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The new shape of shopping

Marketing is facing new challenges in the retail area.

Shopping in the UK had its golden age in the 1980's. There was buoyant consumer confidence, new technological products,
such as CD's, stimulated demand, and edge-of-town developments boomed. However, the new retail environment is much
more complex, competitive and uncertain. New strategies will be vital for survival.

Changing demographics
The "grey market" will double by 2020. The over-60's will be richer and have more leisure. However, it is not easy to predict
their shopping habits. Just what product mix will match them? How far will the over-60's take on board new technologies and

There has been much talk of the emergent "green consumer". Yet it is the falling demographic sectors who shop most greenly -
the young.

Reflecting the uncertain and fragmented nature of the future retail landscape, marketing has had to become increasingly
complex and "micro". Time and effort is going into targeting niche markets. Markets are being analysed not only in terms of
class or area but according to minute differentiations in tastes, lifestyles and attitudes.

The markets opened up by out-of-centre supermarkets are becoming saturated. One response has been a move downmarket
into deep discount supermarkets. Some experts predict a growth of teleshopping helped by the spread in cable networks. One
spin-off of teleshopping, incidentally, will be a rise in specifically targeted advertising via such networks. Instead of
broadcasting adverts to the old "admass", the new buzz word is "narrowcasting".

Retailing will become more international. In the UK the pioneers in deep discounting were continentals such as Aldi and Netto.
Recently, the Japanese have been buying big stores such as Simpson and Aquascutum. Many British now cross the channel to
shop in France - the cross-channel spree has become a national institution.

In general, however, the British consumer may stay different from his neighbours on the continent. A recent survey of food
retailers, for example, showed that while "lifestyle" and "environment" were important factors for continental consumers,
"cheapness" and "safety" remained the Anglo-Saxon priorities.

What's in a logo?
What attracts customers? Obviously the quality of a product does, but visual images contribute a great deal. It is not only the
image provided by the packaging that counts but the whole corporate identity of the company.

There are now many products and services on the market which are similar in content though produced by different
companies. It is vital, therefore, for a company to distinguish itself from its competitors by having a strong company image
which is immediately recognisable.

Logos are part of this image. They are symbols which often include a name or initials to identify a company. The logo
establishes a visual identity for the company, just as different groups of young people express their identity through hairstyles
and clothes. All groups from all cultures and throughout the ages have used colours and symbols to show their identity.

In different cultures, different colours carry different meanings. Some colours may be connected with coldness in one culture
and with warmth in another; some colours represent life in one culture but death in another. International companies have,
therefore, to make sure sure that their logos will not be misunderstood or misinterpreted in different countries.

The logos of large international companies are instantly recognisable throughout the world. One of the most famous logos is
that of Coca Cola. The design of the words "Coca Cola" has not changed since 1886, although the surrounding design has been
changed from time to time.

Many companies have, over the years, renewed their logos to fit in with contemporary design and to present more powerful
images. Company logos can be emotive and can inspire loyalty by influencing the subconscious. Some logos incorporate an
idea of the product; the steering wheel in the Mercedes logo, for example, and the aeroplane tail of Alitalia.

Logos are used on letterheads, packaging and brochures as well as on the product itself. They may also appear in newspapers
or on television as part of an advertising campaign.

Companies need to have a strong corporate identity. The logo helps to promote this image and to fix it in the minds of the
consumers. Logos, therefore, need to be original and to have impact and style.

Reading for meaning

When you read an article, you can often guess the words you do not know from the context.

Find words or expressions in the above article which have the following meanings:

a. flourishing

b. accept

c. very small

d. purchasing goods shown on television for immediate sale

e. highly fashionable and immediate slogan

f. lavish shopping trip

Start again!

Business English
Write the correct word (from the list on the right) to describe each picture:





4. water





10. phone (*called a "mobile" in British English)

Write the correct word (from the list on the right) to describe each picture:







7. room


Write the correct word (from the list on the right) to describe each picture:


1. file


3. to take

4. / name tag





10. card
Write the correct word (from the list on the right) to describe each picture:




3. paper


5. business

6. office


9. center


Write the correct word (from the list on the right) to describe each picture:


1. to

2. rate

4. machine


6. cash



10. -its
(Choose the best response for each one)

1. He is the head of the accounting department = He's __________________________ of the accounting department.

in charge


in control

2. I'd like to __________________________ you to Lisa, our database specialist.




3. I'm __________________________ manager at Disney. (There are many managers there)



4. I'm __________________________ CEO of Herbalife International. (There is only one CEO)



5. James always does __________________________ well.



his job

6. You should always call the customer by their __________________________, not their first name.

last name/surname

second name

familiar name

7. I remember faces very well = I'm __________________________

good with faces

good at faces

good in faces
8. Do you have any __________________________ on you?

cards of business

work cards

business cards

9. Another word for colleague is __________________________.




10. Our business is __________________________. We have to hire two more people.

slowing down


growing up
(Choose the best response for each one)

1. Can you finish this __________________________ 5:00 PM today?




2. I don't think he's __________________________ ( = here) today.




3. My __________________________ change all the time. ( = what I have to do changes all the time)




4. It's a manager's job to __________________________ duties to an employee.




5. Could you please __________________________ ( = help) me with this?




6. He is always very __________________________.



7. This has to be done __________________________.

as soon as possible

as soon as probable

as soon possible

8. I got pregnant and was on __________________________ for six months.


(maternity) leave


9. We were unable to come to an __________________________. ( = We were unable to agree)




10. I don't work full-time. I work __________________________.



(Choose the best response for each one)

1. Many companies require you to wear a nice shirt and a __________________________ to work.




2. Lowest paying jobs = __________________________ jobs

Small wage

Minimum wage

Little wage

3. I always have a __________________________ attitude. ( = I'm always optimistic)




4. I want to __________________________ for this seminar.


sign up
sign in

5. Victoria was __________________________ today.

late 15 minutes

late by 15 minutes

15 minutes late

6. To be __________________________ means to always be on time.




7. The amount of work that you have to do is called your __________________________.




8. Please let me know __________________________.

through email

by email

with email

9. I'm sorry, he just __________________________ ( = left the office). He'll be back in half an hour.

stormed out


stepped out

10. He is always __________________________ to help me.



(Choose the best response for each one)

1. George doesn't have a job. He's __________________________.




2. It's a lot of work, but I can __________________________ it.




3. Every meeting has an __________________________. This is a list of things that you have to discuss (go over)
during the meeting.




4. There is no __________________________ on this = Not everyone agrees about this.




5. If something is mandatory, __________________________.

it does not have to be done

it is has to be done by a manager

it has to be done

6. I think I should __________________________ ( = take part) in these discussions.




7. I'm sorry, but could you please __________________________ ( = explain) what you mean by that?



clear out

8. Most meetings are held in the __________________________.

lunch room



9. You and I make a __________________________! = You and I work really well together!

great duo

great team

great friends

10. I'd like to hear your __________________________ about this. ( = I'd like to know what you think about this)

opinion/ thoughts


(Choose the best response for each one)

1. We had to __________________________ some money to expand our business.



2. Victoria is very rich. Her and her husband made a ___________________ ( = a lot of money) in real estate.




3. I can't invest in your business because I can't ___________________ ( = find/gather) the money to do that.

come down with

come up with

come to

4. A ___________________ executive is someone with a very high position within a company.




5. Tom is not popular, but he is ___________________ by all the employees.




6. My manager almost never ___________________ my work. He's always very happy with way I do things.




7. Another way of saying "he was fired" is "he was ___________________."

shown the door

kicked out the door

cleaning the door

8. You didn't know he was going to quit? No, I guess I missed all the ___________________ signs. ( = signs that
something was wrong)




9. Do you think it's ___________________ to buy things online?




10. A company that hasn't been around very long (a new company) is often called a ___________________.
start-up (company)

green company

newbie business

(Choose the best response for each one)

1. We need the board of directors to _____________ ( = support) this proposal.

get in

get up

get behind

2. I have to take Friday _____________. ( = I can't come to work on Friday)




3. I had a _____________ convincing the CEO to support my proposal.

bad luck

hard time

hard luck

4. Our company _____________ ( = makes) bottle caps.




5. We're the biggest _____________ of fireworks in the country.




6. I can't ___________________ the meeting today ( = I won't be able to attend) - I've got an important project
that's due this afternoon.




7. I recommend that we hire another web developer. John can't ___________________ all the work by himself.




8. Let's start = Let's get ___________________



9. Let's ___________________ = Let's continue

move up

move on

get some things straight

10. Veronica, could you please get ___________________ with Bob ( = contact Bob) this afternoon?

in touch


(Choose the best response for each one)

1. We _____________ ( = finished) this contract last month.




2. You have $100 _____________ ( = that you have to pay) on your account.




3. I had a _____________ convincing the CEO to support my proposal.

hard time

bad luck

hard luck

4. I learned from this experience = It was a _____________ experience




5. You will receive 50% _____________ ( = before you do the work), and the rest when you finish the contract.




6. I have never ___________________ ( = had experience with) these types of clients.


dealt with

7. How do I _____________ doing this? = What are the steps I should take in order to do this?

go about

go around

go out

8. He spent a great _____________ ( = a lot) of time and money.




9. I'm not sure which loan I should _____________.


apply to

apply for

10. It's _____________ that you'll get rejected = You probably will not get rejected



(Choose the best response for each one)

1. We _____________ ( = finished) this contract last month.




2. You have $100 _____________ ( = that you have to pay) on your account.




3. I had a _____________ convincing the CEO to support my proposal.

hard time

bad luck

hard luck

4. I learned from this experience = It was a _____________ experience




5. You will receive 50% _____________ ( = before you do the work), and the rest when you finish the contract.



6. I have never ___________________ ( = had experience with) these types of clients.



dealt with

7. How do I _____________ doing this? = What are the steps I should take in order to do this?

go about

go around

go out

8. He spent a great _____________ ( = a lot) of time and money.




9. I'm not sure which loan I should _____________.


apply to

apply for

10. It's _____________ that you'll get rejected = You probably will not get rejected



(Choose the best response for each one)

