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Business English Pod :: Learn Business English Online

Updated 13 days ago

Rank #200 in Language Learning category

Education
Language Learning
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Business English Pod publishes audio and video Business English podcast lessons and online learning materials for intermediate and advanced Business English learners. The lessons cover a comprehensive range of business English skills for meetings, presentations, telephoning, negotiating, job interviews, travel, and more.

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Business English Pod publishes audio and video Business English podcast lessons and online learning materials for intermediate and advanced Business English learners. The lessons cover a comprehensive range of business English skills for meetings, presentations, telephoning, negotiating, job interviews, travel, and more.

iTunes Ratings

322 Ratings
Average Ratings
258
27
14
10
13

Love the approach!

By Stephen Pete - Jul 14 2015
Read more
The workshop style learning model makes you feel as if you are there. Very clever!

Great tools

By Dichak - Oct 08 2013
Read more
Always love those podcasts.. Perfect tools to learn English & update your knowledge.

iTunes Ratings

322 Ratings
Average Ratings
258
27
14
10
13

Love the approach!

By Stephen Pete - Jul 14 2015
Read more
The workshop style learning model makes you feel as if you are there. Very clever!

Great tools

By Dichak - Oct 08 2013
Read more
Always love those podcasts.. Perfect tools to learn English & update your knowledge.
Cover image of Business English Pod :: Learn Business English Online

Business English Pod :: Learn Business English Online

Latest release on May 24, 2020

Read more

Business English Pod publishes audio and video Business English podcast lessons and online learning materials for intermediate and advanced Business English learners. The lessons cover a comprehensive range of business English skills for meetings, presentations, telephoning, negotiating, job interviews, travel, and more.

Rank #1: BEP 327 – Expressing Opinions in English

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on expressing opinions in English.

Imagine you’re in a difficult meeting where everyone is disagreeing. Tension is high. And the boss turns to you and says “so what do you think?” In this situation, you need to express your opinion. But giving an opinion isn’t always easy, as you surely know. You’ve got to say it the right way.

But the right way has changed a bit. Ten to fifteen years ago business meetings were often quite formal. But many business English meetings today tend to be more informal. And you can see this change in the different ways of expressing your opinion in English. Sometimes we need to be cautious, while at other times we might want to be more direct or stronger. And there’s still a difference between giving opinions in a group setting and speaking informally.

When we want to be informal, we are often more direct. We say exactly what we think. But when we’re being formal or cautious, we tend to add words and expressions to soften our opinions. We also use words like “might” and “could” instead of “must” and “should.” Overall, we try not to sound too strong or direct.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a conversation between Kerry, Nick, Gregory, and Lola. Their company hired a freelance writer to do some work, but the writer hasn’t communicated with them lately. Kerry is asking the group for their opinions about what they should do.

Listening Questions

1. How does Kerry ask Vincent for his opinion near the start of the meeting?
2. What expression does Gregory use to introduce his strong opinion?
3. What is one expression that Lola uses to make her opinion careful or cautious?

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

Jul 15 2018

20mins

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Rank #2: BEP 334 – Project Management English 10: Internal Debrief Meeting

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on project management English for debriefing a project with your team.

Project management can be a messy business. You can plan, but you can’t really predict all the challenges and obstacles that will come up. So on every project, and especially in agile project management, you have to learn and adapt as you go along. And at the end, it’s a good idea to discuss what you’ve learned in a project debrief meeting. If you’re following an agile approach, you might also hold sprint retrospectives, which are like mini-debriefs at the end of each sprint. Whether it’s a project debrief or one of these sprint retrospectives, you’ll cover similar topics.

A project debrief meeting might start out with a review of the project goals. You want to look back and see what you set out to do in the first place. Then you can talk about successes during the project. What did you do well? What would you do again? From there, you can move on to discuss mistakes, and what you’d like to change in the future. And finally, you’ll want to summarize everything that you’ve learned. The whole idea, of course, is that you’ll be able to do things better next time.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a project manager named Martin, who’s running a debrief meeting at the end of a software development project. We’ll also hear Jill and Sumita, two of the engineers who’ve worked on the project. Together, the group is discussing the work they’ve done and what they’ve learned.

Listening Questions

1. After discussing the project goals, what does Martin ask about?
2. The discussion of mistakes leads Martin to ask a related question about what topic?
3. What does Martin do at the end of the meeting?

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

Dec 12 2018

21mins

Play

Rank #3: BEP 350 – Idioms for Describing Relationships (Part 1)

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Hello and welcome back to Business English Pod. My name’s Edwin, and I’ll be your host for today’s lesson on business English idioms for talking about relationships.

They say that success in business is all about relationships. Certainly, your success in a particular workplace is greatly dependent on how you relate to those around you. That includes your colleagues, your collaborators, your staff, and your bosses. If you don’t develop good relationships, then it probably doesn’t matter how great your work is.

Relationships aren’t just important, they’re also interesting. What do you and your colleagues talk about when you chat socially? A lot of your conversations are probably about the people at your workplace. Who isn’t getting along, who is getting along a little too well, who doesn’t like who, and who is being a bit too nice to everyone.

Whatever kind of relationships you’re talking about, there are hundreds of English idioms you can use. If you listened to our 925 English lesson on describing people, then you learned some useful basic expressions. In this lesson, we’ll take that to the next level with some great idioms for describing relationships.

In the dialog, we’ll hear a conversation between three colleagues: Brooke, Mark, and Ivan. They work for an insurance company that has just put together a new team to work on a new product. The three colleagues are keen to talk about the complex web of relationships among the people on this team.

Listening Questions

1. What is the relationship between Chuck and Dave?
2. What does Brooke think will change between Dave and Anna?
3. What’s the relationship between Becky and Dave?

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

Nov 10 2019

22mins

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Rank #4: BEP 351 – Idioms for Describing Relationships (Part 2)

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on business English idioms for describing relationships.

