Daily English
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09 Ending a Topic / Planning for the Future

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SCRIPTS

Meeting A - Formal Meeting

Shawn: Unfortunately, our time together is drawing to a close and we won’t be able to take any more questions today. I have been very favorably impressed by today’s discussion, but a great deal of work remains to be done. I propose that we form two committees to focus on the major outstanding issues. Ms. Graff, I would like you to head the first committee, which is charged with developing a new marketing campaign that will help us reach our target market. Mr. Hanson, you will be the chairperson of the second committee, which will begin making the proposed product changes ASAP. I would also like to establish a regular meeting schedule so that we can convene and have the committees report back to the larger group about their progress. If this time slot is convenient for everyone, I propose that we meet at this time every Tuesday for the next two months. At that point, we can reevaluate our situation and determine whether we would like to continue with the meetings.

Meeting B - Informal Meeting

Shawn: We’re almost out of time, so we need to end our question-and-answer session. I think we’re heading down the right path with today’s discussion, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. For us to move ahead with these changes, we’ll need to create two committees: one for our new marketing campaign, and one for improving our product. Hannah and Chris, I’d like you to be in charge of each of these committees. It will be important for everyone to get together regularly so that we can monitor the committees’ progress. Let’s plan on meeting once a week. Does this time on Tuesday work for everyone? Let’s try it for two months and then we can make a decision as to whether we’d like to continue meeting so frequently.

GLOSSARY

Meeting A - Formal Meeting

to draw to a close – to be ending; to be finishing
* After three days of presentations and discussions, the workshop is finally drawing to a close.

favorably impressed – having a positive opinion of something; feeling admiration or respect for something
* They were so favorably impressed by Gerry’s presentation that they’re going to make him vice president.

a great deal – much; a large part; a large portion
* A great deal of his job requires traveling internationally.

to remain – to still be present; to not be gone or finished yet
* Are you going to remain in town for a few days after the conference, or will you go home right away?

to form – to create; to make; to build
* Did you hear that airplane pilots have formed a new professional association?

committee – a small group that works on a specific project, usually in an office or organization
* Who wants to join the ticket sales committee?

outstanding – not yet finished; ongoing; continuing; still needed
* They were able to hire three new people, but they have an outstanding need for another engineer.

to head – to lead; to be in charge of; to be the leader for
* Thelma has been asked to head the Physics Department at the university.

to be charged with (something) – to be given responsibility for something; to be placed in control of something; to be told to lead something
* The police department is charged with improving public safety in this city.

chairperson – a person who leads a committee; a committee leader
* A committee chairperson must be very well organized and able to lead discussions.

ASAP / as soon as possible – without delay; right away
* Quick! I need you to send an email to our customer ASAP so he receives it before he leaves his office today.

to establish – to create; to make
* The students want to establish an acting club at their school.

to convene – to meet; to have many people come together for a meeting
* We’ve done enough for one day. Let’s convene again on Wednesday at 11:30.

to report back – to return to a larger group of people and provide information about what one has done since the last meeting
* Today, Jennifer is going to report back to the whole department about what her team learned from the financial analysts.

time slot – a date and time on one’s schedule
* Does your trainer at the gym have an open time slot today at 3:00?

convenient – easily fitting with one’s schedule and other activities; not conflicting with one’s other activities or plans; not creating problems
* Living downtown is convenient because we can walk to most places quickly and easily.

to reevaluate – to reconsider; to think about something again and decide whether it is good or bad
* I think that we should reevaluate our decision to buy a home this year because the market isn’t very good right now.

to determine – to decide; to know for sure
* How will you determine which kind of car will work best for a family of five?

Meeting B - Informal Meeting

question and answer – an opportunity to ask questions and get answers from experts; an informational session where one can ask for additional information after someone has made a presentation
* Most websites have a question-and-answer page known as “FAQs” that stands for “Frequently Asked Questions.”

to head down the right path – to work on the right thing in the right way; to do what one should be doing
* No, we haven’t found the problem yet, but we’re headed down the right path by looking at the engine and we should know what’s wrong with your car in a few hours.

ahead of (one) – in one’s future; waiting for one
* Carlton has a lot of time ahead of him to make that decision.

to move ahead with (something) – to begin doing the next step or stage of something
* Our family bought the land many years ago, but we haven’t moved head with our plan to turn it into a public garden.

to be in charge of (something) – to lead something; to have responsibility for something
* Who is in charge of finding a band for the wedding?

to monitor – to watch something to see whether and how it changes over time; to check on the progress of something, such as a project
* The doctor wants to monitor the health of the patient after his operation.

to plan on (something) – to decide to do something in the future; to make a plan
* Roberta had planned on going to Denver for a meeting, but there was too much snow overnight and her flight was canceled.

once a week – one time per week; weekly
* My mother came over to my apartment and said, “You should clean your bathroom once a week!”

to work for (someone) – to be convenient for someone; to not create problems for someone
* I’m really tired. Will it work for you if we go to the movies next week instead of tonight as we had planned?

