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B u s i n e s s Builder Modules 4 5 6

Contents
Introduction
Needs Analysis
Discussions and meetings Minutes Activity type

4.1 Giving and asking for opinions 40-50 Language Work


Giving and asking for opinions: informal discussions and formal meetings.
4.2 Developing an argument 50-60 Language Work
Linking words: In fact, For instance, However, On the whole, At least, Therefore.
4.3 Agreeing and disagreeing 40-50 Language Work
Techniques: standard phrases, synonyms, examples, Yes, but ..., questions.
4.4 Developing a complex argument 40-50 Language Work
Linking phrases: listing points, giving both sides, saying what might happen, moving on.
4.5 Making suggestions 40-50 Language Work
Solving business problems: making, accepting and rejecting suggestions.
4.6 Checking understanding 40-50 Language Work
Asking for repetition. Asking for more information. Paraphrasing. Clarifying.
4.7 Diplomatic language 40-50 Language Work
Speaking carefully: could, might, just, seems, negative questions, qualifiers.
4.8 Chairing: opening the meeting 30-40 Language Work
Welcoming. Explaining objectives. Looking at the agenda. Asking someone to start.
4.9 Chairing: managing the discussion 50-60 Language Work
Asking for opinions. Checking understanding.Avoiding side-tracks. Moving on.
4.10 Topics for discussion 30-40 Skills Practice
Lists of free discussion topics.
4.11 Problems, problems 30-40 Skills Practice
Solving everyday problems: making suggestions, agreeing and disagreeing.
4.12 What makes a good chairperson? 40-50 Skills Practice
Meeting: how to chair meetings.
4.13 World leaders 50-60 Skills Practice
Meeting: allocating a budget and planning an itinerary.
4.14 Product launch: WOW! Clothing 40-50 Skills Practice
Meeting: marketing plan for launching a new brand of clothing.
4.15 A public relations problem 40-50 Skills Practice
Meeting: dealing with a public relations crisis.
4.16 Personal training needs 60-90 Skills Practice
Presentation and meeting: evaluating training needs of other group members.
4.17 Reducing costs 40-50 Skills Practice
Meeting: making financial cuts across different departments.
4.18 Appraisal meeting 40-50 Skills Practice
Meeting: work problems, promotion, salary negotiation, personal development.
4.19 Economic predictions 40-50 Skills Practice
Meeting: predictions for a variety of economic and financial indicators.

This page has been downloaded from www.businessenglishonline.net. It is photocopiable,


but all copies must be complete pages. Copyright Macmillan Publishers Limited 2002.
B u s i n e s s Builder Modules 4 5 6

4.20 Bad news! 40-50 Skills Practice


Meeting: choosing an alternative location for the class using formal decision-making.
4.21 Dialogue building: discussion variable Skills Practice
Open framework for writing a discussion.
4.22 Dialogue building: meeting variable Skills Practice
Open framework for writing a meeting extract.

Business correspondence Minutes Activity type

5.1 An introduction to business correspondence 50-60 Language Work


Layout and structure conventions of a letter. Style differences: letters, faxes, e-mail.
5.2 The style of written English 50-60 Language Work
Differences between spoken and written language. Letter and e-mail writing style.
5.3 Types of business document 30-40 Language Work
Typical business documents in a supplier/customer transaction.
5.4 Topics for letters, faxes and e-mails variable Skills Practice
List of topics for practising business correspondence.
5.5 Easilife and Novex variable Skills Practice
An exchange of correspondence between a supplier and customer.
5.6 Adventure and Suntime variable Skills Practice
An exchange of correspondence between travel companies. Follow-up meeting.

Business reports Minutes Activity type

6.1 An introduction to report writing 50-60 Language Work


Structure, style and language of a business report.
6.2 Linking words and paragraph structure 50-60 Language Work
Cohesion: sequencing, generalizing, contrasting, rephrasing etc. Paragraph structure.
6.3 The style of business reports 50-60 Language Work
Impersonal style: passive, compound nouns. Balanced style: vaguelanguage.
6.4 Figures and graphs 30-40 Language Work
Approximate and exact numbers. Writing numbers. Describing information in a
chart/table.
6.5 Topics for practice reports variable Skills Practice
List of topic ideas for writing reports.
6.6 Using notes to write a report variable Skills Practice
Organizing and expanding given information: a report on negotiations or an
investment report.
6.7 Report: personal management skills variable Skills Practice
Free writing practice: students own skills in one of a range of management areas.
6.8 Report: the impact of information technology variable Skills Practice
Free writing practice: the impact of IT on either the students business or society.

This page has been downloaded from www.businessenglishonline.net. It is photocopiable,


but all copies must be complete pages. Copyright Macmillan Publishers Limited 2002.
Business Builder

4.1
Giving and asking for opinions
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Business Builder

4.2a
Developing an argument
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Business Builder

4.2b
Developing an argument
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Business Builder

4.3
Agreeing and disagreeing
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Business Builder

4.4
Developing a complex argument
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Business Builder

4.4
Developing a complex argument
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

A Study this extract from a talk about tourism. Are any of the problems the same for your country?

Well, in this country we are facing two main problems: firstly the fact that our tourism industry is based
on just one main product, that is to say sun and sand type holidays, and secondly the fact that the
tourists who come here dont spend very much money. Its true that our economy has benefited from
tourism, but on the other hand Im sure youll agree that weve had too much poor quality construction
and too little attention to planning. We must learn from these mistakes, otherwise we will destroy our
few remaining natural areas.

As regards the problem of low spending by our visitors, the only solution is to improve the product we
offer. Unless we do this, we wont survive in the future. Other countries now offer beach holidays at
cheaper prices than ours. So we have to look for new markets, both in terms of the type of customer we
attract and the geographical regions they visit.

As far as developing new regions is concerned, we need to support tourism in the interior of the country,
particularly cultural tourism. To start with, we urgently need to restore many old churches, castles and
other historic buildings, and then we also need to market the attractions of these rural areas more
actively.

On the whole Im reasonably optimistic about the future of our industry, but its going to become more
and more important to pay attention to customer service. In particular we must give more training to
employees in the hotel and restaurant sectors.

B Complete the table with the underlined phrases from section A. Remember that most phrases have
two parts.
Listing more than one point For one thing, ... and for another, ...

1 ---

2 ---

Giving both sides In general ..., although ...


of an argument
3 ---

4 ---

Saying what will happen If we ..., itll probably mean that ...
in certain circumstances
5 ---

6 ---

Introducing another point In relation to ...

7 ---

8 ---

C Write the script for a short talk on the future of the tourist industry in your city or country. Use
phrases from section B. Then work in small groups: read out your scripts and develop a discussion.
Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 15 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.5
Making suggestions
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Business Builder

4.6
Checking understanding
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Business Builder

4.7
Diplomatic language
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Business Builder

4.8
Chairing: opening the meeting
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 23 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.9a
Chairing: managing the discussion
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Business Builder

4.9b
Chairing: managing the discussion
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Business Builder

4.10
Topics for discussion
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

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Business Builder

4.11
Problems, problems
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. PROCEDURE.
To practise solving everyday problems through making 1 Read out a few of the problems from the
suggestions, agreeing and disagreeing. worksheet and get initial reactions, suggestions and
humorous comments from the students. Establish a
TIME.
light-hearted atmosphere where all suggestions are
3040 minutes
interesting and valid, no matter how crazy. Write up
PREPARATION. on the board the headings Making suggestions,
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the Agreeing and Disagreeing and elicit a few phrases
class. for each.
Prepare 10 pieces of paper numbered 110. You will 2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student
need one set of numbers for each group of students at and refer to the instructions and phrases. Then refer
stage 3. to the ten problems and allow time for the students
to read through. Remind the students that they can
invent details and personalize the problems.
3 Divide the class into small groups. Explain that it is
an informal discussion, not a formal meeting, so
chairing will not be necessary. However the person
who leads the discussion should take responsibility
for trying to clarify any suggestions that are unclear.
Place the 10 pieces of paper face down in the
middle of each group. Ask students to take turns
picking a number. Start the activity, circulate and
make a note of good/bad language use. (Note: This
activity always works better if students are forced
into choosing a number randomly.)
4 Hold a short feedback slot.

Paul Emmerson 1999. Published by Macmillan Heinemann English Language Teaching


Business Builder

4.11
Problems, problems
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

Form small groups to have a discussion. Follow this sequence:


1 One person choose a problem from the list and explain it in your own words to the others.
2 Everyone think of possible solutions to the problem. Choose the best solution.
3 Repeat for the other people in the group.

Making suggestions
How about ... (+ -ing)?
Why not ... ?
Its just an idea, but why dont you ...?
Have you ever thought of ... (+ -ing)
I know, maybe you could ...

Agreeing Disagreeing
That sounds like a good idea. Im not sure about that because ...
That might be worth trying. Dont you think a better alternative
Yes, I think that would work really well would be ... ?
because... Im afraid I dont really like that idea.

1 Youve been feeling very tired recently, although at bedtime you cant get to sleep. You seem
to have little energy for doing anything at the moment.
2 You have a debt of $3000 on your VISA card. You dont have much cash at the moment.
3 You feel that you are a little overweight. You have tried dieting and exercise many times but
each time you give up after a few weeks.
4 Your son has recently been caught trying to break into a car and steal the radio. You cant
understand it as he is normally so well-behaved. He refuses to talk about it.
5 A friend of yours has just lost her job at the age of 50 due to reorganization in her company.
She was a Marketing Manager, and was successful in her work. She has applied for many jobs
but never even gets an answer.
6 You have invited your boss for dinner at your house tonight and have prepared a beautiful
meat dish. Suddenly you remember that your boss is vegetarian. He/She is due to arrive in 45
minutes. What dish can you prepare to impress him/her?
7 Youve got to buy a present for your retired aunt. You dont have much money or much time
to go looking.
8 Your mother-in-law lives in the same block. She often visits and usually finds something to
criticize.
9 Your job is boring, badly paid and you dont really like your colleagues. Unfortunately new jobs
are hard to find these days.
10 You want to improve your English but you have very little time and it is impossible to attend
regular classes.

Paul Emmerson 1999. Published by Macmillan Heinemann English Language Teaching



PHOTOCOPIABLE
Business Builder

4.12
What makes a good chairperson?
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

This role-play is particularly suitable as the very first meetings role-play on a course.

AIM. 3 Refer to the instructions for section B. Explain that


To practise chairing and participating in meetings in the the role of chair will rotate to allow several students
context of a meeting about how to chair meetings. to practise being chairperson. Appoint the chair for
situations 3/4 and 5/6 before you begin and remind
TIME. students that there are some phrases on the board to
4050 minutes help them when they are in the chair. Finally,
PREPARATION. explain that you are invisible and they should deal
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the with anything that happens in the meeting on their
class. own, as they would in real life. You might
occasionally supply a word but apart from that they
PROCEDURE. should ignore you. Start the activity, sit away from
1 Write up on the board the worksheet title and use it the students, and make a note of good/bad language
as the basis for a short class discussion. Elicit and use.
write up various functions of the chairperson and a 4 Hold a short feedback slot.
phrase to go with each one. For example:
Explaining the objectives of the meeting: The
purpose of this meeting is to ... Using the role-play with different numbers of
Asking for opinions: Whats your view on this, X? students
Asking for clarification: Im sorry, I dont
understand. Can you explain that again? 7+ students: Divide the class into more than one
Summarizing: So, ... group. Hold simultaneous meetings.
Letting one person speak: One at a time, please. 26 students: Follow the instructions above.
First X, then Y. 1:1 lesson: Follow stages 1 and 2 above as normal.
Taking control of the discussion: Right. Then give the student a few minutes
Checking agreement: Good. Does everyone agree? working alone to read section A and
Changing to a new topic: Can we move on to ... ? number their first and second choices.
Leave these phrases on the board for the students to Refer to section B and ask them to
refer to in the meeting in section B. introduce the meeting as chairperson
2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student and continue in the chair for all six
and ask them to look at section A in the box. Read items. Come in yourself as another
out situation 1 and the three possible responses as participant. Record the discussion onto
an example, and remind students to number their cassette for later feedback and
first and second choice response. Then allow time reformulation.
for the students to complete the task by reading the
other situations and numbering their chosen
responses. Circulate, helping with vocabulary, while
the students work individually.

Paul Emmerson 1999. Published by Macmillan Heinemann English Language Teaching


Business Builder

4.12
What makes a good chairperson?
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

A Work individually. Imagine you are the chairperson in each situation below. What would your
response be? Number your first and second choice each time.

B Have a meeting to reach a group decision on the best and second best response for each situation.
Change the role of chairperson after every two items:
And now Im going to hand over the chair to ...

1 You are expecting ten participants for a 9.00 am meeting. It is 9.02 and only eight people are
present. The two missing people are not key participants. No one told you of any plans to be late.

a Begin the meeting with those present.


b Call the two people on their mobile phones to see if they are coming.
c Wait another few minutes and then begin.

2 The meeting has been running for 25 minutes. Some participants have not spoken, although they
appear to be interested and attentive.

a Do nothing at the moment, but continue to monitor the situation.


b Ask one of the non-contributors for an opinion or reaction.
c Ask the non-contributors in a friendly way why they are not speaking.

3 As chairperson, you have introduced a topic. However, no-one wants to begin the discussion.

a Ask a general question to the group.


b Ask a general question to one person.
c Ask an easy, specific question to one person.

4 The meeting has been running for 45 minutes and half the agenda items have been covered. You
notice, through non-verbal behaviour, that the interest level of the group is falling.

a Say you will shorten the meeting, then finish the current item and close the meeting.
b Suggest a five-minute break.
c Speak more loudly and in a more lively way.

5 One participant starts talking for a long time about a topic that is not on the agenda.

a Say in a friendly way I feel this is a bit of a side-track, then refocus the discussion.
b Thank the participant and suggest you discuss the topic at the next meeting.
c Thank the participant and suggest you discuss the topic at the end of the meeting if
there is time.

6 Two people, sitting together, keep whispering to each other. It has been going on for some time.

a Ask them to share their discussion with the group.


b Ask one of them a specific question to refocus their attention.
c Pause at an appropriate point while you are talking and look at them. Wait until they stop.

