Helping our students move up the corporate ladder

The first time I read the phrase in bold below was some twenty odd years ago. I was teaching English in a company in São Paulo and the framed picture hanging on my student´s office wall had caught my eye.

“You can´t do today´s job
with yesterday´s methods
and be in business tomorrow” Anonymous

It made perfect sense to me, and indeed I used it when I wrote my very first Business English book, Fale Tudo em Inglês nos Negócios, back in 2011. Since then there have been others, Fluent Business English, a book I co-wrote with Robert C. Young in 2012; Fale Tudo em Inglês nos Negócios – Livro de Atividades (2013) and now, “just fresh out of the oven”, my most recent brainchild: Talking Business.

Like all my previous Business English books, Talking Business portrays the corporate lingo you are likely to hear in companies across the U.S.A. The 20 units of the book cover in a comprehensive way the most usual business idioms used by American executives, which are introduced in a lively fashion through articulate corporate dialogues. With sections such as “usual phrases and questions in the business world” and “corporate acronyms and abbreviations” the book also provides plenty of practice and includes an audio CD with dialogues and exercises recorded by native speakers of English.

Check out below for some of the topics and dialogues featured in this new book.

A hectic schedule – Working overtime to meet deadlines
A new supplier – I googled them and guess what I found out?
The board meeting – Have you been eavesdropping on them?
Technology – Heading towards another big revolution yet!
Innovation – Thinking out of the box
The new gadget – A paradigm shift!
Trade shows – Is everything all set for the Houston fair?
Online advertising – They seem to be interested in our online campaigns
A dream job – What is it like?
Making presentations – I was wondering if you could give me a few useful tips
The merger deal – Scenarios
Corporate scandal – How could a respectful and clever executive get into this?

Hopefully all the carefully selected business jargon and varied activities present in Talking Business will help students move up the corporate ladder.

Keep up the good work!

Talking Business – José Roberto A. Igreja / DISAL EDITORA


Watch out for slips, trips and falls!

Terry: So, what are you doing tonight?
Phil: I plan to go skating at the local park. They have a real nice rink there, very smooth.
Terry: Cool! I’ve never been into skating myself, but I have some friends who love it. Watch out for slips, trips and falls!
Phil: Oh don’t worry, I’m always extra careful when I have my skates on. By the way, I’m teaching my twelve-year-old nephew how to skate. It’s amazing how kids pick things up so quickly. He’s just been to the rink twice and he’s already getting the hang of it.
Terry: I know, kids are fast learners my friend! So, you’re into winter sports, right?
Phil: Oh, yeah! Besides skating I love to go skiing and snowboarding.
Terry: Skiing and snowboarding? Wow, I think I’d be afraid to do that. I guess it must be really difficult to keep your balance.
Phil: Well, it takes a lot of practicing and you do have to overcome your fear, but once you learn how to do it it’s a lot of fun.
Terry: I see, I prefer to have both my feet on the ground, if you know what I mean. Anyway I hope you enjoy yourself tonight at the rink.
Phil: I will, thanks! How about you? Are you doing anything tonight?
Terry: Yeah, I’m meeting some friends at a pub. I love to hang out with friends and shoot the breeze over beer.
Phil: Sounds good! Have fun!

Vocabulary and expressions
Rink = enclosed place for skating
Smooth = flat; plane
Cool = excellent; very good
Be into = be interested in; like
Slips, trips and falls = the action of sliding, stumbling and falling
Amazing = surprising and impressive
Pick up = learn through observation and practice
Get the hang of = learn how to do something
Overcome/ overcame/ overcome = prevail over; defeat
Fear = the feeling that you have when you are frightened
Fun = enjoyable; amusing
Hang out with = spend time with someone
Shoot the breeze = chat; talk about things of little importance
Have fun = have a good time; enjoy yourself

Referência: “Inglês Fluente em 30 Lições” – José Roberto A. Igreja, Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.


Ecofriendly products are here to stay!

