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Corporate Titles and Organization Charts

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Corporate Titles and Organization Charts

Many Business English students ask about titles. For example: What’s the difference between a Senior Manager and a Vice-President? What do General Mangers do exactly? How do companies use titles differently? Trying to translate titles between English and another language can be quite tricky.

But a lesson on the topic can easily solve the problems. Here are several resources you can use and then some follow-up questions.

For starters… Wikipedia’s article on corporate titles is a good place to start. You’ll find a list of over 70 titles and descriptions of what the people do.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_title

Check out some org charts… You can find links to thousands of org charts on the internet. Just do a search for “org charts” or “organization charts”. Here are a few links, anyway. Look at them with your students and discuss how they are similar or different to each other. Also, which titles do you see?

Here’s one.

And another.

And one more.

How about a joke? Follow this link for a funny cartoon. Ask your students why it’s funny?

And an article to read… Finally, about.com has a nice article about org charts. It briefly talks about charts, titles, and the purposes behind them. You can use it as a starting point for a discussion.

http://management.about.com/cs/generalmanagement/a/OrgCharts.htm

Here are some discussion questions you might ask your students:

  • What’s the purpose of an organization chart?
  • Do small companies need organization charts too?
  • At what size does a company probably need a chart?
  • How might a manager use a chart to increase productivity?
  • How might an unclear chart hurt productivity?
  • Which titles do all org charts need? Which titles are specific to certain companies?
  • What’s your dream title? Why?

22 Lesson Ideas

22 Private/Small Group Lesson Ideas…all you need is a laptop and a dream. And you don’t really need the laptop.

  1. Look at pictures of places and discuss.
  2. Read “The Road Not Taken” and discuss.
  3. Read “The Lottery” and discuss.
  4. Discuss trips you’ve taken. Start by thinking of all the adjectives you can.
  5. Think of a business situation and role play it (interviews, etc.).
  6. Summarize a movie.
  7. Summarize a book
  8. Summarize a trip.
  9. Summarize a past project.
  10. Summarize a future project.
  11. Visit the Centers for Disease Control website and discuss.
  12. Read an article from The Economist and discuss.
  13. TED.com videos (watch, discuss, comment).
  14. Learn speaking techniques at rachelsenglish.com.
  15. BusinessEnglishPod has 20 minute listenings you can expand into lessons.
  16. Pretend you’re making a hotel reservation online.
  17. Go shopping online and buy presents for the people you love.
  18. Or, buy stuff for yourselves online.
  19. Go to craigslist.com and try and sell something online.
  20. Order a pizza for a charity. Practice, then make a real phone call.
  21. Comment on YouTube videos. Like this one.
  22. Comment on Blogs. Like these.

Business English Role Play Cards

Business English Role Play

These role play cards will help you practice some business English expressions.

Click here to get the role play cards. Find a partner. You should talk to each other as different people. Use the expressions on the cards. When you have used all three words/expressions, switch to a new card.

After you’ve used these cards, you can make some new ones using the blank cards at the end of the second page.

Here are the words with brief descriptions and examples.

  • Well received: Something that that people liked
    • My report was well received. I got lots of compliments
    • The new boss was immediately well received. All the employees really liked her.
  • Ill received: Something that wasn’t liked.
    • I made a new design and I thought it looked great. Unfortunately, it was ill received, so I should try again.
    • They didn’t really like it. It was ill received.
  • Input: Ideas that should help something like a project
    • My boss is great. He always asks for input.
    • You shouldn’t give input unless you have good knowledge. You might just look stupid.
  • To execute: To do something that requires skill and careful effort.
    • He executed the marketing strategy quite well. Sales of the new product are good.
    • Don’t execute these new policies right away. Let’s review them more carefully first.
  • Stressed out: To feel anxiety.
    • I’m so stressed out because I’ve been working a lot.
    • Don’t get stressed out over the new program. You’ll make some mistakes but it’s normal. Don’t worry.
  • Dark ages: Times that are not modern
    • Our managers are really in the dark ages when it comes to technology. Did you know the CEO doesn’t use a computer?
    • The hotel’s system is from the dark ages. They still use tape drives!
  • Up-to-date: Current, modern, new
    • My training is up-to-date. I understand how everything works now.
    • If we get all the computers up-to-date, we’ll save a lot of time and money.
  • Extensive training: A lot of training. Much education on a topic.
    • I have extensive computer training. I won’t have problems.
    • You need extensive training if you want to be a doctor.
  • I’ve been working at my job for ____ years.: How long you have worked somewhere.
    • I’ve been working at the hospital for 12 years.
    • I’ve been working at Nike for a year.
  • Just a number: Not important at all.
    • I’m really just a number here. As long as I do my reports, no one notices me or cares about me.
    • When I started I was just a number, but now I’m a senior manager.
  • Routine tasks: Normal work, things you often do.
    • I’m in HR. These days my routine tasks include doing payroll and training new employees.
    • Every day is different for me! I think my only routine task is turning on my computer.
  • Daily basis: Everyday
    • On a daily basis, I read more than 100 emails.
    • I can’t have meetings with you about this on a daily basis. You need to be more independent.
  • Modern: Current, up-to-date, not old
    • The modern office design is often very open. You can see what everyone is doing.
    • I don’t really like all this modern technology. What’s wrong with using a pencil?!