Paul Emmerson 1999. Published by Macmillan Heinemann English Language Teaching



PHOTOCOPIABLE
Business Builder

4.13
World leaders
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM.
Using the role-play with different numbers of
To practise chairing and participating in meetings in the
students
context of a meeting about allocating a budget and
planning a sightseeing itinerary. 7+ students: Divide the class into more than one
TIME. group. Split pairs who worked together
5060 minutes at the preparation stage. Hold
simultaneous meetings.
PREPARATION. 26 students: Follow the instructions above.
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the 1:1 lesson: Follow stages 1 and 2 above as normal.
class. Then give the student a few minutes
PROCEDURE. working alone to read the worksheet
1 Read out from the worksheet the first paragraph in and prepare some ideas for the budget
the box. Let the students react and elicit a few ways and programme. Refer to the agenda
that they might prepare the room (e.g. see list on and ask them to introduce the meeting
worksheet) and some suggestions for places to visit. as chairperson and go through the
2 (Option) Consider whether you need to re-elicit any agenda. Come in yourself as another
language that you have recently worked on in class. participant. Record the discussion onto
Consider also whether you need to re-elicit any cassette for later feedback and
language for the chairperson (see stage 1 of reformulation.
Teachers Notes for worksheet 4.12). Leave these
phrases on the board for the students to refer to in
the meeting.
3 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student.
Read the information in the box again and refer to
section A and the spending options and schedule
underneath the box. Indicate the item Gift where
the students can think of an idea (perhaps something
with the Language School logo?). Explain that
during the preparation the pairs dont need to make
any definite decisions. Allow 10 minutes for the
preparation. Divide the class into pairs and circulate,
helping with vocabulary.
4 Refer to section B and the agenda at the bottom of
the worksheet. Appoint a chairperson for the
meeting. If necessary, explain that you are
invisible and they should deal with anything that
happens in the meeting on their own, as they would
in real life. You might occasionally supply a word
but apart from that they should ignore you. Start the
activity, sit away from the students, and make a note
of good/bad language use.
5 Hold a short feedback slot.

Paul Emmerson 1999. Published by Macmillan Heinemann English Language Teaching


Business Builder

4.13
World leaders
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

Next month the Presidents/Prime Ministers of America, Russia, China, Japan, Germany, France, the UK
and the country where you are now are coming to this room to have a secret meeting about a major
international crisis. The meeting will be on a Saturday and will last from 9.00am until 4.00pm. On
Sunday these leaders will go on a sightseeing tour of the city where you are now with their
wives/husbands. You are the organizers of the weekend. You have a budget of $4000 to spend on
preparing the room, and you must also plan the sightseeing day.

A Work with a partner to prepare for the meeting. Study the options below for how to spend the
$4000. Then study the schedule for the sightseeing day and think of ideas for the visits.

B Form a group, choose a chairperson and have a meeting.

Preparing the room Cost Total per item

1 Security review and report by specialist firm 800

2 Hire of notebook PC with Internet access (per computer) 200

3 Hire of printer, scanner, fax and photocopier 400

4 Translator (per language only bilingual translators available) 400

5 Executive secretary to take notes of the meeting 400

6 Coffee, sandwiches, biscuits 300

7 Redecoration, flowers on the table, pictures on the walls 600

8 Hire of temporary air-conditioning unit 200

9 Flip chart & marker pens; place cards 200

10 Gift ( __________________________________________ ) ?

Schedule for sightseeing on Sunday

9.30 - 1.00 Visit to one or two historic buildings/places of interest


1.00 - 3.00 Lunch
3.00 - 5.30 Further visit
8.00 Cultural event (theatre, opera etc.)

Agenda for the meeting

1 Chairpersons opening comments


2 Decision on how to spend the $4000 budget
3 Decision on the programme for Sunday

Paul Emmerson 1999. Published by Macmillan Heinemann English Language Teaching



PHOTOCOPIABLE
Business Builder

4.14
Product launch: WOW! Clothing
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

This role-play is for single-nationality groups or at least groups where all members come from the same
market area (e.g. Europe). This is because all the students need to be aware of the same media opportunities
at agenda items 6 and 7.

AIM.
Using the role-play with different numbers of
To practise chairing and participating in meetings in the
students
context of a meeting about planning a marketing
campaign for launching a new brand of clothing. 7+ students: Divide the class into more than one
TIME. group. Split pairs who worked together
4050 minutes at the preparation stage. Hold
simultaneous meetings.
PREPARATION. 26 students: Follow the instructions above.
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the 1:1 lesson: Follow stages 1 and 2 above as normal.
class. Then give the student a few minutes
PROCEDURE. working alone to read the worksheet
1 Read out from the worksheet the first paragraph in and prepare some ideas. Ask them to
the box. Let the students react and elicit a few introduce the meeting as chairperson
issues that they might have to discuss (e.g. see and go through the agenda. Come in
agenda on worksheet). yourself as another participant. Record
2 (Option) Consider whether you need to re-elicit any the discussion onto cassette for later
language that you have recently worked on in class. feedback and reformulation.
Consider also whether you need to re-elicit any
language for the chairperson (see stage 1 of
Teachers Notes for worksheet 4.12). Leave these
phrases on the board for the students to refer to in
the meeting.
3 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student.
Read the information in the box again and refer to
section A, the background information and agenda.
Discuss with the class who the main competitors are
(e.g. Gap/Benetton/Tommy Hilfiger) and ask them
to fill in this information on the sheet. Explain that
during the preparation the pairs dont need to make
any definite decisions. Allow 10 minutes for this
preparation. Divide the class into pairs and circulate,
helping with vocabulary.
4 Refer to section B. Appoint a chairperson for the
meeting. If necessary, explain that you are
invisible and they should deal with anything that
happens in the meeting on their own, as they would
in real life. You might occasionally supply a word
but apart from that they should ignore you. Start the
activity, sit away from the students, and make a note
of good/bad language use.
5 Hold a short feedback slot.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 36 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.14
Product launch: WOW! Clothing
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

You work for Hotspot International, a marketing consultancy. Hotspot has just won the contract to
launch a new brand of clothing in your market. You will have a meeting to discuss your launch
campaign.

A Work with a partner to prepare for the meeting. Study the background information and agenda.
Discuss some ideas to present to the meeting.

B Form a group, choose a chairperson and have a meeting.

Background information

Client: WOW! Clothing (WOW! is a franchise)


Product: A full range of casual, mid-price clothing for both sexes
Target Market: 15-24 age group
Main Competitor: _________________
Client objective: To obtain 10% market share in first year
Campaign length: Two months

Agenda

1 Chairpersons opening comments.


2 Brand image. (fun? sporty? radical and alternative? Other?)
3 Style of campaign. (controversial? humorous? emphasizing quality? emphasizing value for
money? Other?)
4 Slogan to promote the brand.
5 Well-known personality to promote the brand. (Someone from the world of pop music?
sport? How will the personality be used?)
6 Media mix. Decide what % of the budget will be spent on:
TV ___ Radio ___ Newspapers ___ Magazines ___ Posters ___ Sponsorship of music/sports ___
7 Use of chosen media.
TV: which channels? what times? what type of advert?
Radio: which stations? what times? what type of advert?
Newspapers: which ones? what type of advert?
Magazines: which ones? what type of advert?
Posters: bus-shelters? metro? large roadside sites?
Sponsorship: what type of events?
8 Special launch event that will get good media coverage.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 37 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.15
A public relations problem
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM.
Using the role-play with different numbers of
To practise chairing and participating in meetings in the
students
context of a meeting about dealing with a public
relations crisis. 7+ students: Divide the class into more than one
TIME. group. Students with the same role
4050 minutes should prepare together first.
6 students: Use the roles as given on the
PREPARATION. worksheet.
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the 5 students: Combine the two marketing roles.
class. 4 students: Combine the two marketing roles. Also,
PROCEDURE. the President represents the views of
1 Read out from the worksheet the first paragraph in the Finance Director.
the box. Let the students react and elicit a few 3 students: Do not divide roles, instead all three
issues that they might have to discuss (e.g. see role students can comment on anything. The
notes on worksheet). role-notes are memos from people in
2 (Option) Consider whether you need to re-elicit any the various departments and can be read
language that you have recently worked on in class. by everyone. Do still choose a President
Consider also whether you need to re-elicit any to chair the meeting.
language for the chairperson (see stage 1 of 2 students: As for 3 students, but without a chair.
Teachers Notes for worksheet 4.12). Leave these 1:1 lesson: Follow stages 1 and 2 above as normal.
phrases on the board for the students to refer to in Then give the student a few minutes to
the meeting. read the worksheet and prepare some
3 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student. ideas. Ask them to introduce the
Read the information in the box again and refer to meeting as chairperson and go through
section A. Ask students to choose their roles (see the agenda. Come in yourself as another
box below if you do not have six students). Allow a participant. Record the discussion onto
few minutes for students to read their own role- cassette for later feedback and
notes and think about what they are going to say. reformulation.
Circulate, helping with vocabulary.
4 Refer to section B. If necessary, explain that you are
invisible and they should deal with anything that
happens in the meeting on their own, as they would
in real life. You might occasionally supply a word
but apart from that they should ignore you. Start the
activity, sit away from the students, and make a note
of good/bad language use.
5 Hold a short feedback slot.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 38 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.15
A public relations problem
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

Your company sells pre-cooked meals through large supermarket chains. Last month you launched a
new line with an expensive advertising campaign on the television. The launch was very successful.
Yesterday some newspapers reported new research which shows that eating genetically modified soya
beans may increase the risk of cancer in rats. Your new line of food uses genetically modified soya. This
morning a consumer group phoned your company asking for an interview and a public statement. Your
company will give a press conference tomorrow. You have been called to an urgent meeting to discuss
the situation.

A Prepare to have a meeting. Choose your roles (you may have to combine roles). Read your own
role notes.

B Have a meeting using the agenda below.

Role-notes
President You will chair the meeting using the agenda below. Try to get agreement on
what you need to do. Start by asking everybody in turn to describe the
situation from their point of view.

Marketing Director Should you still promote the new line or should you recall the products (take
them off the market)? How can you restore confidence in your products?

Marketing Manager Yesterday afternoon your phone didnt stop ringing supermarket managers
were calling to know if the food was safe and what action you were taking.
Orders for pre-cooked food are 25% down. Other products carrying your
brand name are also showing lower sales.

Finance Director Any solution has to be justified in terms of cost. Recalling the product and
launching a new line will be very expensive. A new advertising campaign or
new packaging will be expensive.

Product Manager Many other tests have shown that these genetically modified vegetables are
safe. Probably there was a mistake in the experiment. Further tests may not
give a clear answer. The problem is that consumer groups like to make
trouble.

Public Relations Officer You will speak at a press conference tomorrow. What will you say? How can
you limit the damage to your sales and your company image?

Agenda

1 Chairpersons opening comments


2 Immediate action regarding the new line
3 Press conference tomorrow: what to say

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 39 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.16
Personal training needs
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

For 4+ students this role-play works as a presentation + meeting activity. For 2/3 students it works as a
presentation + report writing activity.

AIM. 5 Refer to section C. Emphasize that the decision on


To practise chairing and participating in meetings in the who they would send should be made solely on the
context of a meeting that evaluates the real training basis of training needs and the arguments presented,
needs of other students in the group. not cost. Appoint a chairperson for each meeting
and set a time limit. Ask one of the groups to go to
TIME. another room. Start the activity, sit away from the
6090 minutes students, and make a note of good/bad language use.
PREPARATION. Alternate between the two rooms and control the
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the timing so that they both finish at about the same
class. time.
It is essential that a second room is available at section 6 Hold a short feedback slot.
C so that there can be two simultaneous meetings and
students do not hear themselves being discussed. If this Using the role-play with different numbers of
is not possible, do not do section C as a meeting. students
Instead, students could write individual reports.
4+ students: Follow the instructions above.
PROCEDURE.
2/3 students: Follow stages 13, but without dividing
1 Write up on the board the two-line heading from the
into two groups. Students simply
box on the worksheet. Let the students react and
present to the other student/s. It will not
brainstorm a few ideas for training courses that
be possible to have a meeting but
group members need in real life. Briefly introduce
students can write individual reports
the idea of the two groups who will each choose a
evaluating the proposal/s instead. Join
winner.
in yourself with questions to the
2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student.
presenters.
Refer to section A and the list of possible courses in
1:1 lesson: Refer only to section A and the list of
the table. Explain that students can use these ideas,
possible courses. Ask the student to
or think of another real-life training course that they
prepare the presentation for homework.
need. Allow 20 minutes for students to prepare their
Listen to the presentation in the next
presentations. Emphasize that students should make
class and ask challenging questions as a
notes only, not write a full text. Circulate, helping
training manager who needs to be
with vocabulary, while the students work
convinced. Record it onto cassette for
individually. (Alternatively, set this for homework).
later feedback and reformulation.
3 Refer to section B. Divide the class into group A
and group B and ask them to sit on opposite sides of
the room, facing each other. Explain that the
students from group A will give their presentations
in turn. Set a time limit of 4 minutes for each
presentation and 4 minutes for questions. Remind
group B members to take a few notes. Start the
activity. It may be necessary to control the timing so
that the students have approximately equal lengths
of time.
4 When all the group A students have given their
presentations, change group roles so that the old
group B now give their presentations while the old
group A listen, ask questions and take notes.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 40 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.16
Personal training needs
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

COMPETITION
Persuade your colleagues to send you on a training course

A Work individually. Choose a short training course that you would like to go on (see the list
below for ideas). Prepare a short presentation explaining why you would benefit from going
on this particular course. Use your real-life training needs to persuade your colleagues that
you should go.

B Divide into two groups of equal size. At the end change group roles.
Group A Give your presentations to Group B.
Group B Listen carefully to each presentation and take a few notes. Ask follow-up questions
and give the presenters every chance to explain their case.

C Each group has enough money to send just one person from the other group on a training course.
Have meetings in different rooms to decide on who you would send.

Ideas for training courses

Training Course Location and Details


Duration

Business English UK Intensive course of Business English. Contact with other students
2 weeks from around the world. Some free time to see the local area.

Advanced California Advanced training for an integrated suite of business software.


Software 2 weeks Covers word-processing, spreadsheets, databases and networks.
Some free time to visit California.

Outdoor Training Lake District, Development of teamwork, self-confidence, ability to take


NW England decisions under stress and a time to reflect. Physically
2 weeks demanding but within the capabilities of the average person.

Job Rotation In-Company You spend one month in every department of your company to
learn about every aspect of the business.

Junior Board In-Company You work with other middle managers on a junior Board of
Directors. You are given the opportunity for top-level analysis
and policy making.