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT

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

In the eighth lesson of “Business Meetings,” we learned business vocabulary for taking questions at formal and informal business meetings. Now, in this ninth lesson, we're going to learn how to end a topic and plan for the future at business meetings.

Let's listen to Shawn speak at the formal meeting.

[start of formal meeting script]

Shawn: Unfortunately, our time together is drawing to a close and we won’t be able to take any more questions today. I have been very favorably impressed by today’s discussion, but a great deal of work remains to be done. I propose that we form two committees to focus on the major outstanding issues. Ms. Graff, I would like you to head the first committee, which is charged with developing a new marketing campaign that will help us reach our target market. Mr. Hanson, you will be the chairperson of the second committee, which will begin making the proposed product changes ASAP. I would also like to establish a regular meeting schedule so that we can convene and have the committees report back to the larger group about their progress. If this time slot is convenient for everyone, I propose that we meet at this time every Tuesday for the next two months. At that point, we can reevaluate our situation and determine whether we would like to continue with the meetings.

[end of formal meeting script]

Shawn begins this section by saying, “Unfortunately, our time together is drawing to a close and we won’t be able to take any more questions today.” “To draw to a close” means to be ending or finishing something. You might feel sad when your vacation draws to a close, for example. Our “Business Meeting” course is drawing to a close because we are already in the ninth lesson and there’s only one more left. Shawn can't take any more questions because their time together drawing to a close, or ending.

Shawn says that he has been very favorably impressed by today's discussion. The expression “favorably impressed” (impressed) means having a positive opinion of something, or a feeling of admiration or respect for something. In other words, he liked the discussion and is pleased with it. We always hope that our bosses are favorably impressed with our work, meaning they like it. Shawn says that “a great deal of work remains to be done.” A “great deal” means much, a large part, or a large portion of something, so a great deal of work means a lot of work. You might own, for example, a great deal of land – you would have a lot of land. “To remain” (remain) means to be present, or to not be gone or finished yet. You might, for example, remain at the office until 8:00 if there’s a lot of work to do – you will stay at the office until 8:00 p.m. When Shawn says that “a great deal of work remains to be done,” he means there is still a lot of work to do and they haven’t finished working on these problems.

Shawn proposes, or suggests a plan, to form two committees. The verb “to form,” here, means to create, or to make. It can also be used to mean to build
something – to make it bigger. You might form, or create, a club or an association in your community. A “committee” is a small group of people that works on a specific project, usually in an office or in an organization. Sometimes it is difficult to have large groups of people all trying to work on something, so businesses often have committees do the work instead. These are smaller groups of people. There are sales committees, marketing committees, technology committees, and so on. Shawn proposes forming two committees, or making two small groups “to focus on the major outstanding issues.” If something is “outstanding,” we mean that it is continuing or ongoing, something that is not yet finished. That’s one use of the word “outstanding,” the word “outstanding” can also be used to mean great or wonderful. Someone who is the best in their area would be “outstanding.” Here it means not finished – not completed. The people at this meeting, that we have been listening to, have not decided how they are going to change the marketing campaign or the product, so these are still outstanding issues – they aren’t finished yet.

Shawn asks Hannah to head the first committee. “To head” (head) something means to lead or to be in charge of something. Shawn is asking Hannah to be the leader of the committee. A president of a company heads her business; that’s because she is the leader, she is the one who takes care of or is in charge of. Shawn says that Hannah’s committee is charged with developing a new market campaign that will help the company reach its target market. The expression “to be charged with something,” here, means to be given responsibility for something, to be told to lead something, or be placed in control of something. “To be charged with” has other meanings as well: it’s often used in a legal sense. When you commit a crime – when you do something wrong – and the police catch you, they can “charge” you with a crime – they can accuse you of doing something wrong. Here, however, “to be charged with” means to be given the responsibility to do. So, Hannah’s committee is responsible for developing a new marketing campaign.

