming means thinking of solutions.
6. Finally, dont forget to ask someone to start. For example, All right then.
Lets start then, shall we? Katy, why dont kick it off.

Now youll hear a series of cues for each part. After each beep, use an
appropriate phrase. Are you ready? Lets give it a try.

Cue 1: Getting everybodys attention
Learner:


Cue 2: Welcoming and thanking
Learner:


Cue 3: Explaining the objectives
Learner:


Cue 4: Looking at the agenda
Learner:

.
Cue 5: Asking someone to start
Learner:


How did you do? Listen to an example answer with all the steps together.

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Example answer: All right then. Can we get started? Well, good morning
everyone. Im sorry I had to call this meeting at such short notice. Did you all
get a copy of the agenda? The reason were meeting today is to work out ways
to deal with the budget shortfall that were facing. Lets take a quick look at the
agenda. As you can see, its broken down into two parts. First well discuss the
problem, and then brainstorm solutions. Great. Well, we have a lot to cover, so
lets get down to business. George, could you start?

Remember to try the practice again; this time, substitute new language to build
up fluency.

All right. So that covers this episode on opening a meeting. Youve learned the
six parts of opening a meeting: Getting attention, welcoming and thanking,
introducing new colleagues, looking at the agenda and asking someone to start.
Youve also reviewed some common idioms, vocabulary and collocations for
meetings and budget discussions.

Be sure to check out the online exercises for this and the other chapters. There
youll find extensive language, listening and vocabulary practice.

In the next chapters, well be learning ways to manage the discussion and keep
everybody on track. Thanks for listening!

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Language Review


Exercise A

Put the tasks in a likely order.
a. Welcoming and thanking everybody.
b. Looking at the agenda.
c. Explaining the objectives of the meeting
d. Getting everybodys attention.
e. Introducing new colleagues.
f. Asking someone to start the first item.
1.
2.
3. Introducing new colleagues
4.
5.
6.

Exercise B

Match the tasks above with the language below and fill in the blanks. The first
one has been done for you.

1. f Wendy, would you kick off the first item.
2.
The primary _______ of this meeting will be to start a discussion on
ways to cope with this problem.
3. Everybody say hello to Kerumi. Shes _______ us from the Japan office.
4. Okay everybody. Lets get _____ to business.
5. Ive ________ up the meeting today into three parts.
6. Well, good afternoon everybody. Its _______ to see you all here.


Study Strategy

Write down and practice an introduction for a meeting that you chair or youve
attended. In addition to the six tasks above, you may wish to consider any
housekeeping points you need to cover (how long the meeting will last, whether
you will be taking a break). Also consider any special points that need to be
dealt with at meetings in your company (unfinished business from the last
meeting, special announcements, etc.).

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Answers

Listening Comprehension
1) $154,000
2) She has some IT problems and didnt receive her email. She thinks the email
server might be down.
3) areas have been identified for potential cuts.
4) Outsourcing cleaning of the office.

Language Review

Exercise A
1) Getting everybodys attention; 2) Welcoming and thanking everybody; 3)
Introducing new colleagues; 4) Explaining the objectives of the meeting; 5)
Looking at the agenda; 6) Asking somebody to start.

Exercise B
2) c, purpose, objective; 3)e, visiting us, coming to us from; 4) d, down; 5) b,
divided; 6) a, great, good.


Links (click a link to open the exercise)

Unit 209 Opening a Meeting - Quiz
Unit 209 Opening a Meeting - Gap-fill
Unit 209 Opening a Meeting - Dialog & Vocabulary
Unit 209 Opening a Meeting - Language Review 1
Unit 209 Opening a Meeting - Language Review 2
Unit 209 Opening a Meeting - Language Review 3
Unit 209 Opening a Meeting - Language Review 4
Unit 209 Opening a Meeting - Language Review 5
Unit 209 Opening a Meeting - Vocabulary Flashcards


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BEP 210 - Managing the Discussion

This is the second in a two-part series on opening and managing meetings. In
the first episode, we looked at how to open a meeting. In todays podcast were
going to cover how to manage the discussion.

Martin, the GM of Daneline Singapore, is discussing with his staff how to make
up a budget shortfall. He has just asked Sandra to kick off the first item on the
agenda outsourcing the cleaning.

Vocabulary

No-brainer: Something that is so obvious that you dont even have to think
about it to know that its true. Used for example in the expression, Thats a no-
brainer if you ask me.
Its a little harsh: Harsh means unkind or inconsiderate. You see it for example
in the expressions harsh treatment or harsh realities. For example, If youre
going to succeed in this world you have to face the harsh realities of life.
To let people go: This is a euphemism (a nice way) for saying to fire someone or
to lay someone off. Our costs are running too high I think were going to
need to let some people go.
To prioritize sth.: To make
something a priority, that is
give it high importance. You
usually deal with first the
things that you prioritize. We
need to prioritize sales
without revenue, our business
will fail.
Vendor: Another company that
performs a service for your
company or sells something to
your company. We have a
variety of vendors to supply us
with all the parts we need for
manufacturing.
To cut fat: Similar to to tighten ones belt, this is an idiom that describes
measures taken to cut extra costs, which are conceived of as fat. All right
this operation is not running very efficiently, and we need to save money.
Theres a lot of fat we can cut.
Side-track: Can be used as a noun or verb. A discussion that leaves the main
point. Dont you think this is a bit of side-track? Weve got a lot to cover lets
stick to the main topic of discussion.
Bread and butter: The core business area; the main way someone makes there
money. For over 100 years, selling medicines has been the bread and butter of
our business. I dont see any reason to change now.
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Dialog

Martin: ...Sandra, would you please kick off?

Sandra: Well, this is a great way to cut a lot of fat. My figures show that we can
save almost $50,000 dollars with this one.

Sam: Can I just come in here? That reminds me, we really cant have pizza for
lunch again. Its unhealthy.

Martin: Sorry, Sam, but I think this is a bit of a side-track. Lets try to keep to
the agenda, ok? I want to get everyone out of here on time.

Sam: Of course.

Sandra: So as I was saying, outsourcing the cleaning can really save a lot of
money. Its no-brainer if you ask me.

Martin: Uh huh. What do others think? Is there anything else we should
consider?

Dave: Well, frankly, I think its a little harsh to just let go people weve been
working side by side with for years. And we have to think about how it will affect
morale. (fade out)

Martin: Right, we seem to have dealt with the outsourcing issue. Now, lets
move on to the brochures. Weve budgeted $68,500 to redesign and reprint all
the sales and marketing brochures. Dave, this is your area of expertise. What do
you think?

Dave: Well, obviously, if were facing a shortfall, we need to make cuts. And this
cut would be less painful than many of the others. But we really have to
prioritize sales, because this is the bread and butter of our business. Perhaps we
can consider a limited redesign?

Sam: I agree.

Sandra: I do too. You know, Dave, speaking of the brochure, you really consider
using a different vendor for the brochures this time. I didnt think they did a
good job on the last ones at all.

Dave: Im with you 100%.

Martin: You may have a point there Sandra, but lets leave that for the regular
team meeting on Thursday. We still have a lot to cover.

Sandra: Okay.

Martin: All right, can we go around the table to make sure everyone agrees? All
those in favor of a limited redesign of the brochure? All those against?


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Debrief

During the meeting, both Sam and Sandra attempt to change the topic. But
Martin does a pretty good job of following the agenda, doesnt he? Lets study
how Martin keeps the discussion on track. Along the way, well also look at some
idioms and other useful language.

This first person to try to change the topic is Sam. Remember, Sandra is talking
about how much money they can save by outsourcing cleaning.

Sandra: Well, this is a great way to cut a lot of fat. My figures show that we can
save almost $50,000 dollars with this one.

Sandra says that outsourcing is a great way to cut a lot of fat. Similar to the
phrase to tighten ones belt, which we learned last time, to cut a lot of fat
means to save a lot of money. This makes Sam think of food:

Sam: Can I just come in here? That reminds me, we really cant have pizza for
lunch again. Its unhealthy.

It sounds as though Sams stomach is more important to him than the budget
discussions, doesnt it? Notice how Sam uses that reminds me. This useful
phrase links to what was just said to change the topic of discussion: What you
said reminds me of something else.