Other (your idea)

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 41 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.17
Reducing costs
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

This role-play is for students with some business experience. It is particularly good where there is a mix of
business backgrounds in the group as each student can choose the role they know most about.

AIM.
Using the role-play with different numbers of
To practise chairing and participating in meetings in the
students
context of a meeting about making financial cuts across
several departments. 7+ students: Divide the class into more than one
TIME. group. Students with the same role
4050 minutes should prepare together first.
6 students: Use the roles as given on the
PREPARATION. worksheet.
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the 5 students: Combine the marketing and sales roles.
class. 4 students: Combine the marketing and sales roles.
PROCEDURE. Also, the chairperson now represents
1 Read out from the worksheet the first paragraph in the views of the Human Resources
the box. Let the students react and elicit a few Department.
issues that they might have to discuss (e.g. see 3 students: Do not divide roles, instead all three
consultants recommendations on worksheet). students can comment on anything. The
2 (Option) Consider whether you need to re-elicit any role-notes are memos from people in
language that you have recently worked on in class. the various departments and can be
Consider also whether you need to re-elicit any read by everyone. Do still choose
language for the chairperson (see stage 1 of someone to chair the meeting.
Teachers Notes for worksheet 4.12). Leave these 2 students: As for 3 students, but without a chair.
phrases on the board for the students to refer to in 1:1 lesson: Follow stages 1 and 2 above as normal.
the meeting. Then give the student a few minutes to
3 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student. read the Consultants recommendations
Read the information in the first paragraph of the and the role-notes (which are memos
box again and refer to section A and the from people in the various
consultants recommendations. Read the departments). Ask them to introduce
recommendations aloud and clarify any unknown the meeting as chairperson. Come in
vocabulary. Explain that currency units has been yourself as another participant. Record
used to avoid stating an exact figure or currency. the discussion onto cassette for later
One unit could be, for example, $10,000 but this feedback and reformulation.
doesnt matter.
4 Refer to section B and the role-notes. Ask students
to choose their roles (see box below for combining
roles). Allow a few minutes for students to read
their own role-notes and think about what they are
going to say. Circulate, helping with vocabulary.
5 Refer to section C. Start the activity, sit away from
the students, and make a note of good/bad language
use.
6 Hold a short feedback slot.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 42 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.17
Reducing costs
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

You work for a medium-sized manufacturing company. You make high-quality office furniture. Foreign
competitors have recently entered your market. You must reduce costs urgently to make your company
more competitive. You have to make savings of 50 currency units. A firm of consultants has suggested
some possible savings in a report which is summarized below.

A Study the consultants recommendations.

B Prepare to have a meeting. Choose which department/s you will represent (you may have to
combine roles) and read your own role-notes. There will be a neutral President.

C Have a meeting to decide how to reduce your costs by 50 currency units. Balance the desire to
protect your own department with the need to assist the company.

Consultants recommendations
Department Staff Estimated savings (units)
Production and 30 better quality control to reduce waste and defects ..................10
Operating save energy ................................................................................5
better maintenance of machines ................................................5
freeze investment in new equipment ........................................10
reduce inventories (stocks) of finished goods ............................10

Marketing 6 reduce advertising budget ........................................................15


reduce market research into new product ideas..........................5
Sales 12 reduce entertaining and travel costs ........................................10

Human Resources 2 increase salaries by 2% less than the rate of inflation ..............15
cut staff in all departments ............................5 units per person
change staff cars every four years instead of every two years ..10
reduce training budget ..............................................................5

Accounts 6 reduce receivables (money owed by customers) ........................10


pay suppliers later ....................................................................10
delay upgrade of computers ......................................................5
reduce dividend to shareholders ................................................5

Role-notes
President You are neutral and will chair the meeting. Start by asking everybody in turn to
describe the situation from their point of view.

Production You think the suggested savings for quality control and reducing inventories are
and Operating exaggerated.

Marketing Reducing the advertising budget wont help. In fact it will make the situation worse.

Sales It is vital to keep good relationships with customers, and your sales team needs to
take them out to lunch occasionally.

Human If you give a small salary increase you risk losing skilled workers.
Resources The training budget is an investment for the future.

Accounts You think the figures for improving cash-flow are exaggerated.
You want to keep the good relationship you have with suppliers.
Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 43 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.18
Appraisal meeting
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. PROCEDURE.
To practise a meeting between line manager and 1 Write up on the board the phrase Appraisal meeting.
employee to discuss work problems, promotion Give the meaning of to appraise (to judge the
opportunities, a salary increase and personal value or quality of something). Then ask what an
development. appraisal meeting is (a regular meeting, usually
annual, where the work of an employee is formally
TIME.
evaluated and future opportunities are discussed).
4050 minutes
Ask students what kind of issues are usually
PREPARATION. covered in an appraisal meeting (e.g. see
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the worksheet). Tell the students that they are going to
class, and fold them across the middle. practise an appraisal meeting between employee and
line manager.
2 (Option) Consider whether you need to re-elicit any
language that you have recently worked on in class.
Leave these phrases on the board for the students to
refer to in the meeting.
3 Divide the class into pairs and appoint Employees
and Line managers. Give out the correct half of the
worksheet to each student. Group together pairs of
students with the same role and ask them to prepare
ideas together. Allow 510 minutes for this.
Circulate, help with vocabulary, and prompt them to
think about what they want from the meeting.
4 Regroup into the A/B pairs who will do the activity.
Each manager will stand by the door, inside the
room, waiting for their employee. Each employee
will start the activity outside the classroom. They
knock on the managers office door in turn and
have separate discussions in different parts of the
room. Start the activity, circulate and make a note of
good/bad language use.
5 Hold a short feedback slot.
6 (Now, or in the next-class) The As and Bs change
roles and repeat the activity. Hold another short
feedback slot.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 44 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.18
Appraisal meeting
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

Student A: Employee

You are going to have an appraisal interview with your line manager. These meetings are standard
practice in your company. In the meeting you should cover the points below.

Problem in the team. One of your colleagues, Bill, is very difficult to work with. He is not a good team
member and his behaviour is affecting your whole department. You think your manager should talk to
Bill and possibly move him to another department.

Promotion. Find out about opportunities for promotion.

Salary increase for next year. Negotiate your salary increase for next year. You would like 4% above the
rate of inflation. Your company has a policy of rewarding performance and your department is doing
well at the moment.

Time-keeping. You live a long way from your work and its sometimes difficult to arrive on time in the
morning. You would like to start and finish half an hour later than everyone else.

Personal development. Your manager will ask you these questions. Answer honestly, based on your real-
life job.

What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?


Have you any ideas how you can develop yourself as a team member?
How could your job or the system be improved?


Student B: Line manager

You are going to have an appraisal interview with an employee (one of your best workers). These
meetings are standard practice in your company. In the meeting you should cover the points below.

Problem in the team. A few weeks ago this employee had an argument with another team member, Bill.
It seems that both sides were at fault. Relations between them have been difficult since then. Mention
this in the meeting, but very tactfully (be careful not to offend).

Promotion. Opportunities for promotion are very limited at the moment. Your company has just
dismissed a lot of people and there are no vacant posts. However, no more dismissals are planned and
you can reassure this employee that his/her job is safe.

Salary increase for next year. Negotiate this employees salary increase for next year. The economic
climate is still difficult and you cant offer very much maybe two percentage points above inflation.
Listen to his/her case and negotiate what you think is a reasonable increase.

Time-keeping. Occasionally this employee is late for work. This gives a bad example to the other staff.
Last Monday morning, for example, this employee was very late and gave no excuse.

Personal development. Ask the employee these questions. He/she will answer based on his/her real-
life job.

What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?


Have you any ideas how you can develop yourself as a team member?
How could your job or the system be improved?
Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 45 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.19
Economic predictions
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

This role-play is for students who already know a little about economic data for one particular country.
Notice, however, that absolute values for the different indicators are not required, only guesses at percentage
changes. Absolute values for some countries are available from the back pages of the Economist, and a
photocopy of this could be used as a lead-in.

AIM.
Using the role-play with different numbers of
To practise chairing and participating in meetings in the
students
context of a meeting to make predictions for a variety of
economic and financial indicators in one country. 7+ students: Divide the class into more than one
TIME. group. Split pairs who worked together
4050 minutes at the preparation stage. Hold
simultaneous meetings.
PREPARATION. 26 students: Follow the instructions above.
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the 1:1 lesson: Follow stages 1 and 2 above as normal.
class. Then give the student a few minutes
PROCEDURE. working alone to read the worksheet
1 Read out the first paragraph from the box in the and prepare some ideas. Ask them to
worksheet and establish which country they are introduce the meeting as chairperson
going to discuss (presumably where the majority of and go through the agenda. Come in
the group come from). Write up on the board the yourself as another participant. Record
words Economic and Financial Indicators and elicit the discussion onto cassette for later
most/all of those given in the worksheet. Remember feedback and reformulation.
to decide with the students which major
currency/currencies they are going to compare their
own currency with.
2 (Option) Consider whether you need to revise any
language for making predictions. Elicit on the
board, for example:
I think inflation will probably/probably wont
increase by 4%
I expect inflation will increase by 4%
Id be surprised if inflation increases by 4%
I doubt if inflation will increase by 4%
3 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student.
Read the information in the box again and refer to
section A and the tables of indicators. Remind the
students that the pairs should try to guess the
changes as preparation for the meeting, but they
dont need to be very accurate. Allow 10 minutes
for this preparation. Divide the class into pairs and
circulate, helping with vocabulary.
4 Refer to section B. Appoint a chairperson for the
meeting. If necessary, explain that you are
invisible and they should deal with anything that
happens in the meeting on their own, as they would
in real life. You might occasionally supply a word
but apart from that they should ignore you. Start the
activity, sit away from the students, and make a note
of good/bad language use.
5 Hold a short feedback slot.
AIM.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 46 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.19
Economic predictions
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

You have been asked to make predictions about the economy of one country where you all do business.
This information is needed to help your companies plan their operations and make investment decisions.
Decide which country you are going to discuss: _______________________

A Work with a partner. Study the list of economic and financial indicators below. What do you think
the situation will be 12 months from now? Make a prediction (percentage increase/decrease) for
each indicator and write the figure in the first guess column. If you feel that you dont have
sufficient information, leave a blank and move on.

B Form a group, choose a chairperson, and have a meeting to reach a group decision on your
predictions.

12 months from now (% +/)


Economic Indicators First guess Group decision

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Inflation (consumer prices)

Consumer spending (retail sales)

Government spending

Salaries (earnings)

Unemployment

Imports

Exports

12 months from now (% +/)


Financial Indicators First guess Group decision

Interest rates

Value of stock market

Currency unit / dollar, euro, yen


(choose which)

House prices

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 47 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.20
Bad news!
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

This role-play uses a formal decision-making process. This process is straightforward and familiar to many
business people, but read through first and check you understand it.

To practise chairing and participating in meetings in the


Using the role-play with different numbers of
context of a meeting to choose an alternative location
students
for the next days lessons using a formal decision-
making process.
7+ students: Divide the class into more than one
TIME. group. Hold simultaneous meetings.
4050 minutes 26 students: Follow the instructions above.
1:1 lesson: Follow stages 1 and 2 above as normal.
PREPARATION.
Then give the student a few minutes
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the
working alone to read the worksheet
class.
and prepare some ideas. Ask them to
PROCEDURE. introduce the meeting as chairperson
1 Read out from the worksheet the first paragraph in and go through the agenda. Come in
the box. Establish that the building is only yourself as another participant. Record
unavailable for one day, and that the students should the discussion onto cassette for later
be imaginative and think of all possible options for feedback and reformulation.
a new location. Let the students react and elicit a
few issues that they might have to discuss
(cost/comfort/availability of chairs and
tables/noise/privacy/if it is easy to get there/weather
for outdoor locations/places to have coffee breaks
and lunch).
2 (Option) Consider whether you need to re-elicit any
language that you have recently worked on in class.
Consider also whether you need to re-elicit any
language for the chairperson (see stage 1 of
Teachers Notes for worksheet 4.12). Leave these
phrases on the board for the students to refer to in
the meeting.
3 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student.
Read the information in the box again and refer to
section A and the grid. This grid is explained by the
notes on the worksheet which the students will read.
Choose a chairperson and ask them to draw the grid
on the board (leave a bit of space for extra rows).
Ask the other students to write down some
suggestions for where to have the class. Allow a few
minutes for this preparation. Circulate, making sure
that suggestions are specific and prompting students
to think of reasons to support their suggestions.
4 Refer to section B. Allow time for all the students
to read through the stages of the decision-making
process before you begin. Remind the students that
at stage 3 there is a simple 3-point system for each
row, not a full ranking into order, so that several
different ideas might have 3, 2 or 1 points. Similarly
for the weightings at stage 5. Start the activity, sit
away from the students, and make a note of
good/bad language use.
5 Hold a short feedback slot.
Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 48 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.20
Bad news!
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

Bad news! This building is not available for the next day of the course. You will have to find somewhere else
to have the class for just one day. Your teacher is too busy to help but can give a normal lesson in the new
place. You will have to pay any extra costs yourselves. Sorry!

A Choose a chairperson. He/She should draw a large grid on the board like the one below. Everyone
else work individually and think of two or three ideas for where to have the class. Prepare some
arguments. Be specific, for example instead of saying in a caf, say which caf.

B Read through stages 17 of a formal decision-making process shown below. This is a standard
process often used for making complicated decisions. Then use this process to have a meeting to
decide where to have your lesson on the next day of the course.

Criteria weight Caf ?

1 Cost x?

Stages of a formal decision-making process

1 Write up all your ideas on a separate part of the board. Brainstorm some more. Then choose the
good ones and write them across the top of the grid (Caf ? etc.). Dont try to decide which is the
best yet.

2 Decide which criteria you will use to help choose between the different ideas (cost? noise? etc.).
Write them under Criteria.

3 Discuss each idea in relation to Cost. Fill in the first row of the grid using a simple three-point
system: write 3 for the best alternative/s (in this case the cheapest one/s), 2 for the next best and 1
for the worst (in this case the most expensive).

4 Repeat for the other criteria. Fill in the remaining rows.

5 Decide how important each criterion is. This is its weight. Use a simple three-point system: write x3
(times three) for the most important criteria, x2 for the next most important and x1 for the least
important.

6 Multiply each number in the grid by the weight, then cross out the old number and put the new
number in its place.

7 Add the numbers in each column and put the totals at the bottom. The idea with the highest total is
the best choice.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 49 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.21
Dialogue building: discussion
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURE (CLASSWORK).


