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0828 Important Business Contacts

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 828: Important Business Contacts.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 828. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Go there and take a look at our special courses in business and daily English. I think you will enjoy them.

This episode is a dialog between Kelly and John, talking about people you know in the business world. Let’s get started!

[start of dialog]

Kelly: What we need are a few people in the industry to talk up our new company.

John: I’m on top of that. I’m really well connected, as you know, and I’ve already put in a few calls to a few of the movers and shakers in our business.

Kelly: I didn’t know you had such a vast network of contacts.

John: Oh, sure I do. I don’t mean to name drop, but you know Kevin Martinez at McQ Corp? I’m pretty tight with him. And Eva Arribas at Syntect? She and I go way back.

Kelly: Wow, those are some heavy hitters!

John: You’ve said it. And Kevin owes me one, and Eva would bend over backwards for me.

Kelly: It’s great! What did they say when you asked them to get the word out about us?

John: Um, I’m still waiting to hear back from them. I’m sure they’ll call back any day now.

[end of dialog]

Kelly begins our dialog by saying to John, “What we need” – the thing we need – “What we need are a few people in the industry to talk up our new company.” The “industry” (industry) could refer to any group of businesses that works in the same area. You could talk about the car manufacturing industry or the coal industry or the nuclear power industry or the podcast industry – any collection of companies, any area of business activity can be called an industry. Here in Los Angeles, however, when you say “the Industry,” you’re usually referring to the entertainment industry – movie companies, television studios, and so forth. People say, “Oh, yeah. He works in the Industry” – they mean he works in some connection to one of the entertainment companies here in Hollywood.

Kelly says they need a few people in the industry to “talk up” their new company. “To talk up” is a phrasal verb meaning to say good things about someone or something so that other people have a good opinion of it. “I’m going to talk up this new restaurant. It’s really great. I think you should try it.” I’m saying good things about it to get other people to notice it, to go there.

John says, “I’m on top of that.” The phrase “to be on top of something” means that you are actually and actively doing something, that you don’t need any help from anyone else, that you have it – we might say – “under control.” “I’m taking care of that” is what John is saying. He says, “I’m really well connected.” “To be well connected” means that you have relationships with very important, powerful, influential people in your area. If someone says, “Yeah, I’m very well connected in the Industry here in Los Angeles” – that would mean they know famous movie stars or famous producers or directors. I, for example, am not well connected in any industry.

John says, however, “I’m really well connected, as you know, and I’ve already put in a few calls to a few of the movers and shakers in our business.” “To put in a few calls” means that you have telephoned a few people. You have made a couple of phone calls. “I’ve put in a few calls,” John says, “to a few of” – some, a couple – “a few of the movers and shakers in our industry.” The expression “movers and shakers” (shakers) means people who are very powerful, people who are very influential, people who make big important decisions about something in your particular area.

Kelly says, “I didn’t know you had such a vast network of contacts. “Vast” (vast) means very large, something that has a lot of different items or things in it. We might talk about the universe as being “vast” –it’s huge, it’s really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really big – really big – that’s vast. John says he has a “vast network.” A “network” (network) – one word – is a group of people who are connected to each other, usually, people who have some sort of common or professional interest. I might have a network of people who are language teachers – I don’t but I could – and if I did, that would be a “network.”

“Contacts” (contacts) is in the title of this episode – “Important Business Contacts.” “Contacts” are people with whom you have some sort of professional relationship and can call on for advice. “I have “contacts” in the entertainment industry” – that means I know people. So, contacts, really are people, but usually we use that word in talking about people who you have some professional association with. However, contacts can also be used to describe just anyone you know who’s telephone or address you have. Many phones – smart phones, computers – have software programs and part of the program or part of the software, I should say, often has a contact program and the contacts are the people you know – their email addresses, their phone numbers, etc. So, Kelly says, “I didn’t know you had such a vast network of contacts.” John says, “Oh, sure I do. I don’t mean to name drop but you know Kevin Martinez at McQ Corp? I’m pretty tight with him.” “To name drop” means to mention the name of some important or famous person in a conversation so that the other person is impressed. They go, “Oh, wow. You know that person?” For example, “Last night, I was having dinner with Brad Pitt and his wife, Angelina Jolie, and I was telling them about ESL Podcast.” That would be an example of name dropping. I’m mentioning a famous person so that you will go, “Oh, wow. You know Brad Pitt?” Well, that’s what the women would ask me. The men would ask me if I knew Angelina Jolie.