So Sam has attempted to change the topic. How does Martin get him back on
track?

Sorry, Sam, but I think this is a bit of a side-track. Lets try to keep to the
agenda, ok? I want to get everyone out of here on time.

Martin uses the phrase I think this is a bit of a side-track to show that he feels
the group has gone off the main topic on to an unimportant side issue. He is
careful to emphasize the benefit to the group of keeping to the agenda by saying
I want to get everyone out of here on time, that is he wants everyone to be
able to leave on time. Martins skillful action guides the discussion back on track.

Returning to the topic gives Sandra a chance to finish what she was saying:

So as I was saying, outsourcing the cleaning can really save a lot of money. Its
no-brainer if you ask me.

So as I was saying, lets Sandra continue from where she was interrupted. How
does she feel about outsourcing? She strongly supports it, saying that its a no-
brainer. That means its so obvious that you dont need a brain to figure it out.

Later on in the discussion, Sandra also tries to change the topic. Remember,
Dave has proposed a limited or partial redesign of the brochure: He is against
totally abandoning the brochure project because sales should be prioritized,
meaning that

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this should be given high importance. He says sales are the bread and butter
of the business. This is an idiom that means something is very important to the
business profit. Daves proposal reminds Sandra of a point shed like to make.
Lets listen.

Dave: Perhaps we can consider a limited redesign?

Sam: I agree.

Sandra: I do to. You know, Dave, speaking of the brochure, you really should
consider using a different vendor for the brochures this time.

Similar to Sams That reminds me..., Sandra uses Speaking of the brochure
to change the topic. This kind of expression is particularly useful in informal
discussions or when socializing and making small talk. Well be looking in more
detail at ways to change the topic during later episodes on social English.

Now, lets listen to how Martin gets the discussion back on track this time.

Martin: You may have a point there Sandra, but lets leave that for the regular
team meeting on Thursday. We still have a lot to cover.

In this expression and in Martins previous suggestion that This is a bit of a
side-track, notice the strong journey metaphor. Metaphor means to describe
something in terms of something else. In this case, we understand discussions in
terms of a journey with a goal: The meeting participants are travelers who have
to keep to or follow the agenda, which is the road.

With the journey metaphor in mind, lets review the language for keeping the
discussion on track:

! I can see what youre saying, but lets try to keep to the agenda.
! To save time, we need to stay on track. Lets try not to get too far off topic.
! Lets get back to that later. For now, I really want to stick to the agenda.
! Thats an interesting point, but lets talk about that when we come to it. Can
we get back to the main point?
! Weve got a lot of ground to cover, so I suggest do our best to stay on track.

So far youve covered language for changing the topic and sticking to the
agenda. Now lets look at some language for widening the discussion to make
sure youve heard different points of view. Remember earlier when Sandra says
that outsourcing cleaning is a no-brainer? What does Martin say to bring other
people into the discussion?

Martin: Uh huh. What do others think? Is there anything else we should
consider?

What do others think? is an effective way to widen the discussion to include
more people. What are some other phrases Martin could use?

! What other approaches are there to this problem? Does anybody have any
ideas?
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! How about other people? Any comments?
! Lets go around the table and get reactions to that idea. Who would like to
begin?
! Are there any other ways to think about this?

Great. Weve covered changing the topic, sticking to the agenda and widening
the discussion. Now lets study how Martin moves from one point to the next in
the meeting. What does he say after the team has finished talking about
outsourcing?

Right, we seem to have dealt with the outsourcing issue. Now, lets move on to
the brochures.

Similar to making a transition in a presentation, Martin signals that the last part
has finished and the new part is beginning. Lets listen to some more language
for doing just that.

! Good. Id say thats about all for that topic. Now, lets turn to the issue of
sales.
! Well, weve just about covered the San Francisco office. Lets continue by
discussing Buenos Aires.
! Time is pressing. Lets leave that there and move on to the next point on the
agenda, okay?

Take note of the professional way Martin asks Dave about his opinion on the
next topic: He says, Dave, this is your area of expertise. What do you think?
For a more complete review of other ways to ask for and give opinions, you can
go back to BEP27. In addition, agreeing and disagreeing are covered in BEP28
and 29.

Great. There is one last topic to cover in todays episode: Checking everyone
agrees in order to reach a decision. Listen to what Martin says at the end of the
dialogue.

All right, can we go around the table to make sure everyone agrees? All those in
favor of a limited redesign of the brochure? All those against?

To go around the table means to take a vote. You can either run through the
participants one by one or, as Martin does, have them respond as a group by
asking All those in favor? and All those against?

What are some other ways to check if everyone agrees?

! Can I get a quick show of hands? All those in favor?
! Lets take a vote. How many people are for this idea? Against? Thanks.
! Just quickly - is there anyone else that supports the strategy of reducing
overhead? Please raise your hands.


Now its your turn to practice. Were going to study keeping the discussion on
track and including other people in the discussion.

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Practice 1
First, imagine you are chairing a meeting a Daneline about how to deal with a
budget shortfall. You are talking about the first item on the agenda, outsourcing
the cleaning, but members of your team Pat and Brooks keep changing the
topic. After each beep, use a phrase weve studied to keep the discussion on
track, for example:
I can see what youre saying, but lets try to keep to the agenda.
or To save time, we need to stay on track. Lets try not to get too far off
topic.

Are you ready? Lets give it a try.

Cue 1 - Pat: That reminds me can we go out for lunch today? Id love to try
the new Chinese restaurant.
Learner:


Cue 2 - Brooks: Can I come in here? Actually, I really think canceling the
Christmas party is the best way to save money.
Learner:


Cue 3 - Pat: Can I ask a question? Who is going to handle the new employee
training?
Learner:


How did you do? Listen to the example answers.

Answer 1
Cue 1 Pat: That reminds me can we go out for lunch today? Id love to try the
new Chinese restaurant.
Answer: Can we talk about that later? Weve got a lot of ground to cover.

Answer 2
Cue 2 Brooks: Can I come in here? Actually, I really think canceling the
Christmas party is the best way to save money.
Answer: Thats an interesting point, but lets talk about that when we come to
it.

Answer 3
Cue 3 Pat: Can I ask a question? Who is going to handle the new employee
training?
Answer: To save time, we need to stay focused. Lets stick to the agenda.

Be sure to go back and try the practice again. Substitute different language to
build up fluency.

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Lets turn now to including more people in the discussion. In a moment, youll
hear Pat and Brooks state their opinions. After each beep, use a phrase to widen
the discussion, such as What do others think? or Lets go around the table to
get comments. Are you ready? Give it a try.

Cue 1: Well, in my opinion, outsourcing cleaning is a great way to save money.
Learner:


Cue 2: The best approach, in my view, is a limited redesign of the brochure.
Learner:


Cue 3: Another way to save money would be to cancel the Christmas party.
Learner:


Good. Now listen to some example answers.

Cue 1: Well, in my opinion, outsourcing cleaning is a great way to save money.
Answer: How about other people any comments?

Cue 2: The best approach, in my view, is a limited redesign of the brochure.
Answer: What other approaches are there to this problem? Does anybody have
any ideas?

Cue 3: Another way to save money would be to cancel the Christmas party.
Answer: Hmmmm. Lets go around the table and get reactions to that idea.
Who would like to begin?

Thats about it for todays episode on controlling the discussion. Youve learned
how to return to the main point, change the topic, move on to the next point in
the agenda, widen the discussion and check if everyone agrees. In addition,
weve covered several useful idioms and weve looked at how the discussion-is-
a-journey metaphor plays an important role in the language that we use to
manage meetings.

Be sure to check out the online exercises for this and the other chapters at
www.businessenglishpod.com. There youll find many useful extension and
review exercises for listening, vocabulary and language. Thanks for listening!

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Language Review

A. Metaphor
As youre learning English, thinking about metaphor can help your memory and
contribute to your fluency, especially with idioms. For example, in the two
episodes on opening and managing meetings, we have learned to tighten ones
belt and to cut the fat: In both these idioms fat refers to money that can be
saved. In fact, language is full of metaphors. It seems we understand almost
everything in terms of something else. Can you think of more? How about time
is moneyWe need to save timebusiness is warThey attacked our market
positionand so on. Are these the same in your native language? Many of
them probably are, but you might find some that are not. This can be an
interesting way to understand differences between cultures.

