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04 Giving a Presentation: Part A

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Meeting A - Formal Meeting

Shawn: As I mentioned, our market share has been sliding for the past year. Naturally, Vision Corporation is alarmed by these changes and wants to understand the underlying reasons. The truth is, we’re not entirely sure why we’re losing market share, but we have identified three factors that may contribute to the cause: a growing number of competitors, our product’s features, and poor advertising. First, the number of competitors in our industry has doubled in the past year. To counter this, we must learn to differentiate Vision Corporation from the other companies. Second, our product lacks some of the features that customers are looking for. We need to improve our product and make it the best market offering. Third, our advertising has been ineffective in reaching our potential customers. We need to rethink our marketing campaigns and make sure that we’re targeting the right market. Now I’m going to turn things over to Ms. Graff, who will discuss the findings of her focus groups.

Meeting B - Informal Meeting

Shawn: As I said a moment ago, our market share has taken a nosedive in the last year. Why? We think it’s a combination of three things: (one) there’s a lot more competition now than there was a year ago, (two) our product isn’t meeting the needs of the market, and (three) our advertising is speaking to the wrong customers. These are some pretty serious but not insurmountable problems, so let’s take a look at the solutions we’ve come up with. First, we’re facing twice as many competitors as we were a year ago, so we need to make sure that customers know that Vision Corp. is the best in the business. Second, we need to make sure that our product has all the bells and whistles that our customers have come to expect. And third, we have to revamp our marketing efforts and make sure that our ads appeal to the right group of customers. Hannah, can you please take over now and tell us what you learned from the focus groups?

GLOSSARY

Meeting A - Formal Meeting

As I mentioned... – a phrase used to refer back to something that was said earlier
* As I mentioned in our meeting last week, our new employee Chantrelle is going to start working here tomorrow.

alarmed – surprised in a negative way; shocked; disturbed
* The police are alarmed by the recent increase in crime in this neighborhood.

underlying – something that cannot be seen easily, but explains why something is happening
* The underlying reasons for the decrease in the number of fish in this lake include pollution and warmer than normal temperatures.

to contribute – to add to something; to make something stronger, bigger, or better
* A good educational system can contribute to a stronger economy.

cause – something that creates a change or results in something else happening
* One of the causes of global warming is the increase in the number of cars on the roads.

competitor – a person or a business that sells a similar product to a similar group of customers as you do
* Hewlett-Packard and Gateway are competitors in the computer industry.

advertising – the use of television commercials, radio commercials, and printed advertisements to make people want to buy a product or service
* Television advertising is much more expensive during important football games than during regular programs.

to double – to increase by two; to increase by 100%
* When Penelope changed jobs, her salary doubled from $23,000 to $46,000.

to counter – to work against something; to balance something by working in the opposite direction
* Daniel ate a lot of food during the holidays, but he countered the extra calories by running 10 miles each day.

to differentiate – to distinguish; to make two similar things seem different
* Did you write this letter, or did your husband do it? I can’t differentiate your handwriting.

to lack – to not have something; to be missing something
* Our city lacks a park for children to play in, but we’re going to try to build one this year.

to look for – to search for; to seek; to try to find
* Eugene is looking for his keys. Have you seen them anywhere?

market offering – a product that is available for sale to customers
* Microsoft has many software programs among its market offerings.

ineffective – not effective; not able to do what something is supposed to do
* Medication is ineffective if patients forget to take it when they’re supposed to.

to rethink – to think about something again; to think about another way to do something when the first way doesn’t work well
* Lana isn’t doing well in her biology classes, so she is rethinking her plan to become a doctor.

marketing campaign – a strategy for letting people know about a product or service and making them want to buy it
* The new marketing campaign includes a mixture of television and radio commercials.

to target – to aim for; to try to reach; to design something for
* The American Cancer Association tries to target smokers by educating them and helping them stop smoking.

findings – results of a research project; outcome of an investigation
* The researchers’ findings showed that exercising 30 minutes each day can help people live longer.

