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BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6

UNIT 6 Meetings MODULE A:


A1: Background information and class activities (SPEAKING) A2: Testing material

MODULE B:
B1: Writing skills B2: Written test question format and testing material

Essential resources (dictionaries)


Longman: http://www.ldoceonline.com/ Oxford: http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/ Macmillan: http://www.macmillandictionary.com/ Cambridge: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/ Cobuild: http://www.mycobuild.com/free-search.aspx Merriam-Websters (American English): http://www.learnersdictionary.com/

Extra resources
British English / grammar (BBC ENGLISH): http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/askaboutenglish/ British English / reading, listening and vocabulary (BBC ENGLISH): http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/wordsinthenews/ British English (news, BBC): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ American English (news, VOA): http://www.voanews.com/ American English (learning English, VOA): http://learningenglish.voanews.com/

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6

MODULE A1 Background info and class activities (SPEAKING)


#1 SETTING UP A MEETING It is estimated that some employees spend up to two thirds of their time in meetings and quite few of them have acquired the skills and knowledge to participate effectively. Good meeting management skills require as much training and preparation as any other aspect of business. Every meeting, like every speech, needs to have a purpose and its important to let everyone know exactly what the purpose is when you schedule a meeting. Send out a preliminary agenda to inform everyone when, where and why the meeting is taking place. The basic goal or purpose of a meeting falls into one of these four categories: to inform people, to analyze a problem, to generate options about possible solutions or activities or to decide on a solution or course of action. Whether leading or attending a meeting, every businessperson needs to be trained in meeting management behaviour and techniques of collaborative disagreement. Knowing how to disagree is the only way to ensure that ideas are freely generated, but this is a difficult skill to master. People usually dont disagree with one another because we basically believe that disagreeing is synonymous with disliking someone. However, in meetings, for us to come up with the best possible alternatives, we need to learn how to disagree. Techniques for disagreeing collaboratively require that first of all we learn how to listen. As the most important meeting management skill, listening amounts to how we get information from other people. This requires not just our ears, but also our eyes, intuition and feelings. Listening actively means asking questions not confrontational ones but requests for more information, further explanation or clarification. Remember that when youre listening actively, youre not just parroting back what people are saying youre questioning and participating in their content! The key to listening participatively is to take other peoples ideas and elaborate on them. According to this model, when someone presents an idea, the first step in responding is to describe what you like about it. Then, after acknowledging the idea, the second step is to add on what you think could take it to the next level. Next, you should be introducing your concerns, reservations or worries. And finally, youll have to decide where you go from there. In this way, you can connect to the idea before disagreeing with it, by building a bridge to the other person before saying what you dont like.

1. Why do you think most people hate meetings? 2. Based on the listening and persuasion skills you know you already have (or not), how do you think you would behave as a participant in a meeting? 3. In certain cultures / countries, people prefer telephone meetings to personal contact. What do you think about this? 4. Would you expect extensive pre-meeting documentation and briefing or would you prefer spontaneity during discussions? 5. In some cultures / countries, people value fact over opinion. What is your own stance? 6. In certain cultures, people view informality as unprofessional in meetings. What do you think? 7. Do you think that meeting participants should work systematically through a meeting agenda, covering point by point? Are meeting agendas really necessary? Explain. 8. In some cultures, people work organically (= in a natural way, without previous planning) and value flexibility and digression what is your own opinion regarding meetings?

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6 #2 THE MEETING PROCESS After deciding on the purpose of the meeting, the next important step is to negotiate the process. This is a matter of setting the ground rules and deciding how decisions will be made. Without agreeing on this crucial issue, theres virtually no way in which to arrive at a resolution. This is particularly important with an ongoing team, as a means of fostering dialogue and preserving relationships. There are several different ways to arrive at a decision. Whichever method is chosen, it must be determined before deliberations begin. The most common decision-making models used in business are as follows: Majority vote this is the standard democratic process, whereby a majority vote can lead to a decision when nothing else can, but it also carries the potential for a dissatisfied minority. Unanimity this amounts to a unified decision for or against something, without dissent. Although it is ideal to have everyone agree, its nearly impossible to reach a unanimous decision in business. If you come up with a unanimous decision, you ought to think twice whether or not youre leading people in the wrong direction. Consensus this is an agreement by everyone in a group to move forwards, whether or not all members agree on a particular course of action. Deferral this is a model in which a decision is deferred (or referred) to either an expert in the field or an authority in the company, such as a supervisor, business manager or head of department. This is most useful when a decision must be made but there is no general agreement; it thus lies with an expert or another authority to draw the final conclusion in this respect.

As for some ground rules for meeting management, the most effective way to avoid the barriers and pitfalls that can plague a meeting is to anticipate problems and lay down a set of procedures to keep the meeting flowing smoothly. One common problem, for instance, is too much discussion. It is essential for us to establish a ground rule that determines when the group will stop talking and move on to the next item on the agenda. Here are some other such ground rules: no interruptions let everyone state his or her opinion during the discussion period; all the participants must show up on time or the meeting will start without them; avoid loaded language, accusations and personal attacks. For every ground rule there must be a consequence to back it up. Many businesses, for example, have a system in which fines are contributed into a kitty, with the money being used to buy coffee for the next meeting.

9. If you were to chair a meeting, which of the 4 decision-making models would you prefer and why? Same question if you were a mere participant. 10. Look again at the description of each of the 4 decision-making models and think about some problems that could arise with each of them can these possible drawbacks be outweighed by REAL advantages? 11. In some cultures, people connect hierarchy with authority in decision-making; would you agree with this? Explain. 12. In a meeting, would you prefer cold logic to discussion and imagination? 13. In a meeting, would you prefer diplomacy to open disagreement?

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6 #3 ROLES There are certain tasks or roles that must be performed at every meeting: The facilitator leads the meeting and makes sure people stick to the agenda. This is one role that should be rotated. That way, everybody gets to learn how to run a meeting and how to control the process. Rotating the role also allows the person who usually takes the lead to sit back and participate, letting others develop their leadership skills as well. The secretary takes notes (or the minutes = Rom: proces verbal) of the meeting in order to create a permanent record. These notes should document not only decisions that are made, but also objections that are raised and ideas that are tabled or rejected. The most important requirement for this task is a persons ability to pay close attention to what is being said, rather than becoming involved in the discussion. It is best to rotate this role as well. The timekeeper keeps the meeting on schedule, makes sure that all items on the agenda are discussed and lets people know when its time to make a decision or table an item and proceed to something else. Again, be sure to rotate this role.

14. Which of the above role(s) would best suit your personality, temperament and communication skills? Justify your answer. 15. Which of the above role(s) would you avoid at all costs and why? 16. In certain cultures / countries, people see the chair as the controller and decision-maker rather than as a facilitator. What is your own view? 17. Why are the minutes of a meeting important? What problems can arise from not taking the minutes properly / accurately? 18. In certain cultures, people respect punctuality and are quite concerned with deadlines, whereas in others, they view time as an elastic concept. Which view would you prefer and why?

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6 #4 BEHAVIOURAL STYLES People often assume certain predictable characteristics and behaviours when they get together in a meeting. This holds true whether the people know each other well, or are convening for the first time. These behavioural styles affect the groups dynamics and play a key role in how a group accomplishes its goals. There are basically four behavioural types: tellers, sellers, dwellers and compellers. Each of these contrasting styles fills a valuable function in the course of a meeting. Tellers are results-oriented people, with strong egos and a penchant for leadership. They have the answers and they dont refrain from telling you what they are! They would expect you to accept them and then move on. Tellers are driven by time constraints, goals, objectives and results they are not much concerned with process. Sellers use persuasion to influence others. They are driven not so much by results as by people buying into the process. Dwellers are primarily concerned with accomplishing tasks harmoniously. They care about whether or not they get along with others. They dont like confrontation very much and if discussions get a little heated, they tend to step in and try to smooth things out. They are teamoriented people who avoid taking risks. Whereas the tellers are the ones who tell everyone what to do, and the sellers convince everybody its a good idea, its usually the dwellers that do what the team comes up with. Compellers are detail-oriented. Theyre the ones who sit around and pay very close attention to details and to achieving perfection. These people are quiet and like to work alone rather than in a group.

In conclusion, the essential elements in every successful meeting are to be able to define the goals and have the authority and the ability to implement decisions.

19. Which of the above behavioural styles would best describe you and why? 20. Imagine that in a meeting, tellers and compellers predominate. Sellers and dwellers are either too few or virtually nonexistent. How good / bad would this be for the success of a meeting regarding ultimate decision-making? Input texts adapted from Margareta Petru, Eugenia Irimia, STEPS TO EFFECTIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATION, Argonaut, Cluj- Napca, 2008; output questions by Adrian Ciupe, 2012; some questions adapted from Bob Dignen, ENGLISH FOR MEETINGS / BUSINESS MINIMAX, York Associates, 2008.

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6

MODULE A2 Testing material


#1 SETTING UP A MEETING It is estimated that some employees spend up to two thirds of their time in meetings and quite few of them have 1____acquired the skills and knowledge to participate 2____effectively. Good meeting management skills require as much 3____training and preparation as any other aspect of business. Every meeting, like every 4____speech, needs to have a purpose and its important to let everyone know exactly what the purpose is when you 5____schedule a meeting. Send out a 6____preliminary agenda to inform everyone when, where and why the meeting is taking place. The basic goal or purpose of a meeting 7____falls into one of these four categories: to inform people, to 8____analyze a problem, to generate options about possible solutions or activities or to decide on a solution or 9____course of action. Whether leading or 10____attending a meeting, every 11____businessperson needs to be trained in meeting management behaviour and 12____techniques of 13____collaborative disagreement. Knowing how to disagree is the only way to 14____ensure that ideas are freely generated, but this is a difficult skill to 15____master. People usually dont disagree with one another because we basically believe that disagreeing is 16____synonymous with 17____disliking someone. However, in meetings, for us to come up with the best possible alternatives, we need to learn how to disagree. 18____Techniques for disagreeing 19____collaboratively require that first of all we learn how to listen. As the most important meeting management skill, listening 20____amounts to how we get information from other people. This 21____requires not just our ears, but also our eyes, intuition and feelings. Listening actively means asking questions not 22____confrontational ones but 23____requests for more information, 24____further explanation or clarification. Remember that when youre listening actively, youre not just 25____parroting back what people are saying youre questioning and 26____participating in their content! The key to listening 27____participatively is to take other peoples ideas and 28____elaborate on them. According to this model, when someone presents an idea, the first step in responding is to describe what you like about it. Then, after 29____acknowledging the idea, the second step is to 30____add on what you think could take it to the next level. Next, you should be introducing your concerns, reservations or 31____worries. And finally, youll have to decide where you go from there. In this way, you can connect to the idea before disagreeing with it, by building a 32____bridge to the other person before saying what you dont like. #2 THE MEETING PROCESS After deciding on the purpose of the meeting, the next important step is to 33____negotiate the process. This is a matter of 34____setting the 35____ground rules and deciding how decisions will be made. Without agreeing on this crucial issue, theres virtually no way in which to arrive at a 36____resolution. This is particularly important with an 37____ongoing team, as a means of 38____fostering dialogue and preserving relationships. There are several different ways to arrive at a decision. 39____Whichever method is chosen, it must be determined before 40____deliberations begin. The most common decision-making models used in business are as follows: Majority vote this is the standard democratic process, 41____whereby a majority vote can lead to a decision when nothing else can, but it also carries the potential for a 42____dissatisfied minority. Unanimity this 43____amounts to a unified decision for or against something, without 44____dissent. Although it is ideal to have everyone agree, its nearly impossible to reach a unanimous decision in business. If you come up with a unanimous decision, you 45____ought to think twice whether or not youre leading people in the wrong direction. Consensus this is an agreement by everyone in a group to move 46____forwards, whether or not all members agree on a particular 47____course of action. Deferral 6