Next Shawn asks Chris to be the chairperson of the second committee. A “chairperson” is a person who heads or leads the committee. So the leader of the committee is usually called a “chairperson.” It could be a “chairman” for a man, or a “chairwoman” for a woman; a more general term is “chairperson” (all one word – chairperson). The word “chairperson” has become more common in American businesses to refer to both men and women. Shawn says that Chris’s committee will begin making the proposed product changes ASAP. “ASAP” (all capital letters) is an abbreviation for “as soon as possible” and means, here, without delay or right away. If someone says he needs something ASAP, he means he needs it immediately – right away. Shawn, here, is saying that Chris’s committee should start making the changes on the product as soon and as quickly as it can.

Shawn says that he would like to establish a regular meeting schedule. “To establish” (establish) means to create or to make something – to start something. An organization might be established, for example, or created. Shawn wants the group to establish, or create, a schedule for meeting regularly – for meeting every week or every month; that would be to “meet regularly.” Shawn says he wants a schedule of when the committee will convene. “To convene” (convene) is a formal verb, a formal way of saying to meet, or to have people come together for a meeting. You can say “We are going to convene a meeting,” meaning we are going to have a meeting – we are going to meet together to talk. Shawn says that when the group convenes, or meets the whole group, the committees will report back to the larger group about their progress. “To report back” means to return to a larger group of people and give them information about what you have done since the last meeting. So if you meet every month, you would report back to the committee about what you did in the past month. Here, the committees are going to report back to the whole group to say what they’ve done.

Shawn says that if this time slot is convenient for everyone, he proposes, or suggests, meeting every Tuesday for the next two months. A “time slot” (slot) is a date and time on your schedule. For example, many people have their lunch time slot between 12:00 and 1:00 in the afternoon. When Shawn says he wants a time slot that is convenient (convenient), he means easily fitting into one’s schedule or other activities, or not creating problems by conflicting with another plan or activity that you have. You want something so that everyone can “make it” to the meeting – everyone can go to the meeting. It should be at a convenient time that people are able to actually go. Shawn is saying that if the time slot, or date and time, when they are meeting currently is convenient for everyone, or easily fitting into everyone’s schedule, then he thinks they should meet at the same time every Tuesday for the next two months. Shawn says that at this point, two month from now, the group can reevaluate the situation and determine whether it would like to continue with the meetings. “To reevaluate” (reevaluate) means to look at something again – to evaluate it again, to reconsider, or to think about something again and decide whether you like it or don’t like it, whether it is good or bad. You might, for example, reevaluate your decision to buy a new car – you’ll think about it again to see if it really is a good idea. “To determine” means to decide something or to know something for sure. For example, you might determine, or decide, this isn’t the best time to buy a new car and that you should wait until next year. Shawn is saying that two months from now the group can reevaluate, or look at again, its meeting schedule and determine, or decide, whether it wants to continue meeting every Tuesday.

Shawn has ended the discussion, from the previous lesson, and is helping the group plan for the future, or decide what will happen once this meeting has ended. Let’s listen to him again, this time when he is speaking at a normal rate
of speech.

[start of formal meeting script]

Shawn: Unfortunately, our time together is drawing to a close and we won’t be able to take any more questions today. I have been very favorably impressed by today’s discussion, but a great deal of work remains to be done. I propose that we form two committees to focus on the major outstanding issues. Ms. Graff, I would like you to head the first committee, which is charged with developing a new marketing campaign that will help us reach our target market. Mr. Hanson, you will be the chairperson of the second committee, which will begin making the proposed product changes ASAP. I would also like to establish a regular meeting schedule so that we can convene and have the committees report back to the larger group about their progress. If this time slot is convenient for everyone, I propose that we meet at this time every Tuesday for the next two months. At that point, we can reevaluate our situation and determine whether we would like to continue with the meetings.

[end of formal meeting script]

Now let’s listen to how Shawn ends the topic and prepares for the future at an
informal meeting.

[start of informal meeting script]

Shawn: We’re almost out of time, so we need to end our question-and-answer session. I think we’re heading down the right path with today’s discussion, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. For us to move ahead with these changes, we’ll need to create two committees: one for our new marketing campaign, and one for improving our product. Hannah and Chris, I’d like you to be in charge of each of these committees. It will be important for everyone to get together regularly so that we can monitor the committees’ progress. Let’s plan on meeting once a week. Does this time on Tuesday work for everyone? Let’s try it for two months and then we can make a decision as to whether we’d like to continue meeting so frequently.