We all spend a lot of time every week at work. So much, in fact, that sometimes it feels like our colleagues are a kind of family. And just like families, workplace relationships can be a source of both satisfaction and stress. Sometimes we support each other, while at other times we argue bitterly. And sometimes our disagreements are constructive, while at other times they can generate conflict.

In any case, whether they’re positive or negative, workplace relationships are a constant source of fascination. And English has many idioms and expressions to describe how people get along, or don’t get along. These idioms will help you discuss the often complicated relationships in your workplace.

In the dialog, we’ll rejoin three colleagues at an insurance company. They’ve been talking about the relationships between the people on a new team. In their discussion, they use many English idioms to describe how people get along, both past and present.

Listening Questions

1. How was the relationship between Dave and Diego?
2. What happened when Ivan and Dave were asked to open a new office together?
3. What does Mark say about his relationship with Chuck?

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

Nov 19 2019

22mins

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Rank #5: 925 English Lesson 31 – Describing People and Characteristics

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In today’s 925 English video lesson, we’re going to learn how to describe people and their characteristics in English.

Listen in on any office conversation or meeting and you’ll hear a lot of talk about people. Who we like, who we don’t like, who’s right for a team, who should get a promotion, who is going on vacation”¦ The list of topics goes on and on.

And one aspect of people we often discuss is their appearance, or how they look. To do that, we use adjectives, like “tall” or “short” or “well-dressed” or “heavy” or “thin.” When we describe people, we also talk about the color of their hair. And here’s a couple of special hair words for you: “brunette” means someone with brown hair, and “blonde” refers to someone with light hair or yellow hair.

925 English video lessons for beginners (CEFR level A2). With 925 English lessons you can learn English phrases and expressions for business and work.

Members: PDF Transcript | Lesson Module | Quiz | MP3 Audio

Oct 30 2019

9mins

Play

Rank #6: Skills 360 – Top 10 Business English Skills (1)

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Welcome back to Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson on the business English skills everyone needs in order to be successful.

As any guru worth his weight in salt will tell you, business is all about relationships. That means connecting with new people, and maintaining good relations with people in your existing network. And one of the ways we do this is through small talk.

We call it small talk because it’s not about big important business topics. It’s about things like the weekend, the weather, sports, or family. Making small talk in English allows us to connect with people, find out more about them, and set a mood. This kind of conversation involves a back and forth of simple comments, questions, and answers. You need to show interest in the other person, but also reveal a bit about yourself. And it’s important to stick to topics that are common to both people.

Once you’ve broken the ice with small talk, then you can move on to bigger topics. And that’s where you bring in the skill of expressing opinions in English. Exactly how you do that depends on the situation. If you’re in a meeting and want to add your perspective, you might just introduce it with an expression like “the way I see things” or “as far as I’m concerned.”

But if you’re making a suggestion or pitching an idea, there are a couple of ways to go about it. You might do it carefully with words like “perhaps” or “maybe” or “we could.” Or, if you want to state something more confidently, you can use stronger words like “have to” or “should.” The important thing here is that you assess the situation and adapt your language accordingly.

After all, English conversation isn’t just about speaking; it’s also about listening, and that leads me to asking questions. I don’t just mean “yes or no” questions. I mean substantive questions that show that you’re listening and engaged. This also includes discerning and sincere questions about people’s ideas. This is a big part of being an active listener, which means listening to understand, not just listening to respond.

Of course, being a good listener doesn’t mean being a yes-man. Participating in a meeting or negotiations in English requires the ability to reject ideas. And that’s not as simple as saying “no” or “I disagree.” Most situations require a more nuanced or careful approach.

But be careful with this kind of softening language. If you’re in a position to say no or reject something, be clear about it. You can still be diplomatic without waffling. To do that, you can comment on the positive aspects of the idea, or the intention behind them, before saying “no.”

Rejecting ideas effectively is one aspect of being decisive and getting results. And that brings me to one last skill I want to mention today: getting people to take action. You’ve probably been in an English meeting where there was a lot of great discussion, but no real action points. So you need to learn how to delegate effectively.

Alright, so we’ve looked at five essential business English skills. Let’s do a quick recap: you need to know how to make small talk, express opinions, and ask good questions. At the same time, you need to be able to reject ideas and get action from people.

Lesson Resources: Lesson Module | Quiz & Vocab | PDF Transcript

Jul 20 2019

7mins

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Rank #7: BEP 345 – Management English: Conflict Resolution (2)

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on resolving conflict in the workplace.

Conflict happens. There’s no way around it. But not everyone has the same attitude toward conflict. Some people run from it, or refuse to even admit it exists. Other people acknowledge it but simply hope it goes away on its own. And some people are able to approach it with confidence, dealing with it openly and honestly.

The first step in conflict resolution is for the people involved to sit down and try to work it out themselves. But that doesn’t always work, and in many cases it takes a third party to attempt to find solutions. That third party might be a peer, or colleague. But mostly it’s a manager or leader. In fact, helping mediate conflict between people is an important function of a manager.

Effective mediation is a tricky business. You need to help people have the open and honest conversations that they might not be able to have on their own. Part of that involves ensuring each person has their turn to speak. One of your aims, of course, is common understanding, so you may need to encourage empathy and confirm understanding at different steps along the way.

As a conflict mediator, your ultimate aim it to find a solution. To do that, you’ll want to have people agree on a common goal. You may also ask them to focus on positive actions, rather than negative ones. Positive actions are more solution-focused.

In today’s dialog, we’ll continue hearing about a conflict between Trevor and Andrew, two retail managers in the same company. Trevor has tried talking with Andrew about their personal conflict, but they haven’t been able to reach a clear solution. So their boss Ann has stepped in as a third-party to help resolve the conflict.

Listening Questions

1. What does Ann do when Trevor interrupts Andrew at the start of the dialog?
2. After Andrew explains his side of the story, what does Ann ask Trevor?
3. What is the common goal for the solution Ann proposes?

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

Jul 09 2019

20mins

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Rank #8: BEP 349 – Purchasing 2: Product and Vendor Requirements

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and discussing product requirements.

