Learn Business English - Listening lesson 4
Interview - Exercise 1
The motor industry may be having a hard time in some areas. But at ALC, a small vehicle plant in the UK, business has never been better. I have with me today ALC’s managing director, Michael Wright. Michael, your company has a long history, doesn’t it?
Yes, ALC began life as a small workshop that specialised in fixing lorries that had broken down, before moving into making lorry components for garages doing repairs. Then later on the company went on to design and build special vehicles according to customers’ requirements.
And when did you join the company?
In the 1980s – after a career in engineering. I wanted something different and I’d always been interested in production, so I came in to manage that side of the business. Some time later a couple of colleagues invited me to become a director.
Business English Space - Conversation
Sue: There’s quite a lot to talk about.
David: Well Sue, it doesn’t matter if we don’t cover everything today.
Sue: OK, David, let’s see how we go.
David: Things are looking good, aren’t they?
Sue: Definitely. I’m very pleased. We’ve gone beyond our sales targets. Our share price is stable. And, of course, you know Eurocom were going to move but they’ve chosen to keep their contract with us after all. But winning the prize for British Exporter of the year was the best thing, as far as I’m concerned
David: On the other hand, there is the problem of rising costs.
Sue: Yes, even though we avoided another rent increase…
David: But all those expensive newspaper advertisements…
Sue: Yes, that’s the real problem. Although they are partly balanced by the decrease in import duties.
David: Mmm …
David: Meanwhile, you want to limit our expenses where possible?
Sue: Yes, certainly. Actually, the budget for entertaining clients is fairly reasonable, and very necessary. It’s the cost of phone calls that worries me. It seems far too high.
David: Everyone should be using e-mail wherever possible if you want to save on communications generally. Um, we’ve already got cheaper paper from the printers, which is a start.
Sue: Now on to training. We need to be clear where this demand for training is coming from.
David: Well, our own success, basically. Our customer base is expanding all the time. Our staff…
Sue: ….who are up to date with new computer applications…
David: Yes, they’re OK for that, but they have to deal with all these new clients. They’ll need a wider range of skills than they have at the moment…
Sue: We could contact the business school. Perhaps they could send us some of their trainers.
David: Or what about the courses they run?
Sue: But then again, it seems a pity not to use our own training department.
David: Doing it ourselves, you mean? Well, yes … after all, it’s the people here who know what we do best and can really understand our needs.
Sue: I agree
Sue: OK, what’s next?
David: Um, there’s the printing of the new brochure.
Sue: Is the basic information changing?
David: I shouldn’t think so but the whole thing really needs to look a bit better. The current one just doesn’t give the right idea at all…
Sue: Much too old-fashioned. Yes, a new presentation, a proper lay-out. What about out-of-date products?
David: Steve’s already taken them out.
David: Now, do you want to talk about the supplier situation?
Sue: You mean the situation with Johnson’s?
David: Yes, they’re just not giving us what we need. Their prices have always seemed very reasonable, but the products aren’t good enough. There’s no point being cheap and on time if we don’t actually get what we want.
Sue: Well, we need to deal with the situation. What contact have you had with them?
David: I wrote to them twice last month, and it didn’t seem to have any real effect. We’ve looked at every order as it comes in, so we already have a fairly clear picture of the problem.
Sue: Hmm… I think you should start by ringing some other firms, see if they can match Johnson’s deal. Then I’ll make a decision.
David: Right. Great, we did manage to discuss everything.
Sue: Yes, good.
Life Advice That Doesn’t Suck – Mark Manson:
“If there’s a “secret” or “hack” to learning a new language, it’s this: hours and hours of awkward and strenuous conversation with people better than you in that language.1 An hour of conversation (with corrections and a dictionary for reference) is as good as five hours in a classroom and 10 hours with a language course by yourself.”