Business English / Деловой английский язык
In this unit, we look in more detail at Keypoint Security (UK) Ltd, and especially at the organisation of the company. Peter Jackson, the young management trainee, is given the task of finding out how the company works. We look at how decisions are made and how information is communicated within the company, and at some aspects of its finances. We also look at how meetings are arranged and conducted.
|Secretary||at Keypoint Security Ltd.|
|Michael Vincey||is Managing Director of Keypoint Security Ltd.|
|Bert Field||is Production Manager for Keypoint Security Ltd.|
|Harry Dent, Andy Scuff, Jane Parget and Mary Wilford all work at Keypoint Security Ltd.|
All of these characters are British.
|Vocabulary||Company departments and managers; shareholders and directors; shares, investments and takeovers; incentives.|
|Skills||Giving instructions; making an appointment; running a meeting; writing a company profile.|
|Structures||Figures with decimal points; each/every/all.|
|Documents||An organisation chart; a financial report; an agenda; notes.|
Finding out about company organisation
2.1 Listen and read
Irena Phillips is in her office talking to Peter. Listen to what they say. What instructions does Irena give Peter?
|IRENA||Now, Peter! Management trainees are supposed to make themselves familiar with every department of the company. As you've only been with us a week or so, I think you might find it useful to write a company profile . Visit all the department heads. Introduce yourself. Find out everything you can about how the company's organised, how each department operates. I tell you what . How would you like to write a short report for me, say by the end of the week?|
|PETER||Yes, of course. How long should the report be?|
|IRENA||Oh, two thousand words should do it. Would you like to make a start now, and I'll get on with my report on Midland Furniture!|
2.2 Speaking practice: making an appointment
Peter has to make appointments to see all the department heads. To do this, he telephones their secretaries. Listen to what they say. When you hear it the second time, there will be pauses. You speak the part of Peter.
|PETER||Good morning. My name's Peter Jackson, I'm the new management trainee. I wonder if you can help me. I'd like to make an appointment to see Mr McTam.|
|SECRETARY||Let me have a look at his diary. How long will this meeting take?|
|PETER||It shouldn't take more than half an hour, I don't think.|
|SECRETARY||Well, if it's only half an hour I could fit you in at half past three this afternoon. How would that suit you?|
|PETER||Oh, I've already got a meeting this afternoon. Could he manage Monday at half past eleven?|
|SECRETARY||Yes, I think so. I'll pencil it infor 11.30, and confirm it with you when I've spoken to Mr McTam.|
|PETER||OK, that's great. Thank you very much!|
2.3 Document study
The chart below shows the organisational structure of Keypoint Security. Study it carefully, and re-read 2.1. Then write the words missing from the text.
Irena Phillips is the Client Services Manager. She reports tothe (a) Director, who, as a director of the company, (b) to the (c) . The (d) Managers report to the Production Manager, who is their (e) head, but who is not on the board . He therefore reports to the (f) Director, Michael Vincey, who is also the company Chairman.
R&D research and development.
2.4 Listen and read
Sarah Street shows the chart to Peter, but she also explains to him how she thinks the company could work more efficiently. Listen to what they say. Notice how Peter questions Sarah to try to find out exactly what she means.
|SARAH||We ought to be thinking in terms of little groups of people, each group doing one particular job, and all the groups interlocking.|
|PETER||But each group must have a leader, surely?|
|SARAH||Yes, but that's the whole point! Not necessarily the same person all the time. If you're assigned to a particular project, then you're the group leader for that project, because you know more about it than anyone else.|
|PETER||So why do we need a head of marketing, or a head of any other department?|
|SARAH||Because that's responsibility, not leadership. Whatever happens in marketing, I'm ultimately responsible. To Mike Vincey and to the shareholders. That doesn't mean I have to chair every meeting. I know - as part of your research, why don't you sit in on the management meeting this afternoon?|
2.5 Reading for key words
Find the words or phrases in 2.1 and 2.3 that tell you the following:
|1||Peter has not worked for Keypoint for very long.
|2||Irena is not sure how Peter will react to the task she has set him.
In the Keypoint organisation chart, which department heads are responsible for the following?
|3||the company's accounts.
|4||finding out what new products are needed to meet the clients' needs.
|5||developing these products so that they are ready to be sold.
