47. It's The Business (captioned)
Welcome, everybody. This is how to english. Teach and learn with gavin m, it's a podcast, about teaching, and learning english as a foreign language. All opinions, stated, are personal. And references, will be given, when. Necessary. So that's why last week was called topics. Two weeks ago was. Teaching kids. And this week is. Yeah we haven't decided. Business. Yes what are we calling it, it's the business. No it's it's called, episode 47. Business, oh is that it oh we call it business. Business. The business of business. Let's get down to business. I thought about just business, english, oh that's really boring, well i am boring. Talking, business. Okay it's the business i think we should go with it's the business, okay, all right let me write it down. You're not writing it down gav i'm not. Well it's gonna be recorded, so, i'll remind, you okay thanks for reminding, me, it's the business. It is the business, this is. The topic for today. And. You are very familiar, em. With teaching. Business, english. Well, i think we may have discussed this in a, very early episode, i teach in a lot of businesses. It's not the same. How is it different. Well i teach general english, to business people. Do you do their companies, know, yeah. Luckily. Yeah. A lot of my students, have their sort of, the freedom, to, ask for what they want i have worked in other companies. Countries. Where. There was a bit of a conflict, between what the students wanted what the company wanted for the, students, if you know what i mean well the company, that was hiring, me had an idea about what they wanted, their. Employees. To be able to do which, involved. Conference, calls presentations. Talking about negotiation. What not, and. What the students wanted, was to talk about, tv, programs, sport, and food. Oh, that sort of thing like any regular student. Like yeah like any normal, human, um. So there was a little bit of a conflict, where the, students, were coming with their sort of.
Topics, That they wanted to talk about and i would have to say well yeah that's all very well thank you for that but we're going to have to talk about spreadsheets, today, so, yeah. Everyone, opened their books, to page whatever, in, whatever, business book we were using. And that's not as fun, is it not not for me anyway but i mean it's great when you've got a motivated, person who's really, got a goal and they've got a like a presentation, to prepare, whatever, and they've got a very. Um. Like, enthusiastic. Attitude. But at the moment no i am teaching. Business, people. But in very, general english ways. So is this normal, if i if i go back in your, history, of teaching. How did you get to teaching. Adults. Business, english how did you end up, here i basically, said i didn't want to teach kids. Which we talked about in the last episode. Yeah episode 45. Teaching, kids, i did mention, they are not my first choice, so. If you're going to specify. You don't want to teach kids i think you have to be prepared to teach business, which means, often, getting up very early. To go and, teach, in companies, before, 8 o'clock, or nine o'clock which is sort of, the bad side or on the flip side. Yeah or after five, six o'clock when they finish work or possibly, very rarely in lunch breaks but not a lot of people want to do that so. It is very much one end of the day or the other, which is yeah as i say maybe one of the bad sides of teaching business if you're not an early person. One of the other you you either teach kids or you teach. Adults business, english are they the two. Big, areas, of teaching, i think so but what do you think you've been in this industry, a while, do you agree with that it sounds very similar to, the direction, that my career, took yes, i am, predominantly. Teaching. Business, people. But to be fair i'd say, half of them or maybe nearly half of them, actually want business, english. Okay, so, what, sort of things have you, like for example, this week gav what have you been. Dealing with this week, this week, i, have been mostly, teaching. Communication. Skills. Which is, what exactly. Emailing. Telephoning. Yeah these kind of skills. Actually, i have been using new market leader, third edition upper intermediate, unit one which is all about communication, slow down new market leader yeah that is actually a business book isn't it it is a business book and it's got talking. Reading. Vocabulary. Listening. And uh we're talking about, does technology. Help. Or hinder. Communications. Oh okay well that's really interesting, that is relevant, for a lot of people i think in business so that's really good do you think i just wanted to talk about the business books a little bit do you think that they, are. The level that they say they are because i always feel a bit like. You've got a b1, student. If you do the b1, business, books. It's usually like b2. The books are a bit harder than i think the levels. That they say, they are compared to a general english book, i think they are quite hard i think i agree with you though, right so it's like clothes shops sometimes, they say it's a size 10 but it's not, it's a size, 8.. Okay, that might be surprising that's what i tell myself, anyway when i'm like no that can't be right. If we refocus.