To provide a framework for practising a real-life 1 Tell students that they are going to write a short
discussion of the students own choice. discussion together in pairs. Use any discussion
topic that both students are interested in. For
TIME.
example:
variable
one of the discussions from this/another book,
PREPARATION. before doing it as a fluency exercise
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the one of the discussions from this/another book,
class. after doing it as a fluency exercise
Consider which of the two procedures below you will Note that it is not necessary to write the dialogue
use. with the same partner who was/will be involved in
the class discussion.
PROCEDURE (INDIVIDUAL HOMEWORK).
2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student.
1 Tell students that they are going to write a short
Divide the class into pairs. Explain that the pair will
dialogue based on a typical discussion that they
think of and write the dialogue together, and that
have in their job.
both students should keep a record of the whole
2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student.
dialogue. Set a time limit for the task (e.g. 30
Remind them that they should personalize the
minutes). Start the activity and circulate.
dialogue as much as possible. Ask them to write the
3 Ask the pairs to practise reading their dialogues
dialogue for homework and bring it to the next
together quietly. Then ask the best pair/s to read out
lesson.
their dialogues for the class.
3 In the next lesson collect in the dialogues and
4 (Option) Take the written dialogues from each pair
correct them.
and redistribute them (so the pairs remain the same
4 (Option) Leave one of the dialogues uncorrected,
but they have another pairs dialogue). First ask the
and photocopy one copy of this for each student. In
students to study their new dialogues together
the next lesson ask students to try to
quietly and make sure they can read them. Then ask
correct/improve this dialogue in pairs. In feedback
them to practise reading the dialogues aloud.
listen to all the suggestions for reformulations and
discuss with the class which is the best. Build up the
reformulated dialogue on the board line by line. As
a round up, practise reading the new dialogue aloud
in open/closed pairs, focusing on pronunciation.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 50 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.21
Dialogue building: discussion
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

Write a short dialogue using the model below.


Person A Person B

Give an opinion and develop your argument Ask a question


Reply Give an opinion and develop your argument
Disagree Check you understand/Ask for clarification
Reply and continue Agree and develop your argument
Check you understand/Ask for clarification Reply

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 51 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.22
Dialogue building: meeting
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURE (CLASSWORK).


To provide a framework for practising a real-life 1 Tell students that they are going to write a short
meeting extract of the students own choice. meeting dialogue together in threes. Use any
meeting where all three students can predict the
TIME.
content. For example:
variable
one of the role-plays from this/another book,
PREPARATION. before doing it as a fluency exercise
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the one of the role-plays from this/another book,
class. after doing it as a fluency exercise
Consider which of the two procedures below you will Note that it is not necessary to write the dialogue
use. with the same partners who were/will be involved in
the role-play.
PROCEDURE (INDIVIDUAL HOMEWORK).
2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student.
1 Tell students that they are going to write a short
Divide the class into threes. Explain that the threes
dialogue based on a typical real-life meeting that
will think of and write the dialogue together, and
they have in their job.
that all three students should keep a record of the
2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student.
whole dialogue. Set a time limit for the task (e.g. 30
Remind them that they should personalize the
minutes). Start the activity and circulate.
dialogue as much as possible. Ask them to write the
3 Ask the threes to practise reading their dialogues
dialogue for homework and bring it to the next
together quietly. Then ask the best three/s to read
lesson.
out their dialogues for the class.
3 In the next lesson collect in the dialogues and
4 (Option) Take the written dialogues from each three
correct them.
and redistribute them (so the threes remain the same
4 (Option) Leave one of the dialogues uncorrected,
but they have another threes dialogue). First ask the
and photocopy one copy of this for each student. In
students to study their new dialogues together
the next lesson ask students to try to
quietly and make sure they can read them. Then ask
correct/improve this dialogue in pairs. In feedback
them to practise reading the dialogues aloud.
listen to all the suggestions for reformulations and
discuss with the class which is the best. Build up the
reformulated dialogue on the board line by line. As
a round up, practise reading the new dialogue aloud
in open/closed threes, focusing on pronunciation.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 52 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

4.22
Dialogue building: meeting
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

Write a short dialogue using the model below.


Chairperson Person B Person C

1 Open the meeting: welcome, 2 Introduce an idea and


explain objectives develop your argument
3 Check understanding/Ask for 4 Continue
clarification
5 Ask C for an opinion 6 React to Bs opinion and
develop your argument
7 Interrupt/Ask a question 8 Continue/Reply
9 Disagree
10 Summarize the discussion


Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 53 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.1a
An introduction to business correspondence
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 54 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.1b
An introduction to business correspondence
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 56 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 55 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 57 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.2a
The style of written English
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. 3 Refer to the instructions for section B. Divide the


To review the differences between spoken and written class into pairs, start the activity and circulate.
language and practise writing a series of letters and e- ANSWERSS.
mails in an appropriate style. 1c 2a 3f 4b 5e 6d 7i 8g 9k
TIME. 10 h 11 l 12 j
5060 minutes + homework time
4 Refer to the instructions for section C. Divide the
PREPARATION. class into pairs, start the activity and circulate.
Make one copy of the worksheet (two pages) for each
student in the class. POSSIBLE ANSWERS.
(Option) You may need pins or blu-tack at procedure 1 We are writing with reference to your
stage 6 below. advertisement in a recent edition of Marketing
Monthly.
PROCEDURE. 2 We would be grateful for some information about
1 Write up on the board a few Anglo-Saxon/Latin your product range.
pairs for example: tell/inform, nice/sympathetic, go 3 Thank you for you letter dated March 12
back/return, because/due to the fact that. Then write enquiring about our products.
up just one member of other pairs and elicit the 4 We regret to inform you that your order is going
equivalent: need/require, ask/enquire, to be delayed.
enough/sufficient, can/have the ability to, now/at the 5 I look forward to seeing you in Frankfurt next
present time, try/attempt, send/transmit, month.
call/telephone etc.
2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student 5 Refer to the instructions for section D. Divide the
and ask them to look at section A. Refer to the class into pairs, start the activity and circulate.
instructions and develop a class discussion. The
POSSIBLE ANSWERS.
difference is most obviously between spoken and
1 I saw your recent advert in Marketing Monthly.
written language, but encourage students to see that
2 Please send some information about your product
it is actually more one of informal and formal
range.
usage. For example:
3 Thanks for your e-mail of March 12 about our
the language of an e-mail is usually more
products.
informal than the language of a fax, which in turn
4 I am very sorry but your order is going to be late.
is more informal than the language of a letter (yet
5 I look forward to seeing you in Frankfurt next
they are all written)
month. (same)
the language of a letter of congratulations or
thanks will be more informal than a letter of
complaint (yet they are both letters)
the language of an e-mail between colleagues will
be more informal than an e-mail between
customer and supplier (yet they are both e-mails)

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 58 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.2b
The style of written English
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

6 Refer to the instructions for section E and the text POSSIBLE ANSWER (SECTION F: LETTER).
in the box. Ask the students to write their letters Thank you for your last letter and I apologize for
individually, and set a time limit of 15 minutes for taking so long to reply. With reference to the problems
this task. Start the activity, circulate and help with you have been having with your machine, I am afraid
vocabulary. See stage 6 of worksheet 5.1 for the that we are unable to accept responsibility. It appears
feedback procedure. from your description that the manufacturers
POSSIBLE ANSWER (SECTION E: LETTER). instructions were not followed, and this must be the
Dear Sue Taylor reason for the fault.

Thank you for your letter of March 2. Unfortunately it We have checked our files and note that you did not
will not be possible to deliver the artwork by March renew your maintenance contract last year. Your
20. To complete this job to our normal high standards guarantee has therefore expired and it will not be
will require three weeks. We are sure that you will be possible for you to claim for this repair under the
pleased with the results. guarantee.

We note from our records that our last invoice has not Our Service Department will contact you soon to
been paid. We would like to remind you that we are arrange a suitable time for our engineers to visit.
unable to supply further artwork until this invoice is Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any
paid. We look forward to receiving your payment further information.
shortly.
POSSIBLE ANSWER (SECTION F: E-MAIL).
Your sincerely Thanks for your e-mail. Sorry I took so long to reply.
Im afraid we cannot accept responsibility for the
7 Refer to the bullet point. Ask the students to write problems with your machine. It appears that you
their e-mails individually, and set a time limit of 10 didnt follow the manufacturers instructions.
minutes for this task. Start the activity, circulate and
help with vocabulary. See stage 6 of worksheet 5.1 We have checked our files and they show that you
for the feedback procedure. didnt renew your maintenance contract last year.
Unfortunately this means that you wont be able to
POSSIBLE ANSWER (SECTION E: E-MAIL). claim for this repair. Our Service Department will
Dear Sue
contact you soon to arrange a time for our engineers
Thanks for your e-mail of March 2. Im sorry, but we to visit.
cant deliver the artwork by March 20. Well need
Please get in touch again if you need more
three weeks for this job, but Im sure the results will
information.
be really good.
POSSIBLE ANSWER (SECTION G: LETTER).
I see that you havent paid our last invoice yet. Its Thank you for your recent inquiry about our Italia
going to be difficult to send any more artwork until kitchen tiles. Unfortunately we are temporarily out of
you pay. Please try and deal with this as soon as stock of these tiles due to very high demand.
possible.
We hope to get new supplies in the next few weeks,
Best wishes and I will contact you again as soon as they arrive. In
the meantime, I am sending you a copy of our latest
8 (Homework option) Do sections F and G as brochure which shows our complete product range. I
homework activities on different days. As a round- hope it will be of interest to you.
up have a general discussion about the style of
speech, e-mails and letters. Note from these If you require any further information, please do not
examples that e-mail style is not the same as speech hesitate to contact me.
as is often wrongly stated. In fact e-mail style is POSSIBLE ANSWER (SECTION G: E-MAIL).
shorter, simpler, more factual and more direct than Thanks for your e-mail about our Italia kitchen tiles.
speech. Unfortunately we are temporarily out of stock. We
hope to get new supplies in the next few weeks, and I
will contact you again as soon as they arrive. In the
meantime, I am sending you a copy of our latest
brochure.

If you need more information, please contact us again.


Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 60 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.2a
The style of written English
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

A What is the difference between the first and second word in these pairs of words?
get/obtain Thanks/Thank you Ill/I will job/occupation about/with reference to

B Match each phrase on the left with a phrase on the right.


Informal (spoken) language Formal (written) language

1 Thanks for your letter. a I am writing with reference to the advertisement in ..


2 Ive just seen your advert in ... b due to the fact that
3 Can you tell me about ...? c Thank you for your letter dated 14 March.
4 because d Please find enclosed ...
5 Sorry, I cant make the meeting. e I am afraid I will not be able to attend the meeting.
6 Here are ... f I would be grateful if you could send me some
information about ...

7 What exactly do you need? g Please return the goods at our expense.
8 Just send the stuff back. Well pay. h We are pleased to inform you that ...
9 Ive got some bad news. Theres i Please let me know your exact requirements.
no more until next month. j If you require any further information, please do not
10 Good news! Ive just heard that ... hesitate to contact me.
11 There isnt much left. You better k We regret to advise you that the goods you require
move fast. are temporarily out of stock.
12 If youd like any more details, just l Please note that our stocks are limited. We advise
let me know. customers to order as soon as possible to avoid
disappointment.

C The phrases below are typical of informal spoken English. Rewrite them as sentences for a business
letter. Some words have been given to help you.
1 Its about that ad. we saw in Marketing Monthly. (writing/reference to/recent edition)

2 Can you send us something about what your company sells? (grateful/information/range)

3 Thanks for your letter of March 12 asking about what we sell. (dated/enquiring/products)

4 I have some bad news. Im afraid your order is going to be late. (regret/inform/delayed)

5 See you in Frankfurt next month! (look forward)

D Rewrite the sentences from section C as sentences for an e-mail. The style will be brief and direct.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 59 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.2b
The style of written English
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

E The language in the text below is informal, spoken English. Rewrite it in a clear, simple, positive
style appropriate for a business letter. Keep the basic meaning of the original, but change words and
phrases freely.

Hi Sue

I got the letter you sent on 2nd of March. You want the artwork by the 20th? You must be joking! If
you want a good job its going to take at least three weeks. Youll be lucky to get anything from us
until early April.

Anyway, you havent even paid for the last artwork we sent you! We need that money right now.
Youre not getting anything else until you pay.

All the best

When you finish, write the same information as an e-mail. This will be similar to the version you
have just written, but shorter and more direct.

F Repeat the previous activity. Rewrite the text below in a clear, simple, positive style appropriate for a
business letter. When you finish, write the same information as an e-mail.

Thanks for your letter sorry I didnt get in touch until now. Well, about your problem with the
machine its not our fault. You obviously didnt follow the instructions thats why its broken.

You want to claim for it under your guarantee? No way! Dont you remember - you didnt renew your
maintenance contract last year.

Anyway, someone from our Service Department will contact you some time to talk about when our
engineers are coming.

Ill be here if you want a chat.

G Repeat the previous activity. Rewrite the text below in a clear, simple, positive style appropriate for a
business letter. When you finish, write the same information as an e-mail.

I got you letter about our Italia kitchen tiles. You want to buy some, right? Great! Just one problem,
we havent got any tiles to send you. The thing is, were just getting so many orders. Things are going
crazy around here, its just tiles, tiles, tiles.

Look, dont worry. Ill get in touch as soon as we get some more. Im sure it wont be long.
Meanwhile, Im gonna send you our latest brochure youll love it. Its full of great photos and you
can see everything we sell.