1. Following months of ________________________ a successful strategy, we finally succeeded.

trying to get developed

trying to develop

try developing

2. With ________________________ ( = As for) Jim's project - let's leave that for the next meeting.

requirement for

renowned for

regard to

3. We plan to implement this in the ________________________ months. ( = in the near future)



4. There's ________________________ ( = It's very clear) that he is unhappy working here.

little doubt

a little doubt


5. He ________________________ two examples = He gave/showed two examples




6. If something is ________________________, it gives you the wrong idea.




7. Digital media is ________________________ changing the marketing world. ( = it is causing big changes)




8. We don't ________________________ this = We agree that this is true




9. This product never saw the ________________________. ( = it was never launched/released)


light of day


10. This serves to ________________________ us that we should never neglect our core customers.



(Choose the best response for each one)

1. We haven't been very ________________________ in promoting our products. ( = we haven't been promoting our
products too much)



2. We're investing money in areas where we think we can grow and be ________________________.




3. The inflation rate has been ________________________ higher by rising food and energy costs.




4. The ________________________ results surprised everyone.



beat expectations

5. I expect this to become the next big ________________________. ( = popular thing)




6. Job opportunities are sometimes referred to as "job ________________________."




7. We expect this to ________________________ ( = change) in the months ahead.

turn around

turn out


8. They are the world's largest ________________________ of anti-inflammatory drugs.




9. We used to make these cups from glass, but we ________________________ to plastic in 2004.




10. Our factory is inspected on a ________________________. ( = regularly)

regular basis
scheduled visit

time to time

Choose the correct synonym for each of the bolded words/expressions:

1. web campaigns = _________________ campaigns




2. catering to these types of customers = _________________ these types of customers

providing services for

unwillingly servicing


3. increased level of interaction = increased level of _________________




4. online video providers are getting in on the race = online video providers are _________________

not doing too well

entering the market


5. the traditional 30-second TV spot = the traditional 30-second TV _________________




6. to engage the viewer in the online-viewing experience = to __________________ the viewer in the online-viewing




7. these ads are _________________ made for the online channel = these ads are expressly made for the online




8. to improve ad relevance = to improve ad _________________



9. _________________ video technology = personalized video technology




10. a brand experience that a customer will remember = a _________________ brand experience



(Choose the best response for each one)

1. During the recession, marketers have learned that interactive marketing is ______________. ( = the correct


the way to go

a way to be

2. Marketing that involves a "conversation" between the prospective client and the company is called
______________ marketing.




3. He has already predicted ______________ likely conditions. ( = what the conditions will be like in the

in the future



4. Advertising ______________ = Media for advertising (TV, radio, mobile, online videos, etc.)




5. I doubt the ______________ of this approach.




6. Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, and podcasts are all examples of ______________ media.



7. We have to ______________ the advertisement to this particular need. = We have to adjust the
advertisement to meet/address this particular need.




8. If an advertising campaign _______________, that means it achieved the opposite effect of what it
wanted to achieve.


backs away

backs down

9. He's brought a lot of ______________. = He has obtained a lot of contracts for the company.

work out

work in

work through

10. A _______________ campaign = A (very) decisive campaign




1. A __________________________ is someone who buys and sells stock.



insurance broker

2. An insurance broker will help you find the best insurance __________________________ at the best




3. An tax consultant is someone who can __________________________ you on how to pay less tax.




4. A tax-__________________________ (or "IRS auditor" in the USA) is someone who makes sure that
you're paying enough taxes.



5. A company's finance _________________ (also known as a CFO) is usually that company's chief




6. A bank _______________________ is a bank employee who deals directly with most customers.




7. A bank manager is the person responsible for a particular _______________________ of a bank.




8. A financial advisor is someone who advises people on how to __________________________ their

finances. ( = financial affairs)




9. My __________________________ always prepares my tax return for me.




10. A venture capitalist is basically _________________________.

an investor

an accountant

a manager

(Choose the best response for each one)

1. The partners of the accounting firm gathered in Tampa for their _________________ meeting.




2. His last company owes millions in _________________ taxes.



not paid

3. Tax _________________ help wealthy investors hide millions of dollars in taxable income.



4. Lawyers or accountants who work in the same firm are often referred to as _________________ , not "employees".




5. My accountant advised me that this approach would be much more _________________. ( = profitable)




6. I would welcome an opportunity to analyze your company's __________________ ( = financial records) in detail




7. He's one of our __________________ clients = He hired us to do audits for his company.




8. CFO stands for "chief __________________ officer"




9. I'm not questioning your tax __________________ - I just think that this approach would not work for our




10. Microsoft __________________ nearly 60% of its total United States revenues from software sales.




1. Last July's crisis sent financial markets into a ___________________. ( = they went down considerably)



2. John A. Thain is often credited with ___________________ the New York Stock Exchange.




3. He really turned this business ___________________ = He really made a big difference/ improvement.




4. The new direction ___________________ among investors. ( = made investors very nervous)

nerved up

fueled anxiety

made anxious

5. A year after he arrived, he ___________________ a deal to merge with a rival bank.




6. He took a ___________________ ( = agreed to earn less money) to work here.

pay cut

salary increase


7. In finance, a "writedown" refers to the process of reducing the book value of an asset because it is
___________________ ( = worth too much) compared to the market value.




8. That bank did better than was expected last year because it took risks that it didn't fully ___________________ ( =
let people know about).




9. Banks usually ___________________ higher rates on long-term loans.

in charge



10. Great news! Our bank is now ___________________ higher rates on certain savings and checking accounts.



Unfortunately, mistakes sometimes happen. When this is the case, customer service representatives need to handle
consumers' complaints. It's also important for customer service reps to gather information to help resolve the problem.
The following short dialog provides some helpful phrases to deal with complaints:

Customer: Good morning. I purchased a computer from your company last month. Unfortunately, I'm not satisfied
with my new computer. I'm having a lot of problems.
Customer Care Representative: What seems to be the problem?

Customer: I'm having problems with my Internet connection, as well as repeated crashes when I try to run my word-
processing software.
Customer Care Representative:Did you read the instructions that came with the computer?

Customer: Well, yes. But the troubleshooting section was no help.

Customer Care Representative: What happened exactly?

Customer: Well, the Internet connection doesn't work. I think the modem is broken. I'd like a replacement.
Customer Care Representative: How were you using the computer when you tried to connect to the Internet?

Customer: I was trying to connect to the Internet! What kind of question is that?!
Customer Care Representative:I understand you're upset, sir. I'm just trying to understand the problem. I'm afraid
it's not our policy to replace computers because of glitches.

Customer: I bought this computer with the software pre-loaded. I haven't touched anything.
Customer Care Representative: We’re sorry that you’ve had a problem with this computer. Could you bring in your
computer? I promise you we'll check the settings and get back to you immediately.

Customer: OK, that will work for me.

Customer Care Representative: Is there anything else I need to know about this that I haven’t thought to ask?

Customer: No, I'd just like to be able to use my computer to connect to the Internet.
Customer Care Representative: We'll do our best to get your computer working as soon as possible.

Key Vocabulary

customer service representatives (reps)

gather information
resolve the problem
deal with complaints
not our policy

Key Phrases

What seems to be the problem?

What happened exactly?
I'm afraid it's not our policy to ...
I promise you I'll ...
Did you read the instructions that came with the ...?
How were you using the ...?
I understand you're upset, sir.
I'm just trying to understand the problem.
We’re sorry that you’ve had a problem with this product.
Is there anything else I need to know about this that I haven’t thought to ask?
Example Job Interview Questions and Answers

Congratulations! You have applied for a job and now you are getting ready for that important job interview. Your
English is excellent and you are looking forward to making a good impression on your future (hopefully) boss. Now,
you need to make sure that you also have the right type of English for that job interview.

The job interview in English contains specific questions and appropriate answers. It also requires a certain flexibility in
your usage of tenses. This feature provides tips on job interview questions and answers in English.

When you walk in the room the very first impression you make on the interviewer can have a great influence on the
rest of the interview. It is important that you introduce yourself, shake hands, and are friendly. The first question is
often a "breaking the ice" (establish a rapport) type of question. Don't be surprised if the interviewer asks you
something like:

• How are you today?

• Did you have any trouble finding us?
• What do you think of the weather lately?

Don't be surprised by the friendly tone. The interviewer wants to put you at ease (help you relax). Answer the question
without going into too much detail. The language you use should be simple but polite, for example;

How are you today?

I'm fine thank you, and you?
I'm well thank you.

So, so
Not so well
What is most important?

Talking about your experience and credentials (qualifications) is the most important part of any job interview. Your
qualifications include your education from High School on and any special training you may have done in the past. Your
experience is any work that you have done that is directly or indirectly related to the job you are applying for.


Remember that your education took place in the past. Therefore you need to use the past tenses, for example:

I attended the University of Helsinki from 1987 to 1993.

I graduated with a degree in agricultural planning.

If you are currently a student you should use the following present tenses:

I am currently studying at the University of New York and will graduate with a degree in Economics in the spring.
I am studying English at the Borough Community College.

Remember to include any training you may have had when talking about your education. This includes any computer
training, correspondence courses, etc. Make sure to mention your English studies. This is very important as English is
not your first language and the employer may be concerned about this fact. Assure the employer that you are
continuing to improve your English skills by any courses you may be taking, or by saying that you study a certain
number of hours a week to improve your skills.

Experience and Qualifications

Work experience is by far the most important topic of any job interview (at least in the United States and Britain).
Therefore, it is important to explain what experience you have in detail. Generally, employers want to know exactly
what you did and how well you accomplished your tasks. This is not the time to be modest. Be confident, and talk
freely about your accomplishments in past employment.

The tenses you should use are the following:

When talking about current employment be careful to use the present perfect or present perfect continuous. This
signals that you are still performing these tasks at your current job, for example:

Smith and Co. have employed me for the last 3 years as a salesperson.
I have been creating customer contacts for 6months.