For purchasing managers, choosing the right vendor can be like choosing a business partner. After all, your company’s reputation is tied directly to the performance of your vendors. People judge you by the goods you use to run your business or build your products. If something goes wrong, your customers blame you, not your vendors.

But what makes the “right” vendor? Well, that discussion begins with your needs. If you’re in manufacturing or product development, you’ll be talking about design requirements. These design requirements, or product specifications, are going to help you determine whether a vendor can do the job. And the engineers or merchandizers in the room are going to have some strict technical requirements.

Once you have a sense of what you need, then you can discuss vendor criteria and qualifications. And because purchasing relationships are ongoing, you may also want to establish performance indicators to ensure everything goes well once you’ve selected a vendor.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a meeting in a company called xFit, which makes fitness equipment. Adam is a purchasing manager in Asia who has been looking for a new manufacturer of an important component. He’s on the phone with Crystal, another manager who is leading the meeting, and Jason, an engineer. The team is talking about the product requirements and vendor criteria.

Listening Questions

1. What does Jason emphasize as a “must” in terms of design requirements?
2. What does Crystal say is the most important criteria for evaluating potential vendors?
3. What other criteria does Adam want to discuss?

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

Oct 20 2019

23mins

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Rank #9: Business English News 41 – Data Privacy

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The digital age has brought unprecedented access to information and new online services. And in exchange, people have proven very willing to provide personal information and to have their online activities monitored. But is it worth it? As Wired reports, more and more people are questioning this trade-off:

The US has found itself in the middle of a data privacy awakening, and you can credit the recent spate of headline-grabbing scandals as the kick-starter. Cambridge Analytica illicitly took the personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users and turned it into targeted political ads. And Equifax let slip the sensitive details of 148 million Americans because it couldn’t be bothered to patch a known vulnerability.

Free Resources: PDF Transcript | Quizzes | Lesson Module

Jul 22 2018

5mins

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Rank #10: Skills 360 – How to Get a Year-End Bonus (1)

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Welcome back to Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson on how to secure a great year-end bonus.

We all know that money’s not the only workplace incentive, but it sure is an effective one. Nothing beats a nice cheque at the end of the year to say “thanks for all the hard work.” That bonus can help us enjoy the holiday season more, and feel better about heading back to the office when the holiday is over.

So, how can you make sure you get that bonus? Or how can you increase the size of your bonus? Well, first of all, if you just started thinking about this now, you might be out of luck. You can’t just suck up to your boss in December and expect to be rewarded. If you’re looking for an easy workaround to hard work, I’m sorry to disappoint you.

And if you think that you deserve a bonus because you showed up on time every day and never ducked out early, then think again. If you make hamburgers at McDonalds, then your employer pays you for your time, in the form of a wage. But in professional settings, where people earn salaries, it’s not your time that your employer pays for. It’s your value.

Lesson Resources: Lesson Module | Quiz & Vocab | PDF Transcript

Dec 01 2019

7mins

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Rank #11: BEP 343 – Interview English: Second Round Behavioral Interview

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on second round interviews in English.

You may know all about the basic English job interview questions. And you might be comfortable talking about your basic qualifications and experience. But most companies don’t stop the selection process after one round of interviews. They create a shortlist and invite a few outstanding candidates back for a second interview.

In many cases, that second interview is what we call a behavioral interview. Interviewers will ask questions about how you acted or reacted to challenges in past work, and how you dealt with or adapted to different situations. In this way, they can find out whether you have the right attitude, approach, and abilities for the job.

The behavioral interview is a special opportunity to demonstrate soft skills, such as leadership, or how you take a principled approach to problems. You might also want to show that you can remain calm in conflict. In many cases, the STAR approach can help shape your responses. This is when you describe four things: the situation, the task, the action, and the result. And in this kind of English interview, you have to be careful, because some interviewers will try to give you leading questions to get you to reveal mistakes or problems.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Kat, who is applying for a job with a private healthcare company. She is being interviewed by Denise. Denise is asking Kat some tough behavioral questions, and Kat is doing a good job of demonstrating some important soft skills.

Listening Questions

1. What example does Kat give of how she showed leadership and went above and beyond?
2. What situation does Kat describe in response to a question about an unpopular decision?
3. What attitude or attribute does Kat demonstrate when describing a situation of conflict?

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

May 26 2019

23mins

Play

Rank #12: Skills 360 – Levels of Formality in English (Part 1)

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Welcome back to Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson on levels of formality in spoken English.

Imagine you are looking for a job, and you have an interview at a big company. You walk into the interview room and say to the panel of interviewers: “hey there, how’s it going?” Believe me, that’s a bad first impression.

Or what if you go to the bar to meet an old friend and when you see him you extend your hand and say “Good evening, and how do you do?” Chances are your friend is going to ask you whether you’re feeling okay.

In both these situations, the problem is that you used the wrong level of formality or register. You simply can’t use the same expressions, words, and idioms in every situation. You need to gauge the situation and adapt how you speak accordingly.

Lesson Resources: Lesson Module | Quiz & Vocab | PDF Transcript

Jan 05 2019

8mins

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Rank #13: Skills 360 – How to Get a Year-End Bonus (2)

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Welcome back to Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson on how to make sure you get a great year-end bonus.

When I say “bonus,” I’m not talking about a Christmas card from the boss with a $20 gift certificate for Starbucks. I’m not talking about tokens of appreciation. I’m talking about a nice fat year-end bonus that says your employer believes you’re worth investing in.

In our last lesson, I talked about how to demonstrate your value through your approach to work. Today, I want to focus not just on your approach, but on the work itself. When all is said and done, it’s your performance that will be valued above all else. So how can you show that?

Lesson Resources: Lesson Module | Quiz & Vocab | PDF Transcript

Dec 12 2019

7mins

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Rank #14: BEP 329 – Project Management English 9: Handover Meeting

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on project management English for handing over a finished project to the client.