Derek: How’s your new 1 ecofriendly business coming along?
Miles: Great! We’re really excited about our product line. I mean, it’s a whole new concept and we do believe this market tends to grow as people become increasingly more conscious about the environment.
Derek: Sounds good! How many different products do you have available for sale right now?
Miles: We have a wide 2 range of products, from 3 biodegradable detergent to ecofriendly 4 diapers, but our eco shopping bags are our best-selling products right now.
Derek: So are these bags recyclable?
Miles: Sure, they come in three different sizes and are made of non-toxic material which is easy to decompose. They do help keep a more sustainable environment and that’s something we should all be worried about.
Derek: Wow, it seems like ecofriendly products are here to stay!
Miles: That’s definitely the new trend my friend, but don’t get me wrong, like in any business, in order to be successful you have to combine quality and convenience with 5 affordable prices.
Derek: I know, I tend to be very 6 picky as a consumer myself. Well, I’m really glad for you Miles. You’re setting a good example. I guess we can all do something to help our planet!

Vocabulary & Expressions
1 Ecofriendly = not harmful to the environment
Ecofriendly goods and services tend to grow as people become more conscious about the need to protect the environment.
2 Range = a group of products of the same type
“Their new range of beauty products is very appealing,” said Joey to a colleague.
3 Biodegradable = capable of being decomposed; not harmful to the environment
“That company sure worries about the environment. All their packaging is made of biodegradable material,” said Dennis to his coworkers.
4 Diaper = a piece of cloth, soft paper or plastic that a baby wears to absorb its urine and solid waste
“Frank can’t come to the phone right now. He’s changing the baby’s diaper,” said Rita.
5 Affordable = not expensive
“Do you know a good place where we can buy eletronics at affordable prices?”, Malcom asked a friend.
6 Picky = someone who is not easily pleased
When it comes to food Rachel is really picky.

Referência: “Fale Tudo em Inglês nos Negócios!” – José Roberto A. Igreja, Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.


Expressões idiomáticas

Imagem relacionada

Call the shots = run the show; make the decisions (dar as ordens; “dar as cartas”)

“If you’re going to be the boss, you are going to have to know how to call the shots”, Jim told Nick.
“Se você vai ser o chefe, vai ter que aprender a dar ordens”, disse Jim a Nick.

John likes to think he’s important and always tries to call the shots, but nobody really listens to him.
John gosta de pensar que é importante e sempre tenta dar ordens, mas na verdade ninguém o escuta.


Referência: “American Idioms!” – Joe Bailey Noble III e  José Roberto A. Igreja, Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.


Back up

  1. to defend or support someone, esp. in an argument (apoiar, “ficar do lado de alguém”)

“In order to get the shareholders to accept our business plan, I need you to back me up”, Mr. Wells told us.
“A fim de conseguir que os acionistas aceitem o nosso plano de negócios, preciso que vocês me apóiem”, disse-nos o sr. Wells.

  1. to make a copy of (fazer uma cópia, “fazer backup”)

“We will back up the files on our computer before lunch just to be on the safe side”, said Ed.
“Faremos backup dos arquivos no nosso computador antes do almoço, só para garantir”, disse Ed.

noun form: backup 1. a copy, an extra copy. (cópia de segurança, backup) 2. support (reforço)

Charlie made a backup of his banking records on his computer.
Charlie fez backup de seus dados bancários em seu computador.

One of the police officers called for backup when the shooting started.
Um dos policiais pediu reforço quando o tiroteio começou.

  1. to move in a backward or reverse direction (dar marcha a ré, ir para trás)

Resultado de imagem para backing up

The garbage truck accidentally backed up into another car, which was parked on the street.
Ao dar marcha a ré, o caminhão do lixo bateu acidentalmente em outro carro, que estava estacionado na rua.

Referência: “600 Phrasal Verbs” – Jonathan T. Hogan e José Roberto A. Igreja, Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.


Driving – Vocabulary

Resultado de imagem para no parking tow away zone

Dialogue: This is a tow-away zone! 

Jake: Hey, I wouldn’t park here if I were you. You see that sign over there? This is a tow-away zone!
Fred: Thanks Jake, I hadn’t noticed it. I’ll try and find another parking spot.
Jake: Yeah, you’d better. You sure don’t want to get a ticket.
Fred: Ok, let’s try the next block. There must be parking spaces there.
Jake: Sure!

Vocabulary & Expressions

Tow-away zone = a no-parking area from which parked cars may be towed away
Parking spot = parking space
Ticket = a traffic fine
Rush hour = a period of heavy traffic when most people are commuting to and from work
Crosswalk = a painted path in a street where traffic must stop to allow pedestrians to get across
Driver’s license = an official document allowing someone to drive a car
Traffic jam = a line of vehicles close together, unable to move or moving very slowly because of heavy traffic
Parking meter = a coin-operated device that registers the amount of time purchased for parking a car
Toll plaza = an area where tollbooths are located on a toll road

Referência: “What to say when …?” – José Roberto A. Igreja, Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.