A. Discussion is a journey


C. Business is war
B. Fat is extra costs
D. Time is money

1)
I dont think were getting anywhere. Can we
try another approach?
A. Discussion is a journey
2)
Within two years we hope to totally conquer
this market

3) I hate to say it, but its belt tightening time.

4) I feel like were just going around in circles.

5)
Our CEO is a real fat cat. He doesnt think
twice about spending $600 on a bottle of wine
for dinner.

6)
Im sorryI just cant spare the time at the
moment.

7)
For now I think the best thing we can do is get
out of this market and keep our heads low in
order to cut our losses.

8)
Time is precious. Make sure you treasure every
second.


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B. General Review
Part 1: Key Phrases
Review key phrases by filling in the blanks with words from the box.

issue about raise comments next
against covered table quick approaches

Widening the discussion to include more people:
1) What other are there to this problem? Does anybody have
any ideas?
2) How about other people? Any ?
3) Lets go around the and get reactions to that idea.
Who would like to begin?
4) Are there any other ways to think this?

Moving to a new topic:
5) Good. Id say thats about all for that topic. Now, lets turn to the
of sales.
6) Well, weve just about the San Francisco office. Lets
continue by discussing Buenos Aires.
7) Time is pressing. Lets leave that there and move on to the
point on the agenda, okay?

To check if everyone agrees:
8) Can I get a show of hands. All those in favor?
9) Lets take a vote. How many people are for this idea? ? Thanks.
10) Just quicklyis there anyone else that supports the strategy of reducing
overhead. Please your hands.

Part 2: Sticking to the Agenda
Allan keeps leading the discussion astray. Bill would like to get him back on
track, but he keeps getting his sentences mixed up. Help Bill by putting his
sentences back in order.

Allan: That reminds me can we go out for lunch today? Id love to try the new
Chinese restaurant.
Bill: 1) can that we about talk later 2) got weve a lot to ground cover of
Can_____________________ ____________________________

Allan: Can I come in here? Actually, I really think canceling the Christmas party
is the best way to save money.
Bill: Thats an interesting point, 3) lets talk but that when we to come about it


______________________________________

Allan: Can I ask a question? Who is going to handle the new employee training?
Bill: To save time, 4) need we to focused stay 5) s stick let agenda to the

______________________________ ________________________

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Answers

Language Review
A. Metaphor
2) C 3) B 4) A 5) B 6) D 7) C 8) D.

B. General Review
Part 1: Key Phrases
Widening the discussion to include more people:
1) What other approaches are there to this problem? Does anybody have
any ideas?
2) How about other people? Any comments?
3) Lets go around the table and get reactions to that idea. Who would like
to begin?
4) Are there any other ways to think about this?

Moving to a new topic:
5) Good. Id say thats about all for that topic. Now, lets turn to the issue of
sales.
6) Well, weve just about covered the San Francisco office. Lets continue by
discussing Buenos Aires.
7) Time is pressing. Lets leave that there and move on to the next point on
the agenda, okay?

To check if everyone agrees:
8) Can I get a quick show of hands. All those in favor?
9) Lets take a vote. How many people are for this idea? Against? Thanks.
10) Just quicklyis there anyone else that supports the strategy of reducing
overhead. Please raise your hands.

Part 2: Sticking to the Agenda
Allan: That reminds me can we go out for lunch today? Id love to try the new
Chinese restaurant.
Bill: 1) Can we talk about that later? 2) Weve got a lot of ground to cover.

Allan: Can I come in here? Actually, I really think canceling the Christmas party
is the best way to save money.
Bill: Thats an interesting point, 3) but lets talk about that when we come to it.

Allan: Can I ask a question? Who is going to handle the new employee training?
Bill: To save time, 4) we need to stay focused. Lets stick to the agenda.

Links (click a link to open the exercise)
Unit 210 Managing the Discussion - Quiz
Unit 210 Managing the Discussion - Gap-fill
Unit 210 Managing the Discussion - Dialog & Vocabulary
Unit 210 Managing the Discussion - Language Review 1
Unit 210 Managing the Discussion - Language Review 2
Unit 210 Managing the Discussion - Language Review 3
Unit 210 Managing the Discussion - Language Review 4
Unit 210 Managing the Discussion - Vocabulary Flashcards
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Unit 211 Interrupting and Resisting Interruption

As a non-native speaker of English, you might often find yourself in situations
like this: Youre sitting in a meeting or a teleconference, and some of the
participants are native English speakers. They are speaking with each another
very rapidly, and they are using some idiomatic or difficult-to-understand
expressions. Someone says something you dont understand, or perhaps
something that is not true or that you disagree with strongly. You should
interrupt to ask what they mean, to clarify, to correct but you just cant bring
yourself to open your mouth. How do you start? How do you interrupt?

Thats the focus of todays episode.
Well be studying useful language
and expressions for interrupting and
for resisting or stopping interruption.
Along the way, well be looking at
some useful vocabulary. Well be
focusing on giving you the tools to
be more assertive in meetings, that
is, stronger and more confident
when youre speaking English.

The listening takes place in an
internal meeting at Strand
Technologies, a Hong Kong-based
OEM of portable electronic devices,
mainly MP3 and MP4 players. OEM
stands for original equipment
manufacturer. It refers to
companies that manufacture other
companies products for them.

Well hear Strands HR director Mei
Lin and recruitment manager Sam
talking to Bill, the production
manager at Dongguan, a city just
over the border in Mainland China
where Strand does most of its
manufacturing. Strand is just starting to make a new kind of product, and Bill
needs to recruit, or hire, engineers that understand the technology. He made a
request for extra heads, that is employees, one week earlier, but he didnt
hear back from HR, so he decided to call this meeting.

In this internal meeting, all three participants know each other well. As you
listen, pay attention to how they use assertive language to interrupt each other
in order to keep the meeting on track and arrive at positive result more quickly.

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Dialog
Bill: The main bottleneck were facing now in Dongguan is lack of qualified
engineers.
Mei Lin: Uh huh.
Bill: So the reason I called this meeting is to work out anyshall we say kinks
in the approval process so that we can get recruitment started immediately. As
you know, weve been working very closely with Trilogy on their new MP3 player
launch, and this new product
Mei Lin: Sorry, Bill, excuse me for interrupting you there, but weve been
looking at your headcount request
Bill: Yes.
Mei Lin: And it didnt really clarify for us exactly why you need more heads.
Sam: Yeah, dont you have engineers that you could transfer from other
production lines?
Bill: Well, as I was saying, Trilogys new product is absolutely critical to our
business. They are a key customer you could say the key customer.
Mei Lin: We know that. But it still doesnt tell us why
Bill: Just a moment. I havent finished what I was saying. Im pretty busy, and
maybe we werent totally clear in the original request. Look, this is a completely
different technology.
Sam: What do you mean?
Bill: Instead of plastic cases, were using stamped aluminum cases. Its a totally
different material, so we need engineers with a different skill set.
Mei Lin: You cant just have them learn what they need to know on the fly?
Youve got a lot of smart people.
Bill: Sure theyre smart. But we are supposed to go in to production by October.
We need experienced people otherwise its gonna come off half-assed. There are
all sorts of questions about retooling the machines, how to work with the
material, how to
Mei Lin: Just a moment Bill. Let me just come in here for a second. Thats all
well and good; I think Sam and I can both appreciate now that there is a real
business need here. But theres still the question of who commits the resources
to find the engineers you need.
Bill: What do you mean?
Sam: Well, as you know, were just going in to our fall recruitment drive, and
were short-staffed. Also you know best what qualifications youre looking for.
Bill: You mean you want us to do the search for candidates ourselves?
Mei Lin: Well not entirely. Recruiting can provide support but youll have to
drive the process.

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Vocabulary

Assertive: Strong, confident: Shes very assertive in meetings; she always
takes control.

Recruitment: The process of finding new employs. Every spring right before
college graduation is our most important recruitment time.