On, The. Skills, that are expected. In, a. Business. English. Course. I think about, emailing. Telephoning. Chairing a meeting. Giving, presentations. What other things come to mind um, i think, appraisals. Interviews. Assessment. And that kind of thing, um. Maybe, giving a tour. Yeah. Instructions. That's very good writing reports, requests. These sorts well now i'm thinking about it i do teach business, english. Maybe i'm just thinking, business english, is. Stuffy. Old-fashioned. Boring, i don't think it is i think it can be. Fun. Conversational. So i do talk about emails, and, how to talk to people, and even you know small talk, and. It's not. Really. General in that sort of way of english books, sort of, it's not that general. So it is sort of, directed, towards, business. Okay and i do try and always refer back to the student, and the job they do and somehow apply, it to. What they're doing, so like if we're talking about. Um. Shopping, for example. It's sort of, you know has your company, bought any equipment. Or, you know is there anything in your office that needs replacing. I sort of, i will, maybe use a general topic, but. Direct it towards the business side of things you know and you can maybe talk about sales techniques. Yeah, haggling. Bartering. Yeah negotiation. That sort of thing margins. Yeah they, see getting towards that sort of stuff i tend not to but yeah, okay, suppose it depends a bit on the student i've got some that are very into business, and they're preparing, to give presentations. And. They're chairing meetings, and they need to be able to describe. Financial. Situations. Of the company. About forecasting. And, about. Investments. And it can get quite complicated, to be honest. I don't understand, most of it well that's what my problem is when i get out of my depth. Then i, i kind of close down and think well i'm i'm gonna just go back to things i know, and. Deal with that but, yeah i think if you can get the student to confidently, tell you, in a way that, you can understand, it, i just feel that pressure to understand, it as you know the first time. And sometimes, they use jargon, and stuff and i, honestly, have to say i i don't know what that means and then i feel a bit stupid. Well that's an opportunity, for them to explain it to you, um, but i suppose i feel, judged, that you know why don't i know that word or why don't i know what that means, as you said last week, in our topics, episode. You don't have to know the student's job, they know it better than you will ever know it they just need to be able to explain it to you, and you need to stay awake, during that explanation. Yes but that's what i'm talking about that is quite demanding, if they're giving you, like a three-minute. Summary, of their job. Sometimes. Because they're used to talking about their job, it's like a barrage, of. Jargon. And you're thinking, i have no idea what any of that means, you need to keep interrupting, them saying what does that mean can you give me an example of that or. You just sit there and you keep nodding, until it's all over. Yeah i would go with, option a, rather than option b because it's only going to come back to bite you. When they say yeah you remember i told you that i do this whatever. And you're like yeah i really say i've got a terrible, memory can you remind, me. But it's nice it gives the students opportunity, to describe, what they do in their jobs. Some of the details. And then. Actually, i, do have ways of explaining, these things perhaps, better than the student. So that's when the idiomatic. Language, comes in that's when the phrasal, verbs. Arise. Okay, come up. Nice. Nice then, um yeah and often it's like. Maybe it doesn't need to be so complicated. I also think there are certain industries, that use overly complex, language, which. You then have a bit of a struggle, as a teacher to say well that all sounds, great but. I have no idea what that means so maybe if you're talking, to you know, somebody, outside your industry. You might want to say it like this, exactly. That's what you need to encourage them to simplify, their language so you can follow what they're saying because that generally, is what they need to do that's why, they're asking you, yeah and not a specialist, in that industry, to teach them english. Sure, i had a really fun lesson where the student told me that he was a salesperson. And i said, that's wonderful, you must have some great, ways, of selling, some great, ideas.