Business English Role Play Cards

Cut these cards up. Students should take the card and speak as the person on the card until they’ve used all the words/expressions.

You are the CEO of a company that exports strawberries. Use the following words/expressions:

  • To execute
  • Stressed out
  • Dark ages
 You are an IT specialist at a marketing agency. Use the following words/expressions:

  • Up-to-date
  • Extensive training
  • I’ve been working at my job for ____ years.
You are a management consultant with more than 10 years of experience. Use the following words/expressions.

  • Input
  • Just a number
  • Well received
You are a nuclear engineer. Use the following words/expressions.

  • Routine tasks
  • Daily basis
  • Ill receieved
You are an executive assistant. Use the following words/expressions

  • Well received
  • Daily basis
  • Extensive training
You are a farmer. Use the following words/expressions.

  • Extensive training
  • I’ve been working at my job for ____ years.
  • Modern
You own a car dealership. Use the following words/expressions.

  • Input
  • Stressed out
  • Routine tasks
You are a human resources manager for a large company (like G.E.). Use the following words/expressions.

  • Ill received
  • Well received
  • Input
 You are an ___________________ at a ___________________. Use the following words/expressions:
You are an ___________________ at a ___________________. Use the following words/expressions:
You are an ___________________ at a ___________________. Use the following words/expressions:

How to Teach Timing

How to teach Timing

Click here for some thoughts on what timing is and why it’s important.

Here are some ways to teach it in the classroom

Poetry Poems often have rhythm. Rhythm is the essence of timing. Limericks are especially good. Check out this lesson plan on limericks and some limericks you can use in the classroom.

Songs Songs are just poems with drums and a melody to help you use the right timing. Here’s a nice slow song you might enjoy using with your students. And here’s a lesson plan to go with that song.

And an extension… After reading a poem or listening to a song, ask the students to write another stanza/verse. Don’t worry about grammar and vocabulary. Focus on timing.

Sentence Pairs Create a list of short sentences. Read them to the students with different timing and then ask them for the differences in meaning. See this lesson plan on timing for some specific suggestions.

Special Timing Choose a paragraph for your students to read. Every time they get to a specific word (e.g. “so” or “very”), make them say it with extra special long timing. Alternatively, have them switch back and forth between long and short timing while they read. (The first time they read the word “so”, they should use long timing. The next time, they should use short timing. And so on.)

Use Your Bodies Ask your students to open and close their hands quickly for fast timing and slowly for slow timing. After they get good at that, try some other movements. They could wave, do knee bends, or spin.

Race! Have your students line up and get ready to race across the room (or go outside and do it in a yard or field). When you read something quickly, they can run. When you read it slowly, they should walk. The first person to go back and forth across the room ten times is the winner. The winner gets to read for the next race.

 

How to explain timing

How to Explain Timing

UPDATE: Here’s a lesson plan on timing that you’ll love.

UPDATE 2: Here are some ways to teach timing in the classroom.

Timing is how much time we give to a part of a speech in relation to the other parts of speech around it.

For example: I’m reeeeeealy tired.

And: I’m really tired.

In the first sentence “reeeeee” takes a lot longer to say than the other parts of the sentence. In the second, it takes about the same amount of time.

Timing can be long or short. In the above example, “reeeee” takes a long time. Here’s an example of a simple sentence with short, normal, and long timing.

I’m good.

I’m good.

I’m good.

Timing can also be used for pauses in a sentence. Compare:

That movie was interesting.


That movie was…interesting.


Finally, note how timing can affect the meaning of a sentence. I’m reeeeeealy tired is stronger. I’m good (said quickly) sounds like the speaker doesn’t want you to care about their goodness. That movie was…interesting means the movie wasn’t interesting.

Timing doesn’t change the meaning of a word or a sentence by itself—tone, intonation, and stress are also important—but timing is a key element of speech and something students should understand.

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