Meeting B - Informal Meeting

As I said a moment ago... – a phrase used when repeating something that one said a few minutes ago, usually as a reminder or to stress its importance
* As I said a moment ago, when you repeat information in a presentation, it is easier for people to remember it.

nosedive – a quick decrease, fall, or decline; going down a lot and very quickly
* When the economy took a nosedive, many foreign companies stopped doing business in that country.

to meet the needs – to provide what someone is looking for; to give people what they require
* We could meet the needs of our busy customers better if our stores were open later each day.

insurmountable – without a solution; unable to overcome; unable to fix
* Yessinia’s parents got divorced because of insurmountable differences between her mom and dad.

solution – an answer to a problem; a way to handle a difficult situation
* If you want your sons to fight less, one solution might be to give them their own bedrooms.

to come up with – to create or invent; to think of something new and creative
* Olga came up with a way to save her department $100 each week.

bells and whistles – attractive, desirable, and extra features of a product that are not needed for its basic use or operation
* Today many cell phones are full of bells and whistles, such as cameras, games, and music players.

to revamp – to improve; to make better
* The Flores family revamped their home by painting all the walls.

to take over – to take control of something
* When Condi took over the business, sales increased very quickly in the first year.

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to ESLPod.com's “Business Meetings" course: lesson four. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, from the Center for Educational Development in
beautiful Los Angeles, California.

In the third lesson of “Business Meetings,” we learned business vocabulary for beginning a presentation and letting people know what will be discussed in
formal and informal business meetings. In this fourth lesson, we're going to learn vocabulary for actually giving a presentation.

Let's start by listening to Shawn's presentation at the formal meeting.

[start of formal meeting script]

Shawn: As I mentioned, our market share has been sliding for the past year. Naturally, Vision Corporation is alarmed by these changes and wants to understand the underlying reasons. The truth is, we’re not entirely sure why we’re losing market share, but we have identified three factors that may contribute to the cause: a growing number of competitors, our product’s features, and poor advertising. First, the number of competitors in our industry has doubled in the past year. To counter this, we must learn to differentiate Vision Corporation from the other companies. Second, our product lacks some of the features that customers are looking for. We need to improve our product and make it the best market offering. Third, our advertising has been ineffective in reaching our potential customers. We need to rethink our marketing campaigns and make sure that we’re targeting the right market. Now I’m going to turn things over to Ms. Graff, who will discuss the findings of her focus groups.

[end of formal meeting script]

Shawn begins by saying, “As I mentioned, our market share has been sliding.” The phrase “as I mentioned” is used to refer back to something that was said
earlier. In this case, Shawn has already said that market share was sliding, or falling, when he began the presentation. He says “as I mentioned” to remind
people of this. I could say, “As I mentioned, this lesson is about making a presentation” – I already told you that; I’m reminding you that I told you that
already – “as I mentioned.”

Shawn says that Vision Corporation is alarmed by these changes in the market share. To be “alarmed” (alarmed) means to be shocked, disturbed, or surprised in a negative way. You might be alarmed to learn that your friend’s car was stolen, for example – you are shocked; you are surprised; it’s a bad thing. Shawn says that the company wants to understand the underlying reasons for the changes in market share. An “underlying (underlying) reason” is an explanation that cannot be seen easily – that you can’t figure out right away – but it’s an explanation that tells you why something is happening. An underlying reason for the increase in global temperatures – in global warming – might be the use of oil (petroleum). That’s an example of an “underlying reason.”

Shawn doesn’t know exactly what the underlying reason is for the company losing market share, but he talks about three things that may “contribute to the cause”. “To contribute” (contribute) means to add to something or to make something stronger or better. If you give money to an organization, you are contributing to the organization. A “cause” (cause) is something that creates a change or results in something else happening. Bad weather might be the cause of an accident; it’s the reason why the accident happened.

When Shawn talks about three things that “contribute to the cause,” he means that he has identified three things that are part of the situation that is making the company lose its market share. Shawn says that the first thing is “a growing number of competitors.” When we say a number is “growing,” we mean it is increasing, so there is an increasing number of competitors. A “competitor” (competitor) is a person or a business that sells a similar product to a similar group of customers as you do. Toyota is a competitor for Honda for the car market in the United States. They are two companies that sell a similar product – a similar thing – to a similar group of people, or to the same group of people.

Shawn says that the second thing – the second reason why the company may be losing its market share – is the product’s features, or the characteristics of the product. And he says that the third thing is poor advertising. “Advertising” (advertising) is the use of television commercials, radio commercials, printed advertisements like in a newspaper, and the Internet to make people want to buy your product or service. Vision Corporation has poor advertising, meaning that it doesn’t do a very good job of making people want to buy its product. We use the word “poor,” here, to mean bad – not very good.

