BEP 384 - Business English for Telephone 4: Unexpected Call

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on doing business by phone. Last time we looked at a routine check-in call with your boss. Today we’ll focus on spontaneous, or unexpected, phone conversations.

You might start a telephone conversation with an idea about how it will go and what you will talk about. And many routine conversations are pretty straightforward. But what happens when the conversation gets into things you haven’t anticipated? What if the other person asks you tough questions that you don’t have easy answers for? In particular, what if your boss is pressuring you to justify your decisions?

There are a few things that you might have to do to succeed in this situation. For starters, you might need to just pause and gather your thoughts. Next, you might find yourself explaining your assumptions and clarifying some of the specific aspects of your decision. You might also try explaining what would have happened it you hadn’t made the decision you did. And finally, it’s a good idea to be able to accept feedback graciously and politely.

In today’s dialog, we’ll rejoin Sonny, a English for logistics manager in Asia working for an American clothing company. Sonny is talking with his supervisor Cam. If you listened to our last lesson about a routine check-in, you’ll notice a big difference with this conversation. This time, Sonny has to think on his feet and deal with some tough questions.

Listening Questions

1. What assumption does Sonny make about delivery times?
2. What does Sonny say might have happened if he didn’t make a tough decision?
3. What will Sonny do differently in the future based on the feedback he gets?

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