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6 this is a model in which a decision is 48____deferred (or 49____referred) to either an expert in the field or an authority in the company, such as a supervisor, business manager or 50____head of department. This is most useful when a decision must be made but there is no general agreement; it 51____thus lies with an expert or another authority to draw the final conclusion in this 52____respect. As for some 53____ground rules for meeting management, the most effective way to avoid the barriers and 54____pitfalls that can 55____plague a meeting is to anticipate problems and 56____lay down a set of 57____procedures to keep the meeting flowing 58____smoothly. One common problem, for instance, is too much discussion. It is essential for us to establish a 59____ground rule that determines when the group will stop talking and move on to the next item on the 60____agenda. Here are some other such 61____ground rules: No interruptions let everyone state his or her opinion during the discussion period. All the 62____participants must show up on time or the meeting will start without them. Avoid 63____loaded language, accusations and personal attacks. For every 64____ground rule there must be a consequence to 65____back it up. Many businesses, for example, have a system in which 66____fines are contributed into a 67____kitty, with the money being used to buy coffee for the next meeting. #3 ROLES There are certain tasks or roles that must be 68____performed at every meeting: The facilitator leads the meeting and makes sure people 69____stick to the agenda. This is one role that should be rotated. That way, everybody gets to learn how to 70____run a meeting and how to control the process. Rotating the role also allows the person who usually takes the 71____lead to sit back and participate, letting others develop their leadership skills as well. The secretary takes notes (or the 72____minutes) of the meeting in order to create a permanent 73____record. These notes should 74____document not only decisions that are made, but also objections that are raised and ideas that are 75____tabled or rejected. The most important requirement for this task is a persons ability to pay close attention to what is being said, rather than becoming involved in the discussion. It is best to rotate this role as well. The timekeeper keeps the meeting on 76____schedule, makes sure that all items on the agenda are discussed and lets people know when its time to make a decision or 77____table an item and 78____proceed to something else. Again, be sure to rotate this role. #4 BEHAVIOURAL STYLES People often assume certain predictable 79____characteristics and 80____behaviours when they get together in a meeting. This 81____holds true whether the people know each other well, or are 82____convening for the first time. These behavioural styles affect the groups dynamics and play a 83____key role in how a group 84____accomplishes its goals. There are basically four behavioural types: tellers, sellers, dwellers and compellers. Each of these contrasting styles 85____fills a valuable function in the 86____course of a meeting. Tellers are results-oriented people, with strong 87____egos and a 88____penchant for leadership. They have the answers and they dont 89____refrain from telling you what they are! They would expect you to accept them and then move on. Tellers are 90____driven by time 91____constraints, goals, objectives and results they are not much concerned with process. Sellers use 92____persuasion to influence others. They are 93____driven not so much by results as by people 94____buying into the process. Dwellers are 95____primarily concerned with accomplishing tasks 96____harmoniously. They care about whether or not they get 97____along with others. They dont like confrontation very much and if discussions get a little 98____heated, they tend to 99____step in and try to 100____smooth things out. They are team-oriented people who avoid 101____taking risks. 102____Whereas the tellers are the ones who tell everyone what to do, and the sellers convince everybody its a good idea, its usually the dwellers that do what the team 103____comes up with. Compellers are detail-oriented. Theyre the ones who sit around and pay very close attention to details and to 104____achieving perfection. These people are quiet and like to work alone rather than in a group. In conclusion, the essential elements in every 7

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6 successful meeting are to be able to define the goals and have the authority and the ability to 105____implement decisions. Input texts adapted from Margareta Petru, Eugenia Irimia, STEPS TO EFFECTIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATION, Argonaut, Cluj- Napca, 2008; output questions by Adrian Ciupe, 2012; some questions adapted from Bob Dignen, ENGLISH FOR MEETINGS / BUSINESS MINIMAX, York Associates, 2008.

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6

MODULE B1 Writing skills (REPORTS)

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6

MODULE B2 Written test question format (MULTIPLE CHOICE) Testing material


TIPS AND STRATEGIES: Remember that usually the correct answer does not resemble Romanian words. If you cant figure out the correct answer, try to work by exclusion (i.e. eliminate the answers that are obviously wrong). If you still find it difficult, take a guess but take care, dont change your guess for another guess! Statistically, the more you change your initial guess, the more chances there are that youll guess wrong! Remember that only one answer is correct and there is always one correct answer. Dont waste time on a particular question (that you find difficult) work on other items and come back to problematic questions later on in the exam. Check your answers at the end.