Then Shawn says that the number of competitors in the industry has doubled in the past year. “To double” (double) means to increase two times, or twice as much – to increase 100%. For example, you might say that sales doubled from $16,000 to $32,000. Shawn says that to counter the large number of competitors, the company must learn to differentiate itself from other companies. “To counter (counter) something” means to work against something, or to balance something by working in the opposite direction. You might decide to drive less to counter the large amount of money you have to spend on high gasoline prices. “To differentiate” (differentiate) means to distinguish or to make two similar things seem different. When you fly on a plane and you go to get your luggage, you will notice that some people try to differentiate their luggage so that it doesn’t look like everyone else’s luggage. They may put some colored tape on it, for example, so they know that it is their bag – their piece of luggage. When Shawn says that to counter the falling market share they must learn to differentiate the products of Vision Corporation, he means that the way to increase market share is to make Vision Corporation seem different and better than its competitors – to make its products seem different.

Shawn then says that the product lacks some of the features, or product characteristics, that customers are looking for. “To lack” (lack) means not to have something, or to be missing something. Our podcasts have audio, but lack video – they don’t have video. “To look for something” means to seek or search for something, or to try to find something. Lucy and I are always looking for new ideas for our podcasts. When Shawn says that the “product lacks some of the features that customers are looking for,” then, he means that the product doesn’t have everything that customers want it to have. Shawn says that the company needs to improve the product and make it a better market offering. A “market offering” is a product that is available for sale to customers. A farmer’s market offerings might include potatoes, carrots, and lettuce, for example.

Shawn continues, saying that the advertising has been “ineffective” in reaching potential customers. The word “ineffective” (ineffective) means not effective, or not able to do what something is supposed to do. Vision Corporation has been doing some advertising – they’ve been advertising – but it isn’t working the way they want it to – the way it’s supposed to do, because it isn’t communicating with the right group of people. Shawn says that the company needs to “rethink” its “marketing campaign.” The verb “to rethink” (rethink) means to think about something again, or to think about another way to do something when the first way doesn’t work well. A “marketing campaign” (campaign) is a strategy for letting people know about a product or a service and making them want to buy it. To rethink a marketing campaign, then, means to look carefully at the existing marketing campaign – the one you have right now – and find ways to make it better. Shawn says that this is the way to target the right market. “To target” means to aim for something or to try to reach something. Our courses target people who are learning English as a second language. Vision Corporation’s advertising should be targeting the people who are interested in buying the type of product that the company offers.

Finally, Shawn says that he’s “going to turn things over to Hannah, who will discuss the findings of her focus groups.” He’s “going to turn things over,” meaning he’s going to let Hannah talk to the group. She’s going to talk about her findings. “Findings” (findings) are the results of a research project, or the outcome – the conclusion of an investigation. The findings of Hannah’s focus groups, in this case, are the opinions of the people who were there, who gave their advice and suggestions about the company’s product.

Let’s listen to the formal meeting again, this time at a native rate of speech.

[start of formal meeting script]

Shawn: As I mentioned, our market share has been sliding for the past year. Naturally, Vision Corporation is alarmed by these changes and wants to understand the underlying reasons. The truth is, we’re not entirely sure why we’re losing market share, but we have identified three factors that may contribute to the cause: a growing number of competitors, our product’s features, and poor advertising. First, the number of competitors in our industry has doubled in the past year. To counter this, we must learn to differentiate Vision Corporation from the other companies. Second, our product lacks some of the features that customers are looking for. We need to improve our product and make it the best market offering. Third, our advertising has been ineffective in reaching our potential customers. We need to rethink our marketing campaigns and make sure that we’re targeting the right market. Now I’m going to turn things over to Ms. Graff, who will discuss the findings of her focus groups.

[end of formal meeting script]

Now that you better understand the formal meeting, let’s listen to Shawn make the same presentation at an informal meeting.

[start of informal meeting script]

Shawn: As I said a moment ago, our market share has taken a nosedive in the last year. Why? We think it’s a combination of three things: (one) there’s a lot more competition now than there was a year ago, (two) our product isn’t meeting the needs of the market, and (three) our advertising is speaking to the wrong customers. These are some pretty serious but not insurmountable problems, so let’s take a look at the solutions we’ve come up with. First, we’re facing twice as many competitors as we were a year ago, so we need to make sure that customers know that Vision Corp. is the best in the business. Second, we need to make sure that our product has all the bells and whistles that our customers have come to expect. And third, we have to revamp our marketing efforts and make sure that our ads appeal to the right group of customers. Hannah, can you please take over now and tell us what you learned from the focus groups?