Recruitment drive: A campaign or program to look at many universities or job
fairs, etc., for new employees. During the fall recruitment drive, we visit every
major college in Canada.

Bottleneck: The thin part of a bottle; the part of a process that slows everything
down. Road construction on the way out of town has reduced a six-lane
highway to just two-lanes; its a real bottleneck. Traffic is backed up for an
hour.

Kinks: Bends in a hose that cause the water not to flow through. To work out
the kinks means to solve problems. Our new production process is great, but
theres still a few minor problems. As soon as weve worked out the kinks, were
going to be in business.

Headcount request: Headcount refers to the number of employees. Headcount
request is a formal request for more head or more employees. We were
understaffed, so we put a headcount request into the head office.

Stamped aluminum: Here to stamp means to cut like a cookie cuter, in one
piece. A lot of iPods are made from stamped aluminum.
skill set: A group of skills possessed by an employee. Working as a sales
engineer requires a broad skill set: You need to be a good engineer and a good
salesperson.

On the fly: As you go, to improvise. We dont have any plans, so well just have
to thinking of something on the fly.

To come off half-assed: To seem unprofessional. Because they didnt have
qualified employees in that area, their sales proposal just came off half-assed
and they didnt get the contract.

Short-staffed: Describes having fewer staff than needed. Right now were
totally short-staffed I dont know if we have enough people to get the job
done.

Retool: To alter the production capability of a factory to produce a different kind
of product. After we changed our design, we had to retool our assembly line.
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Debrief

Lets look at how Bill, Sam and Mei Lin interrupt and resist interruption. How
does the meeting start?

Bill: The main bottleneck were facing now in Dongguan is lack of qualified
engineers.
Mei Lin: Uh huh.

A bottleneck is the narrow part of the bottle under the mouth. Idiomatically, it
means something that slows everything down. Bill believes a lack of qualified
engineers is slowing down his production.

Note that as an experienced meeting leader, Bill is careful to provide a clear
statement of the goals for the meeting at the beginning.

Bill: So the reason I called this meeting is to work out anyshall we say kinks
in the approval process so that we can get recruitment started immediately.

Bill says The reason I called this meeting is to work out the kinks in the
approval process What does kinks mean? Imagine you have a water hose. If
the hose is bent sharply, the water cant get through. The bend is called a
kink. To work out the kinks means to straighten the hose so that the water
can flow. Its a way of saying to work out the problems. Bill wants to know why
Mei Lin and Sam have not approved his request for more engineers and he
wants to solve the problem.

In addition to the reason I called this meeting is to, what are some other
ways to declare the purpose of a meeting?

I called this meeting today to work out ways to deal with the marketing
challenges that were facing.
The primary purpose of this meeting will be to brainstorm ways to cope
with the huge increase in demand were seeing.
The main problem were facing is how to manage our growth.
The main thing Id like to accomplish today is defining the key problem
areas that we see with our current plan.

How does the dialog continue? Remember, Bill is talking about why he urgently
needs to recruit new engineers.

Bill: As you know, weve been working very closely with Trilogy on their new
MP3 player launch, and this new product
Mei Lin: Sorry, Bill, excuse me for interrupting you there, but weve been
looking at your headcount request
Mei Lin: And it didnt really clarify for us exactly why you need more heads.
Sam: Yeah, dont you have engineers that you could transfer from other
production lines?

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Mei Lin senses that she and Bill are having a misunderstanding, so she decides
to interrupt him right away so that they dont waste any more time.

To interrupt, May first says Bills name: Sorry, Bill. Using someones name is a
great way to interrupt, because it really gets their attention. Next, she says,
excuse me for interrupting you there, but When interrupting, it actually helps
to memorize some long phrases because sometimes you have to say a few
words before you can get your conversation partner to acknowledge your
interruption and stop talking. What are some other useful interruption phrases?

Can I just come in here?
Tony, I just like to add that
Excuse me for interrupting, but can I just add a few words on that topic.
Could I just interrupt you there
Can I say something here
Sorry to interrupt, but hasnt this been agreed already?
Sorry to butt in, George. Its just that I dont think weve adequately
covered the topic of price increases, and Id like to add a little point here.

Now that weve covered some language for interruption, lets get back to the
dialog to see what happens next. Mei Lin has just interrupted Bill to clarify what
the real reason for the recruitment request is.

Bill: Well, as I was saying, Trilogys new product is absolutely critical to our
business.

Well, as I was saying, is another way to assert yourself in a meeting. Its a
way of finishing what you were saying before you were interrupted. Bill is
signaling to Mei Lin that he was just about to answer her question when he was
interrupted. What are some other ways to finish what you were just saying?

Hold on a sec, let me just finish what I was saying
Ill come to that in a moment. So, as I just mentioned
I havent finished what I was saying
Now, wait a moment
May I just finish?

How does the dialog continue? Bill is telling Mei Lin and Sam that one of Stratos
main customers, Trilogy, has just given them a very important order.

Bill: They are a key customer you could say the key customer.
Mei Lin: We know that. But it still doesnt tell us why
Bill: Just a moment. I havent finished what I was saying. Im pretty busy, and
maybe we werent totally clear in the original request. Look, this is a completely
different technology.

Mei Lin still feels as though Bill is missing the point, so she interrupts him again.
But this time Bill fights back. He resists or counters the interruption, that is, he
finds a way to stop Mei Lin from interrupting him. He says, Just a moment. I
havent finished what I was saying. To do this, you have to interrupt the
interrupter. Not an easy thing to do. What is some useful language we can use?
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If you will allow me to continue...
I wonder if I could explain that at the end.
Let me come back to that point later.
Just a moment please; I wont be long.
I wonder if I could continue with what I was saying.
Ill be glad to clarify any points at the end.

Getting back to the dialog, as Bill says, Trilogys product requires an entirely new
technology. Sam jumps in to clarify.

Sam: What do you mean?
Bill: Instead of plastic cases, were using stamped aluminum cases. Its a totally
different material, so we need engineers with a different skill set.

In the past, Stratos has only produced MP3 and 4 players with plastic cases. But
Trilogy now wants them to use stamped aluminum. Aluminum is a light metal.
Aluminum (aluminum) is pronounced aluminium in British English.
Stamped means cut in one piece, like a cookie. To use stamped aluminum, Bill
needs people with a different skill set, that is a whole different group of skills.

Mei Lin: You cant just have them learn what they need to know on the fly?
Youve got a lot of smart people.

Mei Lin wonders why Bills people cant just learn on the fly, that is, as they go.

Bill: Sure theyre smart. But we are supposed to go in to production by October.
We need experienced people otherwise its gonna come off half-assed. There are
all sorts of questions about retooling the machines, how to work with the
material, how to

Now Bill is using some pretty strong language. He says that if he doesnt have
qualified engineers, the production process and the result are going to come off
half-assed. Come off means to result in. And half-assed is slang that
describes something that was not done well. We can translate it into normal
business talk as unprofessional. Its pretty strong slang, and has a certain
amount of shock value; maybe it helps to convince Mei Lin, because listen to
what she says next.

Mei Lin: Just a moment Bill. Let me just come in here for a second. Thats all
well and good; I think Sam and I can both appreciate now that there is a real
business need here. But theres still the question of who commits the resources
to find the engineers you need.

Thats all well and good shows that Mei Lin is partly conceding a point. To
concede a point means to accept that something you earlier disagreed with may
actually be true. This particular expression, however, only partly concedes a
point. When we hear Thats all well and good, we know that the person talking
to us still has reservations, that is, still has areas of disagreement that have not
been resolved. In a heated discussion or negotiation, partly conceding a point is
a very useful skill. What are some other ways to do this?
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Partly conceding a point:
I can see what you mean, but
There may be something to that. However,

You can also totally concede a point.
Right, I can see what youre saying.
Mhmmm. You may have a point there.
Yes, theres something to that.
Uh huh, that makes sense.

Back to the dialog, how does it end? Mei Lin has suggested that there is an open
question about who will commit the resources to find the heads that Bill needs,
that is, which department will spend the time and money to find qualified
engineers.

Bill: What do you mean?
Sam: Well, as you know, were just going in to our fall recruitment drive, and
were short-staffed. Also you know best what qualifications youre looking for.
Bill: You mean you want us to do the search for candidates ourselves?
Mei Lin: Well not entirely. Recruiting can provide support but youll have to
drive the process.

HR is overworked and understaffed (that is, they dont have enough people)
because of the fall recruitment drive. This means the activity of recruiting new
graduates at the end of the University year. In another meaning of the word
drive, Mei Lin suggests that it would help if Bills department would drive the
recruitment process, that is, take an active role. We assume she means provide
staff, leadership, and so on.

Before we finish today, lets give you a chance to practice. Well practice
resisting interruption. In a moment you will hear a series of cues. Each cue
consists of a topic that you should say something about, for example, Hiring
internally is better than hiring externally. After the beep, begin talking about
this topic. In a few seconds, you will be interrupted. Use phrases weve learned
today to resist interruption. For example, you can say, John, if you will allow me
to continue, Ill get to that point a little later or I havent finished what I was
saying yet. After each exercise, youll hear an example answer. Are you ready?

Lets give it a try.

Cue 1: Reducing costs is necessary to our business success.
Learner:


Interrupter 1: Sorry, I wonder if I could just interrupt you there. Dont
you think innovating new products is also very important?
Learner:

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Cue 2: To be successful, its important to maintain work-life balance.
Learner:


Interrupter 2: Can I say something here?
Learner:



Example answer 1

Learner 1: In my opinion, reducing costs is necessary to our business success.
Interrupter 1: Sorry, I wonder if I could just interrupt you there. Dont
you think innovating new products is also very important?
Learner 1: If you will allow me to continue, Ill get to that point later on.

Example Answer 2

Learner 2: Maintaining a proper work-life balance is so important to career
success. If you dont get enough rest
Interrupter 2: Can just I say something here?
Learner 2: Sorry, I havent finished what I was saying yet. Let me come back to
that point later.

How did you do? Practice again and try substituting different language.

Thats it for todays show on interrupting and resisting interruption. Weve
practiced language for interrupting, finishing what you were saying and resisting
interruption. Along the way, weve looked at a lot of idioms and vocabulary.

Sometimes its necessary to interrupt, but as a non-native speaker of English, it
can be very challenging to get a word in. Were confident that the tools weve
learned today will be a big help.

Peter: Uh, sorry to butt in Clayton.

Clayton: Err, just a sec Peter, I havent quite finished what I was about to say.

Peter: Actually, thats my point.

Clayton: Oh, okay. Then just before we sign off, let me remind you to check out
the great online exercises and study notes in the new learning center. Thats all
available at www.businessenglishpod.com.

Thanks for listening and well see you next time.


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Language Review

A. Useful Phrases and Functions
Fill in the gaps with the language from the box. Then write the function of the
phrase next to each expression (i.e. conceding a point, resisting interruption,
etc.). The first one has been done for you.

saying good accomplish could continue
moment saying interrupting perspective manage

1. Excuse me for interrupting, but can I just add a few words on that topic.
_________Interrupting_________

2. The main problem that were facing is how to ___________ our growth.
___________________________

3. Ill come to that in a ___________.
___________________________

4. Sorry Jenny, could you please let me ____________ for a minute?
___________________________

5. Thats all well and _________, but think of this: How are we going to
maintain profits?
___________________________

6. There may be something to that. However, we also have to consider the
problem from the workers ____________.
___________________________

7. Stella, I wonder if I could continue with what I was ____________?
___________________________

8. The main thing Id like to ___________ today is defining the key problem
areas that we see with our current plan.
____________________________

9. I wonder if I ____________ just interrupt you there, Tom
____________________________

10.I havent finished what I was _____________.
_____________________________

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B. Interrupting and Resisting Interruption
Andy and Betty are having a conversation in which they need to interrupt each
other and to resist interruption. However, they keep getting their words mixed
up. Help them by putting their words in order to form sentences.

Dialog 1
Andy: In my opinion, reducing costs is necessary to our business success.
Betty: 1) I if just could you wonder interrupt I there
Sorry, _______________________________________________ Dont you
think innovating new products is also very important?
Andy: 2) will allow me to continue Ill get to that point later on
If you_______________________________________________________

Dialog 2
Betty: Maintaining a proper work-life balance is so important to career success.
If you dont get enough rest
Andy: 3) just say I something can here ____________________________
Betty: 4) havent I finished what saying yet I was
_Sorry,_____________________________________ 5) back come your to
point me later. _Let_______________________________________________


Study Strategy
Choosing a topic and just speaking freely off of the top of your mind as you did
in the practice for this episode is a great way to practice your English. Better
yet, record yourself and play it back to raise awareness and give yourself
feedback Try to speak for one minute youll find one minute is a long time!
Here are some possible topics for your speech: 1) What is more important
money or fun? 2) Everything you learned in school is a waste of time agree or
disagree? 3) You can tell almost everything about a person by how he/she
dresses and presents him/herself. 4) Your own?

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Answers

Language Review
A. Useful Phrases and Functions
1. Excuse me for interrupting, but can I just add a few words on that topic.
Interrupting
2. The main problem that were facing is how to manage our growth.
Declare purpose of meeting
3. Ill come to that in a moment. Finishing what you were saying
4. Sorry Jenny, could you please let me continue for a minute? Countering
an interruption
5. Thats all well and good, but think of this: How are we going to maintain
profits? Conceding a point
6. There may be something to that. However, we also have to consider the
problem from the workers perspective. Conceding a point
7. Stella, I wonder if I could continue with what I was saying? Countering an
interruption
8. The main thing Id like to accomplish today is defining the key problem
areas that we see with our current plan. Declare purpose of meeting
9. I wonder if I could just interrupt you there, Tom Interrupting
10.I havent finished what I was saying. Finishing what you were saying

B. Interrupting and Resisting Interruption

Dialog 1
Andy: In my opinion, reducing costs is necessary to our business success.
Betty: 1) Sorry, I wonder if I could just interrupt you there. Dont you think
innovating new products is also very important?
Andy: 2) If you will allow me to continue, Ill get to that point later on.

Dialog 2
Betty: Maintaining a proper work-life balance is so important to career success.
If you dont get enough rest
Andy: 3) Can just I say something here?
Betty: 4) Sorry, I havent finished what I was saying yet. 5) Let me come back
to your point later.



Links (click a link to open the exercise)
Unit 211 Interrupting & Resisting - Quiz
Unit 211 Interrupting & Resisting - Gap-fill
Unit 211 Interrupting & Resisting - Dialog & Vocabulary
Unit 211 Interrupting & Resisting - Language Review 1
Unit 211 Interrupting & Resisting - Language Review 2
Unit 211 Interrupting & Resisting - Language Review 3
Unit 211 Interrupting & Resisting - Language Review 4
Unit 211 Interrupting & Resisting - Vocabulary Flashcards
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Unit 212 - Meetings: Finishing Up and Action Points

Its the end of a meeting, and everyone wants to go, but wait! We have one last
thing to do: Action points. That means: Tell everyone who is going to do what,
and when. Having no clear action points is a number one reason meetings are
unproductive.

So in this episode, well study
language we can use to assign
work to people, and also some
phrases to finish off the meeting.
Well be listening in to a group of
bank managers discuss how to deal
with credit risk problems before a
major year-end report to top
management.

They have already discussed and
decided what to do, and now they
need to finish the meeting. As you listen, pay attention to how the boss, Lisa,
gives action points to her team, that is, reminds them of what they need to do.

Vocabulary

To get to the bottom of something: To find the root cause. To get to the bottom
of employee turnover, we conducted an extensive investigation.
To knock someone dead: To impress someone with your performance. We knocked
them dead with our presentation they signed the contract right away.
Any other business: Anything not on the agenda; typically the last point of
discussion. Before we finish up today, is there any other business?
Action points: Actions to be taken. Now lets just run through the action points
I want to be clear about who is doing what.
Risk analysis: The analysis of risk (danger). It is important to perform good
analysis of the types of risk that your company may encounter.
Revolving credit: Short-term loans, like credit cards. We need to conduct a risk
assessment of our revolving credit products.
Non-performing loans: Financial obligations (loans) that are not being met.
Non-performing loans led to a major financial crisis last year.
Short-term loans: Loans given to someone over a short period of time, often for
consumers to buy products that they want. Short-term loans of under one year
is a major growth area for our credit department.
To get to the bottom of something: To find the root cause or fundamental reason
for something. We need to get to the bottom of this problem or we will never
understand what really happened.
To wrap something up: To finish something typically a meeting or discussion.
Okay, I think weve said enough for the day. Lets wrap it all up.
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Dialog

Lisa: All right, I think that just
about covers everything we
wanted to get to today. Is there
any other business? No? All
right. Lets just go through the
action points to finish off.

James: Quick question: When
exactly is our next round of
meetings going to be?

Lisa: Lets see how things go; I
expect well be ready to look at
the results by the middle of next
month.

James: Thanks.

Lisa: Sure. Okay. Bryan, your team is going to conduct a risk analysis our new
revolving credit products, and send me a report by next Friday.

Bryan: Yep.

Lisa: Great. Cecilia and Charles, youre meeting with Telos next week to discuss
the possibilities for cooperation.

Charles: Right.

Lisa: And youll be writing a proposal based on that meeting.

Cecilia: And giving it to you for your comments.

Lisa: Good. Finally, James youre team is going to look into the issue of non-
performing short-term loans.

James: Uh huh.

Lisa: Its extremely important that we get to the bottom of this.

James: I understand.

Lisa: Good. Well I think that just about wraps it up. Any final questions? No?
Great. Thats all for today. Everyone get busy. Weve got the best team in the
country here. So lets show management what we can do.
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Debrief

The dialog starts with Lisa signaling the end of the meeting, then dealing with
any unfinished business.

Lisa: All right, I think that just about covers everything we wanted to get to
today. Is there any other business? No?

What are some other ways to do this?

! Thats about everything we wanted to get through today. Are there any loose
ends left to wrap up? No?
! Well, I think thats just about all for our meeting today. If there arent any
more questions, lets just wrap it up here.

As you can see, to wrap it up is a common idiom that means to finish.

What does Lisa say next?

Lisa: All right. Lets just go through the action points to finish off.

How else can you say this?

! Great. Lets just go over what everyone needs to do.
! Good. So, is everyone clear about what they need to do?
! Great. Let me just check and make sure youre all clear about your duties.

But James has a quick point he wants to clarify.

James: Quick question: When exactly is our next round of meetings going to
be?

What are some other ways you ask a quick question at the end of the meeting?

! Just a quick one here.
! Can I just ask a quick question.
! Sorry, Lisa, I just have a little question.
! Excuse me for a moment, theres just one more I think we need to talk
about.

How does Lisa respond to Jamess question about when the next meetings will be?

Lisa: Lets see how things go; I expect well be ready to look at the results by
the middle of next month.

Lets see how things go is a way of playing it by ear. To play something by
ear means to improvise, that is, to make it up as you go along, like jazz
musicians. Here are some more expressions you can use.

! Lets play it by ear.
! Lets wait and see.
! Well just have to wait and see how things turn out.
! Lets take it one thing at a time.
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Now Lisa moves into the first action point.

Lisa: Sure. Okay. Bryan, your team is going to conduct a risk analysis on our
new revolving credit products, and send me a report by next Friday.

Bryan: Yep.

Revolving credit refers to short-term loans of less than one year.

Lisa uses going to to remind Bryan of what he needs to do. Going to is used
for future plans, things that we have already decided to do. Its often more polite
to assign duties with the language of plans than with the language of a direct
order. Lisa can use going to like this because, as the boss, she has the power
to make plans. Here are some more examples of discussing action points with
going to.

Style 1: Going to
! Heather and Mick are going to check up on the buyer, and Im going to look
through our database.
! Bill, youre going to investigate this issue and get back to me in a couple
weeks.

Next, Lisa tells Cecilia and Charles what to do.

Lisa: Great. Cecilia and Charles, youre meeting with Telos week to discuss the
possibilities for cooperation.

Charles: Right.

This time she uses a different style. She says youre meeting with Telos next
week. This is the present continuous tense, is doing, with a future meaning.
When talking about the future, the present continuous is used to discuss things
that we have both planned and arranged.

Whats the difference between going to and present continuous with a future
meaning? Going to emphasizes the decision whereas the present continuous
emphasizes the arrangement. Listen to some examples.

First, lets listen to emphasizing the decision with going to.
! So were all agreed. Were going to work hard until we solve this problem!

Now lets listen to emphasizing the arrangement with present continuous:
! So its all arranged. Youre doing the proposal and Im doing the PowerPoint.

Be careful to differentiate clearly between going to and I am doing. For
example, note that Im going to go to Paris is different from Im going to
Paris. The first one Im going to go to Paris uses the going to form. The
second one Im going to Paris is actually the present continuous form: Im
going (verb) to (preposition) Paris.

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The difference between going to and the present continuous is often just a
difference in emphasis: Im going to go to Paris emphasizes that Ive made up
my mind while Im going to Paris emphasizes that I have arranged everything.

The present continuous with a future meaning is especially common with action
verbs, such as to have lunch, to meet with someone, to go somewhere, to
travel somewhere, to play a game, and so on. Here are some more examples
of action points with the present continuous.

Style 2: Im doing.
! Sally, youre meeting with an important potential client next week.
! Frank, youre traveling to Hong Kong in November to oversee the offices
implementation of the new security procedure.

Going back to our dialog now, remember that Lisa has just told Cecilia and
Charles that they will be meeting with a client, Telos, next week. Then he has
one more thing to add.

Lisa: And youll be writing a proposal based on that meeting.

Cecilia: And giving it to you for your comments.

Youll be writing is a third style of giving action points. This is another tense,
the future continuous, will be doing. The future continuous is a simple
description of future events, and it is often used in the same way as the present
continuous to discuss arrangements. But it is often more polite to use the future
continuous than the present continuous to ask people about their plans So,
Will you be coming to the party? may sound more polite than Are you coming
to the party?

In the same way, it may be more polite to use will be doing to assign work to
people, especially work they dont want to do, like writing reports or working an
extra shift.

Style 3: Future continuous
! And Charles, youll be working the morning shift in October and November
while Cecilia is on holiday.
! Sven, youll be going through our database carefully page by page to look for
errors.

Whats the final action point that Lisa covers in his meeting?

Lisa: Good. Finally, James youre team is going to look into the issue of non-
performing short-term loans.

James: Uh huh.

Lisa: Its extremely important that we get to the bottom of this.

James: I understand.

A non-performing loan is a bad loan, one for which the lenders are not paying.
Lisa uses the first style, gong to, to give James this task. Then she emphasizes
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its importance: Its extremely important that we get to the bottom of this. To
get to the bottom of something is to find the root cause.

Here are some more ways to emphasize your action points:

! I cant stress enough how important it is to succeed with this.
! Its critical that we solve this problem.

In the last part of the dialog, Lisa wraps up the meeting.

Lisa: Good. Well I think that just about wraps it up. Any final questions? No?
Great. Thats all for today.

Here are a couple more ways to wrap it up.

! Thats it for today.
! That covers it all. Any last questions? No? Okay, see you next time.

Finally, Lisa says some words to motivate or encourage his staff.

Lisa: Everyone get busy. Weve got the best team in the country here. So lets
show management what we can do.

Can you think of any more motivating phrases? You might try these:

! I know youre going to succeed.
! I have great faith in you.
! Get out there and do your best. Lets knock em dead.

The last, to knock someone dead, means to impress someone with your
performance.

Before we wrap it up today, lets practice. Youll hear a series of three action
points someones name and what they are supposed to do. Use going to, the
present continuous or the future continuous to assign your staff their duties. For
example, if you hear George, write a report about this case, you can say,
George, youll be writing a report about this case. Are you ready?

Prompt 1) Going to - Sasha look into the employee turnover issue.
Learner:


Prompt 2) Present Continuous - Steve - travel to Barcelona to meet with the
customer next week.
Learner:


Prompt 3) Future Continuous - Ray - reply to all inquiries while we are out of
town.
Learner:

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How did you do? Listen to some example answers.

Prompt 1) Going to - Sasha look into the employee turnover issue.
Answer 1: Sasha, youre going to look into the employee turnover issue.

Prompt 2) Present Continuous - Steve travel to Barcelona to meet with the
customer next week.
Answer 2: Steve, youre traveling to Barcelona in late November to meet with
the customer.

Prompt 3) Future Continuous - Ray reply to all inquiries while we are out of
town.
Answer 3: Ray, youll be replying to all inquiries while we are out of town.

Thats all for this episode on finishing up a meeting. Weve covered important
phrases for wrapping it up as well as three styles of language for discussing
action points. Along the way, weve reviewed talking about future plans with
going to, the present continuous and the future continuous.

Were sure youre going to make great improvements in your skills by studying
this and other episodes. Be sure to check out our website,
www.businessenglishpod.com, where youll find many additional exercises,
listening quizzes, full transcripts, and vocabulary.

Thanks for listening!
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Language Review

A. Action Points
Fill in the gaps with the words in the box to review collocations and language for
action points.

through back of investigate traveling
look going check meeting working

1. Heather and Mick are to up on the buyer,
and Im going to through our database.
2. Bill, youre going to this issue and get to me
in a couple weeks. Sally, youre with an important
potential client next week.
3. Frank, youre to Hong Kong in November to oversee the
offices implementation the new security procedure.
4. And Charles, youll be the morning shift in October and
November while Cecilia is on holiday.
5. Sven, youll be going our database carefully page by page to
look for errors.

B. Language Functions
Review important language functions for finishing up a meeting by putting the
jumbled sentences into order. Then, identify the function of each sentence. The
first one has been done for you.

1. lets it play ear by

Lets play it by ear. Playing it by ear

2. just everyone go what over lets to needs do
________________________________

3. quick a here one just
________________________________

4. wait lets see and
________________________________

5. I stress cant how important it to is this succeed enough with
________________________________

6. it thats today for
________________________________

7. youre know I succeed to going
________________________________


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Answers

Listening Questions
1) Lisa isnt sure exactly he wants to play it by ear, that is, improvise. Hell
wait to analyze the results as they come in, then plan the next meetings.
2) Bryans team is going to conduct risk analysis on the new revolving credit
products. Cecilia and Charles are meeting with Telos to discuss
possibilities for cooperation. And Jamess team is going to look into the
issue of non-performing loans.

Language Review
A. Action Points
1. Heather and Mick are going to check up on the buyer, and Im going to
look through our database.
2. Bill, youre going to investigate this issue and get back to me in a couple
weeks. Sally, youre meeting with an important potential client next
week.
3. Frank, youre traveling to Hong Kong in November to oversee the offices
implementation of the new security procedure.
4. And Charles, youll be working the morning shift in October and
November while Cecilia is on holiday.
5. Sven, youll be going through our database carefully page by page to
look for errors.

B. Language Functions
2. Lets just go over what everyone needs to do. Starting action points
3. Just a quick one here. Quick question
4. Lets wait and see. Playing it by ear
5. I cant stress enough how important it is to succeed with this.
Emphasizing the importance
6. Thats it for today. Wrapping it up
7. I know youre going to succeed. Motivating the team


Links (click a link to open the exercise)

Unit 212 Meetings: Action Points - Quiz
Unit 212 Meetings: Action Points - Gap-fill
Unit 212 Meetings: Action Points - Dialog & Vocabulary Definitions
Unit 212 Meetings: Action Points - Language Review 1
Unit 212 Meetings: Action Points - Language Review 2
Unit 212 Meetings: Action Points - Language Review 3
Unit 212 Meetings: Action Points - Language Review 4
Unit 212 Meetings: Action Points - Vocabulary Flashcards
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Unit 202 Expressing Opinions

Asking for an Opinion (Careful/Formal)
! How do you feel about that, Cecilia?
! Could you please share your thoughts on that, Sam?
! Whats your view on this, Richard?
! Tony, whats your feelings on this?

Expressing for an Opinion (Careful/Formal)
! I have the impression that...he didnt really want to come.
! Dont you think that thats a little early.
! I tend to feel its a bit too early to start.

Expressing an Opinion (Direct/Informal)
! The point is...were doing very well in this market.
! The way I see it, were heading for trouble.
! Obviously, theres only one choice
! Basically, I think we have two options.

Unit 203 - Agreeing

Strong agreement
A: I hate working in the evening.
B: So do I.

A: I hate working in the evening.
B: I do too.

Negative sentences to express agreement
A: I dont like tomatoes.
B: I dont either.

A: I dont have time this weekend.
B: Neither do I.

A: We dont want to lose this deal.
B: Nor do we.

Short answers with modal verbs
A: We wont do that.
B: Neither will we.

A: We can wait two more weeks.
B: So can we.

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Standard phrases for agreeing
! I entirely agree with you.
! Youre quite right.
! I couldnt agree more.
! Thats exactly how I see it.
! Thats just how I feel.
! Thats exactly how I feel about it.
! Exactly!
! Absolutely!

Words that mean very, very good
! Terrific!
! Wonderful!
! Splendid!
! Marvelous!

Words that mean very, very bad
! Awful.
! Terrible.
! Pathetic.
! Miserable.
A: That was just a miserable day.
B: Yes, awful, wasnt it?
A: Totally pathetic.

Agreeing by using an example
A: This food is great.
B: Especially the chicken!
A: Michael Ballack looked great last night.
B: Especially the way he passed the ball. That was amazing!

Using a general comment to agree
A: Chinese food is delicious.
B: Yes, all Asian food is.

Unit 204 - Disagreeing

Polite phrases for disagreement
! Well, I am not so sure about that, to be honest.
! Well, I dont know.
! Well, it depends.
! I dont really agree, Im afraid.
! Im afraid I dont totally agree with that.

Informal (or direct) phrases for disagreeing
! I disagree.
! I couldnt disagree more.
! I totally disagree.
! You must be joking!
! Come off it!
! Get real!
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The Yes, but... technique for disagreement
A: I just didnt think it was a very good presentationnot fluent, you no what I
mean?
B: Yes, but at least he was well prepared.

A: Our price is too high. We have to improve sales.
B: Yessales are important; but we cant lower our price.

Using though or although for disagreement
A: I just didnt think it was a very good presentationnot fluent, you know what
I mean?
B: Mmmm... Although I thought he was pretty well prepared, he wasnt very
fluent, youre right about that.

A: Our price is too high. We have to improve sales.
B: Mmm...Although I really dont think we can lower our price, I totally agree
that we have to do something to improve sales.

Using a negative question to disagree
A: Wow, that was a great movie.
B: But dont you think it was just a little too long?

Using a really to disagree
A: Its almost time to go home.
B: Really? But we just got here.

Unit 205 - Making Suggestions

! Well, one possibility would be to...hire more staff.
! Perhaps we should...have more vacation?
! Its just an idea, but...how about leaving a little bit early today?
! Shall we try to look at this from another point of view?
! Well, what if we try to open a new store in Germany?

Unit 206 - Rejecting and Accepting Suggestions

Rejecting a suggestion
! Good suggestion. But frankly speaking I can see one or two problems with that.
! Thats a good idea, but Im not sure it would work, to be frank.
! Im not really sure about that...
! Do you think so?

Accepting a suggestion
! Okay, lets do that.
! Thats not a bad idea.
! Yes, I think that would work really well.
! Good idea!
! Great idea!
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Unit 207 Meetings: Clarifying what was said

Clarifying the spelling of a word or name
! How do you spell that?
! Would you mind telling me how thats spelled?
! May I ask how thats spelled?
! Could you spell that for me, please?

Using the 5 WsWhere, when, why, what and howto clarify
A: Tomorrow, were going to Madras.
B: Sorry, where did you say?
A: I said Madras.
B: Oh, Madras.

A: Theyre arriving at 4:00 a.m. in the morning.
B: Pardon me, when did you say?
A: 4:00 a.m. In the morning.
B: Oh dear. Thats what I thought you said.

Clarifying when you didnt hear clearly
! Im sorry, could you repeat that, please?
! Sorry, what did you say?
! Im afraid I didnt catch that. Could you say that again?
! Sorry, Im afraid I didnt quite hear what you just said. Would you mind
saying it again?

(More informal)
! Pardon?
! Come again?
! What was that?
! Say again?