#1 QUICK TEST A public meeting was 1____ to discuss the proposal to build a new school. kept / held / mainained / made After long / lengthy negotiations, a compromise was 2____. arrived / reached / fulfilled / attained All negotiations with the other 3____ failed. part / party / membership / memberships Anti-road campaigners are 4____ a protest meeting today. keeping / holding / signing / enrolling Can I borrow your lecture 5____? notes / notices / jots / agenda

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BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6 #2 QUICK TEST Club members will be admitted 1____ presentation of their membership cards. by / at / on / for Contracts are 2____ negotiation. in / on / under / over Contributions to charities are tax 3____. deducible / deductible / detracted / distracted Despite 4____ negotiations, the two sides have failed to reach agreement. prolonging / procrastinating / prolonged / procrastinated Detectives are so far 5____ a loss to explain the reason for his death. up / down / at / on

#3 QUICK TEST Directors 1____ a crisis meeting over the future of the company. crisis / crise / crises / crissis Stress seems to be a(n) 2____ hazard for managers. professional / occupational / job / employment Dr Evans thanked him for coming to 3____ the presentations. hold / deliver / keep / give Firefighters were prepared to rush out at a 4____s notice. second / hour / moment / minute Have you been 5____ regular contributions to a pension plan? bringing / doing / making / signing

#4 QUICK TEST He 1____ the meeting by saying, I think we have made great progress. shut / terminated / finalized / closed He is trying to involve community leaders in negotiations 2____ reform. about / over / in / across He made a mental 3____ to arrange a time to meet her. note / notice / decision / conclusion He seemed, for once, 4____ a loss for words. in / into / at / with He was 5____ to a meeting with the head of the department. cited / summoned / addressed / incited

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BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6 #5 QUICK TEST I have to chair / conduct / facilitate / preside at / preside 1____ a meeting tomorrow. on / to / in / over I hope youll take 2____ of what Im going to tell you. attention / notice / notices / responsibility I read through my 3____ before the exam. notes / notices / readings / writings I 4____ a long meeting with my manager. held / kept / had / mainained Id like to put a few ideas 5____ the meeting (=all the people who are at a meeting). before / after / over / across

#6 QUICK TEST Ill 1____ the matter at the next meeting. rise / raise / uprise / bring Ive been given 2____ to quit my flat. note / notes / notices / notice International negotiations on reducing carbon emissions have broken 3____. up / off / down / them It is unclear whether the meeting will 4____ place as planned. hold / take / keep / make Jim gave 5____ on Thursday. note / notice / notes / notices

#7 QUICK TEST Keep a careful 1____ of any problems you have with the software. note / notice / attention / consideration Larsen looked over and nodded 2____ acknowledgement. over / for / in / on 3____ those negotiations is Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Keeping / Leading / Carrying / Controlling Management have 4____ a joint meeting with staff and unions. reached / arrived / called / kept Negotiations continued all day to try to 5____ a strike. averse / avert / adverse / advert

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BUSINESS COMMUNICATION / UNIT 6 #8 QUICK TEST Negotiations 1____ the number of houses to be built are to start tomorrow. in / into / within / over Negotiations were 2____ in secret. carried / composed / comprised / conducted 3____ presentation of a valid ticket, passengers may claim a free drink. At / In / For / On Our mutual goals should be a basis 4____ negotiation. of / about / on / for Rents are agreed 5____ negotiation. over / about / around / by

#9 QUICK TEST She 1____ the meeting in her capacity as manager. conduced / directed / chaired / made She ended her speech 2____ a personal note. with / in / within / on She headed 3____ to her budget meeting. into / in / out / off She is 4____ negotiation with other heads of state on the question of oil prices. within / in / across / over She received a special award 5____ acknowledgement of all her hard work. for / in / since / about

#10 QUICK TEST She was appointed 1____ of the meeting. chair / chairman / director / executive Thanks for agreeing to see me at such short 2____. moment / instant / note / notice The alliance is the product of months of negotiation between the two 3____. parties / parts / invovolving / implying The board has the power to 4____ a general meeting if necessary. comprise / convene / connive / compose The chairman called the meeting 5____ order. into / at / to / for

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