When talking about past employers use the past tenses to signal that you are no longer working for that company, for

I was employed by Jackson's from 1989 to 1992 as a clerk.

I worked as a receptionist at the Ritz while I was living in New York.

Talking about Responsibilities

Most importantly, you will need to demonstrate your qualifications and skills, which are required for the job you are
applying for. The job skills that you have acquired in the past may not have been for the same exact job. Therefore, it
is important to show how the capabilities you do have relate to the job you are applying for.

I remember a wonderful example of adapting skills to fit the job desired. I had a student from Moscow who had worked
as the manager of an important theater in Moscow. Unfortunately, he had to start from the beginning in New York and
therefore wanted to get a job as a rodent exterminator (someone who kills rats!). When asked what kind of experience
he had, he replied that, as the manager of the theater, he had had to make sure that the theater was always rodent
free and was therefore capable of doing the job well! This is a fantastic example of the type of adaptability most
employers in the United States are looking for.

On the next page you will find a list of appropriate vocabulary to use in the job interviewing process. Good luck!

Essential Job Interview Tips and Tricks II

Last week I discussed some of the basics of interviewing for a job in English and specific
job related vocabulary. This week I would like to focus on some of the common questions
that are asked during the interview and appropriate responses to these questions.

Interviewer: Tell me about yourself.

Candidate: I was born and raised in Milan, Italy. I attended the University of Milan and
received my master's degree in Economics. I have worked for 12 years as a financial
consultant in Milan for various companies including Rossi Consultants, Quasar Insurance
and Sardi and Sons. I enjoy playing tennis in my free time and learning languages.

Candidate: I've just graduated from the University of Singapore with a degree in
Computers. During the summers, I worked as a systems administrator for a small
company to help pay for my education.

Comment: This question is meant as an introduction. Do not focus too specifically on

any one area. The above question will often be used to help the interviewer choose what
h/she would like to ask next. While it is important to give an overall impression of who
you are, make sure to concentrate on work related experience. Work related experience
should always be the central focus of any interview (work experience is more important
than education in most English speaking countries).

Interviewer: What type of position are you looking for?

Candidate: I'm interested in an entry level (beginning) position.
Candidate: I'm looking for a position in which I can utilize my experience.
Candidate: I would like any position for which I qualify.
Comment:You should be willing to take an entry level position in an English speaking
company as most of these companies expect non-nationals to begin with such a position.
In the United States, most companies provide many opportunities for growth, so don't be
afraid to start from the beginning!

Interviewer: Are you interested in a full-time or part-time position?

Candidate: I am more interested in a full-time position. However, I would also consider
a part-time position.

Comment: Make sure to leave open as many possibilities as possible. Say you are
willing to take any job, once the job has been offered you can always refuse if the job
does not appeal (not interest) to you.

Interviewer: Can you tell me about your responsibilities at your last job?
Candidate: I advised customers on financial matters. After I consulted the customer, I
completed a customer inquiry form and catalogued the information in our database. I
then collaborated with colleagues to prepare the best possible package for the client. The
clients were then presented with a summarized report on their financial activities that I
formulated on a quarterly basis.

Comment: Notice the amount of detail necessary when you are talking about your
experience. One of the most common mistakes made by foreigners when discussing their
former employment is to speak too generally. The employer wants to know exactly what
you did and how you did it; the more detail you can give the more the interviewer knows
that you understand the type of work. Remember to vary your vocabulary when talking
about your responsibilities. Also, do not begin every sentence with "I". Use the passive
voice, or an introductory clause to help you add variety to your presentation

Interviewer: What is your greatest strength?

Candidate: I work well under pressure. When there is a deadline (a time by which the
work must be finished), I can focus on the task at hand (current project) and structure
my work schedule well. I remember one week when I had to get 6 new customer reports
out by Friday at 5. I finished all the reports ahead of time without having to work

Candidate: I am an excellent communicator. People trust me and come to me for

advice. One afternoon, my colleague was involved with a troublesome (difficult) customer
who felt he was not being served well. I made the customer a cup of coffee and invited
both my colleague and the client to my desk where we solved the problem together.

Candidate: I am a trouble shooter. When there was a problem at my last job, the
manager would always ask me to solve it. Last summer, the LAN server at work crashed.
The manager was desperate and called me in (requested my help) to get the LAN back
online. After taking a look at the daily backup, I detected the problem and the LAN was
up and running (working) within the hour.

Comment: This is not the time to be modest! Be confident and always give examples.
Examples show that you are not only repeating words you have learned, but actually do
possess that strength.

Interviewer: What is your greatest weakness?

Candidate: I am overzealous (work too hard) and become nervous when my co-workers
are not pulling their weight (doing their job). However, I am aware of this problem, and
before I say anything to anyone, I ask myself why the colleague is having difficulties.

Candidate: I tend to spend too much time making sure the customer is satisfied.
However, I began setting time-limits for myself If I noticed this happening.

Comment: This is a difficult question. You need to mention a weakness that is actually a
strength. Make sure that you always mention how you try to improve the weakness.

Interviewer:Why do you want to work for Smith and Sons?

Candidate: After following your firms progress for the last 3 years, I am convinced that
Smith and Sons are becoming one of the market leaders and I would like to be part of
the team.

Candidate: I am impressed by the quality of your products. I am sure that I would be a

convincing salesman because I truly believe that the Atomizer is the best product on the
market today.

Comment: Prepare yourself for this question by becoming informed about the company.
The more detail you can give, the better you show the interviewer that you understand
the company.

Interviewer: When can you begin?

Candidate: Immediately.
Candidate: As soon as you would like me to begin.

Comment: Show your willingness to work!

The above questions represent some of the most basic questions asked on any job
interview in English. Probably the most important aspect of interviewing in English is
giving detail. As a speaker of English as a second language, you might be shy about
saying complicated things. However, this is absolutely necessary as the employer is
looking for an employee who knows his or her job. If you provide detail, the interviewer
will know that you feel comfortable in that job. Don't worry about making mistakes in
English. It is much better to make simple grammar mistakes and provide detailed
information about your experience than to say grammatically perfect sentences without
any real content.

I hope these features help you to improve your job interviewing skills. Practice your
replies often to these and other questions. Sit down with a friend and act out the
interview. By repeating these phrases you will gain much needed confidence.
Use the words in the boxes and the cha

From week 1 to week 5, profits __________

week 8, profits _____________________
million at week 8. From week 8 to week 15 pr
_______________________ at week 11. T
_______________________ with a _____
week 16 and a ______________________
week 23, profits ____________________

An important step to improving your vocabulary is to not only learn the appropriate terms, but to learn the words that
commonly go together with those terms. These word combinations are often, adjective + noun, verb + noun, and noun
+ verb pairs. Each of these collocation sheets provide collocations for commonly used words arranged into categories.
Each collocation is illustrated with an example sentence.

Adjectives + "Money"

The following list includes adjectives that are commonly used with the noun 'money'. Adjectives that are similar in
meaning are grouped together. Each adjective or adjective group has an example sentence to illustrate usage.


He thinks working in marketing is easy money. I think he'll find it's quite a different story.

bonus, extra

If you complete the project before next Tuesday, there'll be some bonus money.


The best way to feel good about any purchase is if it's been made with hard-earned money.

government, public, taxpayers'

It's not right to waste taxpayers' money on projects that benefit those who are already wealthy.

pocket, spending

Would you like a little extra pocket money this weekend?

gas, lunch, petrol, rent, etc

Could you lend me some lunch money today?

prize, grant, scholarship

They won a lot of grant money for their research into DNA.

stolen, dirty, bribe, ransom

I don't want your dirty money!

hush, protection

That gang is demanding protection money from every store on the street. It's scandalous!

pension, retirement
We plan to move to Hawaii with our retirement money.

counterfeit, fake

The police discovered more than $2 million in fake money.

Verb + "Money"

The following list includes verbs that are commonly followed by the noun 'money' or an amount of a particular type of
money or currency. Verbs that are similar in meaning are grouped together. Each verb or verb group has an example
sentence to illustrate usage.

coin, print

The government printed a lot of money in 2001.


Let's count your money and see if you have enough to buy that.

bring in, earn, make,

The company brought in more than $4 million.


Could I borrow some money for this weekend?


I'll lend you some money until next month.

bank, deposit, pay in, pay into the bank, put in the bank

I deposited a large amount of money last Friday.

draw out, get out, take out, withdraw

She took $500 out of our account.

pay out, shell out, spend

They paid out more than $300 dollars for that lamp.

fritter away, squander, throw away

I hate it when you squander our savings!

hoard, save, set aside, stash away

They set aside $200 each week for savings.

contribute, donate, give

They donated more than $200,000 to charity last year.

give back, pay back, refund, repay

I'll pay you back the money by the end of next week.


She owes Thomas a lot of money.


Let's share the money we've found!

accept, take

I'm afraid I can't accept your money.

be worth

That painting is worth a lot of money.

change, exchange

I'd like to change twenty dollars please. Could you give me four five dollar bills?

allocate, earmark

The committee decided to allocate $50,000 for the project.

channel, direct, funnel

The program directs more than $5 billion to help the homeless.

embezzle, extort, siphon off, steal

He was charged with embezzling money from the company.


They used the internet to launder the stolen money.

"Money" + Verb

The following list includes verbs that commonly follow the noun 'money'. Verbs that are similar in meaning are grouped
together. Each verb or verb group has an example sentence to illustrate usage.

come from something

Money for the exhibit comes from donations to the museum.

go to something

The money goes to research.

come in , flow in, pour in

The money just kept pouring in! It was amazing!

buy something

Who says that money can't buy happiness?

"Money" + Noun

The following list includes nouns that commonly follow the noun 'money'. Nouns that are similar in meaning are
grouped together. Each noun or noun group has an example sentence to illustrate usage.

management, manager

I think you should hire a money manager for your savings.


The money supply is very tight at the moment.


You can pay by money order.

