Unit 6 Business
Part A Listening Strategy
Identifying the Major Events in a Conversation The ability to identify the major event of a conversation is an important aspect of training in listening comprehension. Here we are concerned with what the speakers are doing. Are they engaged in small talk to promote friendship, or discussing something serious to bring about an action? Questions like the following can give us a clue as to what is actually happening in a conversation: Who are the speakers? What is the relationship between them? What are they talking about?
Listen to the conversation and answer the questions that follow.
  1. What is the probable relationship between the speakers? They are probably business partners.
  2. What are they doing? One is showing the other the building where her company has offices.
  3. On which floors are the offices of the company?
Accounting Office Personnel Department Manager’s Office Sales Office
2nd floor 8th floor 9th floor 1st floor
Listen to the passage and fill in the missing information. What is the speaker doing? He is giving a brief introduction to visitors of his company’s history, line of business, and markets at home and abroad.
  1. W: M: Here we are, Mr. Wang. This is a newly-built building. What a fine building! How many floors are there?
W: Forty. Our company has offices on four floors in the building. M: Yours is really a big company. W: Yes, it is. The sales office is on the first floor. The marketing and accounting offices are on the second floor. And we have many other departments: personnel, research, etc. They are all on the 8th floor. M: W: Where’s the manager’s office? It’s on the 9th floor. Let me show you around.
M: Thank you.
  2. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our company. Our company was established in 19
  99. It is a joint-venture company specializing in sportswear. Most of our products are for young students; some are for adults. All our products sell well both at home and abroad. In recent years, we have expanded our markets from China to Southeast Asia, East Africa, North America, and South America.
Part B Pre-listening Task
Questions for Discussion You are going to talk about business. Read the following questions and discuss them with your partner.
  1. Do you have friends or relatives that work in a business company?
  2. Have you had any experience working in such a company? If yes, what is it like to work there?
  3. Would you like to work in a business company after you graduate? Why or why not?
  4. What qualities would an employer like to see in an employee?

  5. What qualities are needed for promotion?
  6. What factors does a company usually take into consideration when they want to choose a team leader?
  4. What qualities would an employer like to see in an employee? When you are looking for a job or thinking of getting a promotion, it would help if you could see yourself from the employer’s point of view. All employers look for certain qualities or personal attributes in addition to the skills that you are required to possess for that particular job. Personally, I believe employers usually prefer employees who are honest, loyal, competent and hard-working. Of course, different jobs may require different qualities. For example, loyalty and industry may not be enough for a management position which also requires insights and leadership.
Additional Question for Discussion What do you think is more important in getting a job, educational background or experience?
It depends on what type of job one is looking for. For an entry-level job, that means an ordinary job with low requirements, I would say most employers would first look at the applicant’s educational background. But if someone wants a middle management job or something higher, say, a manager’s position in a big company, experience would certainly play a more important role in the job hunting.
Language Focus Here are some sentences and structures that you might find useful in discussing the above questions. Two of my friends are working at Intel, the international corporation. I have worked in a business company briefly. I worked in a big company during the summer vacation as a volunteer / an intern / a part-timer. I like / dislike working in a big business company / multinational company. It’s interesting / challenging / related to my field of study / too demanding / stressful. I’d rather work in a smaller company where I’d have more opportunities to develop my talent.
Most job advertisements say that experience is needed or preferred. Those with experience are more likely to be hired. Experience and skills are often more valued than educational background. Graduates from prestigious universities are more likely to get good jobs. I wish more and more companies would start summer internship programs and offer us opportunities to gain experience. I guess a boss likes those employees who are honest / reliable / loyal / hard-working / obedient. A successful employee has good communication skills / is willing to learn new skills. Promotion is related not only to experience but also to personality and ability. The position of a leader requires more than honesty, loyalty, and industry. An employee is likely to be promoted if he or she is hard-working and loyal / is well-experienced in his or her job / is creative and innovative / is quick at decision-making /
has presence of mind at a crisis / knows how to deal with a difficult situation / is good at teamwork. In my opinion, a sense of responsibility / creativity / daring / far-sightedness / sound judgment / an enterprising spirit / PR skills is / are the most important thing(s) in a leader at top levels of a company. In my view, a business leader should be able to invest wisely / know how and when to invest and when to stop. A top-level leader of a business company must have good interpersonal relationships with his or her employees and clients.
Listening Tasks
Who Is to Be Promoted? Word Bank personnel n. the people who work for an organization 员工 chairperson meeting 会议主持人 n. a person who is in charge of a
a. showing much tender feeling rather than reasonable or practical judgment; emotional 感情用事的
a. full of energy, new ideas, the will to succeed, etc.; forceful, energetic 充 满活力的;有魄力的
know the ropes
(informal) to know how to do a particular job 掌握诀窍 (the ropes: the rules one needs to know to get sth. done)
in case or being true 以防 put one’s name forward 毛遂自荐 Jeffrey Clive Rita Hayden Palmer
as an action against sth. happening
to apply for a position that is open
(姓) (男子名) (女子名) (姓) (姓)
(The Personnel Department is having a meeting. Joan Black is the chairperson of the meeting.) Joan: I think John Jeffrey’s already been with the company for 20 years. Surely he’s not still expecting promotion. Do you agree, Peter? Peter: Well, in my opinion, John’s always shown great loyalty to the company. It’s time this was rewarded. What do you think, Clive? Clive: It’s not just a question of loyalty. Would he be any good at the job? He would need to manage a small team ? he’s got no experience of that yet. Peter: chance! Joan: We can’t afford to be sentimental. I don’t think he’s the man for the job. He’s always been a follower, not a leader. Let’s move on to the other candidates. Rita Hayden has already shown great personnel He never will have any experience unless we give him a
management skill, I feel, even if she’s … Peter: Oh, come on, Joan! Rita’s still learning her trade! We can’t afford to take a risk with someone so inexperienced.