Nobody forgets to hold a kickoff meeting to get a project started. But unfortunately, many teams fail to hold a final meeting to bring their project cleanly to a close. Whether you’re following agile or a more traditional approach, a project handover meeting is essential. For one thing, it’s a chance to talk about how the project went and get some valuable feedback from the client. It’s also a chance to take care of any small contractual issues and make sure the client agrees that you’ve fulfilled the project goals.

But a final project handover meeting isn’t only about looking back at what’s already been done. It’s also about opening the door to future work. After all, it’s much easier to sell more to existing clients than it is to find new clients. That could mean future work that builds on what you’ve just completed. Or it might mean identifying new needs that you can help address.

But before you start talking about future work, you should set a positive tone and ask the client for their impressions of the project. You might learn something useful that you can use in other projects. Then you can remind the client how your work fits into a broader plan for the future. That will set the stage for discussing possible future upgrades or additional support.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Martin, a project manager with a software company called OptiTech. They’ve just finished developing software for a logistics company. Martin is meeting with Liam, the IT manager for the logistics company, for the final project handover. During the discussion, Martin will use some useful project management English to steer the meeting to a successful conclusion.

Listening Questions

1. What is the first question that Martin asks Liam?
2. What does Martin suggest Liam’s company might need if they grow or change?
3. What does Martin propose that Liam consider at the end of the dialog?

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

Sep 12 2018

21mins

Play

Rank #15: BEP 163 R – English Idioms: Football Idioms (Part 1)

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English idioms related to football.

Have you ever stopped to think about how many similarities there are between business and sports? Groups of employees work together as teams. Teams, or companies, compete against each other, trying to win recognition, profits, or new clients. Given these similarities, it’s not surprising that language would be similar when we talk about business and sports. And a number of different sports have contributed idioms to the English language.

Today, our focus will be on English football idioms. As you listen to the dialog, you might hear some phrases that are new to you. Thinking about the relationship between business and sports may help you guess their meaning. And off course, we’ll go over them later in the debrief.

In the dialog, we’ll hear Karl and Marilyn, two friends who work at a publishing company. Karl is thinking about applying for a job at the company’s Sydney office. He has some doubts though, so he asks Marilyn what she thinks.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Karl want to leave his current job?
2. What are two points Marilyn mentions about the Sydney branch?
3. What has Karl heard about the Sydney branch?

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

Jun 24 2018

18mins

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Rank #16: 925 English Lesson 20 – Asking for and Giving Advice in English

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In today’s 925 English video lesson, we’re going to learn how to ask for and give advice in English.

Everybody needs a little help sometimes. And when you need help, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for advice. Maybe you ask a friend or colleague, or maybe you ask a boss or mentor. Whatever the case, I want to give you some good ways to get advice.

One nice way is to ask for advice before you explain your problem. For example, you might say “I was wondering if you could give me some advice?” Or, if the person already understands the situation, you can just ask “What do you think I should do?” Or maybe “What do you think I should say?”

925 English is a course of English video lessons for beginners. With 925 English lessons you can learn business English expressions to use in work and business.
Members: PDF Transcript | Lesson Module | Quiz | MP3 Audio

Jun 17 2018

8mins

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Rank #17: BEP 339 – Business English Idioms: Food Idioms (1)

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on business English idioms related to food.

Food is an important part of life and culture. And even when we’re not eating, or talking about food, it slips into our conversation in the form of idioms. What do I mean when I say “idiom?” I mean special expressions where one thing actually means another. For example, we have the idiom “to go bananas,” which has nothing at all to do with bananas. It means “to go crazy.”

English has idioms that come from specific foods, like bananas, butter, bacon, and bread. We also have English idioms that come from meals or use the word “food” itself. Some of these idioms describe people and activities, while others describe situations, relationships, and ideas. Learning how to use these idioms can really help “spice up” your conversation in English.

In today’s lesson, we’ll hear a conversation among three coworkers: Jessie, Luke, and Ben. They are discussing their general work situation and Jessie’s idea to start her own company. During their discussion, they use many useful idioms related to food.

Listening Questions

1. How did Ben feel about working with Ian?
2. Why does Luke say he is not willing to complain to Ian about his approach to work?
3. What does Luke say Jessie is always stressed out about?

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

Apr 02 2019

23mins

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Rank #18: 925 English Lesson 21 – Making Offers in English

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In today’s 925 English video lesson, we’re going to learn how to make an offer in English.

There’s give and take in every relationship. And giving involves making an offer. It might be something simple like offering a cup of coffee. Or it might be something big like help with a project.

In some situations – like offering a drink – we can make the offer very directly. One common way to do this is with the word “can.” So you can ask a question, like “Can I help you with that?” Or you can make a statement, like “I can get you a cup of coffee if you want.”

925 English is a course of English video lessons for beginner level English learners. With 925 English lessons you can learn business English expressions to use in work and business.
Members: PDF Transcript | Lesson Module | Quiz | MP3 Audio

Aug 12 2018

9mins

Play

Rank #19: BEP 164 R – English Idioms: Football Idioms (Part 2)

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on business English idioms that come from football, or soccer.

Since sports and business are so similar, it’s easy to see how there could be so many related English idioms. Companies are like teams; employees are like players. Ideas are like balls that get kicked around. Success is like scoring a goal. And there’s always plenty of competition.

In the previous lesson, Marilyn and Karl, two colleagues at a publishing firm, discussed Karl’s interest in a job at the company’s Sydney branch. Karl isn’t completely sure it’s the right move for him and has asked Marilyn for her opinion. Today, we’ll hear more of their conversation, as Karl explains his hesitation about applying.

Listening Questions

1. How does Karl’s wife feel about moving to Sydney?
2. Why does Karl feel like he’s cheating on his own company?
3. What advice does Marilyn give at the end of the conversation?

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

Jul 01 2018

17mins

Play

Rank #20: BEP 341 – Business English Idioms: Food Idioms (3)

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for our final lesson on business English idioms related to food.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve looked at a lot of different English idioms connected to food. It should be no surprise that so many expressions are related to eating and drinking. After all, we do it three times a day, or more. Food is not just a necessity, it’s a big part of life and culture.