2.6 Directing the internal post
As part of his training, Peter spends some time in the post room. He is given a number of letters addressed simply to 'Keypoint Security Ltd'. The subjects of the letters are listed below. Write down the name of the department or the title of the person Peter should send each letter to.
|1||a request for information about the company's services.|
|2||an application for a job as an electrical engineer.|
|3||an invitation to send a representative to an official reception in the Town Hall.|
|4||a copy of a scientific paper about infra-red security systems.|
|5||a doctor's certificate: an employee will be absent from work for at least six months.|
|6||an urgent request from the company representative in Edinburgh for 500 copies of the company's catalogue.|
|7||the third reminder requesting payment of an invoice for £1340, six months overdue.|
|8||a Christmas card, three months late, no signature, addressed to 'Jimmy'.|
|9||a complaint that a client's alarm failed to operate when premises were burgled.|
|10||a leaflet from a local garage, offering to service employees' cars at discount prices.|
Discussing the company’s position
2.7 Speaking practice: talking figures
Read this extract from a weekly magazine called 'Investment Guide'. Write down the answers to the questions below. Then listen to the questions, and say your answers.
Note that in English a full stop is used for the decimals, not a comma. Figures after the decimal point must be read separately: 'five point eight eight'.
|1||What was the dividend in 1991? The dividend in 1991 was 5.88p.
|2||What was the turnover in 1989?
|3||What was the pre-tax profit in 1990?
|4||What were the earnings per share in 1989?
|5||What's the estimated turnover for 1992?
|6||Which was the best year for Keypoint?
2.8 Find the word
Read the text below on starting a business. Fill in the gaps with words from the box. If you're not sure of the meaning of any of the words, look them up in the glossary.
To start a business, you need (a) - that is, money. You can borrow it; or you can sell parts of your company - equal parts, of course. These are called (b) , and the people who buy them become shareholders. They expect to get something in return for their investment. If the company does well, it pays a (c) on each share. The value of the shares (of a public company) can rise, so that their market price is often much higher than the amount printed on the share certificate - though it may fall below it if the company does badly.
Serious investors read the financial press . They want to know not only the share prices but how much money a company has taken from its customers during the past year (its (d) ), how much of that money is left when all costs have been paid (the company's (e) ), and the result of dividing that amount by the number of shares ((f) per share).
2.9 Listen and read
Michael Vincey is the Managing Director of Keypoint. The weekly management committee meeting is about to begin, around the table in his office. Listen to what they say. Who is chairing this meeting? How do you know?
|MICHAEL||Good afternoon, everyone. You've all got in front of you the agendafor this afternoon's meeting, but before we start discussing that, there's a piece about us in this week's 'Investment Guide'. Sarah pointed it out to me this morning - anyone else seen it?|
|BERT||Yes, I did, but shouldn't we discuss this under any other business?|
|SARAH||But it's important! We'll never get round to itunder any other business!|
|MICHAEL||OK, OK, I know it's not on the agenda, Bert, but Sarah's right, this is an important issue. I propose that we deal with it under item five, proposals for this month's board meeting.|
|SARAH||Well, all right, as long as it's discussed sometime.|
|MICHAEL||Right. Can we start, then, with item one, last month's sales figures?|
2.10 Structure practice: each, every and all
Read again the dialogues and documents in this lesson. Look for examples of the words 'each', 'every' and 'all'.
'Each' and 'every' are used before singular nouns: 'each department', 'every meeting'. The difference between 'each' and 'every' is not very great. You can use 'each' when you are thinking about the separate members of the group, and 'every' when you are thinking more of the group as a whole:
Each department is trying to cut its costs.
The company is trying to cut costs in every department.
'All' is used before plural nouns, and before uncountable nouns: 'all the departments', 'all the information'. Its meaning is very similar to 'every':
They're trying to cut costs in all departments.
Fill in the gaps below with 'each', 'every'or 'all'. In some cases, there maybe more than one possible answer; the one in the answer key is the one that most English speakers would probably use.
|1||Did you give those reports to the directors?
Yes, I gave one to director.
|2||Did you check the copies to make sure they were complete?
Yes, I checked the copies.
|3||And did you send them the agenda?
Yes, I circulated the agenda to the directors.
|4||Have you got any more details about the takeover?