Clive: I agree with Peter. I favor Susan Palmer. She’s got a lot of experience. She’s already worked in the department on other occasions so she knows the ropes and she’s … Joan: But Susan’s always struck me as a bit cautious. We need someone dynamic for this job. Peter: I’d agree with Clive. I think Susan Palmer would do a good job. Maybe she’s a bit cautious but she’s solid, reliable …We need those qualities too. Joan: Well, if you’re both so sure, I suppose I’ll have to agree. Still, we’ll wait a week before confirming it just in case any other applicants put their names forward.
Language and Culture Notes
  1. Background information Competition between businesses for market share can be very aggressive. However, the competition between modern enterprises, in the final analysis, consists in the competition for talented personnel. It is already an indisputable fact in the world of business. Wise employers consider their employees as their company’s greatest assets. A company needs every employee’s loyalty of service and sustained reliability. What’s more, it needs good leaders at various levels, who are expected
to have professional expertise and a dynamic personality. Besides, they must not only be able to do their own work well but be good at teamwork. People working in a company all dream of promotion. It usually takes two or three years for an entry-level clerk to get promoted to a junior-level position. But one may have to wait much longer (sometimes as long as 10 years or more or never) for a promotion to a middle management position. When a position is open, employees who think themselves qualified for the job can put their names forward as candidates. The management will then discuss their strengths and weaknesses to make a decision as to whom to promote.
  2. We can’t afford to be sentimental. We can’t consider only our feelings. It will be harmful to the interests of our company.
  3. We can’t afford to take a risk with someone so inexperienced. If we promote such an inexperienced person we might face serious consequences.
  4. she knows the ropes she knows how to do her job well
  5. But Susan’s always struck me as a bit cautious.
I am under the impression that Susan is a little too careful.
Exercise 1 Listen to the conversation and answer the questions below.
  1. What are the speakers doing? They are discussing which candidate is more suitable for a vacant position in the company.
  2. What position is vacant in this company? Leader of a small group.
  3. What is the most important quality this position requires, according to Joan? Being dynamic.
  4. Why won’t John Jeffrey be promoted? Because he has no experience in leadership.
  5. Why couldn’t the company give John a chance? Because he has always been a follower, not a leader.
Exercise 2 Listen to the conversation again and complete the table below. Name of candidate Strength Weakness Those who Those support his/her /
who are against his
promotion /her promotion John Jeffrey Loyal; has been with No experience Peter Joan and Clive
the company in being a for twenty years Rita Hayden Has personnel management skill Susan Palmer Experienced, A bit too solid and reliable cautious, not dynamic enough Peter and Clive; Joan (agrees with reservation) Joan (at first) Lacks experience Joan Peter and Clive leader
Speaking Tasks
Communicative Function: Talking About One’s Occupation Inquiring About Responding to Inquiries About
Someone’s Occupation What’s your job / occupation? What sort of work do you do? What do you do for a living?
Someone’s Occupation I’m a clerk / computer programmer / manager / consultant. I work at a bank / college / hospital. I’m in personnel / sales / marketing / engineering / designing. I have a job as secretary to the president of my company / vice-president / general manager of a company.
How many hours do you have to work? How many hours a day do you work? What are your working hours?
We go on shift / start working at eight in the morning and go off shift / finish at five in the afternoon. We have a lunch break from 12:00 to1:
  00. I work eight hours a day, from nine to five. I have flexible working hours.
Does the job pay well? What’s the pay like? Do you get a good salary?
Quite well. Not too well. Just so- so. Just about enough to keep me going. I have a high / low income. I make quite a lot here. My job pays quite well. I get a monthly salary of … yuan.
How do you like your job / occupation?
I like it very much. It’s hard to say. I find my job interesting. I find my job boring.
Is your new job difficult?
It’s demanding / challenging / challenging but interesting. It’s hard but stimulating.
How about employee benefits?
We have very good benefits. We have a very good benefit policy. It does not cover everything but it does cover the most important things ? health insurance and retirement plan.
Additional Vocabulary Workplace import and export company accounting firm Occupation sales representative accountant computer Position CEO (首席执行官) CFO (财务总监) controller (财务主 管) executive director assistant director president (总裁) senior vice-president vice-president assistant vice-president general manager
utility company (公 programmer 用事业公司) bank joint venture company (合资公 司) stock exchange (股 票交易所) securities company (证券公司) database management engineer consultant lawyer HR manager (人事 经理) public relations manager
real estate company marketing manager (房地产公司) media / PR / advertising firms / agency / company (传媒/公共关系/
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