Cut someone some slack

Resultado de imagem para cut someone some slack

Cut someone some slack: stop being hard on someone; treat someone less severely (tratar alguém de forma menos severa; “pegar leve com alguém”; “dar um desconto”)

“Hey, can you cut me some slack please? I’m doing the best I can,” Jerry told Ray.
“Ei, pega leve por favor. Estou fazendo o melhor que posso”, Jerry disse para Ray.

Cut him some slack. He has been working extra hours to make up for his mistake,” Jane told Brian.
“Pega leve com ele. Ele está fazendo hora extra para compensar o erro”, Jane disse para o Brian.

Referência: Inglês de Rua – American Slang José Roberto A. Igreja e Robert C. Young, Disal Editora.  

Curiosidades do idioma inglês


Resultado de imagem para Brazil nuts

Tipicamente brasileira, a castanha-do-pará é conhecida nos países de língua inglesa por Brazil nut.

Brazil nuts are called “chestnuts from Pará” in Brazil.
Brazil nuts são chamadas de castanhas-do-pará no Brasil.

Brazil nuts are appreciated all over the world.
As castanhas-do-pará são apreciadas no mundo inteiro.

Referência: “Como se diz … em inglês?” – José Roberto A. Igreja, Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.


Business English

Taking care of business – Weekly meeting

Jeff: Wow, we have some important issues to cover today. Where´s Fred? Does anyone know about him?
Linda: Yeah, he called in sick earlier today. He was really sorry he couldn´t make it to today´s meeting. I told him I would e-mail him with the highlights later.
Jeff: Ok, let´s make sure we brief him on all the key topics. We have a lot of things going on these days. Ok, let´s get started then. I guess we need to first talk about our next launch. As you know we are behind schedule with this new product, so when do you think would be a feasible date for us to launch it?
Kate: I´d say mid April to be on the safe side. I talked to Dave and Carol the day before yesterday, they told me that since things have been running smoothly now they don´t foresee any more delays.
Jeff: Sounds good. I´m sure this new toy will be a hit with the kids. I´m very excited about it. Let´s just make sure we avoid any last minute surprises. I wouldn´t like to have  to postpone the launch again. Please keep me posted on any further developments.
Kate: Sure, sir. I´ll meet with them again tomorrow and I´ll let you know.
Jeff: Good, let´s move on … Ok, our next item on the agenda is … surveillance equipment, right, Mark, do we have a ballpark figure on the cost of the surveillance equipment yet?
Mark: Yes sir, we´ve received two price quotations and the average figure is $9000,00
Jeff: Humm, it might be a good idea to check with a third company, what do you say?Mark: I already got in touch with another one yesterday, they should be e-mailing their quotation later today and I´ll let you know.
Jeff: Very good Mark, thanks!  Now, I have to tell you I´m very glad about the great news, it seems that we´ll be reaching all our sales goals for the quarter and I´d like to thank you for your effort and the great teamwork. By the way, how are the two new sales reps getting along?
Mark: Not bad, I think they need a little more time to get into the swing of things, but they´ve been doing a very good job and seem very eager to learn.
Jeff: Great, that´s what we need, eager beavers. Let´s make sure we hire some more people with this profile next time any of the departments is short-staffed. OK, one last thing before we wrap up, our booth for the upcoming Miami congress, so, where do we stand Linda?
Linda: Everything is all set sir, we´ll have our usual 90 square meters and a great layout.
Jeff: Thanks Linda, this is just what I wanted to hear. All right folks, I think we all need to go check our e-mail now. We´ll meet again on Wednesday at the usual time.

Language check – Find words or expressions in the dialogue with the following similar meanings:
a- ready: _________________________________
b- keep someone informed: ________________________________
c- approaching; happening soon: _____________________
d- running late; after the time that was planned: ____________________________
e- viable; capable of being done: _______________________________
f- something very successful: _______________________
g- delay or put off an action, event, appointment, etc: _____________________
h- call one’s place of work to say you are ill and cannot come to work: _____________
i- a rough estimate or figure: ______________________
j- become familiar with an activity; begin to get used to something: ________________
k- a person who is hardworking and enthusiastic: __________________________
l- without enough workers: _________________________
m- a stand: __________________________
n- the most significant or interesting parts of something: ______________________
o- a subject that people discuss or argue about: __________________________

1. Do you usually have to attend many meetings at your company? Are they productive?
2. How are meetings in Brazil different from other countries in your opinion?
3. How would you improve meetings in your company?
4. How will technology change meetings in the future?