Give me a call if you want to. Bye.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 61 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.3
Types of business document
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. ANSWERS.
To review the typical documents of a full 1b 2d 3c 4e 5a 6h 7i 8f 9 g 10 j
customer/supplier transaction.
3 Refer to the instructions for section B. Divide the
TIME. class into pairs, start the activity and circulate.
3040 minutes
ANSWERS.
PREPARATION. 1 Enquiry 2 Reply to an enquiry 3 (given)
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the 4 Quotation 5 Counter-proposal 6 (given)
class. 7 Order, with a covering letter 8 (given)
PROCEDURE. 9 Complaint 10 Reply to a complaint 11 Reminder
1 Write up on the board the pair enquiry/order and 12 (given) 13 Receipt 14 Statement 15 (given)
ask the class to explain the difference (an enquiry is
a request for information while an order is a request 4 Refer to the instructions for section C. Divide the
to supply goods they are both sent by the class into pairs, start the activity and circulate.
customer). Then write up the pair invoice/receipt ANSWERS.
and ask the class to explain the difference (an 1 Counter-proposal 2 Complaint 3 Enquiry
invoice is a bill that requests payment while a 4 Reply to a counter-proposal 5 Reply to an enquiry
receipt proves that payment has been made or they 6 Reply to a complaint 7 Covering letter (with the
are both sent by the supplier). order) 8 Reminder
2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student
and ask them to look at section A. Refer to the
instructions. Divide the class into pairs, start the
activity and circulate.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 62 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.3
Types of business document
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

A Match each document type on the left with a definition on the right.
1 an enquiry a a request to supply goods (sent by the customer)
2 a quotation b a request for information (sent by the customer)
3 an estimate c an approximate calculation of the cost of something
4 a counter-proposal d the price given for goods or a piece of work
5 an order e a letter where the customer tries to get better terms
6 an invoice f a document that proves you have paid for some goods
7 a reminder g a list of amounts paid and still owed, sent every month
8 a receipt h a bill for goods sent or work done
9 a statement i a letter to a customer about an unpaid invoice
10 a complaint j a letter saying you are not satisfied about something

B Complete the sequence 115 with the business documents in the box.

Enquiry Complaint Counter-proposal Order, with a covering letter Receipt


Quotation Statement Reply to an enquiry Reminder Reply to a complaint

Customer sends Supplier sends


1 2
3 Request for a quotation 4
5 6 Reply to a counter-proposal
7
Goods are dispatched
8 Invoice
Goods arrive, but there is a problem
9 10
The problem is solved
11
12 Payment 13
The customer starts to place regular orders
14
15 Further payments

C In which documents from section B would you find the following sentences?
1 I am afraid your minimum quantity is too high for our first order. Please let us know if you are able to
reduce this.
2 When we opened the package we noticed that some of the goods were damaged.
3 We saw your advert in a recent issue of Engineering magazine. We are interested in ...
4 Unfortunately it is not possible to reduce the delivery time, but we could offer a discount of 2% for
an order of this size.
5 Thank you for your letter of 21 April asking about ... . We are pleased to enclose our current
brochure and price list.
6 We apologize for sending the wrong parts. This was due to a computer error in our packing department.
7 Please find enclosed our order for ... . Our bankers will be pleased to provide references.
8 We note from our records that your account for the first quarter is still not paid. We hope to receive
payment of this account as soon as possible.
Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 63 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.4
Topics for letters, faxes and e-mails
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. PROCEDURE.
To provide a stimulus for practising a variety of business 1 Tell students that they are going to write a letter (or
correspondence. fax) and an e-mail based on a typical real-life
document that they have to write in their job. Elicit
TIME.
the basic difference between the style of a letter and
variable
an e-mail (the latter is shorter and more direct).
PREPARATION. 2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the and refer to the instructions. Allow a few minutes
class. for the students to read through the possible topics.
Note that the worksheet is a stimulus for a homework Emphasize that they should only choose one topic,
activity. but that some topics have two letters/faxes. They
should choose between letter and fax according to
whichever medium they most often use in real life.
They will write an e-mail version of every letter/fax.
Remind the students that the topics are deliberately
open to allow for personalization. Ask them to write
the letter/s and e-mail/s for homework and bring
them to the next lesson.
3 In the next lesson collect in the documents and
correct them.
4 (Option) Leave one of the document pairs
uncorrected, and photocopy one copy for each
student. First ask the students to try to
correct/improve the letter (or fax) in pairs. In
feedback listen to all the suggestions for
reformulations and discuss with the class which is
the best. Consider both style and grammatical
accuracy. Build up the reformulated version on the
board line by line. Then repeat for the e-mail.
5 For further practice repeat with another topic on
another day.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 64 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.4
Topics for letters, faxes and e-mails
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

Choose one of these topics. Adapt the topic to make it similar to documents you write in your own real-life
job. Then:

A Write a business letter or fax (you decide which). Some topics have two letters/faxes.

B Write exactly the same document/s as an e-mail (shorter and more direct).

1 a) Write a letter/fax from a potential new customer to your company requesting information about
some products you sell.
b) Write a letter/fax in reply: thank them, provide further information about the specific products,
suggest action for them to take.

2 a) Write a letter/fax from a real-life customer/supplier abroad to you, asking to visit your company.
b) Then write a letter/fax from yourself in reply: give details of the visit and say how much you are
looking forward to seeing him/her.

3 Write a letter/fax from you to a hotel abroad to enquire about accommodation. Say where you found
their name, mention rooms and dates and any specific requirements.

4 a) Write a letter/fax from you to one of your real-life suppliers complaining about a typical problem
that often occurs.
b) Then write a letter/fax from the supplier in reply: apologize, explain and promise action.

5 a) Write a letter/fax from a real-life customer to your company complaining about a typical problem
that can occur in your business.
b) Then write a letter/fax from your company in reply: apologize, explain and promise action.

6 Write a letter/fax from you to a real-life customer telling them that the goods they require are no
longer available. Offer an alternative.

7 a) Write a letter/fax from you to a real-life customer requesting payment of an unpaid invoice.
b) Then imagine that you had received a similar letter from one of your suppliers and write a reply.

8 Write a letter/fax thanking somebody from another company for their time or help.

9 Write a letter/fax to a real-life colleague/customer/supplier telling them about a change in your plans.
Give a reason and suggest/describe an alternative.

10 Imagine that you saw an advert for a job in a real-life company where you would like to work. Write
a letter of application: mention the post and the advertisement, mention why you are applying,
briefly discuss your work experience and say you are enclosing your CV.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 65 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.5
Easilife and Novex: Student A
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

In this worksheet students work in pairs and write to each other. Try to match ability levels of students
within each pair. See next page of Teachers Notes for a suggestion on how to divide the writing across five
lessons/homeworks. For lower levels, worksheets 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 are necessary preparation for this worksheet.

AIM. column. Deal with any unknown vocabulary


To practise an exchange of correspondence between a (terms are conditions for a sale; a concession is
supplier and a customer. something given by one side in order to reach an
agreement).
TIME. 3 Ask the students to read their instructions for
4050 minutes in the first lesson, then 3040 minutes document 1, the letter of enquiry. Remind them to
per lesson over 4 more lessons + homework time use the full layout of a business letter (see worksheet
PREPARATION. 5.1) with the first letter, but after that it is not
Make copies of the Student A worksheet for half the necessary. They should, however, put a date on all
class, and of the Student B worksheet (next page in this correspondence for later reference. Remind them that
book) for the other half. there are opportunities for adding their own ideas in
this and other documents. Remind them also to write
PROCEDURE. clearly as their partners will have to read and
1 Write up on the board the two headings Customer respond to the letter. Start the activity, the students
sends and Supplier sends and elicit this sequence writing individually. Circulate and help with
(which will be revision for students who have done vocabulary. Make a note of good/bad language use.
worksheet 5.3): 4 Hold a short feedback slot.
Customer sends Supplier sends 5 Ask the students to exchange their letters with their
Enquiry Reply partner (you are the postman/woman). Give the
Request for quotation Quotation students a moment to read through the letter they
Counter-proposal Reply have just received and ask their partner questions if
Order Dispatch advice they cannot read any words. Tell them to take the
Complaint Reply letter away and write a reply (document 2 on the
Tell the students that they are going to work with a worksheet) for homework. Remind them to keep all
partner to exchange correspondence following this copies of their partners correspondence and to
sequence and the whole activity will last several return them only at the end of the whole sequence.
lessons. Elicit and write up a typical structure for a 6 In the next lesson ask the students to exchange their
business letter (which will be revision for students letters written for homework. Allow time for the
who have done worksheet 5.1): students to read through the letter they have just
The date received and ask questions if they cannot read any
The receivers address words. When they are ready, refer to document 3
Dear Mr./Mrs/Ms. X on the worksheet and ask them to write this in class.
Referring to previous correspondence Circulate and help with vocabulary. Make a note of
The reason for writing good/bad language use, both from the letter they
Giving information received and the letter they are writing.
Reference to action taken or needed 7 Hold a short feedback slot.
Referring to future contact 8 Continue with the sequence suggested on the next
Yours sincerely (British English)/Yours truly page of Teachers Notes. The students will develop
(American English) a personalized correspondence with their own
Leave this list on the board. Ask the students partners, however at any one time they will all be
whether every letter will have this structure (clearly working on the same document type.
no for instance the letter of enquiry has no 9 (Option) To vary the feedback procedure take one
reference to previous correspondence as it is the students uncorrected document and photocopy one
first contact between the writer and reader). copy of this for each student. Ask students to try to
2 Divide the class into pairs of approximately equal correct/improve the document in pairs. In feedback
ability and appoint As and Bs in each pair (it is listen to all the suggestions for reformulations and
better if the pairs do not actually sit side by side). discuss with the class which is the best. Consider
Distribute the correct worksheet to each student. both style and grammatical accuracy. Build up the
Allow time for the students to read the information reformulated document on the board line by line.
in their box and the sequence in the left-hand
Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 66 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.5
Easilife and Novex: Student B
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

Suggested staging of the ten documents

Lesson 1: Write and exchange 1 in class and set 2 as homework.


Lesson 2: Students exchange and read 2. Then they write and exchange 3 in class as the reply. Set 4 as
homework.
Lesson 3: Students exchange and read 4. Then they write and exchange 5 in class as the reply. Set 6 as
homework.
Lesson 4: Students exchange and read 6. Then they write and exchange 7 and 8 in class. Set 9 as homework.
Lesson 5: Students exchange and read 9. Then they write and exchange 10 in class as the reply.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 68 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.5
Easilife and Novex: Student A
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

You are the Sales Director of Easilife Office Furniture. Your company manufactures and supplies office
furniture. Your address is York House, 97 Cannon Street, London EC4 5AD. Your partners company sells
computers.

You are going to exchange correspondence with your partner because you are interested in each others
products. Before you start, look at the left column to see the whole sequence.
1 Enquiry Write a letter to the Sales Director of Novex Computer Solutions
You are thinking about buying to ask for general information about their computers. Their
some new computers. address is 34 Salisbury Road, Milton Keynes, MK4 8KP. (Use the
full layout of a business letter in this first letter.)

2 Reply to an enquiry Reply to Novexs letter, enclosing some brochures, price lists etc.
Novex are interested in your You know the name of their Sales Director, so use it at the start
products as well. of your letter.

3 Request for a quotation Write an e-mail to Novex, asking for a quotation for some specific
Youre interested in their products (for example: eight computers). You may think of
computers. other questions.

4 Quotation Write a fax to Novex. Give them a quotation. State your terms of
Be positive and helpful. You sale: price, any discounts (e.g. prompt payment), delivery time.
might have a new customer. Deal with any other questions in Novexs last e-mail.

5 Counter-proposal Send an e-mail to Novex, making a counter-proposal. For


You want the computers, but example, you may want a better price, a larger discount or a
maybe you can get better shorter delivery time.
terms.

6 Reply to a counter-proposal Reply by e-mail. Begin by apologizing for the delay in replying,
You cannot give Novex what then tell them that you cant accept their counter-proposal.
they want, but make a small However, you are prepared to offer something (less than they
concession to get the business. want).

7 Order Their reply is acceptable and you now want to make an order.
Youve decided to buy the Write a short letter to Novex to send with your order form.
computers.

8 Dispatch advice Write an e-mail to Novex. Thank them for their order and tell
Let Novex know youve sent them that the goods were sent this morning.
the goods.

9 Complaint The computers have arrived! However, one of them has a small
You have a problem. fault. Also, there is a mistake on the invoice. Write an e-mail to
Novex.

10 Reply to a complaint Reply by e-mail. Apologize for the damaged furniture. Ask Novex
Deal with their problem. to return the piece, and say you will send a replacement
immediately. Apologize and give a reason for the mistake in the
invoice say you will send a new one.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 67 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.5
Easilife and Novex: Student B
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

You are the Sales Director of Novex Computer Solutions. Your company supplies computers. Your
address is 34 Salisbury Road, Milton Keynes, MK4 8KP. Your partners company sells office furniture.

You are going to exchange correspondence with your partner because you are interested in each others
products. Before you start, look at the left column to see the whole sequence.
1 Enquiry Write a letter to the Sales Director of Easilife Office Furniture to
You are thinking about ask for general information about their office furniture. Their
buying some new office address is York House, 97 Cannon Street, London EC4 5AD. (Use
furniture. the full layout of a business letter in this first letter.)

2 Reply to an enquiry Reply to Easilifes letter, enclosing some brochures, price lists etc.
Easilife are interested in You know the name of their Sales Director, so use it at the start
your products as well. of your letter.

3 Request for a quotation Write an e-mail to Easilife, asking for a quotation for some
Youre interested in their specific products (for example: 20 typists chairs, four executive
office furniture. desks and four executive armchairs). You may think of other
questions.

4 Quotation Write a fax to Easilife. Give them a quotation. State your terms of
Be positive and helpful. You sale: price, any discounts (e.g. prompt payment), delivery time.
might have a new customer. Deal with any other questions in Easilifes last e-mail.

5 Counter-proposal Send an e-mail to Easilife, making a counter-proposal. For


You want the furniture, but example, you may want a better price, a larger discount or a
maybe you can get better shorter delivery time.
terms.

6 Reply to a counter-proposal Reply by e-mail. Begin by apologizing for the delay in replying,
You cannot give Easilife what then tell them that you cant accept their counter-proposal.
they want, but make a small However, you are prepared to offer something (less than they
concession to get the business. want).

7 Order Their reply is acceptable and you now want to make an order.
Youve decided to buy the Write a short letter to Easilife to send with your order form.
office furniture.

8 Dispatch advice Write an e-mail to Easilife. Thank them for their order and tell
Let Easilife know youve sent them that the goods were sent this morning.
the goods.

9 Complaint The office furniture has arrived! However, one piece is damaged.
You have a problem. Also, there is a mistake on the invoice. Write an e-mail to Easilife.

10 Reply to a complaint Reply by e-mail. Apologize for the faulty computer. Ask Easilife to
Deal with their problem. return it, and say you will send a replacement immediately.
Apologize and give a reason for the mistake in the invoice say
you will send a new one.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 69 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

5.6
Adventure and Suntime
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

In this worksheet students work in pairs and write to each other. Try to match ability levels of students
within each pair. See below for a suggestion on how to divide the writing across three lessons/homeworks.
For lower levels, worksheets 5.1 and 5.2 are necessary preparation for this worksheet.