When you’re looking at idioms, it’s important to remember that they are fixed expressions where the words don’t have a literal meaning. So when you hear that someone is “in a pickle,” you have to understand that there’s no actual pickle. It just means that someone’s in a difficult situation. You have to figure it out from the context, because there’s not really an obvious connection between pickles and difficult situations.

In the lesson, we’ll rejoin a conversation between three colleagues. Jessie has been trying to convince Luke and Ben to join her in starting a business together. Today, we’ll hear them talking about the possible challenges of running their own business.

Listening Questions

1. What example does Ben give of a possibly difficult business situation?
2. What does Jessie say is one important benefit of running your own business?
3. According to Jessie, what is necessary for people to have a good business partnership?

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Apr 24 2019

22mins

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Business English News 44 – Covid-19: Economic Impact

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The world first heard about cases of a novel coronavirus on December 31st, 2019. In just two short months, the World Health Organization had declared a global pandemic. The impact on the world economy was instantaneous, as the World Economic Forum explains:

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit global trade and investment at an unprecedented speed and scale. Multinational companies faced an initial supply shock, then a demand shock as more and more countries ordered people to stay at home. Governments, businesses and individual consumers suddenly struggled to procure basic products and materials, and were forced to confront the fragility of the modern supply chain.

Now, as we approach summer, supply chains still don’t feel completely secure. Economic forecasts look pretty gloomy as nations emerging from lockdown attempt to kickstart their economies. The stock market, however, has provided some surprises amid the crisis.

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May 24 2020

6mins

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BEP 358 – English for Purchasing 4: Negotiating Terms

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and negotiating price and terms.

We’ve talked a lot about how important it is to find the right vendor. They can make or break your business. That’s why we put so much work into meeting, interviewing, screening, and qualifying potential vendors. But once you’ve found the right vendor, you still need to actually make a deal. Specifically, you need to agree on price and terms.

To set yourself up for success, it’s a good idea to do some research and preparation. If you know what things should cost, and you know what you need from a deal, and you can anticipate what the vendor needs, then you’ll be in a good position to negotiate.

In your discussion, you’ll likely make price comparisons in your efforts to get a deal. You’ll have to propose terms to the vendor, and show consideration for their position in the negotiation. Because things like delivery and quality are so important, you’ll also want to discuss penalties. And, like any negotiation, at some point you’ll probably suggest a compromise. With these skills, you should be able to get a price and terms that work for you.

In today’s business English conversation, we’ll hear Adam, a purchasing manager who works for a company that makes fitness equipment called XFit. He’s been talking with Jenny, a sales rep for a manufacturer that can make pulleys for XFit’s equipment. XFit has chosen Jenny’s company as a vendor, so Adam now has to negotiate the price and terms.

Listening Questions

1. What is the first issue that Adam brings up in the negotiation?
2. What does Adam first propose for delivery terms?
3. What is Adam willing to agree to if Jenny agrees to his suggestion about penalties?

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May 10 2020

23mins

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BEP 357 – English for Purchasing 3: Vendor Qualification

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and qualifying vendors.

Whether you’re buying raw materials, equipment, or services, purchasing decisions are high stakes. Make a bad decision, and it’ll cost you time, money, and goodwill. Make the right decision, and you can increase your revenue, improve operations, and gain more customers.

Because purchasing decisions are so important, companies invest a lot of energy into the process of vendor selection. In previous lessons, we’ve looked at sourcing suppliers and discussing vendor criteria. Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you need and you’ve had some discussions with possible vendors, then you need to qualify them.

Basically, vendor qualification is about talking to a vendor to make sure they’re the right fit. And that’s best done during a visit to their facilities. Vendor qualification includes asking for documentation and getting samples, as proof of quality and a clean track record. As you talk, you may try to identify any inconsistencies between what you have heard and what you see. It’s also important to ensure comprehensive quality management and to probe for proof of consistency.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Adam, a purchasing manager who works for xFit, a company that makes fitness equipment. Adam has just taken a tour of a potential vendor’s factory. He’s talking with the manufacturer’s representative Jenny, and asking questions to see if her company is a good fit to supply parts for xFit’s exercise equipment.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Adam want product samples?
2. Why does Adam mention that he didn’t see the equipment or a set-up for the “powder coating” process?
3. What does Adam want Jenny to provide in order to show proof of consistency?

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Apr 26 2020

21mins

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Skills 360 – English Interview Tips 3: Career Goals

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Welcome back to Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson for the final part of our series on English interview skills.

In previous lessons, we’ve gone over some of the fundamental questions about who you are and what you’ve done. Today I want to take a closer look at talking about your career goals and researching prospective employers. Interviewers don’t just want to know whether you’ve got the skills, personality, and qualifications. They also want to know that you’re a good fit, and that they are a good fit for you.

One important question you need to be ready for in an interview in English is “why are you leaving your current position?” This question makes a lot of people squirm. But it’s actually an opportunity to talk about growth and change. Nobody stays at the same job their entire life. And this question isn’t necessarily fishing for problems in your past.

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Apr 14 2020

7mins

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Skills 360 – English Interview Tips 2: Questions and Answers

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Welcome back to Skills 360 for today’s lesson on tips for succeeding in a job interview in English.

In our last lesson, we talked about preparation for introducing yourself and questions about strengths and weaknesses. That’s all about you as a person, or your character. In this lesson, I’d like to home in on what you’ve done, or your actions and behavior.

The first big question you’ll get about what you have done pertains to achievements. As in: “what achievements are you most proud of?” Or “tell us about a recent achievement?”

Now, when you think back on your accomplishments, what should you choose to discuss? Well, rather than boasting about purely individual accomplishments, think of something that connects to the bigger picture. Or state why your accomplishment helped the company.

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Apr 01 2020

7mins

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Skills 360 – English Interview Tips 1: Preparing for an Interview

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Welcome back to Skills 360 for today’s lesson on how to look at how to prepare for an interview in English.

When I say “prepare,” I’m not talking about making an appointment at the hair salon or picking out a clean shirt. I’m talking about doing some research, anticipating what you’ll be asked, and practicing how to respond. Yeah, I know I’m always going on about preparation, but this time it’s not just a suggestion, it’s essential. If you do it right, you’ll be able to head into the interview feeling relaxed and confident. And that will increase your chances of landing the job.

Now here’s the thing: most interviews cover the same basic territory. Sure, you might get a couple of curveballs, but for the most part you can predict what questions you’ll be asked. And that means you can plan your answers. I don’t mean script your answers. It’s pretty tough to appear authentic and natural while delivering a memorized response. But you can outline your answers and practice your delivery.

So how do we go about doing that? Well, let’s start by talking about how to introduce yourself in an job interview in English. The old “tell me about yourself” question. It’s amazing how many people are thrown by this question, or fumble through an awkward response as they wait for the real interview questions. But first impressions are important! And you need a good answer for “tell me about yourself.”

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Mar 23 2020

7mins

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BEP 356 – Financial English: Discussing Taxes 2

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on financial English vocabulary for discussing taxes.

Spring is a busy time for accountants in the U.S. and many other countries. That’s because spring is when corporations and individuals have to file a tax return with the government. It’s our yearly reminder that we don’t get to keep everything we earn.

Of course, those busy accountants aren’t just calculating your revenue and costs. They’re looking for ways to reduce the amount you – or your business – have to pay in tax. And that’s why the chatter around offices and board rooms is all about ways to avoid handing over too much money to the tax man.

Listen to these conversations and you’ll notice many useful expressions. For example, I’ve already used the phrase “file a tax return.” That verb “file” always goes with “return” when we talk about our annual submission to the government. You can learn those words together, as one expression or “collocation.”

A collocation is just a natural combination of words that native English speakers learn as a chunk. With English collocations, we don’t have to go searching for every word in our brain. Instead, we pull out a string of words that matches our intended meaning. Learning these strings of words is more efficient, and will make you sound more natural. As you listen to today’s conversation, try to pick out some of these collocations and we’ll discuss them later in the debrief.

In the dialog, we’ll continue with a conversation about the tax situation of a company called Brando Equipment. Christie has been giving an update to two senior managers: Glen and Ivana. Last time, Christie gave them an overall picture of the tax situation, and today she’s providing more detail.

Listening Questions

1. What does Christie say is one factor that increased their reported income?
2. What helped reduce the company’s reported income by about $50,000?
3. What important issue does Ivana want to discuss in more detail at the end of the dialog?”

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Mar 10 2020

27mins

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BEP 355 – Financial English: Discussing Taxes 1

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English collocations related to taxes.

There’s an old saying in English that “nothing is certain except death and taxes.” But, although taxes are certain, the exact amount you have to pay isn’t. Just ask any accountant. For both companies and individuals, there are all sorts of ways to lower your tax bill. And a lower tax bill means more money in our pockets, or in our shareholders pockets. For this reason, tax is a popular topic of discussion, especially in the spring when most taxes are due.

In this financial English lesson, we’ll listen to three managers at Brando Equipment discuss their tax situation. During the conversation, the managers use a lot of common expressions related to taxes. We call these expressions “collocations.” A collocation is just a group of words that go together naturally.

Some English collocations, such as “take a chance,” are widely used. But many collocations are particular to a certain field of work or topic. And to work in that field or discuss that topic, you need to know these special expressions. When it comes to taxes, for example, you need to know that we use the verb “file” with “taxes” to talk about our yearly report to the government. Learning collocations like this in different fields will develop your vocabulary and help you sound more natural.

In the dialog, we’ll hear Christie, Glen, and Ivana discuss the tax situation at Brando Equipment, a subsidiary their company has recently purchased. Glen and Ivana are corporate managers, while Christie is an accountant. The three colleagues use many English collocations and vocabulary specific to taxes as they talk about how much tax Brando Equipment owes.

Listening Questions

1. What does Ivana hope that they finish by the 30th of the month?
2. Near the start of the conversation, what does Christie say is higher than they anticipated?
3. What key piece of information does Glen want to know?

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Mar 01 2020

23mins

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Business English News 43 – Climate Change

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Change is a constant, and the earth’s climate has never been perfectly stable. But in recent years the pace of climate change has accelerated to the point of crisis. Scientists around the world are sounding the alarm, and more and more people and institutions are realizing that drastic times require drastic measures. Business is not immune. According to the New York Times:

The Carbon Disclosure Project analyzed submissions from 215 of the world’s 500 biggest corporations. They found that these companies faced roughly $1 trillion in potential costs related to climate change in the decades ahead, unless they took proactive steps to prepare. By the companies’ own estimates, the bulk of those financial risks could start to materialize in the next five years or so.

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Feb 18 2020

5mins

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BEP 354 – Business English Coaching 3: Reviewing Progress

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on reviewing progress in a coaching program.

Do you set goals for yourself? More than likely, right. And this is something we hear a lot about, especially in the New Year. Setting goals is a fundamental part of success. And if you are in a coaching role, you have probably helped other people set goals for themselves. But the real work isn’t in setting the goals; it’s in following through and putting energy into meeting these goals.

And as someone’s coach, your work isn’t done once you help someone decide on some objectives. The next step is following up, which typically means sitting down with the person you’re coaching to review progress. You ask them how things have been going, and listen as they describe what they’ve done. But sometimes, the person hasn’t really followed through. What then?

That’s when you prove your value by holding the person accountable. And that might include reinforcing your company’s values, as you try to hold the person to their commitments. Of course, the person might have encountered barriers, which you can ask about and discuss. Still, those barriers shouldn’t serve as excuses, and you may have to push the person a bit to reach their potential. And, of course, a good coach remains supportive throughout this kind of process.

In today’s dialog, we’ll continue listening to a conversation between two lawyers, Marion and Rachel. Marion has been coaching Rachel as she adapts to her new job as a young attorney. They’ve discussed some of the problems Rachel faces, and set some goals. Now Marion is following up and reviewing progress toward those goals.