Phrases with "Money"

The following list includes phrases made with the noun 'money'. Each phrase has an example sentence to illustrate

bet money on something

Let's bet $400 dollars on the race.

get money off something

Ask if you can get some money off the display model.

get your money's worth

Make sure to spend the whole day at the park to get your money's worth.

on the money

Your prediction was on the money!

the smart money is on

The smart money is on Tom for the director's position.

throw money at something

Don't just throw money at the project. Make sure you demand results.

throw your money around

Peter throws his money around like it meant nothing.

Adjectives + "Equipment"

The following list are adjectives that are commonly used with the noun 'equipment'. Each adjective has an example
sentence to illustrate usage.

the latest

He always buys the latest fishing equipment to make sure he catches the most fish.


They've got quite a bit of modern computer equipment in the house.


The lab uses only state-of-the-art equipment.


Our equipment is up-to-date, but not state-of-the-art.

high tech

I love browsing in stores with lots of high tech equipment.


We use sophisticated equipment to track weather across the region.


Our technical equipment is equal to any task.


Be careful when you use that equipment. It's very sensitive.


Be sure to gather all the essential equipment before you begin the experiment.

We need to get rid of that faulty equipment and buy the latest.


The school bought state-of-the-art gym equipment this year.


Office equipment manufacturers do billions in business each year.


The laboratory employs a wide range of scientific equipment.


The studio provides a wide range of electronic equipment for your needs.

Verbs + "Equipment"

buy, purchase

I've been saving to purchase the new equipment.


Best Buy sells a wide range of audio equipment.

provide, supply

Our company supplies a number of leading hospitals with medical equipment.


You'll need to ask a specialist to install this equipment.


We need to upgrade our scientific equipment.


You don't need to be a genius to operate this equipment.


This profession requires a wide range of equipment.

"Equipment" + Verbs

consist of something
The required equipment consists of two transformers and a switch.


The equipment is working now.


Unfortunately, the equipment is malfunctioning at the moment.

"Equipment" + Nouns

maker, manufacturer

There are a number of high tech equipment manufacturers in the area.

supplier, vendor

The best computer equipment vendor is down the street.


It's best to go with equipment rental for that project. Buying that technical equipment is far too expensive.

Phrases + "Equipment"

the right

Don't try that experiment without the right equipment.

the proper

Make sure to have all the proper equipment before you begin.

Reading Comprehension for Beginners - My Office

Like most offices, my office is a place where I can concentrate on my work and feel comfortable at the same time. Of
course, I have all the necessary equipment on my desk. I have the telephone next to the fax machine on the right side
of my desk. My computer is in the center of my desk with the monitor directly in front of me. I have a comfortable
office chair to sit on and some pictures of my family between the computer and the telephone. In order to help me
read, I also have a lamp near my computer which I use in the evening if I work late. There is plenty of paper in one of
the cabinet drawers. There are also staples and a stapler, paper clips, highlighters, pens and erasers in the other
drawer. In the room, there is a comfortable armchair and a sofa to sit on. I also have a low table in front of the sofa on
which there are some industry magazines.

Multiple-Choice Comprehension Check Questions

Choose the correct answer based on the reading. Click on the arrow to check your answer.

1. What do I need to do in my office? ANSWER:

A) relax B) concentrate C) study D) read magazines

2. 2. Which piece of equipment do I NOT have on my desk? ANSWER:

A) fax B) computer C) lamp D) photocopier

3. 3. Where are the pictures of my family located? ANSWER:

A) on the wall B) next to the lamp C) between the computer and the telephone D) near the fax

4. 4. I use the lamp to read: ANSWER: D

A) all day B) never C) in the morning D) in the evening

5. 5. Where do I keep the paperclips? ANSWER:

A) on the desk B) next to the lamp C) in a cabinet drawer D) next to the telephone

6. 6. What do I keep on the table in front of the sofa? ANSWER:

A) company reports B) fashion magazines C) books D) industry magazines

True Or False

Decide if the statements are 'true' or 'false' based on the reading. Click on the arrow to check your answer.

1. I work late every night. ANSWER:

2. I use highlighters to help me remember important information. ANSWER:

3. I keep reading materials that are not related to my job in the office. ANSWER:

4. It is important to me to feel comfortable at work. ANSWER:

Reading Comprehension for Beginners - A Secretary's Desk

Secretaries usually have an older computer and a telephone on their desk. The usually have an older computer
because the managers are often the first to receive the latest technological equipment. Secretaries' desks are often
tidy as they are usually tidier than the bosses. You will also find an agenda of some sort because secretaries need to
make appointments for their bosses. Secretaries' desks often have pictures of their children and families that they look
at from time to time during the day. In the past, secretaries were usually women. Today, however, more and more
men are becoming secretaries as more and more women become managers and the workplace becomes more equal.

True Or False

Decide if the statements are 'true' or 'false' based on the reading. Click on the arrow to check your answer.

1. Secretaries are usually tidier than their bosses.


2. Secretaries often have pictures of their families on their desks.


3. Secretaries usually have a new computer.


4. Secretaries make appointments for their bosses.


5. Secretaries are always women.

A Typical Manager's Desk

Managers often have desks that are surprisingly empty! These empty desks can show that the manager often travels
and is out of the office most of the time. An empty desk can also demonstrate how powerful the manager is by its
representative status. Sometimes, in the USA, you can see footmarks on the desk because some managers like to put
their feet up on the desk when they are talking on the telephone! In the States, managers put their feet up on the
desk to show that they are in control in their office. Managers usually have a laptop computer on their desk. In fact,
this laptop computer is their true desk. These days, most managers do almost all their work on their laptops. Another
thing you might find is a cell phone - another sign of the mobility most managers demand.

1. Managers often have _________ computers.

a. laptop b. beautiful c. fax


2. Some managers in the USA like to:

a. talk a lot b. put their feet up on their desk c. work from home


3. Many managers have ________ phones.

a. portable b. cell c. walkable


4. Most managers need to:

a. stay in the office b. travel a lot c. type their own letters


5. A clean, empty desk represents:

a. laziness b. power c. indecision


Starting a Small Business 101: The Essential Steps

By Darrell Zahorsky,

Starting a small business requires determination, motivation, and know-how. Here are the critical steps to provide you
with the know-how to have a successful small business startup:

Identify Your Business Opportunity: Choosing what kind of business to start can be an immobilizing task when
confronted with the multitude of opportunities. It's important to determine where your passions lie and to understand
your personality type. Yet, equally important is what skills you bring to the table and whether you are entering a dying
industry or a fast growing emerging business.


Build a Business Plan: For any start-ups, a business plan allows you to gain a better understanding of your industry
structure, competitive landscape, and the capital requirements of starting a small business. A study mentioned in
"Business Plans For Dummies" by Paul Tiffany states that companies with a business plan have 50% more profits and
revenue than non-planning businesses. Writing a business plan just makes good business sense.


Find Start-up Money: To start a business, you must invest in the business. The journey of finding start up funds will
be different for each individual. Some start ups such as consulting, requires a few thousand to get a website and
business cards whereas a retail store could need $100,000 or more. Finding the money you need may come for a
source you never thought of or may just end up being the frugal bootstrap method.


Name Your Business: What's in a business name? Everything and nothing. The right business name will help
distinguish you from a sea of bland competitors, provide your customers with a reason to hire you, and aid in the
branding of your company. Learn what you need to know to find a name for your business.

Take Naming Seriously: Naming your business or products is a serious matter. The name you choose can play an
integral part in the marketing of your company. Your name projects your image, brand, and position in the

2. Avoid Word Play Dangers: Taking the word play strategy will add to the difficulty in having customers remember
and find you. Being cute can backfire. lists the following actual "businesses to avoid:"

 Ear-Resistible Designs Plus

 Dirty Ernies Paragon Hotel
 Fireball Oven Co
 Mess Graphics Inc
 Ralph Rotten's Nut Pound

 X-Ray Sweaters

2. Don't be an IBM: It's tempting to abbreviate your business name to make communications and
correspondence easier.

. Be Focused: Forget tagging your business name with the moniker such as global or enterprise. Any start-up founder
has big visions for their company. You might one day envision marketing to diverse markets and having a wide range
of products. Successful start-ups have limited time and money; it's more likely your success in the world of commerce
will come from being highly focused in one narrow area. A small company is a specialist; it's why your customer wants

5. Stay Out of Court: Don't use, borrow, or modify an existing famous brand name. In Elizabethtown, Kentucky,
Victor Moseley used the name Victor's Secret when he opened his adult gift and lingerie shop. Victor's Secret did not
remain secret when the legal department of Victoria's Secret sent a letter to Moseley claiming trademark infringement.
In haste, the name was changed to Victor's Little Secret, but the change was not enough for Victoria's Secret who then
filed a lawsuit.

6. Think Beyond Local: The bulk of small businesses operate in local markets. This doesn't mean your name should
be geographically based. If you are marketing to customers in a local market, they'll know you operate locally. Adding
your town name to your business name just ensures you will be stuck in a long directory list of other local companies
with similar names. If you want a local name, add it to your marketing such as "Exclusively Serving the (town) Area."

7. Avoid ME Inc: It's a common tendency for a business to be named after the original founder. If you are planning to
one day sell your company, a company owner named business is less attractive to a perspective buyer's than a brand
built on a company.

8. Ask Others to Spell it: When I started one of my companies and named it Insightica, it was unique enough but it
drove me crazy the number of times I was asked to spell it. The word could be spelled with site or sight. Put your
business name through the spelling test and ask others to spell it. lists experience, intelligence,
jewelry, millennium, and personnel as a few of the top 100 most misspelled words.

9. Be Web Friendly: Consumers are bombarded with business names and advertising on a daily basis. Your job as a
successful small business is to make customers remember you. Your website web address should be the same as your
business name. Avoid the hyphenated web address names. It's hard enough to remember a web site address without
the hyphens.

10. Check Availability: When you have developed a great business name, spend the time to determine if another
business isn't using it. You can use a similar name for your business if another company uses it in an unrelated market
or industry. Once you have your name, protect it by registering the business name with your county or State office.