[end of informal meeting script]

Let’s take a closer look at the vocabulary used in the informal meeting. Shawn begins by saying, “As I said a moment ago.” That phrase is similar to the phrase “as I mentioned,” which was used in the formal meeting. “As I said a moment ago” is a phrase used when repeating something that one said a few minutes ago, usually as a reminder or to stress its importance. As I said a moment ago, we’re going to take a close look at the vocabulary used in the meeting. Shawn says, “As I said a moment ago, our market share has taken a nosedive in the last year.” A “nosedive” (nosedive) is a quick or rapid decrease, fall, or decline, where something goes down a lot and very quickly. When the population of frogs takes a nosedive, biologists get very worried, because they think, maybe, there’s something wrong with the environment where the frogs are living. So, anything that has a number can take a nosedive. Vision Corporation is worried about the nosedive, or the rapid decrease, in its market share.

As in the formal meeting, Shawn says that there are three reasons for the falling market share, or the decreasing market share. First, there are more competitors than there were before. Second, the product isn’t meeting the needs of the market. “To meet the needs of someone” means to give or provide what someone is looking for, or to give people what they require. We hope that we’re meeting your needs in improving your English comprehension. Shawn wants the product to meet the needs of the consumers, or customers, in the market. Shawn then says that the third reason for falling market share is that the advertising is speaking to the wrong customers. He says that “these are some pretty serious but not insurmountable problems.” If something is “insurmountable” (insurmountable) it doesn’t have a solution, and it is unable to be overcome or fixed. But Shawn says that these are not insurmountable problems, meaning that he thinks they can be fixed. He suggests taking a look at the solutions the team has come up with. A “solution” is an answer to a problem, or a way to handle a difficult situation. “To come up with something” means to create or invent something, or to think of something new and creative. We work hard to come up with new ideas for our podcasts each week. When Shawn suggests taking a look at the solutions his team has come up with, he means that he wants to review the ideas that his team has about how the company can fix its
problems.

Shawn says that the company has twice as many competitors as it did one year ago, so it needs to find ways to let customers know that it’s the best company. Then Shawn says that Vision Corporation needs to make sure that the product has all the “bells and whistles” that customers expect. “Bells (bells) and whistles (whistles)” are attractive, desirable, and extra features, or characteristics, of a product that aren’t needed for its basic use and operation. A “bell” is, literally, something that rings – ding, ding, ding, ding, ding – that would be a bell. A “whistle” is like (Jeff whistles) – that would be a whistle. But the expression “bells and whistles,” together, refers to things that you have with a product that aren’t necessary but are nice – that make you like it more. For example, “bells and whistles” on a car – on an automobile – might include a CD player, automatic windows, or a navigation system – a satellite navigation system. You don’t need those things to drive your car, but they are nice extra things; those are the “bells and whistles.”

Shawn wants the company’s product to have more of these nice things that customers are looking for. Shawn also says that the company needs to revamp its marketing efforts. “To revamp (revamp) something” means to improve something, or make something better. Revamping the marketing efforts means changing the way that the company does its marketing. Revamping your room might mean painting the walls and buying new furniture – new chairs, a new
desk, and so forth.

At the end of the meeting, Shawn asks Hannah to “take over” and talk about what she learned from the focus groups. “To take over” means to take control of something, to be in charge. In this case, Hannah is going to be in control, or be in charge, of the next section of the meeting.

That’s all the new vocabulary in the informal meeting. Let’s listen to Shawn again, this time when he’s speaking more quickly.

[start of informal meeting script]

Shawn: As I said a moment ago, our market share has taken a nosedive in the last year. Why? We think it’s a combination of three things: (one) there’s a lot more competition now than there was a year ago, (two) our product isn’t meeting the needs of the market, and (three) our advertising is speaking to the wrong customers. These are some pretty serious but not insurmountable problems, so let’s take a look at the solutions we’ve come up with. First, we’re facing twice as many competitors as we were a year ago, so we need to make sure that customers know that Vision Corp. is the best in the business. Second, we need to make sure that our product has all the bells and whistles that our customers have come to expect. And third, we have to revamp our marketing efforts and make sure that our ads appeal to the right group of customers. Hannah, can you please take over now and tell us what you learned from the focus groups?

[end of informal meeting script]

Now you know some of the business vocabulary used to make presentations. In the next lesson, number five, we’re going to continue learning vocabulary for making presentations, but this time we will focus more on the vocabulary for using visuals, the drawings and images that help people understand what they’re presenting.

This course has been a production of the Center for Educational Development, in beautiful Los Angeles, California. Visit our web site at eslpod.com.

This course was produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. Copyright 2007.