No, I've given you the information I had.
|5||letter that is sent to Keypoint goes to the post room.|
|6||The letters for department are put together in a box on the post-room trolley.|
|7||When the letters have been sorted they are taken round the building and delivered.|
2.11 Listen and read
The management meeting at Keypoint continues. Listen to how Michael Vincey keeps the discussion moving forwards.
|MICHAEL||Good, that's agreed then. Can we press on? Item five, proposals for the next board meeting, which I would remind you is a week on Wednesday. Er - Sarah, I think there was something you wanted to ...|
|SARAH||Yes, Michael. As I think most of us are aware, rumours are going aroundabout takeover bids. Now this may or may not be good news for the shareholders, but I can assure you, it's very damaging for the image of the company . What I would ...|
|BERT||With respect, Mr Chairman, I don't think we should waste time discussing rumours. There's always a risk of a hostile bid. It can happen to anyone at any time.|
|MICHAEL||Let's not start arguing until we've got some facts to argue with. Peter, can I bring you in on this?You've been doing some research on takeovers. What was your reaction to the piece in the 'Investment Guide'?|
|PETER||Er - well - I'm not quite sure what we're discussing at the moment. Are we talking about defending the company against a hostile bid? Or promoting its image?|
Talking about incentives
2.12 Listen and read
The management meeting continues. Again, listen to how Michael Vincey keeps the discussion moving forwards.
|PETER||Are we talking about defending the company against a hostile bid? Or promoting its image?|
|SARAH||Well, both really.|
|PETER||Hm. Well. I don't know. Er - you already have some kind of share bonus scheme, I suppose?Giving shares to employees if they achieve their objectives?|
|BERT||You're joking!Another incentive scheme?|
|MICHAEL||Not now, Bert. Go on, Peter.|
|PETER||I know what Bert means, but this isn't just rewarding people for effort. This is making employees into shareholders - making them loyal to the company. They know if there's a takeover bid they can do something about it. They can hang on totheir shares.|
|SARAH||Well, why don't we propose it to the board?|
|MICHAEL||Yes, I think perhaps we should do that. But before we do, I think I'll get in touch withthe company's lawyers and accountants. Peter, perhaps you could find out what members of the staff think about a share bonus scheme.|
2.13 Listen and read
Peter goes to ask people in Keypoint what they think about a share bonus scheme. Listen to what they say. How many people are in favour of the scheme?
|HARRY DENT (storeman)|
|Yes, I wouldn't mindhaving a few shares. The thing is , of course, if you give them to one person, you've more or less got to give them to everyone, haven't you? Otherwise you get bad feeling among the staff.|
|ANDY SCUFF (salesman)|
|Shares? No thank you! If they want to give us incentives, why don't they charter an aeroplane and take us all for a week's holiday in Majorca? That's my idea of an incentive!|
|JANE PARGET (computer operator)|
|That's typical ofthis firm. No communication. I wrote a great long memo to Mike Vincey six weeks ago, explaining a brilliant scheme of mine. Never even had an acknowledgement!|
|MARY WILFORD (quality control)|
|Yes, I think it would be a good idea for us all to have shares, because if there's a takeover bid, the share price usually goes up, doesn't it, so we can sell our shares and make a bit of money that way.|
2.14 Reading for key words
Find the words or phrases in 2.12 and 2.13 that tell you that:
|1||Peter is 'playing for time' and trying to think what he should say.
|2||the incentive schemes Keypoint has now do not work.
|3||giving an unequal number of shares to employees may cause trouble.
|4||a memo sent to Michael Vincey did not get a reply.
2.15 Document study: an agenda
The directors of Keypoint meet once a month. This is the list of matters that they will discuss at their next meeting. Which of these items will probably be on the agenda of every meeting? Why is Mrs Phillips asked to attend for only one item?
2.16 Writing practice: the company profile
Peter still has to write his company profile for Irena Phillips (see 2.1). These are his notes. Use them to write the first two paragraphs of his report.
Start with five sentences based directly on Peter's notes.
Then start a new paragraph: 'The company is organised as follows'.
Then write full-sentence answers to each of these questions (see 2.3). Remember that your sentences can be quite short - some of them may be only four or five words long:
How many directors are there? How many of them are non-executive?
Who holds the post of Chairman and Managing Director?
How many departments is the work of the company divided among?
Who is the Company Secretary?
Who are the other heads of departments?
Who do all the department heads report to?
This, of course, is only the beginning of Peter's report; but it is all we are concerned with here. Using this as a model, try to write a profile of the organisation you work for, or any other organisation you know.
2.17 Listen and read
In Irena's office, a few days after the board meeting, she is reading from a copy of the minutes. Listen to what she says. The minutes are written in very formal language. Did the board agree that the share bonus scheme was a good idea?
|IRENA||Listen, this is from the minutes:
Resolved : That the company's lawyers be approached at once with a view to setting up a share bonus scheme within the company - target date for start of scheme: September 1993.