AIM. 4 Ask the students to exchange their letters with their


To practise an exchange of correspondence and then partner (you are the postman/woman). Give the
have a follow-up meeting. students a moment to read through the letter they
have just received and ask their partner questions if
TIME. they cannot read any words. Tell them to take the
3040 minutes in each of three lessons + homework letter away and write a reply (document 2 on the
time. worksheet) for homework. Remind them to keep all
PREPARATION. copies of their partners correspondence and to
Make copies of the Student A worksheet for half the return them only at the end of the whole sequence.
class, and of the Student B worksheet (next page in this 5 In the next lesson ask the students to exchange their
book) for the other half. letters. Allow time for the students to read through
the letter they have just received and ask questions
PROCEDURE. if they cannot read any words. When they are ready,
1 Elicit and write up a typical structure for a business refer to document 3 on the worksheet and ask them
letter (which will be revision for students who have to write this in class. Circulate and help with
done worksheet 5.1): vocabulary. Make a note of good/bad language use,
The date both from the letter they received and the letter they
The receivers address are writing.
Dear Mr./Mrs/Ms. X 6 Hold a short feedback slot.
Referring to previous correspondence 7 Continue with the sequence suggested below. The
The reason for writing students will develop a personalized correspondence
Giving information with their own partners, however at any one time
Reference to action taken or needed they will all be working on the same document type.
Referring to future contact 8 (Option) To vary the feedback procedure take one
Yours sincerely (British English)/Yours truly students uncorrected document and photocopy one
(American English) copy of this for each student. Ask students to try to
Leave this list on the board. correct/improve the document in pairs. In feedback
2 Divide the class into pairs of approximately equal listen to all the suggestions for reformulations and
ability and appoint As and Bs in each pair (it is discuss with the class which is the best. Consider
better if the pairs do not actually sit side by side). both style and grammatical accuracy. Build up the
Distribute the correct worksheet to each student. reformulated document on the board line by line.
Allow the students a moment to read the information
in their box. Then refer to section A and ask the
students to read the notes for their first letter. Deal Suggested staging of the four documents
with any unknown vocabulary. Remind them to use
Lesson 1: Write and exchange 1 in class and set 2
the full layout of a business letter (see worksheet
as homework.
5.1) with the first letter, but after that it is not
Lesson 2: Students exchange and read 2. Then they
necessary. They should, however, put a date on all
write and exchange 3 in class as the
correspondence for later reference. Remind them that
reply. Set 4 as homework.
there are opportunities for adding their own ideas in
Lesson 3: Students exchange and read 4. Then they
this and other documents. Remind them also to write
have the meeting.
clearly as their partners will have to read and
respond to the letter. Start the activity, the students
writing individually. Circulate and help with
vocabulary. Make a note of good/bad language use.
3 Hold a short feedback slot.

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5.6
Adventure and Suntime: Student A
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

You are the Director of Adventure Holidays. Your company is a small travel agency that offers holidays in
unusual locations. For travel to and from the destination you use a charter flight operator called Suntime
Airways.

A You are going to exchange correspondence with your partner. Your two companies have been doing
business together for several years.
1 Write a letter to Suntime.
Open by saying that you enclose your latest cheque. Apologize for the delay in sending it.
Give the date of the next group to Marocco (in three months time). You will probably have 50
people. Ask for a quotation for the seats.
You have recently read a few stories in the newspapers about small airlines going bankrupt.
Mention this very diplomatically ask for some information about Suntimes financial situation.

2 Reply to Suntimes letter.


Open by referring to Suntimes letter and saying you hope they received your cheque.
You are not happy about the new terms. Make a counter-proposal.
Let Suntime know that your company is in a good financial situation.

3 Reply by e-mail to Suntimes letter.


Open by referring to Suntimes letter. You accept the quotation, but not the terms.
The meeting is a good idea suggest a time. You are not sending any money now because you
prefer to wait until the meeting.
It would be helpful to see a copy of Suntimes last annual accounts before the meeting.

4 Reply by e-mail.
Open by thanking Suntime for their e-mail. You are sure the meeting will be useful.
You are not happy about the airport tax. You dont see why you should pay the extra cost. You
cant recover it from your customers now in your catalogue it states that there will be no
hidden charges. Suggest that you talk about this in your meeting.
You have had some bad news five of your customers have canceled their holiday at the last
moment and now you only need 45 seats.

B Now meet with your partner to discuss all the issues.

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5.6
Adventure and Suntime: Student B
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

You are the Director of Suntime Airways. Your company offers charter flight seats to holiday companies.
One of your regular clients is Adventure Holidays.

A You are going to exchange correspondence with your partner. Your two companies have been doing
business together for several years.
1 Write a letter to Adventure.
Open by reminding Adventure that payment of your last invoice is now overdue.
Your Financial Department has started a new policy to improve cash-flow. In future, all clients
must pay a deposit of 50% two months before the flight and 50% one month after. Tell
Adventure about this new policy.
You have recently read a few stories in the newspapers about adventure-type holidays going out
of fashion. Mention this very diplomatically ask for some information about Adventures
financial situation.

2 Reply to Adventures letter.


Open by referring to Adventures letter and thanking them for the cheque.
Give them a quotation for the flight: $400 per person return to Casablanca. You would like 50%
deposit now, as mentioned in your last letter. This will guarantee the availability of the seats.
Let Adventure know that your company is in a good financial situation.
Suggest that you have a meeting together to discuss the matter in more detail. When would be
convenient for Adventure?

3 Reply by e-mail to Adventures letter.


Open by thanking Adventure for their letter.
Adventures counter-proposal is not acceptable. You need to discuss this in the meeting.
Adventure is a valued customer and you are sure you can reach a compromise that is acceptable
to both sides.
You have some bad news the Moroccan government has just imposed a 6% airport tax and so
your previous quote will have to go up.

4 Reply by e-mail.
Open by thanking Adventure for their e-mail. The time they suggest for the meeting is fine.
Confirm that 50 seats are available on the airplane. You will discuss the new terms at the
meeting, but you still need a deposit now to guarantee the seats.
You annual accounts are confidential and cannot be shown to clients. However, you are prepared
to answer any questions in the meeting.

B Now meet with your partner to discuss all the issues.

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Business Builder

6.1a
An introduction to report writing
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. 2 Give out a copy of the worksheet (two pages) to


To review the structure, style and language of a typical every student and ask them to look at section A.
report and then practise writing a short report. Refer to the instructions. Ask the students to read
the example report individually. When they finish
TIME. the first reading ask them which of their predictions
5060 minutes + homework time on the board were correct. Then ask them to read
PREPARATION. the report again, as instructed, and answer questions
Make one copy of the worksheet (two pages) for each 15.
student in the class. ANSWERS.
PROCEDURE. 1F 2F 3F 4T 5T
1 Write up on the board the heading Writing Business
Reports. Tell the students that they are going to read 3 Write up on the board and elicit the meaning of
a short report that discusses the topic of report- layout (the way in which the parts of something
writing. Write up these headings from the report: are arranged). Ask students what techniques of
Introduction layout the author has used. Elicit the following:
Structure of a report headings and sub-headings, numbering, bullet
Sections and paragraphs points, consistent use of space (e.g. between
The techniques of report writing sections).
The language of report writing 4 Ask students what kind of reports they write in their
Conclusion jobs and what they find difficult. Develop a short
Ask the students what they expect to find mentioned class discussion.
under each heading and make a few notes on the
board.

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6.1b
An introduction to report writing
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

5 Refer to the instructions for section B and the


possible topics. Tell the students that they can
choose any topic. They will start writing the report
in class and then finish it for homework. Start the
activity, the students working individually, and
circulate. Make a note of good/bad language use.
6 Hold a short feedback slot.
7 In the next lesson collect in the reports and correct
them.
8 (Option) Leave one of the reports uncorrected, and
photocopy one copy of this for each student. Choose
a section of the report and ask students to try to
correct/improve it in pairs. In feedback listen to all
the suggestions for reformulations and discuss with
the class which is the best. Consider both style and
grammatical accuracy. Build up the reformulated
section on the board line by line.

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6.1a
An introduction to report writing
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

A Read the example report below. When you finish, read the report a second time and decide whether
the author thinks statements 15 are True or False.
1 When revising your report you should keep the same headings and sections. T/F
2 It is better to try to write grammatically correct sentences right from the start. T/F
3 Reports are usually full of long phrases and complex grammatical structures. T/F
4 Your writing style will depend partly on who will read the report. T/F
5 The passive emphasizes the action rather than who does the action. T/F

Writing Business Reports

1 Introduction
This short report summarizes the topic of writing business reports. It discusses the importance
of organizing the report into logical sections. It recommends some techniques for writing clearly
and also considers some important grammatical areas. The report emphasizes that planning and
then rewriting several times is the key to successful report writing.

2 Structure of a report
The report you are now reading is typical of a short report: first an introduction that describes
the purpose and structure of the report, then the body of the report, and finally some
recommendations or conclusions. Longer reports may have other sections such as a summary,
table of contents or perhaps appendices with extra, non-essential information. Many in-
company reports have a standard format and so the writer does not have to worry about the
structure.

3 Sections and paragraphs


Reports are often about complex issues, so the writer has to organize the material very clearly
into logical sections and sub-sections with appropriate headings. Deciding how to do this is
probably the most important step in report writing. Of course as you write you may move
information around and change your headings.

Within each section the material is divided into paragraphs. Short paragraphs help the reader to
see the structure of the argument and understand the information. A simple rule is: one main
idea, one paragraph.

4 The techniques of report writing


Focus initially on the ideas, not the language and grammar. Leave the language until the
editing and rewriting stage. (Each version you write is called a draft).
Use short phrases. Keep sentences brief and use simple grammatical structures.
Use an impersonal style. Focus on facts and only name individuals when it is relevant.
Present your points in a balanced way that shows you have considered the arguments
carefully.
Keep the reader in mind. For example, a report written for a senior manager might be
respectful and polite, with suggestions for the manager to consider. A report for junior staff
is more likely to use a direct style and have short sentences and statements rather than
suggestions.

Continued ...

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6.1b
An introduction to report writing
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

5 The language of report writing

5.1 Linking words


Sentences and paragraphs need linking words to help the reader understand the structure of
the argument. For example:
First, ... Second, ... Finally, ... a sequence
Moreover, ... / In addition to this, ... adding another, related idea
However, ... / On the other hand, ... a contrast
... due to ... / Therefore, ... cause and result

Linking words can also be used to show a personal attitude. For example, if you begin a
sentence with the word Clearly, what comes next will be obvious. If you begin with the word
Apparently, you are indicating that you are uncertain of your facts.

5.2 Formal language


Most business writing is neutral and direct rather than formal. Three areas of grammar are
useful when a more formal, impersonal style is needed. They are:
The passive A decision is expected by the end of the year.
20,000 new jobs were created in the financial sector last year.
The final payment will be made in September.
It + passive It is recommended that we reduce the training budget by 10%.
It should be emphasized that this data is only provisional.
It was suggested/agreed that we use a different supplier.
Compound nouns a planning meeting; a production planning meeting
the sales conference; the summer sales conference
insurance documents; transport insurance documents

Formal language like this is only used when it makes the report easier to understand. For
example, in the second example above we do not know who created the jobs, so the passive is
better. Similarly, in the sixth example it is not important who made the suggestion, so the
passive is better. Compound nouns avoid the use of long phrases full of prepositions: a
meeting about the planning of our production.

5.3 Informal language


Contractions like Its, well, theres and words and phrases typical of informal speech like big,
OK, nice, no way, fantastic should not appear in reports.

6 Conclusion
Reports can be about many things: an analysis of a problem, a summary of a completed job,
the progress of a project, the results of an investigation. There are few general rules, but
remember that organizing the material into logical sections is the key. Finally, remember also
that the reader will be very busy, so be as brief and clear as possible.

B Choose one of the topics below and write a mini-report.


Summary/evaluation of a newspaper/magazine article.
Summary/evaluation of this course up to now.
Summary/evaluation of a recent meeting/negotiation (in real life or on this course).
Report writing in my job (types of report, objectives, audience, preparation, content etc.).
Opportunities for tourism in my country.
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6.2a
Linking words and paragraph structure
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. ANSWERS.
To review linking words for cohesion and the use of Five words/phrases in the extract: Finally; For instance;
paragraphs for structuring information, and then practise Moreover; On the whole; However
writing a short report extract. Showing a sequence: Finally
Talking generally: On the whole
TIME.
Making a contrast: However
5060 minutes
Adding another point: Moreover
PREPARATION. Giving an example: For instance
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the
class. 3 Refer to the instructions for section B. Divide the
(Option) Students will need their copies of worksheet class into pairs, start the activity and circulate.
6.1 for optional stage 6 below. ANSWERS.
PROCEDURE. Matching task: In fact=Actually; i.e.=That is to say; As
1 Write up on the board three or four linking words a result=Therefore; In particular=Above all;
from the tables in sections A and B and ask the Obviously=Of course
students when and why you use these sorts of words Giving the real information: In fact/Actually
(when you want to link/join two ideas; they make Saying something is obvious: Obviously/Of course
the structure of your argument clear to the reader). Giving the most important example: In
Then ask where in the sentence they are used (often particular/Above all
at the beginning of a sentence followed by a Rephrasing in a different way: i.e./That is to say
comma). Write up the two abbreviations e.g. and i.e. Giving a result/consequence: As a result/Therefore
and elicit their meanings (e.g. means for example
and comes from the Latin exempli gratia = example 4 Refer to the instructions for section C. Remind
given; i.e. means in other words and comes from the students to look closely at the text to see which
Latin id est = that is). Write up an example to show alternative shows the logic of the argument. Divide
how they are used: the class into pairs, start the activity and circulate.
This product is aimed at people with a lot of ANSWERS.
free time, e.g. people on holiday and retired 1 In fact 2 In particular 3 Clearly 4 in general
people. 5 First 6 That is to say 7 Second 8 Above all
This product is aimed at retired people, i.e. 9 on the other hand 10 In conclusion
people over 65 years old. (Students could add In conclusion to the table in
2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student section A in the category Showing a sequence.)
and ask them to look at section A. Refer to the
instructions. Divide the class into pairs, start the
activity and circulate.