Your business name should be easy to remember and memorable. Apply the 10 commandments when naming your
business and in the end you'll avoid a marketing disaster.



Choose a Business Structure: Deciding on the structure of your business is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Whether you choose the popular LLC, a sole proprietorship or form a corporation; your choice will have an impact on
your business liability, fund-ability as well as taxes due. Don't fret over your ultimate business structure, because as
your business evolves, so too, may your structure.


Get Your Business License and Permits: Starting a small business requires the mundane, yet necessary, paperwork
and regulations. Depending on your chosen business structure, may need to register your business with the state
authorities. Setting up your small business may require an employer identification number(EIN) which is also used by
state taxing authorities to identify businesses. Additional paperwork can entail sales tax licenses, zoning permits and


Set Up & Determine Your Business Location: One of the multitude of tasks in starting a business is the setting up
of your office. There are many steps in office set up including where to locate your office (home or office space),
buying the necessary office equipment, designing your work space and getting supplies.

Get Business Insurance: As a new small business owner, you have the responsibility to manage the risks associated
with your business. Don't put your new start-up at risk without getting the proper small business insurance to protect
your company in the event of disaster or litigation.


Create an Accounting System: Unless you're a number person, the accounting and bookkeeping aspect of running
your business can't be avoided. Setting up your accounting will help you understand the financials of running a
business and help you advert failure.


Write a Business Plan

SBA Program Office

Writing The Plan

What goes in a business plan? The body can be divided into four distinct sections:

1) Description of the business

2) Marketing
3) Finances
4) Management

Agenda should include an executive summary, supporting documents, and financial projections. Although there is no single formula for developing
a business plan, some elements are common to all business plans. They are summarized in the following outline:

Elements of a Business Plan

1. Cover sheet
2. Statement of purpose
3. Table of contents

I. The Business
A. Description of business
B. Marketing
C. Competition
D. Operating procedures
E. Personnel
F. Business insurance

II. Financial Data

A. Loan applications
B. Capital equipment and supply list
C. Balance sheet
D. Breakeven analysis
E. Pro-forma income projections (profit & loss statements)
F. Three-year summary
G. Detail by month, first year
H. Detail by quarters, second and third years
I. Assumptions upon which projections were based
J. Pro-forma cash flow

III. Supporting Documents

A. Tax returns of principals for last three years Personal financial
statement (all banks have these forms)
B. For franchised businesses, a copy of franchise contract and all
supporting documents provided by the franchisor
C. Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space
D. Copy of licenses and other legal documents
E. Copy of resumes of all principals
F. Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.

Application for a Loan - Melissa's Case Sample

Provided by IFC's Gender Entrepreneurship Markets Program.

Melissa has been approached by two big mining corporations who want to place orders for
both T-shirts and uniforms for their employees. The first company is looking to buy 10,000 T-
shirts and 2,000 uniforms, and would like it delivered in 3 phases. The second company is
looking to buy 4000 T-Shirts some with designs and some without, in both V-neck and round
neck. The T-shirts should be delivered in 5 months.

Melissa can probably meet the second order with the current equipment she has, but in order
to meet the first one and ensure the quality, she will need better performing machines and a
larger space. Melissa has decided to approach the bank for a $200,000 loan to do this.

Sample of her loan application:

Melissa's T-SHIRTS Inc.

January 1, 2006

Mr. Joseph Brown

Account Officer
First Union Bank
1075 Main Street
Chicago, IL

Re: Loan Request for $ 200,000

Dear Mr. Brown,

I am requesting a loan of $200,000 in order to expand my business. I have over 15 years

of experience in the fashion industry. I worked for 5 years sewing clothes for the Uniform
Company and another 5 years sewing high fashion clothes for Boutique Mabelle. In 2000, I
started my own business with personal and family funds and began selling ladies T-shirts with
hand-painted designs. I later started doing silk-screening in order to accommodate larger

I plan to use the $200,000 as follows: $100,000 to purchase a new silkscreen machine and
sewing machine that will allow me to print 20 T-shirts at one time, $100,000 for building
materials to expand a new space for the business.

The market for this business is good. Women in particular, especially, are fond of my
unique, hand-painted designs, and I have had a continuous and growing demand for these
customized T-shirts. Many of these customers are repeat customers. There is also a growing
number of groups and businesses, which are preferring to purchase custom designed T-Shirts
for their business, rather than use the standard products from the uniform manufacturers. I
strive to produce quality products which satisfies basic needs, and offered at reasonable

My target market is threefold: fashion oriented young people who seek an exclusive and
unique design (retail or through a boutique); working women; and groups and associations
who require a T-Shirts for different occasions such as conferences, or to mark special events.
My competition includes: the tourism oriented shops which print designs on T-shirts at a
very low price; the boutiques which make blouses for ladies; and, companies such as the
Uniform Company, which produce T-Shirts and Shirts for businesses. My business has two
advantages over my competition - my prices are slightly lower because I have a lower cost
structure, and my designs are very beautiful and unique. My hand-painted T-shirts cannot be
found anywhere else, and my silkscreen designs are also quite popular because of the richness
of the colors. I believe I am responding to the needs of my customers, who want something
unique and fashionable, while still reasonably priced.

I am investing $30,000 of my own money, generated over the last months from the business.
My collateral consists of business assets having a fair market value of $35,000 and personal
real estate assets with a value of $35,000.

Attached is my business plan which backs up the loan request. If you have any questions,
please contact me at 555-1234. I would like to meet with you to go over my financing
proposal. I would also like to invite you to visit my shop.


Melissa Campbelll

Copyright 2009 International Finance Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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Business Plan - Melissa's Case Sample

Provided by IFC's Gender Entrepreneurship Markets Program.

Melissa sells hand-painted and silk-screened T-shirts. She has been in the clothing industry
for some 15 years. She started her business in 2000 in her home, making white T-shirts with
an old sewing machine her mother had left her. Melissa's business plan is below:


What does the business do?

My business produces T-Shirts with hand-painted or silk-screen designs. It retails them to

individual customers and also wholesales them as unique uniforms for associations and


Where do you want it to be in 5 years? Discuss here things such as: the amount of sales
you expect to have, the number of employees you will have, the products you plan to
have, the number of units you want to sell, the location of your business, etc.
I plan to grow my business to reach $1,250,000 in annual sales in 5 years with 15 employees
(6 hand and silkscreen painters, 6 seamstresses, and 3 sales associates). I will have
established at least 6 T-Shirt product lines. Assuming the retail side of the business does well,
the business may rent space near the downtown area of the city. I will also be doing pilot
testing of new product lines, such as ladies skirts, and blouse sets.


Describe your MAJOR products and/or services. What are the features of your
services/products? What are the average prices of each product or service?

I sell T-Shirt products on both retail and wholesale basis. I have 5 standard designs, which
are painted or silk-screened onto the front of white or colored T-Shirts. I can also create a
custom designed T-Shirt for an individual order. This carries the highest price, because of
higher labor costs. The silkscreen T-Shirts are sold primarily to associations or businesses,
as uniforms.


Describe the industry you are in (such as food, clothing, retail, production, etc.)

I am in the specialty clothing industry. Clothing is a difficult industry to be in, because in

order to have demand, the clothes must be fashionable, and fashion changes year by year.
However, clothing is also a good industry to be in, because it is a basic need. In additon, I am
part of an industry which makes uniforms. My uniforms cater to small and medium sized
businesses or small public sector offices and schools.

Is your industry growing or declining? Explain.

Although the clothing industry is declining due to the financial crisis, and the imports from
China, my particular niche, the specialty clothing industry, I believe is growing. I produce T-
Shirts with fashionable designs which are unique and are not yet in the local market. With the
economy slowly recovering, there is a bit more disposable income, and clients, particularly
the ladies, are spending more. The uniform industry is stable, and businesses especially want
to have distinctive uniform designs to set them apart from other businesses.

What are the major trends in the industry?

Computerized designs are more and more common. With computers, a lot of designs can be
customized and put on T-Shirts, hats, aprons, etc. Silk-screening in an inexpensive way and in
less time. But, this requires the appropriate equipment that will allow multiple articles of
clothing to be produced at the same time. To stay competitive, I will need to eventually invest
in more machinery.



Where are your customers located (your neighborhood, city/town, region, nationally,
My customers are mostly from big cities and nearby towns.

If your customers are individuals (in contrast to businesses), describe them in terms of
their age, male/female, income, ethnicity, etc. If they are businesses, describe the typical
business customer (location, sales volume, industry, etc.)

I have three different types of customers:

1. individuals, mostly ladies ages 20 to 40, who come to the store to request a hand-painted

2. groups or associations or businesses, which request 10 or more hand-painted or silk-

screened T-Shirts with the same design for special events or as a business uniform, and

3. a few boutiques to whom I sell hand-painted T-Shirts which retails to high end individual

Who are your biggest customers?

Currently, I have a large number of individuals and local businesses as my main customers.
My largest order has come from Paper Products Inc., which ordered silk-screened T-Shirts
for its employees. I have been selling to Boutique Mabelle only in the last 4 months, and
demand is picking up. They may become a larger buyer in the future.

What percentage (%) of your total sales do your top 5 customers represent? How
dependent are you on these 5 customers?

I have a diverse customer base. My largest customer, Paper Products Inc, accounted for 10%
of my sales in the first quarter of 2006.

Is your business seasonal or cyclical?

My business is somewhat seasonal and differs by type of customer. I have a high level of sales
from individuals and from Boutique Mabelle during the months of November and December,
in preparation for the Christmas season. Group and Association sales are constant
throughout the year, but there is a slight clustering at the outset of the school year, during
September and October. Sales are lowest during the summer season in June and July.

What percentage (%) of your customers are repeat customers?

20% of my individual customers represent repeats.

What percentage (%) of your customers are drop-ins?

Only 5% of my individual customers are drop-ins, given that I don't have a good show-room
location. Most of my customers come to my business because they have heard about me
before. Most of them come to put in an order.


