Business English / Деловой английский язык
We are still at the offices of Bookmart Publishing Services. In this lesson we see how to deal with the problems of credit control; how to conduct an employee assessment interview; and how to investigate and report an accident.
|Mr Harris||owns a bookshop in York.|
|Mr Martinu||is General Manager at Martinu Books.|
|Andy Brumshaw||is the warehouse foreman at Bookmart.|
|Alice Perkins||is an office cleaner at Bookmart.|
All of these characters are British.
|Vocabulary||Money transactions; records and record-keeping; employee assessment and relationships.|
|Skills||Simple negotiating; asking for credit terms; making conditions; chasing payment; basic report writing.|
|Documents||A statement; a formal letter; an Employee Assessment Record; an accident record book; an accident report form.|
Collecting payments and settling accounts
7.1 Listen and read
George Harvey gets a phone call from Mr Harris, a bookshop owner. Listen to how they negotiate a change in their agreement.
|HARRIS||Good morning. Mr Harvey? My name is Harris, I have a bookshop in York.|
|GEORGE||Oh, hello, Mr Harris, how are you? How can I help you?|
|HARRIS||Well, I've been ordering books from you for eight or nine months now, pretty regularly.I thought it was about time I applied to open an account with you. I pay all my other suppliers monthly, but you still send me a pro forma invoice on every order.|
|GEORGE||Ah, yes. There are reasons for that. Our new customers are supposed to pay cash with order for a year - but we do have some discretion in this matter, and I can well understand you'd prefer open account terms. That shouldn't be a problem. If you can let me have the names of a couple of referees, preferably firms you've had accounts with for at least twelve months...|
|HARRIS||I can do that, of course, but I wonder if in this case you could do me a favourand open the account straight away? I'm just making up a rather large order, and I don't...|
|GEORGE||No, no, I quite understand. Yes, I don't see why not. In that case could I ask you to write to your referees and let them know that I'll be writing to them, and would appreciate a quick response? I know it's only a formality but it could hold things up a bit.|
7.2 Reading for key words
What words in 7.1 show us the following?
|1||George Harvey is following the company rules.
|2||He can sometimes change the rules.
|3||Mr Harris wants special treatment.
|4||George Harvey needs the references straight away.
|5||He thinks that there won't be any problems.
7.3 Writing practice: a request for open account terms
Imagine that Mr Harris decided to write to George Harvey instead of telephoning him. Write the letter for him. Include the points he made in 7.1, and the names and addresses of two referees. They are: James Merridew, Publishers, 97 Henrietta Street, London WC2; The Fireside Press, PO Box 7591, Milton Keynes MK45 7ER.
7.4 Document study: a statement
This is Mr Harris's first statement from Bookmart. Someone at the bookshop didn't know that they now had an account. How do we know this?
7.5 Writing figures: a monthly statement
You are preparing Mr Harris's June statement for Bookmart. Draw up the statement using the following information: on 12 June Harris sends Bookmart a cheque for £438.02; on 10 June a consignment of books is invoiced to Harris; the invoice number is 5629 and the value is £759.
7.6 Document study: a formal letter
George Harvey has to write a letter to another bookshop, Martinu Books. They have not paid anything since the end of March. Read through the letter. Notice that it is very formal.
7.7 Speaking practice: chasing payment
George Harvey did not get a reply to his letter, so he now telephones Mr Martinu. Listen to their conversation right through, then listen again and speak the part of George.
|GEORGE||We don't appear to have had any payments from you for three months now.|
|MARTINU||Ah, yes! I thought you might be ringing about that.|
|GEORGE||Can you tell me what you propose to do about it?|
|MARTINU||Well, to be perfectly frank with you, we have had some cash-flow problems recently.|
|GEORGE||I see. What's the position at the moment?|
|MARTINU||Well, things are looking a lot better. Would you be willing to accept a sum of money on account?|
|GEORGE||Well, we don't usually accept part payment.|
|MARTINU||I could let you have three thousand pounds now, and the balance over three months.|
|GEORGE||Three thousand. Yes, that would be just about acceptable.|
|MARTINU||OK, I can get that off to you by the end of the week.|
|GEORGE||In the meantime, perhaps you won't mind paying cash with order until you've cleared your account?|
|MARTINU||Yes, of course.|
Updating personnel records
7.8 Listen and read
Terry Cabe, the Personnel Manager at Bookmart, is interviewing Frank Penny so that he can complete Frank's annual Employee Assessment Report. Listen to what they say. Notice how Frank doesn't seem to trust any of his managers.
|TERRY||Frank, come in. Sit down. Now, you've been with us very nearly two years, Frank, so this is your second annual assessment interview. I seem to remember there were one or two problems while you settled in. How've you been getting on this last year?|
|FRANK||Oh - all right.|
|TERRY||People treating you all right, are they?|
|FRANK||Look, I don't know what you're getting at here, but if there've been complaints about my work then I'd like to know what they are and who's making them!|
7.9 Listen and read
Terry continues the interview. Listen to what they say. Notice how he works hard to reassure Frank, so that Frank feels able to talk about his job.
