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The magazine for business English

MarchApril l Issue 2/2012

Business Spotlight
www.business-spotlight.com

International

LANGUAGE TEST

HOW TO GET A

Business Skills

Say no and have success

JOB
Head-to-Head Management

Do Americans work too much?

Lessons from Steve Jobs

10,85

EDITORIAL

Practice makes perfect!

Going international

Business Spotlight plus is a bimonthly workbook. Inside, youll find: 20 pages of motivating exercises based on the articles in the magazine grammar, business vocabulary, everyday language and culture and a test to check your progress

Availab le every is for sue of Busine ss Sp Interna otlight tional


The first issue of Business Spotlight, in 2001 (left), and our first International issue, in 2012

Welcome to Business Spotlight International, a new


bimonthly digital magazine for everyone who needs English in their job. The magazine includes not only language topics and tests but also covers the essential areas of business skills and intercultural communication. In addition, you will find regular sections on management, careers and technology, as well as articles and interviews about the latest business trends and the people in the news.

Business Spotlight International is written by top journalists from around the world, as well as by leading experts in the fields of business English and communication. It is the all-English version of Business Spotlight, which was first published in 2001 and is aimed at learners and trainers in German-speaking countries. In 2007, Business Spotlight was awarded the prize of Germanys Trade Publication of the Year in the category Law, Business and Taxation.

Together, Business Spotlight plus and our magazine offer you the perfect self-study material.

As well as the magazine, we also have a workbook,


Business Spotlight plus, with which you can practise the language and skills you have learned in the magazine (for details, see page 51). We look forward to hearing from you and to receiving your feedback. Good luck with your business English!

Ian McMaster, editor-in-chief

Contact: i.mcmaster@spotlight-verlag.de

You can order Business Spotlight plus here:

www.business-spotlight.com/plus
2/2012

CONTENTS 2/2012

10 Job
applications

16 Translation
services

Theres a lot to think about when you apply for a job in English. Find out what you need, in our language test.

Translating and interpreting is big business, especially in war zones. A report from the front lines.

WORKING WORLD
6 9 Names and News
The latest from the world of business
all levels

BUSINESS SKILLS 38 Saying No

medium

My Working Life
Canadian Mountie John Buis

medium

How to say no without sounding negative Language survival guide to print out and keep
easy medium medium

TEST 10 Applying for a Job


all levels

45 On the Line Six donts for the telephone 46 Meeting Point Effective brainstorming 47 Say It in Style When you dont understand

Are you looking for a new job? Let us help you with a special test of the useful terms you will need

CAREERS
48 Blogging
Mommy blogger Heather Armstrong
medium US

GLOBAL BUSINESS
16 The Language of War
A special report on the important role of interpreters in war zones
advanced

55 The Job Doctor Performance reviews 56 My Way Tour operator Marilou Larssen

advanced US

medium

22 Head-to-Head

MANAGEMENT
medium US

Do Americans work too much?


advanced

58 Young Businessman
Yoganathan Ratheesan of Lebara Mobile

advanced

24 Business Press
Comments from the worlds media Behind the Headlines Media Watch Language in the news

60 What Ive Learned


62 Business Basics

medium

Apple legend Steve Jobs


advanced US

Change management programs

INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION
28 Critical Incidents
Using case studies, we look at typical communication problems between cultures
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63 Executive Eye
Does competition bring out the best in people?

medium

TECHNOLOGY
medium

34 Dialogue
Two wedding planners, one from the US and the other from India, talk about their business

64 Think Pink
Reducing theft in construction

advanced

36 The View from Here


The Olympics are changing Londons skyline City File London

advanced

66 Language Focus Flight control systems 68 Innovations New product developments 69 Technically Speaking
Milestones in engineering

advanced advanced

advanced

4 www.business-spotlight.com

2/2012

MCT/Getty Images

Stockbyte

www.business-spotlight.com

38 Just
say no

55 Performance
reviews

Trying to reach agreement is good, but sometimes you have to say no. Heres how to do it diplomatically.

No one likes performance reviews. Yet they can be useful to both sides. Heres how to make them successful.

LANGUAGE SECTION
70 Vocabulary
The jewellery shop
easy

iStockphoto

Stockbyte

LANGUAGE IN BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT


Articles in the magazine use the style, spelling, punctuation and pronunciation of British English unless otherwise marked.
US

71 Grammar at Work
The passive voice

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American style, spelling, punctuation and pronunciation are used in these articles. Approximately at CEF level A2 Approximately at CEF levels B1B2 Approximately at CEF levels C1C2

easy

72 English on the Move


Giving a tour of your company

medium
medium

73 Language Cards
Print out and practise

all levels

advanced

75 The Maine Event


An office dialogue

medium

All articles are marked with their level of language difficulty. CEF stands for the Council of Europes Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. ifml.: informal or slang word or phrase non-stand.: non-standard word or phrase US: North American usage

76 Short Story
Video Games

medium

78 English for...
Start-ups

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SELF-STUDY WITH OUR WORKBOOK


advanced

80 Financial English
Taxes on goods and services

81 Authentic English
Using the passive at work

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Business Spotlight plus, our 20-page workbook, contains useful vocabulary and grammar exercises to practise and improve your business English skills.

