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speak business EngLish like an American

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LEARN THE IDIOMS & EXPRESSIONS YOU NEED TO SUCCEED ON THE JOB

TABLE OF CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION ...................................................................... …………..3 LESSON 1: Talking about a New Project................................... …………..5 LESSON 2: Talking about Financial Issues ............................... ………….10 LESSON 3: Discussing a New Ad Campaign .......................... .…………..16 LESSON 4: Talking about Manufacturing ............................... …………...22 LESSON 5: Talking about Company Strategy ......................... …………...27 REVIEW: LESSONS 1-5 ........................................................ …………...33 LESSON 6: Discussing Good Results ..................................... …………....35 LESSON 7: Discussing Bad Results ........................................ ……………40 LESSON 8: Discussing a Difficult Decision ............................ ……………46 LESSON 9: Dealing with a Dissatisfied Customer ................... ……………52 LESSON 10: Discussing a Difficult Request .............................. ……………57 REVIEW: LESSONS 6-10 ...................................................... ……………61 LESSON 11: Motivating Co-workers ........................................ ……………63 LESSON 12: Running a Meeting............................................... ……………68 LESSON 13: Discussing a Mistake .......................................... ……………74 LESSON 14: Taking Credit for Good Results ........................... ……………78 LESSON 15: Shifting Blame .................................................... ……………83

     REVIEW: LESSONS 11-15 ................... ... ......................... ……………88LESSON 16: Politely Disagreeing with Someone ..................... ……………90 LESSON 17: Telling Somebody Off. ........................................ …………....95 LESSON 18: Discussing Office Scandals ................................. …………...101 LESSON 19: Complaining about a Co-worker .......................... …………...106 LESSON 20: Talking about a Brown Noser. ............................. …………….111 REVIEW: LESSONS 16-20 ..................................................... …………….117 LESSON 21: Explaining that You're Feeling Overworked ....... …………….119 LESSON 22: Calling in Sick ................................................... …………….124 LESSON 23: Requesting a Bank Loan .................................... …………….128 LESSON 24: Negotiating a Purchase ....................................... …………….133

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    LESSON 25: Conducting a Performance Review ..................... ……………..138 REVIEW: LESSONS 21-25 .................................................... ……………..142 LESSON 26: Promoting an Employee .....................................……………..144 LESSON 27: Firing Somebody .............................................. ……………...149 LESSON 28: Job Interview 1 ................................................. ……………..154 LESSON 29: Job Interview 2 ................................................. ……………..159 LESSON 30: Negotiating a Salary Offer. ................................ ……………..165 REVIEW: LESSONS 26-30 ................................................... ……………..170 GLOSSARY OF TERMS ........................................................ ……………..172 ANSWER KEY. ..................................................................... ……………..176 INDEX...................................................................................……………...181

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    INTRODUCTION

    For better or worse, the American workplace is full of idioms. People don't begin a project. They get a project off the ground. They don't call each other to discuss

    progress. They touch base. Later, if the project is not going well, they don't end it. They pull the plug.

    Speak Business English Like An American covers over 350 idioms and

    expressions you're likely to encounter in today's business world. Familiarize yourself with all of them. When they come up in conversation, you'll be prepared to respond confidently instead of becoming silent while thinking to yourself, "What's he talking about? Sales went through the roof? What roof?" As you're asking yourself these questions, the conversation is continuing without you. Suddenly you're left behind. Before you know it, you're out of the loop.

    After getting to know the idioms, listen for them in everyday conversations and look for them in newspapers. Idioms are everywhere. Newspapers like the Wall

    Street Journal and business sections of daily newspapers are full of these idioms. Once you get a good feel for them, try them out on your colleagues and friends. Idioms will add color and excitement to your language. Using idioms will make you sound more like a native speaker.

    Let's take just one example. Let's say you're losing a lot of business to your competition. You could say, "We're losing business to our competition." Or, you could say, "Our competition is eating our lunch!" The second sentence

    sounds a little more lively, doesn't it?

    Don't feel the need to load every sentence with idioms. A well-placed idiom here and there will do the trick.

    You don't have to add every idiom in this book to your active vocabulary. You'll naturally find some more useful than others. A few of the idioms in this book

    such as think outside the box and on the same page have become so common,

    they're now overused. But even if you don't want to use them, you should

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understand them since you're likely to hear them.

    American English idioms come from many different sources. The business-focused idioms often originate from military speak (example: rally the troops)

    and from the world of sports (example: step up to the plate). This provides some

    insight into the way Americans think about business: like war, it's a bitter competition with winners and losers. Like sports, it's a game, with the prizes going to those teams (companies) with superior strategy and execution.

    For your convenience, all of the idioms in this book are shown in bold and listed in the Index. In the Glossary of Terms, we've included definitions for

    many other words and phrases that you may not understand. These terms are in italics in the dialogues. Whenever you see an italicized word you don't know, just turn to the back of the book to look it up.

    This book comes with a CD featuring all of the dialogues. The CD will help you master the rhythm and stress of American English speech. It will also help you remember the idioms. Play it at home, at work, in the car, while on business trips...before you know it, you'll be speaking English like a native!

    Good luck adding idioms to your everyday speech. It's fun and it'll help you succeed in the working world!

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    Lesson 1

    TALKING ABOUT A NEW PROJECT Carl, Greg, and Anne work for WaterSonic Corporation. Recently, the

    company has come up with an idea for a new electric toothbrush.

    Carl: I think we've come up with a winner.