Who is serving your same type of customer with similar services or products? (List the
names of your competitors and the products they offer.) Uniform Supply Company, Tourist
T-Shirts, T-Shirt Designs, and Boutique Jo-Jo, all offer custom designs for individuals and
group orders. T-Shirt Designs does silk-screening and embroidery using a computerized
machine. Boutique Jo-Jo sells T-Shirts with customized landscapes and art themes. Uniform
Supply Company caters to businesses and produces uniforms, including T-Shirts, with the
businesses' logo.

How do you promote your business to customers in a way that shows your products and
services are different or better than your competitors?

I promote my product on a personal basis with area businesses. I conduct visits to 3

businesses one day per week to promote my T-Shirt business. Most of my individual
customers I derive through word of mouth. Many of them are employees of the businesses to
which I sell to. During promotions I wear my product so that I can show the quality of the
material and the detail of the design.

How is your competition marketing their products or services? Are their prices the
same, less or more?

My product offering is individually customized for each client's needs, so it is difficult to

compare it with other businesses. However, for a nice, specialty T-Shirt, my price is more
reasonable than those found in a high end boutique. It is more expensive than a regular
tourist T-Shirt by $1 to $5. I have two types of competition: the tourist shops, and the uniform
production companies.

Does your competition offer benefits that you don't?

My competition can produce larger volumes than I can and handle larger orders.

What are the advantages your business has over your competitors (personnel,
marketing, financial strength)?

My biggest strength is the uniqueness of my product. The second strength is that I have a low
overhead because I operate out of my home and can keep my costs and prices at a reasonable

What are the weaknesses of your business compared to your competitors?

The small size of my business is my biggest weakness. If I had more capacity (space,
machinery and staff), then I would be able to make and sell more T-Shirts. My competition
also generally has a better, more accessible location than I. If I had a storefront in a prime
location, I would be able to increase the number of drop-in customers. The other T-Shirt
shops are more centrally located.

Copyright 2009 International Finance Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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Getting the most out of an English business meeting

If you work for a company where meetings are held in English, the chances are you've
encountered one or more of the following problems:

being unable to say what you mean clearly and concisely

being unable to interrupt others to make a point
being unable to prevent others from interrupting you
being unable to understand others – especially if they joke, go off the point, or speak too
being unable to understand what the action points are – and what you're expected to do
being unable to concentrate for long periods of time on involved, detailed discussions
being shy (not willing to initiate a discussion, even though you have plenty of things to say)
Some of these problems occur because the meetings themselves are disorganised, or lack a
clear focus and objective. Perhaps the chairperson is unable to control the meeting: to make
sure that people have enough time to get their points across and to prevent others from either
taking up too much time, or from going off the point. In many cases, "successful" meetings
can be achieved by setting a suitable time limit, having a clear (but not over-ambitious)
agenda, and by preventing interruptions and disturbances.

However, meeting participants themselves also have an obligation to respect others' time, to
contribute meaningfully and appropriately, and to be well-prepared for the meeting.

Here are some tips to help you avoid the most common problems in meetings – and to help
you get the most from them.

1. Agenda

Make sure you see a copy of the meeting agenda well ahead of the meeting. This will help
you prepare for the meeting, and to make sure the previous action points have been addressed.
Seeing the agenda in advance also means you can work out what you want to say, and to
make notes on how to say it. You can also think about any questions people might ask you,
and prepare possible answers.

2. Make sure the chairperson can see you during the meeting.

Keep eye contact with the chairperson where necessary so that he / she can see if you don't
understand something. Hopefully the chairperson will clarify items with you, but be prepared
to ask for clarification if necessary. Use phrases such as:

Would you mind clarifying this point?

Sorry, but could you outline the main points again?
I'm not sure I understood your point about…
Sorry, could you repeat that please?
You can also ask the chairperson to summarise the discussion or to provide more information
on a point:

Can you summarise the main points for me please?

Can you go into further detail on this please?
I'm not sure if I've fully understood the main points here…
3. Learn how to handle interruptions

One of the most effective ways to interrupt someone is to maintain eye contact with them.
Wait until there's a natural pause and then come in with a phrase that shows you have
something to say:

Can I say something here?

I'd like to make a point.
Can I come in here?
Could I interrupt you for a moment?
May I just add something here?
Do you mind if I just come in here?
While we're on the subject, I'd like to say…
If, on the other hand, you want to prevent someone from interrupting you, you can hold them
off with a phrase like:

Actually, if you could just let me finish…

Just let me finish, if you wouldn't mind…
Actually, I've nearly finished…

4. Develop your note-taking skills

It can be difficult to understand people – especially if they talk too fast, make jokes, or go off
the subject. Taking notes will help you focus on the key ideas and points, and help you tune
out irrelevant information. Listen for the key information words, and don't worry too much
about writing down grammatical words, such as articles, auxiliary verbs, prepositions, etc.

If you find that you're getting lost in a technical discussion, ask for clarification – or a
summary. Use phrases like:

Could you summarise the main points of this discussion, please?

Would you mind summing up what you've just said?
So, in a nutshell, what you're saying is….. (and let someone come in and itemise the main

5. Bite the bullet!

If you're a naturally shy person, it can be hard to speak confidently in public. Fortunately,
there are plenty of confidence tricks you can use to make sure your shyness doesn't prevent
you from taking part fully in a meeting:

- prepare what you want to say well in advance so you know what you are going to say is
concise yet relevant and you don't forget anything important

- practise in front of a mirror the day before

- jot down notes about what you want to say so you feel better prepared

- know what phrases you can use to introduce your main points
- prepare answers to possible questions people could ask you

- worry less about perfect English, but more on your content

- maintain eye contact with all meeting participants

- remember the importance of body language: nod to show you agree, frown if you don't
understand, and smile when you meet people

- ask the chairperson for help, if necessary

- check and confirm important information with other meeting participants:

Did you say…?

Do you mean…

It's a lot to remember, but try one of these ideas per meeting, and you'll soon find you get
more out of business meetings.


You can improve your business English writing with our Business English writing ebooks

Jo, April 2nd 2008

Having seen the useful language phrases in other sections, thought some readers might like to
take a look at these I've pulled together…

Sorry to interrupt but…
Can I just butt in a minute?
Just a minute…
Hang on a sec ….
Could I come in here?
Giving Opinions
I (really) feel that…
In my opinion / view…
I reckon…
The way I see it …
As far as I’m concerned…
If you ask me,… I (tend to) think that…

Asking for Opinions

Do you (really) think that…
How do you feel about…?
What are your thoughts / views?

Commenting on Other Opinions

I never thought about it that way before.
I never considered that.
Good point!
I get your point.
I see what you mean.

Agreeing with Other Opinions

That's (exactly) the way I feel.
I have to agree with (name of participant).
I totally agree.
I’m completely with you on that (point).
I’d go along with that.

Disagreeing with Other Opinions

I’m with you up to a point, but…
I see what you’re saying but…
I kind of agree with you but…
I totally disagree!
That’s absolute tosh /nonsense!
What a load of b******ks!!

Asking for Verification

Do you mean that…?
Is it true that…?
Are you serious?!

Asking for Clarification

I’m afraid I don’t quite follow.
I’m not sure I’m with you.
Sorry, you’ve lost me…
What do you mean exactly?
I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you’re getting at.

Asking for Repetition

Sorry. I didn't catch that.
Sorry. I missed that. Could you say it again, please?
Could you run that by me again?
Could you go over that again?

Clarifying Listener Understands

Have I made that clear?
Do you know what I mean?
Do you see what I'm getting at?
Are you with me?
Let me put it another way…

Requesting Information
I'd like you to… (+ base verb)
Would you mind… (+ verb + ing)
I wonder if you could… (+ base verb)

Correcting Information
Sorry, that's not quite right.
That's not quite what I had in mind.
That's not quite what I meant.

Advising and Suggesting

We should… (+ base verb)
Why don't you…. (+ base verb)
How/What about…(+ verb + ing)
I suggest/recommend that…(+ verb + ing / subject pronoun)

Many thanks Jo!

Ama, July 22nd 2008

A Guide For Creative Thinking

by Brian Tracy

Article Summary : Discover Brian Tracy, a leading authority on personal and business success. This text, A Guide For Creative Thinking,
is part of a series of business English articles on the themes of business success and management. The reading of short business articles is
an excellent way to enlarge your English vocabulary.

Einstein once said, "Every child is born a genius." But the reason why most people do not function at genius levels is because they are not
aware of how creative and smart they really are.

I call it the “Schwarzenegger effect.” No one would look at a person such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and think how lucky he is to have
been born with such tremendous muscles. Everyone knows that he, and people like him, have worked many thousands of hours to build up
their bodies so they can compete and win in bodybuilding competitions. Your creative capabilities are just the same. They actually grow as
they are used.

But you don’t need to spend thousands of hours to increase your creative-thinking abilities. By practicing a few simple exercises and
applications, you can start your creative juices flowing, and you may even amaze yourself at the quality and quantity of good ideas that
you come up with.

Let’s start off with the definition of creativity. In my estimation, after years of research on this subject, the very best definition of creativity
is, simply, “improvement.” You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or an artist in order to be creative. All you have to do is develop the
ability to improve your situation, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. All great fortunes were started with ideas for improving
something in some way. In fact, an improvement needs to be only 10 percent new or different to launch you on the way to fame and riches.

It has been estimated that each year, driving to and from work, the average person has about four ideas for improvement, any one of which
could make him or her a millionaire. The problem is not that you don’t have the ideas you need to accomplish anything you want but,
rather, that you fail to act on those ideas. Most people dismiss their own ideas because they think that those ideas cannot be very valuable
if they were the ones who thought of them.

Thomas Edison, arguably the most successful creative genius in human history, once said that creativity is 99 percent perspiration and only
1 percent inspiration. Extensive research on creativity tends to bear him out.

There are four generally accepted parts of the creative process: There is preparation, where much of the work is done. There is cerebration
or rumination, where you turn the matter over to your subconscious mind. There is realization, where the idea or ideas come to you. And
finally, there is application, where you work out the creative idea and turn it into something worthwhile. Of the four, preparation seems to
be the most important, and it involves gathering the right data and asking the right questions.