Using it and when do you use that to clarify
A: My name is Karamasov.
B: Sorry, what was that?

A: My name is Karamasov.
B: Sorry, Im afraid I didnt catch your name. Could you repeat it?

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Unit 208 - Clarifying What Was Meant

Clarifying meaning
! What exactly do you mean by that?
! Sorry, what do you mean by that?
! I dont quite see what you mean. Could you be a little more specific?
! Sorry, Im not with you. Could you explain what you mean?
! Sorry, I dont follow you. Could you run through that again?
! Sorry, that was totally clear to me. What exactly are you driving at?

Providing clarification
! I think what Im getting at is that...
! What I mean to say is that...
! To make a long story short...

Acknowledge, check back, and confirm
A: I just think its been really hard. And, well, you know. Its not the best way to
do things.
B: Uh huh. Let me make sure I understand what you mean. Youre saying that
this is just not going to work, right?

A: Well, lets see. I think its just time to try something different.
B: Okay. Let me get this straight. What you mean is that weve got to invent a
new strategy. Have I got that right?

A: Its important that we keep the quality high at any cost.
B: I understand. So, were not going to put profit before quality. Am I correct?

Negotiating the meaning
A: I think hes hard to work with.
B: Thats one way of looking at it. I think hes impossible.

Clarifying a single word or expression
Could you just go over what you mean by a big change?
Sorry, I dont understand exactly what you mean when you say come to grips?
Can we just go back for a moment to what you said about timing? Im not quite
sure what you mean by as soon as possible?

Using actually to clarify the meaning
A: So what youre getting at is that we need to get a new computer system right
away?
B: Sorry, thats not exactly what Im saying. Actually, I think we can use the
current system a little while longer.

Referring to what someone just said in order to change or build on the
topic
A: I just ran into in the elevator after he met with the boss. He looked a little
nervous.
B: Really? Its funny you should mention that. I mean, I saw his manager just
now, and he was looking pretty angry. I wonder whats going on?

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Unit 209 - Opening a Meeting

Starting the meeting
! Okay. Lets get down to business.
! All right then. Can we get started?
! Okay folks. Lets get started, shall we?
! All right. Can I get everybodys attention? I think its about time we get
started.
! All right everybody. We need to get this show on the road.

Welcoming and thanking people for attending
! Well, good afternoon everybody. Its good to see you all here. Did everyone
get the agenda?
! Great! Thank you all for coming.
! Hello everyone! Im glad to see you all here. I know its a long way for some
of you to come. I really appreciate your being on time and ready to work.

Vague or unspecific language.
A: Have you found the problem with the numbers?
B: Weve been looking all afternoon, but still cant seem to find it. I think theres
a problem with the spreadsheet or something.

A: The boss is looking really happy. He must have gotten a bonus.
B: Or something. I heard he has a new girlfriend. Maybe thats it.

Introducing new colleagues
! First of all, Id like to introduce George from the Hong Kong office. Would you
like to say a few words about yourself, George?
! Everybody say hello to Kerumi. Shes visiting us from the Japan office.

Explaining the purpose of your meeting
! The reason were meeting today is to work out ways to deal with the
marketing challenges that were facing.
! The primary purpose of this meeting will be to start a discussion on ways to
cope with the huge increase in demand that were seeing.
! The main problem that were facing is how to manage our growth.
! The main thing Id like to accomplish today is defining the key problem areas
that we see with our current plan.

Introducing the agenda.
! Lets take a quick look at the agenda. As you can see, its broken down into
five main parts.
! Ive divided up the meeting today into three parts.
! Ive prepared some figures to help us compare the two options. Ill distribute
them now.

Introducing the first item on the agenda
! Great. Well, we have a lot to cover, so lets get down to business. George,
could you start by explaining the background on the first item?
! All right then. Lets start then, shall we? Katy, why dont you tell us what
youve been thinking on the advertising issue.
! Right. Susanne, would you be so kind as to begin?
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BEP 210 - Managing the Discussion

Keeping the discussion on track
! I can see what youre saying, but lets try to keep to the agenda.
! To save time, we need to stay on track. Lets try not to get too far off topic.
! Lets get back to that later. For now, I really want to stick to the agenda.
! Thats an interesting point, but lets talk about that when we come to it. Can
we get back to the main point?
! Weve got a lot of ground to cover, so I suggest do our best to stay on track.

Widening the discussion to include more people
! What other approaches are there to this problem? Does anybody have any
ideas?
! How about other people? Any comments?
! Lets go around the table and get reactions to that idea. Who would like to
begin?
! Are there any other ways to think about this?

Changing topics
! Good. Id say thats about all for that topic. Now, lets turn to the issue of
sales.
! Well, weve just about covered the San Francisco office. Lets continue by
discussing Buenos Aires.
! Time is pressing. Lets leave that there and move on to the next point on the
agenda, okay?

Checking for agreement
! Can I get a quick show of hands? All those in favor?
! Lets take a vote. How many people are for this idea? Against? Thanks.
! Just quickly - is there anyone else that supports the strategy of reducing
overhead? Please raise your hands.

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Unit 211 Interrupting and Resisting Interruption

Declaring the purpose of a meeting
I called this meeting today to work out ways to deal with the marketing
challenges that were facing.
The primary purpose of this meeting will be to brainstorm ways to cope
with the huge increase in demand were seeing.
The main problem were facing is how to manage our growth.
The main thing Id like to accomplish today is defining the key problem
areas that we see with our current plan.

Phrases to make an interruption
Can I just come in here?
Tony, I just like to add that
Excuse me for interrupting, but can I just add a few words on that topic.
Could I just interrupt you there
Can I say something here
Sorry to interrupt, but hasnt this been agreed already?
Sorry to butt in, George. Its just that I dont think weve adequately
covered the topic of price increases, and Id like to add a little point here.

Finishing what you were just saying
Hold on a sec, let me just finish what I was saying
Ill come to that in a moment. So, as I just mentioned
I havent finished what I was saying
Now, wait a moment
May I just finish?
If you will allow me to continue...
I wonder if I could explain that at the end.
Let me come back to that point later.
Just a moment please; I wont be long.
I wonder if I could continue with what I was saying.
Ill be glad to clarify any points at the end.

Partly conceding a point
I can see what you mean, but
There may be something to that. However,

Completely conceding a point
Right, I can see what youre saying.
Mhmmm. You may have a point there.
Yes, theres something to that.
Uh huh, that makes sense.


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Unit 212 - Meetings: Finishing Up and Action Points

Signaling the end of the meeting
! Thats about everything we wanted to get through today. Are there any loose
ends left to wrap up? No?
! Well, I think thats just about all for our meeting today. If there arent any
more questions, lets just wrap it up here.

Asking a question at the end of the meeting
! Just a quick one here.
! Can I just ask a quick question.
! Sorry, Lisa, I just have a little question.
! Excuse me for a moment, theres just one more I think we need to talk
about.

Lets see how things go or playing it by ear.
! Lets play it by ear.
! Lets wait and see.
! Well just have to wait and see how things turn out.
! Lets take it one thing at a time.

Discussing action points with going to
Style 1: Going to
! Heather and Mick are going to check up on the buyer, and Im going to look
through our database.
! Bill, youre going to investigate this issue and get back to me in a couple
weeks.

Emphasizing the decision with going to
! So were all agreed. Were going to work hard until we solve this problem!

Emphasizing the arrangement with present continuous:
! So its all arranged. Youre doing the proposal and Im doing the PowerPoint.

Stating action points
Style 2: Im doing.
! Sally, youre meeting with an important potential client next week.
! Frank, youre traveling to Hong Kong in November to oversee the offices
implementation of the new security procedure.

Style 3: Future continuous
! And Charles, youll be working the morning shift in October and November
while Cecilia is on holiday.
! Sven, youll be going through our database carefully page by page to look for
errors.

Emphasizing action points
! I cant stress enough how important it is to succeed with this.
! Its critical that we solve this problem.

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Wraping up the meeting
! Thats it for today.
! That covers it all. Any last questions? No? Okay, see you next time.

Motivating phrases
! I know youre going to succeed.
! I have great faith in you.
! Get out there and do your best. Lets knock em dead.