    Anne: I agree. The new Brush-o-matic toothbrush should be a blockbuster!

    Carl: Our designers have already made up some prototypes * The toothbrushes have a tooth-whitening attachment and many other bells and whistles.

    Greg: We should fast track this project. Let's try to launch it in time for the holiday season.

    Anne: This will be a great stocking stuffer!

    Carl: We definitely need a big win for the holidays.

    Anne: This is a great idea. We're going to make a killing.

    Greg: Let's not talk about this project to anybody who doesn't need to know.

    We'll keep it under wraps.

    Carl: I agree. Mum's the word. We don't want any of our competitors to get

    wind of the idea and rip it off!

    Anne: Right. Let's meet again on Monday morning and discuss our game plan

    for getting this project off the ground!

    * Words in italics in the dialogues are defined on pages 186-189.

    IDIOMS & EXPRESSIONS - LESSON 1

    (to) come up with a winner

    to think up a very good idea

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    EXAMPLE: Everybody likes Pepsi's new advertising campaign. Their advertising agency has come up with a winner.

    blockbuster

    a big success; a huge hit

    EXAMPLE: Eli Lilly made a lot of money with the prescription drug, Prozac. It was a real blockbuster.

    ORIGIN: This term comes from the blockbuster bombs used during World War Two by the British Royal Air Force. They were huge and created a large explosive force. Blockbuster ideas similarly create a big impact and hopefully don't cause destruction like blockbuster bombs!

    bells and whistles

    extra product features, usually using the latest technologies; product features which are attractive, but not essential for the product to function

    EXAMPLE: Our office just got a new copier with all the bells and whistles. I'll

    probably never learn how to use all of its features!

    (to) fast track a project

    to make a project a high priority; to speed up the time frame of a project

    EXAMPLE: Let's fast track this project. We've heard rumors that our

    competitors are developing similar products.

    stocking stuffer

    a small gift given at Christmas time

    EXAMPLE: These new mini travel pillows will make great stocking stuffers!

    NOTE: This expression comes from the practice of kids hanging up stockings that Santa Claus fills (or "stuffs") with small gifts.

    big win

    a huge success; a successful product

    EXAMPLE: The drug company spent millions on research and development, hoping that one of their new products would be a big win.

    (to) make a killing

    to make a lot of money

    EXAMPLE: Suzanne made a killing on her Google stock and retired at 40.

    SYNONYM: to make a fortune

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(to) keep something under wraps

    to keep something secret; to not let anybody know about a new project or plan

    EXAMPLE: I'm sorry I can't tell you anything about the project I'm working on. My boss told me to keep it under wraps.

    NOTE: "Wraps" are things that provide cover, so if something is "under wraps" it's covered

    up and hidden.

    mum's the word

    let's keep quiet about this; I agree not to tell anyone about this

    EXAMPLE: Please don't tell anybody about our new project. Remember: mum's

    the word!

    ORIGIN: The word "mum" comes from the murmur "mmmmm," the only sound you can make when your mouth is shut firmly. Try making other sounds besides "mmmmm" with your lips and mouth shut firmly, and you will see that it's impossible!

    (to) get wind of

    to find out about something, often sensitive information

    EXAMPLE: When the restaurant owner got wind of the fact that one of his waiters

    was stealing money from the cash register, he was furious.

(to) rip off

    to copy an idea; to steal

    EXAMPLE: Why doesn't the Donox Company ever think up any original ideas? All they ever do is rip off their competitors! NOTE: "Rip off' is also a noun. Example:

    We were charged $10,000 for a small advertisement in the newspaper. What a rip off!

    game plan

    an action plan; a plan for how a project will proceed

    EXAMPLE: The software company's game plan is to expand its operations into

    China and India over the next year.

    ORIGIN: In football, a "game plan" is a strategy for winning.

    (to) get something off the ground

    to get started on something, often a project

    EXAMPLE: We've been sitting around talking about this project for months. It's time to take action and get it off the ground!

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PRACTICE THE IDIOMS

    Choose the best substitute for the phrase or sentence in bold:

    1) Did the company think of this new product idea themselves? No, they

    ripped it off from an inventor.

    No, they paid an inventor for the idea.

    No, they stole the idea from an inventor.

    No, they discussed it with an inventor and he agreed to sell it to them.

    2) Andrea is planning to quit her job at the end of September, but mum's the

    word.

    don't tell anybody

    don't tell her mother

    she may change her mind

    3) Sony has made a killing on its popular PlayStation line.

    lost money on

    made a lot of money on

    decided to stop producing

    4) After receiving a large loan from the bank, the company was finally able to get its project off the ground.

    get started on the project

    cancel the project

    borrow money

    5) That new software company seems very disorganized. Do they have a game plan?

    a plan for closing down their business

    a plan for developing new games

    a plan for how they will proceed to grow their business 6) Some experts recommend that when you're interviewing for a new job, you keep your current salary under wraps.

    you should tell the interviewer what your current salary is you should say you're making twice as much as you're really earning

    you should not say how much you're currently earning 7) Don's new cell phone has a video camera and all sorts of other

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bells and whistles.

    fancy features

    things that make loud ringing noises and whistle tones features typical in a low-priced product

    8) When investors got wind of the fact that the pharmaceutical company's major drug increased the risk of heart attacks, the

    company's stock price fell.

    hid

    discovered

    got fed up over

    ANSWERS TO LESSON 1, p. 190

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Lesson 2

I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations.

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