Your success in life will be determined largely by the quantity of ideas that you generate. It seems that the quality of ideas is secondary to
the quantity and that if you have enough ideas, one or more of them will turn out to be prizewinners.

You can begin building your creative muscles with focused questions. Some that you might think of are the following: What are we trying
to do? How are we trying to do it? What are our assumptions? What if our assumptions are wrong?

All improvements begin with questioning the current, existing circumstances. If you are not making progress for any reason, stop and
think, and begin asking yourself the hard questions that will stimulate your mind to consider other possibilities.

When they were doing the research to land a man on the moon, scientists were stumped for months and even years. They could not figure
how to send a rocket to the moon with enough fuel to land on the moon, blast off, break the moon’s gravity and come back to earth. The
problem was that if the rocket had that much fuel to start with, it would be too heavy to take off from the earth in the first place. Finally,
they began to question the assumption that the lunar rocket ship had to land on the moon. When they questioned that assumption, the
scientists concluded that a main rocket could orbit around the moon while a smaller module dropped to the surface of the moon and then
rejoined the orbiting rocket for the trip back to earth. The mental logjam was broken, and the rest is history.

Asking focused questions-hard questions that penetrate to the core of the matter-is the real art of the creative person. The next step is to
have the courage to deal with all the possible answers. Once you have come up with a possible solution, ask yourself, “What else could be
the solution?” If your current method of operation were completely wrong, what would be your backup plan? What else would you or
could you do? What if your current procedure or plan turned out to be a complete failure? Then what would you do? And what would you
do after that? All of those questions will force you to think further and come up with better answers.

The second way to build your mental muscles is with intensely desired goals. The more you want something and the clearer you are about
it, the more likely it is that you will generate ideas that will help you to move toward it. That is why the need for clearly written goals and
plans for their accomplishment is repeated over and over. Any intense emotion, such as desire, stimulates creativity and ideas to fulfill that
desire. And the more you write down your goals and plans, and review them, the more likely it is that you will see all kinds of possibilities
for achieving those goals.

The third generator of creative-thinking muscles is pressing problems. A good question to ask is “What are the three biggest problems that
I am facing in my life today?” Write the answer to this question quickly, in less than 30 seconds. When you write the answer to a question
in less than 30 seconds, your subconscious mind will sort out all extraneous answers and give you the three most important ones.

When you have your three most pressing problems, ask yourself, “What is the worst possible thing that can happen as a result of each of
these problems?” Then ask yourself, “What are all the things that I can do, right now, to alleviate each problem?” If you have a problem
that is worrying you for any reason, think about what you could do immediately to begin alleviating that concern. This is a prime use of
your creative powers.

So a key to success in creative thinking is clarity. Take the time to think through, discuss and ask questions that help you to clarify exactly
what you are trying to accomplish and exactly what problems you are facing at the present moment. Just as fuzzy thinking leads to fuzzy
answers, clear thinking leads to clear answers.

A second key is concentration. Put everything else aside, and concentrate single-mindedly on focusing all your mental powers on solving
one single problem, overcoming one particular obstacle or achieving one important goal. The ability to concentrate on a single subject
without diversion or distraction is a hallmark of the superior thinker.

A third key is an open mind. The average person tends to be rigid and fixed in his thinking about getting from where he is to where he
wants to go. The creative thinker, however, tends to remain very flexible and open to a variety of ways of approaching the problem. The
average person has a tendency to leap to conclusions and determine that there is only one way to achieve a particular goal. The superior
thinker, on the other hand, tends to be more patient and willing to consider a variety of options before moving toward a conclusion.

There is one other creative concept that can be very helpful when it is used in combination with what we have already discussed, and it is
called the “limiting step.”

Between you and any goal that you want to achieve or any problem that you want to solve, there is almost invariably a limiting step or a
“choke point” that determines the speed with which you move from where you are to your destination. This limiting step may be another
person, a particular obstacle, a specific difficulty, or even a lack of some information or skill. Invariably, there is a particular factor that
determines how fast you get there. Your job is to think about it and decide what it is, and then go to work to remove it.

For example, if you are in sales, your limiting step may be the number of prospects you have. If this is the case, then your job is to do
everything possible and to use all your creative capacities to increase your number of prospects until it is no longer a problem. Then, of
course, there will be another limiting step, and your job is to go to work on that.

If you have a business, your limiting step may be the number of qualified people who are responding to your advertising. If this is the
choke point that hinders the amount you sell and the speed at which your company grows, it behooves you to concentrate your mental
powers on relieving that bottleneck. You must concentrate the very best thinking abilities of yourself and others on increasing the number
of qualified prospects that your advertising and promotional efforts attract.

In relationships and misunderstandings between people, there is almost invariably a sticking point or subject area that needs to be resolved
in order to bring about harmony again. Your job is, first, to identify this limiting step and then, second, to find a way to alleviate the
difficulty to the satisfaction of everyone involved.

You are a genius, and you were born with the potential for exceptional creativity. But creative abilities are latent. They are like muscles
that grow with use. You can increase your creative powers by using them, over and over, in every situation, deliberately and specifically,
until creativity and a creative response to life is as natural to you as breathing in and out is. There are very few things that you can do that
can have a more powerful positive impact on your entire life than becoming excellent in creative thinking. And you can if you think you

Copyright © 2001 Brian Tracy International. All Rights Reserved. -

About the Author

Brian Tracy is a leading authority on personal and business

success. As Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International,
he is the best-selling author of 17 books and over 300 audio and
video learning programs.

 Join Brian's Free Email Newsletters.

The Qualities of Skillful Leadership

By Jim Rohn

Article Summary : Discover Jim Rohn, America's foremost business philosopher. This text, The Qualities of Learn More with Jim Rohn
Skillful Leadership, is part of a series of articles on the theme of personal development. The reading of short
business articles is an excellent way to enlarge your English vocabulary.

If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself.
Leadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills, and opportunities you offer as an owner, as a
manager, as a parent. I call leadership the great challenge of life.

What's important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they
become effective. Here are some specifics:

1) Learn to be strong but not rude. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable leader
with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It's not even a good substitute.

2) Learn to be kind but not weak. We must not mistake kindness for weakness. Kindness isn't weak.
Kindness is a certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell somebody the truth. We must be kind
enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in

3) Learn to be bold but not a bully. It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you've got to
walk in front of your group. You've got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, discover
the first sign of trouble.

4) You've got to learn to be humble, but not timid. You can't get to the high life by being timid. Some people
mistake timidity for humility. Humility is almost a God-like word. A sense of awe. A sense of wonder. An
awareness of the human soul and spirit. An understanding that there is something unique about the human
drama versus the rest of life. Humility is a grasp of the distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling
that we're part of the stars. So humility is a virtue; but timidity is a disease. Timidity is an affliction. It can be
cured, but it is a problem.

5) Be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride to win the day. It takes pride to build your ambition. It takes pride
in community. It takes pride in cause, in accomplishment. But the key to becoming a good leader is being proud
without being arrogant. In fact I believe the worst kind of arrogance is arrogance from ignorance. It's when you
don't know that you don't know. Now that kind of arrogance is intolerable. If someone is smart and arrogant, we
can tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant and arrogant, that's just too much to take.

6) Develop humor without folly. That's important for a leader. In leadership, we learn that it's okay to be
witty, but not silly. It's okay to be fun, but not foolish.

Lastly, deal in realities. Deal in truth. Save yourself the agony. Just accept life like it is. Life is unique. Some
people call it tragic, but I'd like to think it's unique. The whole drama of life is unique. It's fascinating. And I've
found that the skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another. But the fundamental skills of
leadership can be adapted to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the community, and at home.

Copyright © 2005 Jim Rohn International. All rights reserved worldwide. -

About the Author

Jim Rohn has helped to motivate and train an entire

generation of personal development trainers as well as
hundreds of executives from America's top corporations.
Jim has addressed more than 6,000 audiences and 4
million people worldwide and is the author of more than
25 books, audio and video programs. Jim has been
described as everything from a master motivator, to a
modern day Will Rogers, ... to a legend!

To subscribe to the Free Jim Rohn Weekly E-zine go to

Why Business English is Important

By Natali Leeds

More and more of the people in the work force are expatriates. An expatriate is someone
who resides in one country and works in another. For those who already speak the
English language going to another country won't be much of a problem in terms of
communications. But for those whose first language is not English it could pose a

It is important to learn Business English if you are going to be successful in another

country where English is the primary language, such as Australia, United Kingdom and
the United States fro starters. If you already have a basic understanding of the language
by learning to speak it then you are on the right track. It would also be a great idea to
practice writing in business English as well. If your local University offers a course in
Business English, it would be a good idea to invest in the class. Reading, writing and
speaking English is a great way to start a career.
Business English is a bit different than asking where to find the nearest hotel. There are
classes you can take to help you along but there are things that you can learn on your
own. Here are some key language skills that you must learn to master Business English.
Vocabulary and Grammar are a good place to start, you need to understand what words
mean and that is very important. This is one of the most common mistakes made in
learning English.

Learn how to pronounce the words and then look up what they mean in the dictionary.
Try using them in a sentence; ask someone who is more fluent in English to help you, so
you know if you are grasping the concept of the language. Once you have an
understanding of English, you have to apply it to Business English.

In business you will have to learn such things as taking messages, answering the phones
with proper etiquette and communicating with your fellow co-workers. You may have to
learn how to set appointments and possible make travel arrangements. Business English
is very different than speaking regular English, the structure is the same but you have to
learn things like properly expressing yourself in a professional manner or maybe making
a presentation in your office.

If you are working in the customer service sector, you really have to bone up on the
Business English. Dealing with the public is sometimes more important than asking your
boss for a raise. Most businesses offer training sessions and companies that employ
foreigners they offer classes on how to perform the job with the proper business English.