And, I just. Gave him an apple and i said, sell me this. And it was really good it was really interesting. He was very creative, and he was thinking on his feet so i really like that, wow, yeah so there's fun ways of approaching, the lessons they don't have to be, stuffy, as you say, and only coming from books but you can, you can come up with some of your own ideas i think. Yeah, definitely, so that's really good, have you, taught in many different industries, i think you might have mentioned, before. Yeah quite a few, yeah i'm not going to list them it would take a long time okay, but again you're not a specialist, in all of these different industries. Okay so. It's just your general, ability, to be able to, explain. These processes. Or. Kind of help the student, to support, them to explain, things, yeah and obviously the more you, have, like the more experience, you have, i mean i'm happy, because now it's coming up where. Oh right okay, so i've taught maybe five years ago in a. In a it, company. And now i've got another it company, so that gives me confidence, that i've already, taught, somebody, in that industry, and the first time you teach in that industry, might be a little bit overwhelming. And worried like you worry about your, level of competency. But now i am getting more confident, i do know certain things about sops. And you know other industries. I know what these things mean, and so it sort of gives you that bit more. Confidence, when you go back to that sort of industry, it sounds really interesting, you must just have some really good stories, to tell us about these places that you've worked, yeah. But i probably shouldn't because of these um, ndas. That you have to sign, oh really. Okay, oh. Yeah, yeah you do hear lots of uh. Industry secrets, which you have to keep to yourself yes. Yes absolutely, yes and i love it when students say. I shouldn't tell you this, but. It's just like yeah, this is what i want. Didn't you have um in the past that you had two competing, companies. Um, maybe, did you accidentally, send, the wrong emails. What was that, i think i copied someone into an email it's like hi everyone this is what we did in the lesson today, and accidentally, copied in the wrong, person. Who worked for a, competitor. Basically. So they didn't know that you were teaching both of those companies, i'm very discreet, you see so i don't like let slip, that you know i'm, just popping over the road to the uh main competitor. Of yours to teach another group over there that's brilliant. That, that was not brilliant. Yeah that was a rookie mistake, that one, yes, always double double check who you're writing, so what about you what would you say some some of the most interesting, industries, you've, worked in. Putting you on the spot now gab, i worked for, an, airline. And, um the people. Who, were. Arranging, the slots. For the airplanes. Taking off and landing. That was just fascinating. And i spent. I think three weeks before because i was terrified, of teaching these people, about three weeks, learning. All the language you know like roger, over to you, and all the, the the expressions, that they use on the runways. To speak to the pilots, i learned loads of that stuff, i learned some more about what they had to do in their jobs, and then i started the first lesson. And. They didn't really want to talk about any of that. Again it was a bit more general they wanted a bit more general english although we did spend time, talking, about, uh the expansion. Of the airport. And they they took me through some of the details, of what that would involve, so you actually went to the airport. Yes and then they took me for a tour, outside. And we walked around, um, we went through the gift, shop, oh duty-free. Duty-free. We went through there and there was like a special, secret, door that we went through, into, the secure, area, it was amazing. Oh wow that's so cool so i got a tour and then i i got them to teach me all the different things that we were passing, so what's this what's this, you know perfume. Vodka. Great vocab. Okay, yeah but that was absolutely fascinating. So, if you're lucky you will be introduced, to what happens in the background, of these companies. I used to work in a really nice, department, store, one of these really fancy, ones and the lessons were before, the. Store opened. So i'd have to go in like a service entrance, and, walk through all the lovely clothes, and have a look like where there was no other customers, and wow, and then, it was amazing, because the, students, needed, all the language, for these clothes.