Listening Questions

1. What does Marion ask Rachel about at the start of the conversation?
2. What short-term objective does Rachel identify for herself?
3. What does Marion say she is “sure about” and has “no doubt about?”

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Feb 09 2020

22mins

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BEP 353 – Business English Coaching 2: Setting Goals

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on setting goals during a coaching session.

You’ve probably heard that an important part of coaching is listening and showing empathy. A good coach tries hard to understand the person he or she is trying to coach. That helps build trust, which creates a constructive relationship. But what is that relationship for? What kind of work does that trust allow?

Once you build a good relationship as a coach, then you can start talking about improvements. After all, coaches don’t exist just to hear about people’s problems. Their whole purpose is to help people get better. And a big part of getting better is setting goals, which is something a good coach can help with.

So how do we work with someone on their goals? Well, that might start with asking about their motivation. After all, goals have to be directed at something. If someone’s motivated by the idea of getting a promotion, then the goals have to relate to that. And that underlines the fact that they are the other person’s goals. We don’t set goals for them. We ask them about their goals. Then we can help them break their goals into smaller objectives.

Of course, another important role of a coach is to give encouragement. So when we help someone set goals, we are in a good position to show confidence in their ability to meet them. And finally, we might ask them about their next steps. That is, what are the concrete activities that the person will take as she tries to accomplish her goals?

In today’s dialog, we’ll rejoin two lawyers: Marion and Rachel. Marion has been coaching Rachel as she learns how to be a better lawyer. In the previous lesson, we heard Marion trying to figure out Rachel’s challenges. Now we’ll hear her help Rachel set some goals.

Listening Questions

1. What does Marion ask Rachel about at the start of the conversation?
2. What short-term objective does Rachel identify for herself?
3. What does Marion say she is “sure about” and has “no doubt about?”

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Jan 29 2020

23mins

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BEP 352 – Business English Coaching 1: Needs Analysis

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for coaching.

Everyone understands the importance of a good coach in sports, but what about a good coach at work? In fact, coaching is an important part of every manager’s job. Managing people isn’t just about telling them what to do and how to do it. A good manager helps employees develop and reach their full potential, just like in sports. And that requires an open and constructive coaching relationship.

Coaching involves an ongoing dialog between you and the employee. Together you’ll assess the situation, set goals, monitor those goals, and adjust your activities and objectives as you go along. Yes, I said “together.” The 21st century manager isn’t the same as the 1980s manager. The relationship is different. You have to be the boss without being bossy. You need to maintain your authority and the employee’s autonomy at the same time. That’s a fine line to walk.

Coaching often begins with a needs analysis. That is, you’re meeting with an employee to figure out what is working well, what’s not working at all, and what can be improved. That conversation will involve a lot of open-ended questions. It will also involve showing empathy, which is an important part of leadership.

When you talk about the employee’s performance, it’s important to give very specific examples of behavior. It’s also important to ask for their perspective on those behaviors. Ultimately, you want to get the employee to agree about what his or her challenges are. Only then can you move on to talk about solutions.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Marion, an experienced lawyer, coaching a younger lawyer named Rachel. Marion and Rachel are having an open discussion about Rachel’s performance, and trying to establish what her needs might be.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Marion mention her own experience at her first job?
2. What example of Rachel’s performance does Marion bring up for discussion?
3. After assessing the problem, what does Marion ask Rachel at the end of the conversation?

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Jan 19 2020

23mins

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925 English Lesson 32 – How to Generalize in English

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In today’s 925 English video lesson, we’re going to learn how to make generalizations in English.

Don’t you hate it when people say things like “Americans are rude”? I mean, not all Americans are rude. And people in other countries are rude too. It’s simply not helpful to say something is true of a whole group of people. When it’s negative like that, it feels wrong.

But it can be helpful to describe a group of people, as long as we are clear that it’s not everyone we’re talking about. We call this a “generalization.” For example, “many of my friends work in finance.” I’m making a “generalization” about my friends. And it doesn’t have to be people. If I say “most of our online sales come from Europe,” I’m generalizing about sales.

925 English video lessons for beginners (CEFR level A2). With 925 English videos you can learn business English phrases for work.

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Jan 07 2020

9mins

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Skills 360 – How to Get a Year-End Bonus (2)

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Welcome back to Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson on how to make sure you get a great year-end bonus.

When I say “bonus,” I’m not talking about a Christmas card from the boss with a $20 gift certificate for Starbucks. I’m not talking about tokens of appreciation. I’m talking about a nice fat year-end bonus that says your employer believes you’re worth investing in.

In our last lesson, I talked about how to demonstrate your value through your approach to work. Today, I want to focus not just on your approach, but on the work itself. When all is said and done, it’s your performance that will be valued above all else. So how can you show that?

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Dec 12 2019

7mins

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Skills 360 – How to Get a Year-End Bonus (1)

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Welcome back to Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson on how to secure a great year-end bonus.

We all know that money’s not the only workplace incentive, but it sure is an effective one. Nothing beats a nice cheque at the end of the year to say “thanks for all the hard work.” That bonus can help us enjoy the holiday season more, and feel better about heading back to the office when the holiday is over.

So, how can you make sure you get that bonus? Or how can you increase the size of your bonus? Well, first of all, if you just started thinking about this now, you might be out of luck. You can’t just suck up to your boss in December and expect to be rewarded. If you’re looking for an easy workaround to hard work, I’m sorry to disappoint you.

And if you think that you deserve a bonus because you showed up on time every day and never ducked out early, then think again. If you make hamburgers at McDonalds, then your employer pays you for your time, in the form of a wage. But in professional settings, where people earn salaries, it’s not your time that your employer pays for. It’s your value.

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Dec 01 2019

7mins

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BEP 351 – Idioms for Describing Relationships (Part 2)

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on business English idioms for describing relationships.

We all spend a lot of time every week at work. So much, in fact, that sometimes it feels like our colleagues are a kind of family. And just like families, workplace relationships can be a source of both satisfaction and stress. Sometimes we support each other, while at other times we argue bitterly. And sometimes our disagreements are constructive, while at other times they can generate conflict.