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6.2b
Linking words and paragraph structure
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

5 Refer to the instructions for section D. Divide the 7 Refer to the instructions for section E and the
class into pairs, start the activity and circulate. After example below. Point out that in expanded
checking the answers refer to the two bullet points paragraph 2 the topic sentence does not come right
at the end of the section and develop a short class at the beginning it comes second, with the first
discussion. sentence providing a bridge (this is quite common).
Set a limit of five paragraphs of writing. Start the
ANSWERS.
activity, the students working individually, and
1b 2d 3f 4a
circulate. Make a note of good/bad language use.
First bullet: a topic sentence introduces and
8 Hold a short feedback slot.
summarizes the paragraph, making it easier for the
9 (Option) Leave one of the reports uncorrected, and
reader to follow the argument.
photocopy one copy of this for each student. Ask
Second bullet: a new paragraph introduces a new
students to try to correct/improve it in pairs. In
idea/topic.
feedback listen to all the suggestions for
6 (Option) Refer to previous examples of reports to reformulations and discuss with the class which is
see if topic sentences are used. In section C of this the best. Consider both style and grammatical
worksheet, for example, the first two paragraphs are accuracy. Build up the reformulated version on the
introduced by questions which have the same board line by line.
function as topic sentences. Refer also to the
example report in worksheet 6.1. Go through
paragraph by paragraph to see if a topic sentence
has been used. (Answers by section: 1 yes 2 not
exactly 3 yes (both paras.) 4 not relevant 5.1 yes
(both paras.) 5.2 no (first para.) yes (second para.)
5.3 not relevant 6 no).

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6.2a
Linking words and paragraph structure
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

A Linking words join one idea to another and help the reader to see how your argument is developing.
Underline five linking words or phrases in this report extract about Kalia, an imaginary country.
Finally, the Kalian government is giving more control of economic policy to the regions. For instance,
foreign companies do not need a license from the Industry Ministry. Moreover, these companies pay
part of their taxes directly to the region where they are based rather than pay the whole amount to
central government. On the whole this has made investing in Kalia much easier. However some
problems, like the reform of agriculture, can only be dealt with at a national level.

Now complete the table with the words you underlined.


Showing a sequence First Secondly After that
Talking generally In general Typically
Making a contrast On the other hand Nevertheless
Adding another point In addition to this
Giving an example For example e.g.

B Match each word or phrase from the left box with one from the right box.

In fact i.e. As a result Therefore Actually That is to say


In particular Obviously Of course Above all

Now complete the table by adding the ten words.


Giving real/true/surprising information As a matter of fact
Saying something is obvious Clearly
Giving the most important example Especially
Rephrasing in a different way In other words
Giving a result/consequence For this reason

C Choose the correct words in this report extract. Look carefully at the whole context.
How to Cut the Time You Spend On Reports

Does information technology mean the end of paper in our offices? (1) In fact/Moreover, the amount
of paper used in business is slowly going down, but not in all areas. (2) For this reason/In particular, the
number of reports actually seems to keep growing. (3) Clearly/Nevertheless some reports are essential
and need to be studied carefully, but (4) above all/in general reports are only read very quickly, and some
are never read at all.
What can you do to reduce the amount you read and write? (5) First/As a matter of fact, see if each
report is really needed. (6) That is to say/However, ask yourself If this report was destroyed in a fire
tomorrow, what would be the result?. The answer might surprise you. (7) For example/Second, keep
your reports short and easy to understand. Can you use a graph instead of text? Is the writing clear and
simple? (8) Typically/Above all, think of your readers: are you telling them more than they need to know?
One suggestion is only to circulate the summary and recommendations. Your readers may miss some of
the details, but (9) especially/on the other hand if they want the full report they can ask for it.
(10) In conclusion/Nevertheless, it is possible to save time on reports, but it may mean there is less
information in circulation.
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6.2b
Linking words and paragraph structure
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

D Look at paragraphs 14 from a report about Kalia. The first sentence is missing each time.
Investment opportunities in Kalia
1 ..... The Government is liberalizing the economy and many nationalized industries are being
privatized. Inflation is finally under control and industrial output is growing.
2 ..... Roads and telecommunications are being modernized and a new port is being built at the mouth
of the Delta river.
3 ..... One of Kalias success stories has been the growth of software exports, and leading multinational
suppliers like Hewlett-Packard and Acer have strong Kalian partners.
4 ..... The reform process has slowed down in recent months as politicians fear that their policies are
becoming unpopular, particularly among workers in the large state-owned industries. There are also
doubts about Kalias ability to generate enough electricity for its industrial sector.

Choose the best opening sentence for each paragraph from those in the box below (two are not used).

a However, there are still many problems ahead.


b Opportunities for investing in Kalia have never been better.
c High interest rates are not the only cause of the economic recession.
d Rapid progress is being made in the area of infrastructure.
e Reform of the financial sector will be crucial to Kalias continuing development.
f The government has recognized the importance of information technology.

The sentences in the box are called topic sentences. What is a topic sentence?
In general, when do you start a new paragraph?

E Write a few paragraphs for a report on The Future of My Market:


First write some topic sentences, each one introducing and summarizing a new idea.
Then expand each topic sentence into a full paragraph by adding another sentence or two.
Remember to use linking words to help the reader to see how your argument is developing.
Example: The Future of the Financial Services Market
Topic sentences
1 Companies in the financial services sector all offer similar products.
2 In the future, the trend will be to produce solutions for individual customers rather than mass
marketing.
3 More and more, financial products will be sold over the phone and the Internet.
4 The industry needs to make its products easier to understand for the ordinary person.

Topic sentences expanded into paragraphs


1 Companies in the financial services sector all offer similar products. There is very little difference
between the pension plans and life insurance policies of the main companies. Some may have a
better past performance than others, but this is no guide to the future. In fact the only real
difference that the customer notices is the advertising.
2 However, this situation cannot last for much longer. In the future, the trend will be to produce
solutions for ...

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6.3a
The style of business reports
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM.
To practise a variety of techniques used to produce an 5 Refer to the instructions for section B. Let the
impersonal, balanced style such as the passive voice, students read the two versions silently to see the
compound nouns and vague language, and then difference (the first version always uses the three
practise writing a short report. techniques from section A, whereas the second
always avoids them). Then refer to the task after the
TIME.
two versions, to write a third, mixed version. Divide
5060 minutes + homework time
the class into pairs, start the activity and circulate.
PREPARATION.
POSSIBLE ANSWER.
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in
Effective report writing depends on good planning and
the class.
the writing technique of the author. While writing, you
PROCEDURE. should use a good English-English dictionary, and you
1 Write up on the board this sentence: must develop the habit of looking carefully at the
It was suggested that our maintenance contract example sentences. It can be said that there are no
could be changed. easy rules for report writing, but an ideal opportunity
Ask the students if the style is informal or formal for improvement is to do some writing practice on a
(formal). Then ask them to identify any language Business English course. You will only improve after you
techniques that create a formal style, and write on write a few reports and work on the problem areas.
the board next to the appropriate words in the
sentence: 6 Refer to the instructions for section C. Divide the
It + passive / Compound noun / Passive class into pairs, start the activity and circulate.
2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student ANSWERS.
and ask them to look at section A. Refer to the 1 Smoking is prohibited in public areas.
instructions for the underlining task. Divide the 2 It was suggested that the advertising campaign
class into pairs, start the activity and circulate. should run for a six-month period.
ANSWERS. 3 A different format for the annual sales account
a It is recommended / sales reports / are produced might be considered.
b construction project / is managed 4 It was agreed that the office cleaning contract
c planning decision / will be made should be given to KleanUp.
5 The dam construction project was delayed
3 Refer to the instructions in the first bullet point. Do because of planning regulations.
the task as a whole-class activity, eliciting the new
versions to the board (emphasizing as you write that
some information is unknown).
ANSWERS.
a ? recommends that ? produces a report of sales
on a monthly basis.
b It is vital that we manage the project to construct
? properly.
c ? will make the decision about planning in June.

Emphasize that the new versions are nearly


impossible to complete without more information.

4 Refer to the question in the second bullet point and


have a whole-class discussion. Answer: the writer
chooses the version which is simpler and easier to
understand. In examples a c the original versions
are easier to understand even though the style is
more formal (the question marks on the board
represent unimportant information that does not
need to be mentioned).
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6.3b
The style of business reports
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

7 Refer to the instructions for section D. Let the 8 Taking everything into consideration, the best
students read the sentences silently then ask them option is probably to spread your money over
what they think of the style (it is too certain, strong several forms of investment.
and general there is no balance or suggestion that
the author has considered different possibilities). 8 Refer to the instructions for section E. Tell the
Refer to the rewriting task after the example students that they can choose either topic. They will
sentences and the techniques in the table. Divide the start writing the report in class and then finish it for
class into pairs, start the activity and circulate. homework. Start the activity, the students working
individually, and circulate. Make a note of good/bad
POSSIBLE ANSWERS. language use.
1 The US stock market is likely to rise next year. 9 Hold a short feedback slot.
2 Property tends to be a very cyclical market. 10 In the next lesson collect in the reports and correct
3 Many analysts believe that the telecomms sector them.
has substantially better potential than the rest of 11 (Option) Leave one of the reports uncorrected, and
the market. photocopy one copy of this for each student. Choose
4 It is probable that inflation is less dangerous now a section and ask students to try to correct/improve
than in the 1970s. it in pairs. In feedback listen to all the suggestions
5 Bonds are a considerably safer investment than for reformulations and discuss with the class which
shares, but shares tend to give a better return in is the best. Consider both style and grammatical
the long term. accuracy. Build up the reformulated section on the
6 Gold prices are not expected to go any lower. board line by line.
7 In general young people invest for capital growth
and old people usually invest for income, however
this is not always true.

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6.3a
The style of business reports
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

A Look at the three sentences below. Underline examples of the techniques in the box.

1 The passive 2 It + passive 3 Compound nouns

a It is recommended that sales reports are produced on a monthly basis.


b It is vital that the construction project is managed properly.
c The planning decision will be made in June.

Try rewriting the sentences without using any of the three techniques. Is it always possible?
Using the techniques in the box is a choice the writer makes. How does the writer choose?

B These two texts have exactly the same meaning. What is the difference between them?
1 Effective report writing depends on good 2 The writing of effective reports depends on
planning and the writing technique of the good planning and the technique of writing of
author. While writing, a good English-English the author. While writing, you should use a
dictionary should be used, and the habit of good English-English dictionary, and you must
looking carefully at the example sentences develop the habit of looking carefully at the
must be developed. It can be said that there sentences which are examples. I can say that
are no easy rules for report writing, but an there are no easy rules for the writing of
ideal improvement opportunity is to do some reports, but an ideal opportunity for
writing practice on a Business English course. improvement is to do some practice in writing
Improvement will only be made after a few on a course of Business English. You will only
reports have been written and the problem improve after you write a few reports and
areas have been worked on. work on the areas which are a problem.

Write a third text with the same meaning, using a combination of phrases from the other two texts.
Choose the phrases that you think are the simplest and clearest. The correct answer is a matter of
personal opinion.

C Rewrite the following sentences in a formal, impersonal style.


1 We prohibit smoking in the areas which are public.

Smoking

2 Somebody suggested that the campaign for the advertising should run for a period of six months.

It was suggested that

3 We might consider using a different format for the sales account that we make annually.

A different format

4 We agreed we should give the contract for cleaning the offices to KleanUp.

It was agreed that

5 We delayed the project to construct a dam because of regulations about planning.

The dam

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6.3b
The style of business reports
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

D Look at these sentences that come from a report on investment advice. What do you think of the
writing style?
1 The US stock market will rise next year.
2 Property is a very cyclical market.
3 Analysts believe that the telecomms sector has better potential than the rest of the market.
4 Inflation is less dangerous now than in the 1970s.
5 Bonds are a safer investment than shares. Shares give a better return in the long term.
6 Gold prices will not go any lower.
7 Young people invest for capital growth and old people invest for income, but this is not always true.
8 The best option is to spread your money over several forms of investment.

Rewrite the eight sentences using the techniques in the table. These techniques will help you to create
a balanced style that shows you have considered the points carefully.
Giving both sides of an argument In general ... , however ...
On the whole ... , but ...

Making a statement less general Many / Some


usually / typically / often

Making a statement less certain It is possible / probable that ...


It seems / appears that ...
... tends to be ...
... is likely to / is expected to / will probably / might ...
... probably will not / is not expected to / is unlikely to ...

Making a comparison ++ substantially / considerably / much slower growth


more/less strong + a significantly / relatively more risky investment
a marginally / slightly more expensive option

Concluding On balance, ...


Taking everything into consideration, ...

E Choose one of the topics below and write a short report. Use techniques from sections A and D to
keep your style impersonal and balanced.
1 Write a short report describing the economic and political outlook for your country over the next year.

2 Rewrite this short report about the future of the Internet. You can change the original and introduce
your own ideas.

The Internet is the most important technological advance since the wheel. Soon you will never
have to leave home. Cinemas will disappear as people download movies on demand, shops will
disappear as people walk through virtual supermarkets and order goods with a click of the mouse.
In the service sector everyone will work from home and videoconferencing will replace meetings.
People will meet future husbands and wives through on-line chat areas that select people with
similar interests. Most people will live inside Information Villages with green spaces and high walls.
The remainder will live outside the walls where armed guards will feed them soup and give them
blankets during the winter.

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6.4
Figures and graphs
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. 2 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student


To practise a variety of ways for expressing numbers in and ask them to look at section A. Refer to the
a written context and to review language for referring to instructions. Divide the class into pairs, start the
charts and tables. activity and circulate.

TIME. ANSWERS.
3040 minutes + homework time 1 much less than 50% 2 a little under 50%/almost
50% 3 about 50%/around 50% (also approximately
PREPARATION. 50%) 4 exactly 50%/precisely 50% 5 a little over
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the 50%/slightly more than 50% 6 considerably more
class. than 50% 7 d 8 c 9 b 10 a
(Option) If you choose to do section D in class you will
need to have a range of magazines and newspapers 3 Refer to the instructions for section B. Divide the
available that have short articles with graphs and charts class into pairs, start the activity and circulate.
(e.g. copies of the Financial Times, Economist,
European etc.). ANSWERS.
1c 2f 3d 4e 5a 6b
PROCEDURE.
1 Write up on the board the worksheet title Figures 4 Refer to the instructions for section C. Divide the
and graphs. Sketch on the board a line graph, a bar class into pairs, start the activity and circulate.
chart and a table. Elicit the three names. Use the Vocabulary note: GDP = Gross Domestic Product.
line graph to elicit the words horizontal axis and
ANSWERS.
vertical axis. Use the table to elicit row and column.
1 graph 2 on 3 As 4 than 5 to 6 table
Then write up these words and elicit/explain the
7 figures 8 around 9 column 10 only
difference between them:
11 section 12 appendix
a number (a number is a word or symbol used
to count)
5 Refer to the instructions for section D. Ask the
a figure (a figure is a specific amount, i.e. a
students to write the report for homework. If you
number that refers to something. It is especially
choose to start this activity in class you will need to
used for official information)
have a range of appropriate magazines/newspapers
statistics (statistics are facts obtained by
available.
analyzing numbers. They refer to a collection of
6 In the next lesson collect in the reports and correct
figures)
them.
So we say unemployment/export/rainfall/crime/
official figures (or statistics), but we do not use the
word numbers in phrases like these.

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6.4
Figures and graphs
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

A Write the descriptions in the box on the appropriate lines 16.

considerably more than 50% around 50% a little over 50% exactly 50% almost 50%
a little under 50% much less than 50% about 50% precisely 50% slightly more than 50%

40% 1
48% 2 and
48% 52% 3 and
50% 4 and
52% 5 and
60% 6

Some words can express a personal view. Match the words in italics with the meanings.
7 as many as 200 units were sold a 190 sold. Im disappointed.
8 only 200 units were sold b 190 sold. Im pleased.
9 nearly 200 units were sold c 200 sold. Im disappointed.
10 barely 200 units were sold d 200 sold. Im pleased.

B Numbers can be written as symbols (10) or words (ten). Match the rules with the examples.
1 Use symbols for dates, large amounts a About two hundred employees
2 Use words for ordinals (first, second) b There are three main recommendations
3 Use words for two numbers in succession c $100,000 will be paid on 28 August
4 Use words at the beginning of a sentence d We will need twenty four-person teams
5 Use words for estimates e Twelve countries took part in the talks
6 Use words for numbers below ten f This is our third annual report

C Choose the correct words to complete this report extract.


1995
Total intra-Mercosur trade
15 population m GDP $bn GDP per head $
Argentina 34.3 282.7 8,250
10
$bn

Brazil 156.0 676.0 4,350


5
Paraguay 4.9 8.9 1,800
0
1990 91 92 93 94 95 Uruguay 3.2 17.2 5,400

The (1) graph/graphic (2) by/on the left shows the growth in trade between the four Mercosur countries
of South America in the early nineties. (3) Like/As can be seen from the chart, trade grew from a little
less (4) that/than $5bn in 1990 (5) to/until nearly $16bn in 1995. The (6) table/chart on the right refers to
(7) numbers/figures for 1995. It shows that Brazil was by far the largest country, with a population of
(8) around/nearly 150 million. However, Argentina had the highest living standards see third (9) column/row.
The poorest country was Paraguay, with a GDP per head of (10) almost/only $1,800. Further details on
living standards can be found in (11) section/chapter 2.2 of the (12) supplement/appendix.

D Find a magazine or newspaper article with a series of graphs and charts. Write a short report
describing this information, similar to the one in section C.

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6.5
Topics for practice reports
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. PROCEDURE.
To provide a stimulus for writing a variety of business 1 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student
reports. and refer to the instructions. Allow a few minutes
for the students to look at the possible topics (it is
TIME.
not necessary to read the full notes in class).
variable
Remind the students that they should only choose
PREPARATION. one topic, and that some topics are deliberately open
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the to allow for personalization. Ask them to write the
class. report for homework and bring it to the next lesson.
Note that the worksheet is a stimulus for a homework 2 In the next lesson collect in the reports and correct
activity. them.
3 (Option) Leave one of the reports uncorrected, and
photocopy one copy of this for each student. Choose
a section and ask students to try to correct/improve
it in pairs. In feedback listen to all the suggestions
for reformulations and discuss with the class which
is the best. Consider both style and grammatical
accuracy. Build up the reformulated version on the
board line by line.
4 For further practice repeat with another topic on
another day.

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Business Builder

6.5
Topics for practice reports
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

Choose one of these topics to practise writing a business report. If possible, adapt the topic you choose to
make it similar to the reports you write in your own real-life job.

Mini-reports
1 Magazine article. Write a report summarizing an article that you have read.
2 Meeting/Negotiation. Write a report summarizing a recent meeting or negotiation (in real life or on
this course).
3 Tourism Opportunities. Write a report to your colleagues on why they should spend their next holiday
in your country/city, and recommendations for places to visit.
4 Weekend trip. Write a report to your colleagues with recommendations for where you should go
next weekend for a social/cultural visit.
5 Course evaluation. Write a report that evaluates this course up to now.

Work-related

6 Your career. A Personnel Officer has just interviewed you for a job. Write her report about you,
including your career, your abilities and achievements.
7 Annual report. Write the introduction to your companys Annual Report.
8 Market report. Write a report analyzing recent changes in your market.
9 Progress report: department. Write a report describing the work of your department/section over the
last quarter.
10 Progress report: project. Write a report describing the progress of one particular project you are
currently involved with.
11 Product launch. Write a briefing document to give to journalists about a new product or service that
your company is going to launch.
12 Product description. Write a report giving a detailed description of one of your products (size, shape,
colour, materials, technical specifications, features etc.).
13 Improvements. Write a report to your colleagues at work suggesting how to make improvements in
one or more of the following: recruitment methods, distribution, productivity, quality, advertising,
motivation, training, brand image, time management.
14 Real-life report. Write parts of a real-life report that you have to write in the near future.

Current affairs

15 Hot topic from your country. Write a report to your colleagues on the course that describes an
economic/political/social/environmental topic that has been talked about recently in your country.
16 Traffic. Write a report to the Transport Minister of your country suggesting radical new measures for
controlling traffic in the capital city.

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Business Builder

6.6
Using notes to write a report
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. PROCEDURE.
To practise writing a report by organizing and expanding 1 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student
given information. and refer to the instructions. Remind the students
that they should only choose one topic. Emphasize
TIME.
that the notes are not in any order, and organizing
variable
the information is a necessary step. Allow a few
PREPARATION. minutes for the students to look at the two topics (it
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the is not necessary to read the full notes in class). Ask
class. them to write the report for homework and bring it
Note that the worksheet is a stimulus for a homework to the next lesson. (Vocabulary note: layoff = the
activity. dismissal of a worker because there is not enough
work. The word redundancy is also used in British
English.)
2 In the next lesson collect in the reports and correct
them.
3 (Option) Leave one of the reports uncorrected, and
photocopy one copy of this for each student. Choose
a section and ask students to try to correct/improve
it in pairs. In feedback listen to all the suggestions
for reformulations and discuss with the class which
is the best. Consider both style and grammatical
accuracy. Build up the reformulated version on the
board line by line.

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6.6
Using notes to write a report
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

1 Choose one of the topics below.


2 Study the notes carefully. They are not in any special order.
3 Decide how to organize the information to make a report.
4 Expand the ideas to write a short report. You are free to add your own ideas as well.

1 You are the Human Resources Director of a retail bank which needs to cut a large number of jobs.
Your report will be called Progress report on future layoffs.

Management has promised no compulsory layoffs and has offered attractive packages for staff
leaving voluntarily: pension protection, cash payments, retraining.
Background: 1) strong competition; 2) customers prefer telephone and on-line services. Our
response to the problem: concentrate operations at a few Operation Centers (O.C.s).
Union wants management to maintain a register of former staff. People from this register would
be contacted first to fill temporary posts. This is unacceptable to management.
We will need to close 350 branches over the next five years. 10,000 layoffs will be needed
(quarter of workforce).
No agreement with Union on size of retraining budget. Union wants $6000 per employee. We
have offered $4000.
Staff morale very low in present situation. Should improve in long term when the new O.C.s
start working.
How much control do we have over retraining? Will leavers be free to go anywhere on any
course? Some of the retraining could be done in-company at cheaper cost. Investigate and
prepare report for next meeting.

2 You write a column for a financial newsletter that reports on investment opportunities. Finosa is an
imaginary French pharmaceuticals company. Your report will be called Finosa shares a good time to
buy?

Finosa has a new drug to treat narrowed arteries, called Vipax. At a recent presentation, Mr.
Gerard Haberer, research and development director at Finosa said For us Vipax is a very
important product. We expect to find a very big market for this product.
53% of Finosas shares are owned by the Bergamot cosmetics group. Four weeks ago Bergamot
announced that they want to sell some of these shares. Since then, Finosas share price has
climbed from 70 euros to 84 euros.
The pharmaceuticals industry has been going through a period of consolidation, with a lot of
mergers and acquisitions.
Mr. Phillipe Cottet, a pharmaceuticals analyst in Paris, wrote last week The price of Finosa shares
already includes the profit potential of their new products. Finosa are making very optimistic
sales forecasts.
Finosa is the worlds 12th. largest pharmaceuticals company in terms of sales.
The medical journal The Doctor said The benefits of using Vipax are exaggerated. The high cost
of Vipax in comparison with existing treatments such as aspirin will restrict its sales.
The Paris stock exchange is full of rumors that another French drugs group, Labsynth, is
interested in forming some sort of merger with Finosa. Labsynth have denied these rumours.

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6.7
Report: personal management skills
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. PROCEDURE.
To practise writing a report on the students own skills 1 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student
in one of a range of management areas. and refer to the instructions. Remind the students
that they should only choose one topic. Allow a few
TIME.
minutes for the students to look at the four topics (it
variable
is not necessary to read the full notes in class). Ask
PREPARATION. them to write the report for homework and bring it
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the to the next lesson. (Vocabulary note: to assess = to
class. think carefully about a situation and make a
Note that the worksheet is a stimulus for a homework judgment about it.)
activity. 2 In the next lesson collect in the reports and correct
them.
3 (Option) Leave one of the reports uncorrected, and
photocopy one copy of this for each student. Choose
a section and ask students to try to correct/improve
it in pairs. In feedback listen to all the suggestions
for reformulations and discuss with the class which
is the best. Consider both style and grammatical
accuracy. Build up the reformulated version on the
board line by line.

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Business Builder

6.7
Report: personal management skills
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

Choose one of the following four topics. The ideas in brackets will help you to start thinking about each
topic, but only choose a few ideas that are relevant to you. Write a short report:
Introduce the topic in general.
Describe your own experience of the areas you have chosen. Give real examples and assess your own
performance.
Recommend some practical ideas for personal improvement.

1 Your report will be called Assessing my personal skills: Communicating clearly


(Body language; Listening and asking questions; Using the phone; Using e-mail; Using the fax; Using
the Internet; Reading efficiently; Taking notes; Writing letters; Writing reports; Writing proposals;
Coaching staff; Giving feedback; Chairing meetings; Giving presentations; Using visual aids; Leading
training seminars; Selling products; Negotiating; Public relations)

2 Your report will be called Assessing my personal skills: Managing time


(Assessing work patterns; Time demands of different tasks; Planning and prioritizing; Use of a time
planner; Managing your staff/colleagues/manager; Delegating effectively; Dealing with problems;
Filing paperwork; Filing on the computer; Rethinking work space; Filtering material; Circulating
material; Making and taking phone calls; Reading and writing; Using e-mail; Use of time in meetings;
Travelling to work; Travelling as part of your job; Scheduling time off)

3 Your report will be called Assessing my personal skills: Motivating people


(Assessing motivation levels of your staff; Recognizing and balancing needs; Establishing basic needs:
supervision/autonomy/security/status/working conditions/salary and benefits; Motivating through:
advancement/responsibility/job interest/recognition/opportunities to achieve; Improving
communication; Dealing with staff problems and mistakes; Supporting staff; Encouraging initiative;
Enriching jobs; Setting goals; Motivating groups; Leading a team; Delegating; Appraising effectively;
Defining performance; Rewarding achievement; Celebrating success; Building careers)

4 Your report will be called Assessing my personal skills: Managing change


(Causes of change: technological/social/economic/activities of competitors; Rate of change; Reactive
change: responding to a crisis; Proactive change: anticipating and preparing for the future; Choosing
areas for change; Consulting customers/employees; Clarifying objectives; Choosing a timescale;
Identifying and allocating tasks; Making an action plan; Assigning responsibility; Using planning
tools/checksheets/schedules; Developing commitment; Empowering people; Anticipating effects;
Dealing with resistance; Minimizing negatives; Testing and checking plans; Monitoring progress;
Maintaining momentum; Providing training; Consolidating change)

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6.8
Report: the impact of information technology
Teacher Resource Series

Teachers Notes

AIM. PROCEDURE.
To practise writing a report on how information 1 Give out a copy of the worksheet to every student
technology affects either the students own business or and refer to the instructions. Remind the students
society in general. that they should only choose one topic. Allow a few
minutes for the students to look at the two topics (it
TIME.
is not necessary to read the full notes in class). Ask
variable
them to write the report for homework and bring it
PREPARATION. to the next lesson.
Make one copy of the worksheet for each student in the 2 In the next lesson collect in the reports and correct
class. them.
Note that the worksheet is a stimulus for a homework 3 (Option) Leave one of the reports uncorrected, and
activity. photocopy one copy of this for each student. Choose
a section and ask students to try to correct/improve
it in pairs. In feedback listen to all the suggestions
for reformulations and discuss with the class which
is the best. Consider both style and grammatical
accuracy. Build up the reformulated version on the
board line by line.

Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002 94 This page may be photocopied for use in class
Business Builder

6.8
Report: the impact of information technology
Teacher Resource Series

Worksheet

Information Technology (IT) includes computers, software and telecommunications. Choose one of the topics
below and write a short report.

1 Your report will be called The impact of IT on my business. The points below will help you to
start thinking about the topic, but only choose a few areas that are relevant to you and your
business.
New software developments
New hardware developments
Developments in peripherals (printers, scanners, monitors etc.)
Developments in mobile communications
Doing business on the Internet (e-commerce)
New markets
Responding to our competitors
Adapting to new working styles
Our companys Intranet
Video-conferencing
Systems security
The cost of IT
IT and the law
My countrys IT industry
Future innovations

2 Your report will be called The impact of IT on society. The questions below will help you to start
thinking about the topic, but only choose a few areas that are interesting to you. In your report
refer to real examples from your own experience and your own country.
How will IT affect the prices of products? competition between companies?
How will IT affect unemployment? the creation of new jobs?
How will IT affect places and patterns of work?
How will IT affect the distribution of wealth? Will it cause other kinds of divisions in society?
How will IT affect global culture?
How will IT affect entertainment and leisure time?
How will IT affect human relationships and communication between people?
Does IT have any implications for personal freedom?

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