So It was just, wonderful, to. Have to sort of teach and they're like oh well maybe we need to go and look at these clothes, and talk about them and so they each went to their department, and gave a little presentation. Each department, and i was just loving, every, minute of it that sounds so good, yeah, so, i agree it's like these like special. Vip. Sort of passes, that you almost get as a teacher, to go to places where, you know general public can't go or to see people that you don't normally, see yes, that is quite special, that's really interesting, and so you find out about, the future plans, of the store, or the company. And they discuss, you know what's happening. It's really really interesting. Yeah, this you know the clothes were wonderful, as you've said the airport's, interesting, on the other hand. Going to statisticians. Offices. Not so interesting. But the nicest, people. Absolutely, lovely people, but. Yeah it's like, boxes. Office, like boxes, and. Just very gray, decor. So, how would you describe. A business, english teacher. Well prepared. Professional. Reliable. Reliable. Quite well presented, maybe, if you're going into places, where people are looking. Quite formal, yeah, um. Polite. I mean these are the words that go with most jobs really. Attentive. Hard working, blah blah blah but are you thinking of specific, words gaff that might be connected to teaching, specifically. No i i think i agree with you i had to wear a suit, and tie, for, one company. To teach business english, and the students always used to say to me are you going to a party, or something. And i said no i have to wear this for my company. I'm assuming they had to wear that as well no they didn't they were wearing t-shirts, and shorts and everything that's weird, it was a bit weird. Maybe your company, then made wanted to make a good impression, on the last day, i unbuttoned, my shirt. Loosened, the tie slightly. Casual. I know i was a rebel. Professional, would be yeah reliable.
Flexible. Just one thing about clothes though i think it's always a good idea, to, just wear. What the student, don't wear their clothes but wear what they're wearing, if you know what i mean so reflect, what they're wearing. In what you're wearing maybe on the first day go very formal, i do that, just to be on the safe side yeah i mean fine if you turn up in a suit. Who's really going to care but if you turn up in, sandals, and shorts. That's going to make a bad impression, yes so i would say yeah go in quite formal, judge what they're wearing and how formal they are and then maybe you can relax it a little bit as, the course goes on that's often what happens to me, yeah, i i end up you know in jeans sometimes. But, you just don't know when you go there the first day exactly. Reflect, what their, style, is yeah their level of uh professionalism. Or formality. Yeah yeah, so i was thinking of a professional. Teacher. Be. Reliable. You said. Flexible. I tried to be very fast it's a very good point with business, people, they do, absolutely. Need that, to. Fit into their busy schedules, and if you can be flexible. That is. A great, plus point for you i think. Yeah, price yourself, correctly. If you're freelance, you mean yeah. Or if you're not, make sure you ask your company, for what you expect. Yeah, and that i think freelance, that can be, actually, more than you think like sometimes. Business, people, want, a good quality, teacher, yeah they're not worried about paying a bit extra, exactly. They want to pay a bit more because. They don't want to think they're getting something, cheap. That's not going to be good quality, i agree. Yeah. Make the client, happy. Well, that's a very general, wave. But. Challenge, them. All right well we mentioned this didn't we before so you've got to get that balance right if you you've got to have a happy customer. But also. A customer, or client, who feels like they're getting good service. Yeah so actually, we're not only talking about teaching, business, english, but teaching english as a business. So tell me what's your, approach. To teaching. From the, business, point of view, i might need a bit more, depth to that question, yeah what do you mean, it sounded, brilliant, but. This is how i feel with my students sometimes, well you're providing. You're providing, a service, aren't you, yeah i'd love to see that fulfill, that service, that you're providing. I don't think about it like that because i think if i thought about it like that i would be really scared. I'm a product, and i've got to be you know a commodity. That's valued, by this person. Okay so you just turn up you teach and then you leave and that's it that's your business model, you've just like opened up a whole, world, now how do you fulfill the client's expectations. And it's very hard because. I think we've, had this conversation, before. The student says, i want to learn. All the words in english i want to learn all the grammar. I, want to do everything, perfectly. Fluently. And then you try to teach them some grammar or something, and they just, turn their noses, up and say oh i just want to chat, i just want to do this i want to, and they make it very difficult for you so you need to find that right balance where you're, keeping them happy. Yeah, helping them progress. I think i do that after the lesson a lot but i do that with every lesson i always reflect, on, did that tick all those boxes, in my kind of teaching. Bag, like, did they learn something did they practice, did they. Leave in a good mood. Did they, ask questions, you know all these things so maybe i do think of it the way you're describing, i just don't. Look at it the way you're okay, you're kind of using that analogy. But. Yeah. I think, that. Maybe it's more, relevant, for business, people, because they often have a, quite direct. Objective. Yeah. I think it's easy to reflect on yourself when you're asking people about how they run their companies. What their businesses, are doing next year. You know their forecasts, about the future. How are you not thinking about yourself in the same way there are so many teachers, now who are, i would say entrepreneurs. And they approach, teaching. In the same way that any business person does. True, good point. I agree, have you ever had an experience, where you felt, you just couldn't, give, what the student needed, i have been out of my depth, and i just didn't know, like for example. They, wanted. To be asked. Questions. Specific, questions, on a topic that i just didn't know anything about and i was under qualified, for that. But all i did was say, okay you need to write your own questions for yourself and i will ask you them next week. Yeah, exactly, i think it's really important, about, the relationship.
Between You and your students but also the relationship, between the students, company, or the student. And your company. Because i think it's really. How your company, sells the course. And i won't i was i didn't get the job because i don't think anyone would have got the job but i went for an interview. Where the school was basically. Saying, oh our teachers, will, give you everything, you need within, you know three months, it's almost like a magic, potion that you drink, and then suddenly you'll be able to, do everything you need. And, in the interview, the, quite rightly, you know the manager of the company, that they were going to send the teachers, to, was asking me you know how are you going to do that and i was like well, it's not really possible to do that in three months you, you know it's a long process, you can get to probably, another level in that time, if you're really. Dedicated. And you know do however many hours yeah and i didn't get the job because they didn't want to hear that they just wanted to hear yeah, yeah i've, got this magic, pill that you can just take and suddenly, speak english. So the teachers. Shouldn't have that pressure on them i think, that some of these, schools, or teaching, companies, sometimes. Promise. There's a lot of pressure on these companies, now there's so much competition. They need to show how they're better than every other company, exactly. Too much competition. So. Know what you're being. Presented, as as well like because you're being, sold, as a product as well to the company, exactly, so ask your, company, you know what do they expect, us to be able to do, you just don't know what you're being sold as, when you get the documents. From the company, you suddenly realize, that you're. Teaching. A group of. Solicitors. Or they could be some senior, managers. Who want some very. Specific. Skills. And you might just not be able, to teach that yeah and then they're asking you what you studied at university. And you know what your qualifications. Are and you're like um i did art. And i like, skateboarding. In my free time. Exactly. Did you used to work in a bank, were you an engineer, yeah, yeah because they fully expect you to have all of this stuff, and i mean luckily, sometimes, they do i mean there are teachers that do have this background, that's, the great thing about efl, yeah there are engineers, who turn into. Teachers, so. Yeah, you know if it works that way great, but, it's not, that often that the company, will get exactly, the right teacher that's got all of that experience, so if you're not that teacher it's not up to you to feel bad about that, you know your company, should have, explained, what you are and how you teach and you know what your qualifications. Are but it's also good if you're a beginner, teacher. And you're looking at the, niches. What's that the plural, niche, i don't know, i think you must be niches, trying to learn the american witches, the niches.