John says that he knows this famous person, Kevin Martinez. He says, “I’m pretty tight with him.” “To be tight (tight) with someone” means to have a very close relationship with them, to be friends with them. John says, “And Eva Arribas at Syntect? She and I go way back.” The expression “to go way back” means that you’ve known them for a very long time. You’ve had a relationship with them, usually a professional relationship, with a person for a very long time. That’s what he means when he says, “She and I go way back.” Kelly says, “Wow. Those are some heavy hitters.” The expression “heavy hitter” (hitter) is similar to “movers and shakers.” “Heavy hitters” are people who have a lot of power, a lot of influence in a certain area.

John says, “You’ve said it.” That phrase, “You’ve said it” is use to show agreement with what the other person has just said. We might also say, “Exactly!” or “Precisely!” So your friend says, “This is a delicious meal. This food tastes very good.” And you respond, “You’ve said it!” or “Exactly!” or “Precisely!” It means I agree with you completely. John says, “And Kevin owes me one. And Eva would bend over backwards for me.” “To owe (owe) someone” means you owe that person a favor. You need to do something for that person because they did something for you. Well, John has done something for Kevin, we don’t know what, but now Kevin has to do something for John.

This is a very powerful, social force of influence, of course, what we call “reciprocity.” When I do something for you, then you do something for me. John also says that Eva would “bend over backwards” for him. “To bend (bend) over backwards (backwards)” means to do something, more than you might expect, especially when it’s difficult or uncomfortable. We might say it’s to make an extreme effort, to do everything you possibly can for this other person – to “bend over backwards.” Kelly says, “It’s great! What did they say when you asked them to get the word about us?” The expression “to get the word out” – means to inform other people about something, to tell other people about something that is happening, something that is going on, to make sure other people know about it.

Kelly is asking what these heavy hitters said to John. John says, “Um, I’m still waiting to hear back from them,” meaning they haven’t returned his phone calls, they haven’t called him back. “I’m sure they’ll call back any day now.” The expression “any day now” means soon but you’re not exactly sure when. You think it will happen soon but you’re not sure. So, John has all these heavy hitting friends but they don’t call him back – maybe they’re not really friends.

Now let’s listen to the dialog this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialog]

Kelly: What we need are a few people in the industry to talk up our new company.

John: I’m on top of that. I’m really well connected, as you know, and I’ve already put in a few calls to a few of the movers and shakers in our business.

Kelly: I didn’t know you had such a vast network of contacts.

John: Oh, sure I do. I don’t mean to name drop, but you know Kevin Martinez at McQ Corp? I’m pretty tight with him. And Eva Arribas at Syntect? She and I go way back.

Kelly: Wow, those are some heavy hitters!

John: You’ve said it. And Kevin owes me one, and Eva would bend over backwards for me.

Kelly: It’s great! What did they say when you asked them to get the word out about us?

John: Um, I’m still waiting to hear back from them. I’m sure they’ll call back any day now.

[end of dialog]

She’s a heavy hitter when it comes to writing dialogs. She’s a mover and shaker in the world of language teaching. I’m speaking of course, of the well connected, Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
industry – all the businesses that work in a particular field; businesses that are involved in a similar type of work, delivering similar products and services

* How has the growing popularity of e-books changed the publishing industry?

to talk up – to say good things about someone or something, increasing other’s interest in it and/or improving others’ opinion of it

* The university’s recruiters are talking up their programs to encourage more people to apply for admission.

on top of (something) – actively doing something and in control, not needing help from others and not needing any reminders

* Sheila is on top of the preparations for the conference.

well connected – having good relationships with powerful, important, and influential people

* Karina wants an internship in Hollywood so that she can become well connected with actors and film producers.

to put in a few calls – to make some phone calls, especially to explore a topic or get ideas from other people

* Nick put in a few calls to see if he could find anyone who might be interested in the job.

mover and shaker – someone who is influential, powerful, and able to make important decisions, and whom other people admire and want to follow; a leader

* There will be a lot of movers and shakers at this party, so it’s important to make a good impression.

vast – extensive; large; involving many items or a large collection

* The library has a vast collection of books about architecture.

network – a group of people or things that are connected to each other and work together; the people with whom one has professional relationships

* Studying at a good business school can be a great way to build your professional network.

contact – a person with whom one has a professional relationship and can call for advice or assistance