Writing business letters - Useful phrases: Yours faithfully or Yours


You already know how important it is to speak good English in an international working
environment. If you work for a company which does business abroad, you probably read and
write a lot of English, too. Writing, just like speaking, is communication. In our letters and
emails we need to express many things: authority, gratitude, dissatisfaction, etc. Expressing
ourselves well and with the correct level of formality is an important skill.

Do you have that skill? Ask yourself these questions:

Do you present yourself in a professional manner when you write?

What image do you give to the people who read your letters and emails?

In short, you want to give a professional image when you write to your customers and
business partners. To get you started, we've prepared some lists of standard phrases. Take a
look at:

Opening lines

Why do we need an opening line in a business letter or formal email?

- to make reference to previous correspondence

- to say how you found the recipient's name/address
- to say why you are writing to the recipient.

10 Good Opening Lines:

With reference to your letter of 8 June, I ...

I am writing to enquire about ...

After having seen your advertisement in ... , I would like ...

After having received your address from ... , I ...

I received your address from ... and would like ...

We/I recently wrote to you about ...

Thank you for your letter of 8 May.

Thank you for your letter regarding ...

Thank you for your letter/e-mail about ...

In reply to your letter of 8 May, ...

Closing lines

Why do we need a closing line in a business letter or email?

- to make a reference to a future event

- to repeat an apology
- to offer help

10 Good Closing Lines:

If you require any further information, feel free to contact me.

I look forward to your reply.

I look forward to hearing from you.

I look forward to seeing you.

Please advise as necessary.

We look forward to a successful working relationship in the future.

Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Once again, I apologise for any inconvenience.

We hope that we may continue to rely on your valued custom.

I would appreciate your immediate attention to this matter.

When 'Yours faithfully' and when 'Yours sincerely' in a business

When the recipient's name is unknown to you:

Dear Sir ... Yours faithfully

Dear Madam ... Yours faithfully

Dear Sir or Madam ... Yours faithfully

When you know the recipient's name:

Dear Mr Hanson ... Yours sincerely

Dear Mrs Hanson ... Yours sincerely

Dear Miss Hanson ... Yours sincerely

Dear Ms Hanson ... Yours sincerely

When addressing a good friend or colleague:

Dear Jack ... Best wishes/Best regards

Addressing whole departments:

Dear Sirs ... Yours faithfully

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.
Success | Bill Gates quote

Business Cliches and Phrases

Business speak is full of jargon, and fairly meaningless phrases masquerading as English. To help you decode what
they may mean, we've compiled a list of some of the most common. Know any others? Then send them to us!
You can even score your own phrase!

Best of Breed

Context: If we're going to survive in this market, we'll need to challenge the best of breed
Meaning: Our service is rubbish compared to our biggest competitors. Similar: Best in class.

Context: We'll develop you a bespoke solution
Meaning: We won't flog you the mass market solution - we'll actually develop something specifically for you.

Big Hitter
Context: I'm in awe of that Exec - he's a really Big Hitter
Meaning: Someone powerful within the confines of the company. Variant: hard hitter.

Blue Sky Thinking

Context: Let's start with a blank sheet of paper and do some blue sky thinking and see what happens
Meaning: this is similar to thinking 'out of the box' and is supposed to be a situation where you come up with ideas
taking into account no preconceptions and not dismissing ideas instantly

Brain Dump
Context: Have a brain dump and see what you come up with
Meaning: Brainstorm

Core Competencies
Context: We need to focus on our core competencies in order to maintain our edge in the marketplace
Meaning: What you/your company does well

Customer Centric
Context: We need to be customer centric from now on
Meaning: Since ultimately we sell to the customer, we might as well listen to what they're saying. Similar: customer

Cutting Edge
Context: This is cutting edge technology we're using
Meaning: This is the most recent version. Slightly less bugs.

End to End
Context: Let's visualise the process end-to-end
Meaning: Let's work out the whole process

Context: What's the E.T.A. on this report?
Meaning: short for Expected time of arrival, ie how long will it take to get it finished.

First Mover
Context: If we launch 3G now, we'll have first mover advantage
Meaning: If we pay massive advertising costs to educate customers about this new development, we'll hopefully have
the advantage of getting lots of customers. If not, we've paid to educate people whilst other companies with no ad
costs will reap the rewards.

Said W h a t ? Sponsored Link. Advertise Here!

Play Sudoku!
Like sudoku? We challenge you to complete our 100 puzzles...

Going Forward
Context: I think it's important that, going forward, you continue to manage the project pro-actively.
Meaning: In the future

Go To Market
Context: We need to update our go-to-market strategy.
Meaning: Cross your fingers

Details or detail-oriented.
High level
Context: Remember the more important you are, the more you're concerned with high level thinking
Meaning: Similar to the big picture, this is taking an overall view rather than looking at the nitty-gritty detail

In the Last Day

as in, "New Data on Infrastructure in the Last Day" This is used in an Info Tech (IT) context. I don't think its meaning
is Biblical, but I'm having trouble grappling with it...

Joined Up
Context: From now on this company will only engage in joined up thinking
Meaning: Looking at things from the wider point of view rather than with a narrow focus

Leading (Market)
Context: I want to develop a market leading proposition
Meaning: I want to develop something better than our competitors.

Leverage (the Proposition)

Context: See if you can leverage the proposition with them over point 2b, sub-para 5, clause 2
Meaning: Getting some value out of a certain situation for you/your project goals

Low Hanging Fruit

Context: We started off by removing the low hanging fruit, before looking at the tougher problems
Meaning: The bits that can be done quickly and easily but still have an effect. Origin: unknown, and that's probably a
good thing.

Manage Expectations
Context: Make sure that you manage expectations so that they're not disappointed if we can't deliver
Meaning: Make sure people expect realistic outcomes from a project - e.g. not too much

We no longer document things, we 'memorialize' things.

Mission Critical
Context: Handling the pressure of the project OK? I mean, it is mission critical!
Meaning: If we don't deliver with this project, we're screwed. It's pretty important!

On the Planet
This is the greatest product on the planet. Chiefly indicates the megalomania of the utterer or the utterer's firm. What
other planet would the product be on, for Cripe's sake?

Out of the box

Context: It'd be great if you could think out of the box and generate some radical ideas
Meaning: Don't just come up with the same old obvious solutions, try and be creative when brainstorming ideas.

Out of Pocket
Context: I'll be out-of-pocket for the next two days and won't finish the project.
Meaning: I'm shacking up with my girlfriend - leave me alone.

Context: I think we need to be a bit pro-active here
Meaning: If you don't keep on pestering someone about this, nothing will happen

Push Back
Context: Can you just push back on that point and get him to amend his stance?
Meaning: Try to get someone to change their mind, or debate a point, by questioning someone's opinion

Quick Win
Context: Please come up with a list of quick wins we can look to implement
Meaning: Things that are fairly simple (in terms of time and/or cost) and will help improve the situation with regards to
a project/product

Context: Before taking this to market, let's make sure it's robust
Meaning: Let's be sure it doesn't break down within the first few months
Context: It's a great solution for 100 customers, but is it Scalable?
Meaning: Will it work for lots of people as well as just a few?

Context: Ideally our customers would experience a seamless proposition
Meaning: Our customers want one, easy relationship with us no matter how they contact us

Context: Let's be pro-active in our brainstorming of solutions
Meaning: I haven't got a clue how to fix this - any ideas?

Context: There's a lot going on in the moment in that space
Meaning: There's a lot of activity in that area in that moment, e.g. development of e-mail tools.

State of the Art

Context: This is great - it's a state of the art solution
Meaning: Really good, the best, most modern solution

Take offline
Context: I think that's a separate issue, so can you take it offline please?
Meaning: Discuss the point further outside the meeting / at another time. Bizarrely, nothing whatsoever to do with
being online as in on the internet.

Take ownership
Context: I think it's up to you to really take ownership of the piece of work
Meaning: You need to get a grip and be responsible for the piece of work

Team Player
Context: Jonesy from accounts is a real team player
Meaning: Someone who is not just out for themselves but works well with others and has a concern for their well-being

The Big Picture

Context: I think it's important that we remember to look at the big picture
Meaning: The overall situation, e.g. when working on a small aspect of a project it is helpful to remember the project
as a whole

The New World

Context: Of course, in the new world things will look a little different
Meaning: The structure of a company after a re-structure or major shake-up.

Touch Base
Context - "I need to touch base with Fred on this one."
Meaning - "I need to go a speak to fred about something"

Context: I'm concerned. We're working hard, but not getting much traction on this.
Meaning: Despite our best efforts, no-one is doing what we want and that's stopping our progress with what we want
to do.

Context: I'm striving for that illusive thing - the turnkey solution
Meaning: A solution that really opens doors - hence turn key. Funny really. From reader Ian: A turn key solution is one
that once in place and the 'key is turned' is then ready for use straight away not one that opens doors.

Context: During your career it's important to ensure you continue to upskill
Meaning: To improve your marketability and worth to a company by developing your skills

Win win
Context: Try and see if you can come up with a win-win situation
Meaning: A situation that is good for people on both sides. A bit of a myth and so management are pretty keen on
asking for it.
Commercial English - Abbreviations

Abbreviations in English


attn. (for the) attention (of)
B/E bill of exchange
B/L bill of lading
cc carbon copy
cf. compare
cfr. cost and freight
cif cost, insurance, freight
cip carriage and insurance paid to
C/N credit note
c/o care of
cod cash on delivery
Corp. Corporation
cpt carriage paid to
cwo cash with order
D/A documents against acceptance
ddp delivery duty paid
ddu delivery duty unpaid
des delivered ex ship
DN debit note
D/P documents against payment
enc(s) enclosure(s)
EXW ex works
fob free on board
for free on rail
Inc Incorporated (US)
L/C letter of credit
Ltd limited
p&p postage and packing
p.p. * on behalf of
pto please turn over
re with reference to, regarding
RRP recommended retail price
SAE stamped addresses envelope
VAT Value Added Tax
ZIP (code) zone of improved delivery (US)

* (lat.: per procurationem)

Ulrike Schroedter contributed to this table. Thanks to Peter.

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