[end of informal meeting script]

Shawn says that they’re almost out of time, meaning they’re near the end of the meeting, and that they need to end their question-and-answer session. “Question-and-answer” is an opportunity at a meeting to ask questions and to get answers from experts, or an informational session where one can ask for additional information after someone has made a presentation. Many websites have question-and-answer pages where they write down the most common or most frequently asked questions they receive and the answers to those questions. The discussion during the previous lesson, number eight, was a question-and-answer session, because Shawn was taking questions from the people at the meeting.

Shawn says that he thinks the group is heading down the right path with its discussion. “To head down the right path” means to work on the right thing, or correct thing, in the right way, or to do what you should be doing. A “path” (path) is like a road. It’s a place where you walk, normally, but here it means the direction that they are going – the things that they are doing. So Shawn is saying that their discussion was focused on the right problems, the problems that they need to address. If you are working hard and studying English, for example, you ay be headed down the right path for getting a better job. But Shawn says the group still has a lot of work ahead of it. The expression “ahead of” means that it is in the future or waiting for one to do. “We have a lot of work ahead of us” means there is still a lot of work to do and the group isn’t finished yet. You could say that a young child has a lot of time ahead of him to decide what he wants to be when he or she grows up.

Next Shawn says, “For us to move ahead with these changes, we’ll need to create two committees: one for our new marketing campaign, and one for improving our product.” “To move ahead with something” means to begin doing the next step or stage of something. You might ask someone when they’re going to move ahead with planning their vacation – when are they going to continue, or go to the next level or step of that process. Notice we have several similar words here: we have “to head down,” “to head,” meaning to be the leader of, and here we have “ahead of” (ahead) of something, which would be before. Now, we are talking about moving ahead – going forward. So it can be a little confusing, since each of these terms or expressions is slightly different.

Shawn wants to create two committees so that the company can move ahead with the changes, or begin implementing the things that need to be done to improve the sales of the product. Shawn asks Hannah and Chris to be in charge of each of the committees. “To be in charge of something” means to lead something or to have responsibility for leading a group. As in the formal meetings, Hannah and Chris are going to be the leaders, we could call them the “chairpersons,” of the committees.

Shawn says that it is important for everyone to get together, or to meet, regularly so that they can monitor the committees’ progress. “To monitor (monitor) something” means to watch something to see whether and how it changes over time. It can mean to check on the progress of a project or something similar – “to monitor something.” Monitoring the committees’ progress means knowing what the committees are doing. While you’re exercising, for example, you might monitor your heart to know how hard it is working.

Shawn says, “Let’s plan on meeting once a week.” “To plan on something” means to decide to do something in the future, or to make a plan. “Once a week” means one time per week; you could also say “weekly” (weekly), such as every Monday, every Wednesday, or every Saturday. Shawn wants the group to meet one time per week. Next he says, “Does this time on Tuesday work for everyone?” The expression “to work for someone” means to be convenient for someone, or not to create problems for someone. He’s saying that he thinks the weekly meetings should be every Tuesday, but he wants to make sure that this won’t conflict with other plans and activities – it won’t get in the way of, it won’t be at the same time of something else. You might answer this question by saying, “Yes, that works for me,” meaning you will be able, in this case, to meet every Tuesday without problems. Finally, Shawn suggests that the group try meeting every Tuesday for two months and then decide whether it wants to continue meeting so frequently, or so often.

Let’s listen to Shawn at the informal meeting one more time, this time when he’s speaking at a native rate.

[start of informal meeting script]

Shawn: We’re almost out of time, so we need to end our question-and-answer session. I think we’re heading down the right path with today’s discussion, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. For us to move ahead with these changes, we’ll need to create two committees: one for our new marketing campaign, and one for improving our product. Hannah and Chris, I’d like you to be in charge of each of these committees. It will be important for everyone to get together regularly so that we can monitor the committees’ progress. Let’s plan on meeting once a week. Does this time on Tuesday work for everyone? Let’s try it for two months and then we can make a decision as to whether we’d like to continue meeting so frequently.

[end of informal meeting script]

I hope this lesson has helped you understand how to end a topic and prepare for the future at formal and informal business meetings. In our tenth and final, or last, lesson, we’re going to learn vocabulary for ending a meeting and, with that, we will end our “Business Meetings” course.

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.