Referência: “Fluent Business English” – José Roberto A. Igreja e Robert C. Young Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.

Colloquial language

Breaking up is never easy!

Ron: (angry) Geez! This place stinks of B.O.! Somebody open the goddamn windows for Chrissake!
Fred: Hey, take it easy Ron! What do you expect? This is a locker room and we´ve just finished playing, remember? There´s no need for you to be so grouchy!
Ron: Sorry Fred, this is not one of my best days.
Fred: We could all notice that. So, what the fuck´s eating you?
Ron: I broke up with Sheila last night. I mean, she fucking dumped me man!
Fred: That explains your violence out there. You nearly broke Jake´s neck. We were all wondering what had come over you.
Ron: I know I was a jerk and I shouldn´t be taking it out on you guys, but it´s driving me crazy!
Fred: You do sound miserable. Hey, take a seat. Let´s talk it over. You know, I have to remind you you´re not the only one who´s been dumped recently, remember? How long had you been dating Sheila?
Ron: About a year.
Fred: So, you two had a fight?
Ron: No, everything seemed to be fine. At least it was for me. I don´t get it!
Fred: Do you think she may have met someone else?
Ron: I don´t have a clue. I hope she hasn´t. I mean, I still think we can work things out and get back together soon.
Fred: Wish you luck buddy! Yeah, breaking up is never easy. I remember it took me a long while to get over Carla even though she treated me like a doormat!  I was such a sucker for her! You know how tough it was for me to find out she was cheating on me on my back all along, don´t you?
Ron: Yeah, I know you went through some very bad moments with her. Carla was such a slut to do what she did to you. I mean, she could´ve just left you before getting involved with someone else.
Fred: That´s the point Ron!  Who knows maybe Sheila needs some time on her own. One thing I can assure you is there´s life after you get dumped and you know I´m living proof of that.
Ron: Sure Fred. It´s just that I´m so fucking mad about what´s happened that I can´t really think straight.
Fred: I know Ron. It´s good that you´re getting it off your chest now. Hang on in there pal, everything is gonna be okay.
Ron: Thanks Fred, I guess I´m feeling better already!
Fred: Good. Come on, let´s take a shower and get out of here. I wanna hit the bar and meet some new chicks tonight. You should probably come along with us and do the same.

Decide if the statements below about the dialogue “Breaking up is never easy” are true or false:

1. Ron is mad because the locker room smells of body odor. True _____ False _____
2. Fred is living proof that there´s life after getting dumped. True _____ False _____
3. Sheila and Ron had a big fight. True _____ False _____
4. Carla had always been nice to Fred. True _____ False _____
5. Ron doesn´t think highly of Carla. True _____ False _____

Read the dialogue “Breaking up is never easy!” and find words or expressions that mean the same as:
I have no idea: ________________________________________________
2. Treated me very badly; “stepped on me”; abused me: __________________
3. Ended a relationship suddenly: _______________________
4. Very unhappy: ___________________________________
5. In a bad mood; irritable; easily annoyed: _________________
6. Stupid or foolish person; idiot: __________________________________
7. Angry: ________________________________
8. Annoying you; bugging you: ____________________________________________
9. I don´t understand: ________________________________
10. A room with lockers, esp. in schools or gymnasiums, where you can change clothes and store your personal belongings while playing sports: _____________
11. Overcome difficult emotional situations; “forget”: __________________________
12. Body odor: _________________________________________________
13. Young women: ________________________________________________
14. Releasing bad feelings such as anger, bad mood, etc. on someone: ___________
15. Someone who believes everything they are told and is easily fooled: ___________
16. Telling me what´s annoying you: ______________________________________
17. A close friend: _________________________________________________
18. She was unfaithful to me: __________________________________________
19. Think clearly: ________________________________________________
20. A sexually promiscuous woman; a whore: _________________

Referência: FALE TUDO EM INGLÊS AVANÇADO – José Roberto A. Igreja / Disal Editora