|TERRY||Frank, believe me, I'm not trying to pick holes.It's just I know that last year you were still living with your parents, they were giving you a hard time , and there were some problems at work. Anyway, you've got a place of your own now, right? When was it you moved?|
|TERRY||How is it? Settled in OK, have you?|
|FRANK||Yeah. Yeah, it's nice, it's really good.|
|TERRY||Great. Great. And you don't have that terrible long journey to work any more.|
|FRANK||Right. It's only ten minutes on the bus.|
|TERRY||So, what do you reckon's the toughest part of your job here, Frank?|
|FRANK||To be honest, Mr Cabe, basically, the job's all right. I just feel it's not leading anywhere - it's a dead end- know what I mean?|
|TERRY||Uh-huh. 'Unsatisfactory prospects of promotion. Position lacks adequate career structure' - I'm quoting from a memo I wrote for the MD last week. That's what these annual assessments are all about, Frank. Now let's remind ourselves, shall we, of what I put on your form a year ago.|
7.10 Reading for key words
Terry Cabe asks Frank Penny three questions that make Frank angry.
|1||What are they?
|2||Why does Terry ask these questions?
|3||Why does Frank misunderstand them?
|4||At the start of the interview, Terry asked a question that made Frank angry. Later he asked a very similar question, and Frank gave a friendly, direct answer. What words does Terry use this time?
|5||Terry 'translated' some of Frank's words into very formal language. What words are they, and what is Terry's translation?
7.11 Document study: an Employee Assessment Record
Read Frank Penny's Employee Assessment Record below. Then write two short sentences describing his career with Bookmart. Frank is being considered for promotion to Senior Clerk. Make a list of points 'For' and 'Against' his promotion.
Telephone manner the way he speaks on the telephone.
abrasive rude and unpleasant.
surly rude and bad-tempered.
a clash of personalities a situation where two people can’t work together because they have different ideas or because they don't like each other.
7.12 Find the word
Read the text below on Frank's work. Write the word from the box for each gap.
Frank's Employee Assessment (a) shows how (b) Bookmart's career (c) is. Admittedly, Frank is not an ideal employee. He is not always punctual, and when he does get to work his behaviour is often (d) . His telephone (e) can sometimes be surly and he rarely does anything on his own (f) . His attitude to work will have to change if he wants (g) . But he isn't stupid; he has some useful (h) and some of his personal (i) could be valuable; Terry Cabe even considers that he has the (j) to handle more responsibility.
7.13 Reading for key words
|1||The Employee Assessment Record suggests two reasons why Frank Penny was promoted from the General Office to Dispatch. What are they?
|2||In the Employee Assessment Record, what words suggest that some of Frank Penny's problems probably were his own fault?
|3||In the interview, what words does Terry use to try to make these troubles seem small and temporary?
Reporting an accident
7.14 Listen and read
The Bookmart warehouse is always busy. Andy Brumshaw is the warehouse foreman on duty on the afternoon of 19 June. Alice Perkins is an office cleaner. Arthur Bell works in the warehouse. Listen to what they say.
|ANDY||Hey! Arthur! Get those cartons into the loading bay. The van's waiting.|
|ALICE||[Pushing a large industrial vacuum cleaner]
Hello, Mr Brumshaw. I've just vacuumed your office and the corridor.
|ANDY||Ah, thanks, Alice.|
|ALICE||OK if I take a short cut through the warehouse?|
|ANDY||Mind how you go, Alice - and watch out for the fork-lifts. You know you're not supposed to go through here during working hours.|
|ALICE||That's all right. I've been through here hundreds of times.|
7.15 Document study
The Bookmart warehouse keeps an accident record book. This is what was written on 19 June. Read it carefully. You will need to refer to it later.
negligible so small that it doesn't matter.
7.16 Document study
The next day, Bookmart's Safety Officer is investigating the warehouse accident. He must complete one of the company's standard accident report forms for the General Manager. Write down as many of the details as you can.
7.17 Writing practice: the report’s findings
The Safety Officer also has to write a description of what happened. Write this for him, using the questions below as a guide. Remember not to include any irrelevant information, and don't, at this stage, give any opinions.
|1||What did Mr Brumshaw order Mr Bell to do at about 3.45?|
|2||What did Mrs Perkins do at about the same time? Where was she coming from? Why was she going through the warehouse? Is this allowed? Is it often done?|
|3||Why did Mrs Perkins not hear the truck coming? What happened? What damage was done?|
7.18 Document study
The Safety Officer's findings lead to the conclusion that Mr Bell is most to blame for the accident, but that Mr Brumshaw and Mrs Perkins are also partly to blame. The report finally makes recommendations.
reprimanded officially told that he has done something wrong.
Manning levels the number of people who work somewhere; manning includes both men and women.
7.19 Reading practice: separating fact from opinion
Here are eight statements that were made while the Safety Officer was collecting information. None of them was included in the report. Decide whether each statement is a fact or an opinion, and whether it is relevant or irrelevant. Tick two columns for each statement.
|1||'Arthur was worried about one of the pallets on the rack.It came crashing down about twelve hours later.'|
|2||'The noise that vacuum cleaner makes, you could hear it a mile off.'|
|3||'Arthur's a menace in a fork-lift truck. He nearly killed me, about a year ago; I jumped out of his way just in time.'|
|4||'The gangways between the racks in the stockroom aren't as wide as the Health and Safety Regulations say they should be.'|
|5||'It was a miracle nobody was hurt.'|
|6||'It's the management's responsibility to see this sort of thing doesn't happen.'|
|7||'What's all the fuss about?The insurance will pay for a new vacuum cleaner.'|
|8||'Do you know, those fork-lift trucks can do 50 kilometres an hour? They're terrifying!'|