In any case, whether they’re positive or negative, workplace relationships are a constant source of fascination. And English has many idioms and expressions to describe how people get along, or don’t get along. These idioms will help you discuss the often complicated relationships in your workplace.

In the dialog, we’ll rejoin three colleagues at an insurance company. They’ve been talking about the relationships between the people on a new team. In their discussion, they use many English idioms to describe how people get along, both past and present.

Listening Questions

1. How was the relationship between Dave and Diego?
2. What happened when Ivan and Dave were asked to open a new office together?
3. What does Mark say about his relationship with Chuck?

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Nov 19 2019

22mins

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BEP 350 – Idioms for Describing Relationships (Part 1)

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Hello and welcome back to Business English Pod. My name’s Edwin, and I’ll be your host for today’s lesson on business English idioms for talking about relationships.

They say that success in business is all about relationships. Certainly, your success in a particular workplace is greatly dependent on how you relate to those around you. That includes your colleagues, your collaborators, your staff, and your bosses. If you don’t develop good relationships, then it probably doesn’t matter how great your work is.

Relationships aren’t just important, they’re also interesting. What do you and your colleagues talk about when you chat socially? A lot of your conversations are probably about the people at your workplace. Who isn’t getting along, who is getting along a little too well, who doesn’t like who, and who is being a bit too nice to everyone.

Whatever kind of relationships you’re talking about, there are hundreds of English idioms you can use. If you listened to our 925 English lesson on describing people, then you learned some useful basic expressions. In this lesson, we’ll take that to the next level with some great idioms for describing relationships.

In the dialog, we’ll hear a conversation between three colleagues: Brooke, Mark, and Ivan. They work for an insurance company that has just put together a new team to work on a new product. The three colleagues are keen to talk about the complex web of relationships among the people on this team.

Listening Questions

1. What is the relationship between Chuck and Dave?
2. What does Brooke think will change between Dave and Anna?
3. What’s the relationship between Becky and Dave?

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Nov 10 2019

22mins

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925 English Lesson 31 – Describing People and Characteristics

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In today’s 925 English video lesson, we’re going to learn how to describe people and their characteristics in English.

Listen in on any office conversation or meeting and you’ll hear a lot of talk about people. Who we like, who we don’t like, who’s right for a team, who should get a promotion, who is going on vacation”¦ The list of topics goes on and on.

And one aspect of people we often discuss is their appearance, or how they look. To do that, we use adjectives, like “tall” or “short” or “well-dressed” or “heavy” or “thin.” When we describe people, we also talk about the color of their hair. And here’s a couple of special hair words for you: “brunette” means someone with brown hair, and “blonde” refers to someone with light hair or yellow hair.

925 English video lessons for beginners (CEFR level A2). With 925 English lessons you can learn English phrases and expressions for business and work.

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Oct 30 2019

9mins

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BEP 349 – Purchasing 2: Product and Vendor Requirements

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and discussing product requirements.

For purchasing managers, choosing the right vendor can be like choosing a business partner. After all, your company’s reputation is tied directly to the performance of your vendors. People judge you by the goods you use to run your business or build your products. If something goes wrong, your customers blame you, not your vendors.

But what makes the “right” vendor? Well, that discussion begins with your needs. If you’re in manufacturing or product development, you’ll be talking about design requirements. These design requirements, or product specifications, are going to help you determine whether a vendor can do the job. And the engineers or merchandizers in the room are going to have some strict technical requirements.

Once you have a sense of what you need, then you can discuss vendor criteria and qualifications. And because purchasing relationships are ongoing, you may also want to establish performance indicators to ensure everything goes well once you’ve selected a vendor.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a meeting in a company called xFit, which makes fitness equipment. Adam is a purchasing manager in Asia who has been looking for a new manufacturer of an important component. He’s on the phone with Crystal, another manager who is leading the meeting, and Jason, an engineer. The team is talking about the product requirements and vendor criteria.

Listening Questions

1. What does Jason emphasize as a “must” in terms of design requirements?
2. What does Crystal say is the most important criteria for evaluating potential vendors?
3. What other criteria does Adam want to discuss?

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Oct 20 2019

23mins

Play

BEP 348 – English for Purchasing 1: Sourcing Suppliers

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Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for purchasing and sourcing suppliers.

Every company is in the business of selling something. But you can’t be a seller of goods or services without also being a buyer of goods and services. All companies require professional services, equipment, and supplies in order to function. And if they sell goods, they also need the raw materials and parts to build those goods.

Buying all these goods and services is called purchasing. Purchasing managers work hard to find the right products and suppliers, and to negotiate good prices. Bad purchasing decisions can impact profit margins, efficiency, and quality. Good decisions can make a company a lot more competitive and profitable. While purchasing managers can find suppliers in a variety of ways, one common way is looking for suppliers at trade shows.

And what kinds of questions do purchasing managers need to ask when talking with potential suppliers at a trade show? Well, for starters, you can begin the conversation by commenting on display products. Next, you can ask about their experience, their capabilities, and their turnaround time. And finally, you’ll also want to ask about their company’s business priorities. After all, a regular supplier functions a bit like a business partner, and you want a good overall match.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Adam, a purchasing manager who works for xFit, a company that makes fitness equipment. Adam’s at a trade show looking for a new supplier for an important part for one of their fitness machines. He’s talking with Jenny, who is representing a Vietnamese manufacturer. Adam is trying to find out if Jenny’s company is a good fit.

Listening Questions

1. What does Adam comment on to begin the conversation?
2. What does Adam suggest might cause challenges for a company in Vietnam?
3. After Jenny talks about tariffs, what specific issue does Adam ask about?

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Oct 09 2019

21mins

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Love the approach!

By Stephen Pete - Jul 14 2015
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The workshop style learning model makes you feel as if you are there. Very clever!

Great tools

By Dichak - Oct 08 2013
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Always love those podcasts.. Perfect tools to learn English & update your knowledge.