* Do you have any contacts who work in human resources at Acme Corporation?

to name drop – to mention the names of important and powerful people in a conversation, usually because one wants to impress the other person and seem more important and influential than one actually is

* Edgar loves to name drop, but I don’t think he knows even half of the people he mentions.

tight – having a close relationship with someone; close

* Shanaya is really tight with her older brother, but she doesn’t have a good relationship with her sisters.

to go way back – to have a long history with someone; to have had a relationship with someone for a long period of time

* Harvey and Viktor go way back. They first met in elementary school, when they were just six years old.

heavy hitter – a person who is powerful and influential and can make important decisions

* If you continue to do your job this well, you’ll become a heavy hitter in the industry within just a few years.

you’ve said it – a phrase used to show agreement with what another person says; exactly; precisely

* A: This is a delicious meal!

B: You’ve said it!

to owe (someone) one – to owe someone a favor; to need to do something nice for someone because he or she has done something nice for you in the past

* Thanks for helping me move. I owe you one.

to bend over backwards – to make an extreme effort to do something for another person, exceeding expectations; to do more than what is expected, especially when it is difficult, uncomfortable, or time-consuming

* Ulysses bent over backwards to help us prepare for the party, so we should at least thank him with a nice card.

to get the word out – to inform people about something; to make sure people know about something; to raise awareness of something

* They printed a lot of brochures and bought some newspaper ads to get the word out about their event.

any day now – soon, but without knowing exactly when

* Go outside and enjoy the sunshine! It will start raining again any day now.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why does Kelly think they need to reach out to contacts?
a) Because the company is facing a public relations scandal.
b) Because they want to raise awareness of the company.
c) Because they need more people to apply for jobs with the company.

2. What does John say about Kevin?
a) Kevin owes him a lot of money.
b) Kevin owes John a favor.
c) Kevin and John are related.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
contact

The word “contact,” in this podcast, means a person with whom one has a professional relationship and can call for advice or assistance: “When Dora wanted to find a new job, she first reached out to all her contacts.” A “point of contact” is a person who has been assigned to handle all communication for a particular project or client: “Benny will be your primary point of contact. If you have any questions about your account, please call him.” The phrase “contact lenses” or “contacts” refers to small pieces of plastic worn in the eyes to improve vision, similar to glasses: “Have you ever tried wearing contacts that change your eye color?” Finally, a “contact sport” is a sport that requires touching or hitting other players and is at least a little bit dangerous: “Tiko doesn’t want his son to play any dangerous contact sports, like football or hockey.”

to get the word out

In this podcast, the phrase “to get the word out” means to inform people about something, to make sure people know about something, and to raise awareness of something: “We got the word out about our garage sale by hanging signs in the neighborhood and posting a note online.” The phrase “to spread the word” has the same meaning: “The schools are trying to spread the word about their new after school programs.” The phrase “to have a word with (someone)” means to have a conversation with someone, especially a serious, negative, or critical conversation: “Could I please have a word with you in private?” Finally, the phrases “to not say a word” and “to not breathe a word” mean to not talk about something and to keep something a secret: “Don’t breathe a word of this to Henri, or we’ll all lose our jobs.”

Culture Note
Business Social Media Websites

Many “social media websites” (websites that help people connect and develop relationships online) have business “applications” (uses). For example, LinkedIn is a popular website that helps people create and “maintain” (keep active) their professional networks. Individuals create profiles that are similar to “résumés” (one-page documents describing one’s work experience, education, and skills). Once they connect to other people they know, they can see their contacts’ contacts and request an introduction if, for example, they want to speak with someone at a particular company.

Business social media websites work best when it is easy for the users to “update” (add new, more accurate information) their profiles. They also need to have a lot of users to make the site “worthwhile” (worth using; beneficial). People need to be able to find many or most of their contacts through the site.

The websites try to encourage people to return to the site frequently. One of the easiest ways for them to do this is through the creation of “forums” (discussion groups). For example, they might have forums to discuss how to write a good resume, how to market to the “elderly” (older people, usually over 65), or how to hire the best candidates. Websites can also encourage users to join “affiliation groups” (groups of people who have something in common). For example, users can join “alumni groups” (groups of people who graduated from the same university), “regional groups” (people who live or work in a particular area), “industry groups” (people who work in the same type of business) or “interest groups” (people who share the same interests or concerns).

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - b