Currently Browsing: Free Form Friday

Firing

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) To fire someone: To tell them that they don’t work here anymore because they did something bad.

I had to fire John because he was lying about his sales figures.

(2) To layoff (or in the UK, they say to make redundant): To tell someone they don’t work here anymore because the company doesn’t need them anymore.

Sales are terrible these days. We had to layoff 100 factory workers.

(3) Performance Improvement Plan: A plan for an employee to get better.

John has been late and doing bad work, so we’re going to put him on a performance improvement plan. I think he’ll get better.

Today’s

Questions

1. What was Patty McCord’s job at Netflix?

a. CFO

b. CEO

c. CTO

2. Why doesn’t Patty like performance plans?

a. They don’t work if the employee doesn’t have a good skill set

b. They don’t motivate well

c. Employees can’t learn on the job

3. What other company is famous for firing bad employees fast?

a. HBC

b. Amazon

c. GE

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday

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fired By Jeremy Schaar

If you’ve been a manager, then at some point you’ve probably had to fire someone. If you haven’t had to fire someone, well, it probably means you’re just getting started in your career.

Today I’ll present some English we use when we need to fire someone. I’ll also tell you about Patty McCord–the former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix. (Netflix is a company that lets you watch movies and TV shows. You can watch them online or get DVDs in the mail.) She has some pretty famous thoughts on firing.

For almost 15 years Patty McCord was the Chief Talent Officer at Netflix. She’s famous in Silicon Valley for her thoughts on hiring, firing, and building a good company culture. Here’s a link to a great article about her. And here’s my favorite quotation from that article. Patty McCord is talking about how she deals with a bad employee:

I did my six months out thing and realized she wasn’t qualified, and I put her on a plan even though it’s not an issue of performance, it’s an issue of skillset.

She’s saying, a performance improvement plan won’t work if the person doesn’t have the right skills.

Instead, I could have told the employee, “here’s what I’m going to need six months from now, and here’s the talent and skills I’ll need.” Then you tell her, “It’s not you. I don’t want you to fail. I don’t want to publicly humiliate you.”

She may not like it, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the other way. People can take it if it’s the truth.

The other option is to just be honest with the employee and fire them right away. Basically, she’s saying to fire people faster. Give them some extra money (a severance package) and help them find another job, but don’t keep them if they’re bad.

The advantage of this system is that you won’t waste time and money on bad people. Bad employees are unproductive and if you fire them quickly, then you can just give them money instead of wasting that money trying to make them better.

And this idea isn’t just from Patty. It’s also a very popular way of thinking at GE. So, what do you think? Is it a good idea? Personally, I’m not so sure. Next week, I’ll present the other end of this debate.

As always, if you have any questions, please post them on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, C

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Writing Essays

Watch

On YouTube

YouTubeLink

Rules For

Writing A

Good Essay

1. Start with an outline.

2. Don’t be too creative.

3. For your thesis, copy from the question.

4. Give good examples.

5. Give your best reason first.

Today’s

Questions

1. Why should you start with an outline?

a. You don’t want to waste time.

b. It’s required for the test.

c. A plan makes your essay stronger.

2. When is it OK to copy?

a. In your thesis statement

b. In the body

c. In your conclusion

3. Which reason should come first?

a. Your best

b. Your worst

c. The first you think of

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday

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Essay By Jeremy Schaar

Are you looking to advance your career with an MBA or another degree? You’ll have to write an essay for a TOEFL test, GMAT, or GRE. Today, I’ll share with you the right strategy for writing these essays.

For the TOEFL, GMAT, and GRE they ask you to write essays. They’re a little different depending on the test, but basically the same. They give you a topic that anyone can write about. You say if you agree or disagree and why. You have 30 minutes to write the essay. An easy example would be:

Everyone should study a foreign language.

Rule #1: Start with an outline. Take five minutes to make a good outline. It will definitely make your essay stronger if you have a plan.

Rule #2: Don’t be too creative–just agree or disagree. Sometimes they ask good questions and you have complicated opinions. Forget that. Just agree or disagree and forget how you really feel. You don’t have enough time.

Rule #3: For your thesis statement, it’s OK to copy from the question. Going with our example, you can say I firmly agree that everyone should study a foreign language. Use the exact words.

Rule #4: Give good examples (not just reasons). An example is a specific person, place, or thing. With our example, you might say, people should study a foreign language to meet new people. That’s a reason. For example, I met my boyfriend because I studied Spanish.

Rule #5: Give your best reason first. Usually, you’ll give two or three reasons to support your opinion. Start with your best.

In the future I’ll give you more ideas about writing a great essay. If there’s a specific question you have, please let me know in the comments. And, by the way, if you’d like to take a test preparation course, I can help with that too. Go to stuartmillenglish.com to see all the courses I offer.

As always, if you have any questions, please post them on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, A

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Trade Shows

Watch

On YouTube

YouTubeLink

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) Exhibitor: Someone who presents something at a trade show.

At the medical equipment trade show, exhibitors showed the latest technology for hospitals.

(2) Booth: A space for exhibitors.

We decorated our booth with trees and plants to show that we’re environmentally friendly?

(3) Lead: Someone who might buy your product or service.

We got 150 leads from the show. If 10 percent of them buy, we’ll be doing great.

Today’s

Questions

1. Why might you go to a trade show?

a. To get leads

b. To visit a new city

c. To buy a booth

2. Who goes to trade shows?

a. Exhibitors, Buyers, Organizers

b. The general public

c. Organizers and buyers

3. Who might say “Thanks for stopping by the booth. I’d love to show you our product”?

a. An organizer

b. An exhibitor

c. A buyer

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday

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CP+ (an annual camera trade show in Yokohama, Japan)

CP+ (an annual camera trade show in Yokohama, Japan)

By Jeremy Schaar

Today’s topic is trade shows. In today’s lesson, you’ll learn the most important vocabulary for trade shows and some of the language you’ll use at the show.

Let’s start off by thinking about what a trade show is and why you might want to attend one.

A trade show is a place for companies in one industry to show off their products or services. For example, a book publishing company sells books. At a book trade show, they would want to get a booth and be an exhibitor.

To exhibit means to show or present. A booth is your space at a show. For the booth, you can get a shell scheme or design it yourself. A shell scheme is usually just a small space–maybe 9 square meters–with a table and chairs. If you design your booth by yourself, anything is possible. It can be really huge with lots of stuff.

Exhibitors go to trade shows in order to meet potential buyers of their stuff. Sometimes these potential buyers are called leads. After the exhibition is finished, the exhibitors will contact the leads and try to get them to buy.

Of course exhibitors aren’t the only people at the show. You’ll also find buyers. At a book show, this might mean the general public, but some shows don’t allow the general public to attend.

Finally, there are the organizers of the trade show. If you go to a show, the organizer will sell you your booth. They’ll introduce you to leads and help you with whatever problems you might have.

Here are a few trade show sentences you might use:

  • I’d like to get a simple booth with a shell scheme. How much does that cost?
  • Thanks for stopping by the booth. I’d love to show you our product.
  • Could I get your business card? I’d love to contact you later.

If you want to learn more about trade shows and stay up-to-date on the industry. I’d highly recommend the website TSNN.com. TSNN stands for Trade Show News Network.

As always, if you have any questions, please post them on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

A, A, B

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Phone Call Skills

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) Rising Intonation: When your voice goes up. We use it for different things, but one reason for rising intonation is to tell the listener you don’t understand.

Pardon?↑

(2) Confirmation Email: An email sent to make sure you understand.

Send them a confirmation email to make sure they know about Friday’s meeting. It’s very important. I don’t want them to forget.

(3) Out of the office: Gone. Not in the office.

I’ll be out of the office until Thursday. Please contact me after then.

Today’s

Questions

1. Who answers the phone call?

a. Sherri.

b. Kevin.

c. Dennis.

2. How does Sherri make sure she has the correct information?

a. She repeats the information.

b. She says, “Is that right?”.

c. A and B.

3. How can you tell the listener you didn’t understand?

a. Send a follow-up email.

b. Use rising intonation.

c. A and B.

7________________________

Phone Call Skills

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Phone_Systems

By Jeremy Schaar

Last week I presented some strategies you can use if someone doesn’t understand you. First you ask them to repeat themselves. Then you need to check if you understood.

In order for someone to repeat themselves, you can say things like “Pardon?” or “Sorry, what was that?” Make sure to use rising intonation when you say them. That means that your voice should go up. That will tell the listener that you didn’t understand.

Next, you want to make sure that you understood. You do this by repeating the information. You might even send a confirmation email later on. But during the conversation, you should first repeat the information. Then you can say something like, “Is that right?” or “Did I get that right?”

Let’s look at an example:

A: International Technical Group, Sherri speaking. How may I help you?

B: Hello, may I speak with Kevin Brown?

A: I’m sorry. Kevin’s out of the office until next week. Could I help you?

B: Oh that’s right. He just got married. Could you just let him know that Dennis called?

A: Sorry? What was that?

B: Dennis. Could you let him know that I called?

A: Sure. I’ll let him know Dennis called. Is that right?

B: Yes. Have a nice day.

A: Thanks. You too.

Want more practice? Got questions? Comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

A, C, B

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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