And. You might see an opportunity. To focus, on. A specialized. Area of english. You know be it. Engineering. Or law. Or. Refinement. Of some. Chemical. Yeah, there there is some, there's some really good opportunities. Out there absolutely, i've known a lot of teachers, who have then, been. Head-hunted, or maybe just recruited. By the company, they've got one hour a week with and then all of a sudden they're teaching. 30 hours, in that one company, full time and they've got a job for life so, you never know where it's going to go you don't it's a really good point so the business, of, teaching, english, can be very, profitable. As well, um, yeah. Em i've got a little quiz for you. Oh you know how much i love quizzes, guys, and i think our listeners, love them too unprepared, quizzes, yes at the end of every episode. Well i had a quick look through a couple of books. And one of them. Is a general english book. Yeah, and the other one. Is. A business, book oh i like where this is going, can you could you guess what's going to happen do i have to guess which thing's from which book yeah, oh i like it so much fun i actually do like this i was being sarcastic, before i don't know whether you realized, yeah i'm completely aware of that all right good so yeah do it all right so i'm going to tell you. The topic. And maybe some, key phrases, or, something that i've found in each of those so let's start with this one. Dealing, with complaints. And. Some, key. Questions, like, so what happened. And. What exactly, do you mean by. Dot dot, well that's business, english, it is business, english you guys straight well you didn't even have to think about it yeah, complaints. No hesitation. At all, okay, i'm gonna go for another one. The next one, is. Resolving. Conflict. And this is between. Karen. And larissa. That doesn't help doesn't does it no okay, um, resolving, conflict. I'm guessing business. It is business again you did that there was hardly any hesitation. It's just such a business phrase. Resolving, conflict, that's true but it's not a problem, it's a challenge. Yeah. But you can still have conflict, in normal life yeah but you don't resolve, it not sure normal is the right word there because this.
Isn't. Yeah carry on next one, questions. And negatives. Questions, and negatives. And telling, lies. For example. I wasn't, sure. I had no clue. None of us knew. Um. I'm guessing, it's, general english, because, telling lies, isn't really, businessy. But oh it so is business. As well isn't. You're correct that was general, english, you got that one as well all right i've got another one, phrasal, verbs or, as they call them, multi-word. Verbs. Multi-word, verbs, as in, go on. Draw, up, oh, look forward to, okay. I wasn't sure and, then you said draw up, and i can't think of a single, example of draw up that's not business. It is business, what do you draw up you draw up a contract. You drew up a proposal. Maybe, don't maybe some sort of document, yeah you've got that one as well, if you do in general your children would draw up the wall with their crayons. Possibly. Yeah. Draw, up your trousers. Is that pull up i think that's part. Unless you're in like victorian, times, oh sir, please draw up your trousers. I've got another one. It's an article. Called paradise. Lost. And it's about. How tourism. Damages, the environment. Well i think i've taught this, and i think it's in a business, book. No way, i have taught it but it wasn't. See this comes back to my first point about i don't teach business i clearly. Don't teach business. Is it in a, general english this is the same, there we have it. I'll tell you which bucket. Okay, last one last one okay, here we go, it's, going to extremes. I think that's the title, of the the chapter. And it's relative, clauses. And. It's about my friend adam, who lives in london, is a pilot. Um, well, business. No idea could be either, general, i'm gonna go oh. General. Correct. You are correct you just okay you dropped one point so he threw me with pilot, but that doesn't mean it's business, doesn't it that was a bit naughty really but then so yeah so the general. English, book was new headway. All from that one book yeah. Upper intermediate. And the business, book was new market leader. So upper intermediate, again, so if any of those, titles, sounded interesting, to you, check them out. Links in show notes. Cool i like that thank you that was fun wasn't it. M, yes, we've come to the end of this episode, went really fast, it did, so in summary. I think we need to, share what we've learned from this, yeah, go on then business. Can, overlap. General, english. Even talking to a specialist, like yourself. Have realized. That both business and general english, cross over, as it does in life, that's true, yeah, that's very philosophical. Let's finish on that that's a beautiful, thing to say all right, see you next week, take care thanks em. Bye-bye.