82 Legal English
Dispute resolution

advanced

plus Wherever you see this symbol, you can find language exercises related to these texts in Business Spotlight plus. For more information, see page 51.

83 Whats New?
Products, sites, events

medium

www.business-spotlight.com

REGULAR SECTIONS
3 27 84 85 86 Editorial Business Spotlight International online Feedback / Masthead Preview The Last Laugh

CUSTOMER SERVICE
Email: service@spotlight-verlag.de Tel. +49 (0)89 856 81-17; Fax +49 (0)89 856 81-159
easy

Cover topics
www.business-spotlight.com 5

2/2012

Cover photograph: Hemera

Sign up for our newsletter for a weekly quiz on topical terms. For teachers and trainers: lesson activities and ideas for using Business Spotlight International with learners. For more information, see page 27.

WORKING WORLD NAMES AND NEWS

NEW ZEALAND

medium

Selling like hot cakes

n a difficult economy, many people are looking for ways to save money. Thats good news for Reduced to Clear, a chain of budget grocery stores in New Zealand. The chain was established in 2008 with one store, open one day a Budget shopping: week. Nearly four years later, there hard times bring success are seven stores, open seven days a week with more to come. dations of the supplier. Co-founder Sean Hills says Were on track to open six stores [in 2012], CEO John Honeycombe told The New Zealand Herald. Based in saving money is just one motivation to buy at Reduced Auckland, Reduced to Clear ships all over the country. to Clear. Some who could afford to shop elsewhere like Weve got 5,000 people on our Facebook site and the idea of reducing waste, rather than throwing out food 27,000 on our mailing list, Honeycombe says. when it reaches its best-before date. We were seeing The company is able to keep prices down by selling so much food product being unnecessarily dumped, even though it was perfectly fine to eat, Hills writes products that are close to their so-called best-before dates. Foods are designed to go beyond that but on the company website. Whats the point of dumping not the use-by date, Honeycombe explains. Well find perfectly fine food products into the ground when out from the supplier what the tolerances are in that theres a world shortage of food? It just didnt make sense. particular product, and well sell within the recommen-

10%
Percentage of Canadian children living in poverty

25%
Percentage of aboriginal children living in poverty

Sources: Campaign 2000, a national public-awareness group (www.campaign2000.ca); Statistics Canada (www.statcan.gc.ca)

No wise man ever wished to be younger


Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift (16671745), author of Gullivers Travels

Selling like hot cakes aboriginal children [bE)rIdZIn&l (tSIldrEn] based [beIst] best-before date [)best bi(fO: deIt] budget [(bVdZIt] CEO (chief executive officer) [)si: i: (EU] dump sth. [dVmp] grocery store [(grEUsEri stO:] on track: be ~ [)Qn (trk] ship sth. shortage [(SO:tIdZ] use-by date [(ju:z baI deIt] UK

very popular and being sold very quickly children of an ethnic group living in a place since the earliest times located the date after which food is no longer of the highest quality cheap; inexpensive the person with the highest position in a company to throw away something that you do not want in a careless and fast way a shop that sells food to be likely to be successful in something you are planning to do to send and deliver something, usually goods a situation in which there is not enough of something that is needed the date after which food is no longer safe to eat

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iStockphoto

MY WORKING LIFE WORKING WORLD

JOHN BUIS
As a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, this Mountie has an unusual job. KATHLEEN BECKER spoke to him about his work.
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Current job: Staff sergeant major with the Royal Cana-

Home life and family: I live in my hometown of North

Delta, near Burnaby. My wife is a schoolteacher, and weve been married 35 years. Our three children are all at university.
Reasons for choosing this job: I originally trained to be

John Buis: peacekeeper and top Mountie

Work situation: Burnaby has a very diverse population

a commercial pilot and wanted to get a job as a pilot with the police, but unfortunately had an incident at work in 1979.
Worst day: Here in Burnaby, in 1979. I was working in

of about 220,000 people. Any conflict that took place in the world in the last 30 years we have people that have escaped from there. The Balkans, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sierra Leone. A large number of refugees are coming from Afghanistan at this moment. Theres one area in Burnaby where 100 different languages are spoken.
Hobbies: My involvement in organizing high-school

plain clothes with my partner, and we stopped a stolen car. When we went to arrest one of the people, he pulled a sawed-off shotgun, shot me and then my partner. We got through it, but I had seven operations over ten years to reconstruct my leg.
Best day: There have been so many. In 1994, I was in

Croatia with the United Nations, just after the war, when there were still four separate zones occupied by the Serbians. One day, we were able to get firewood for one of the schools. They had no oil, and we were able to get firewood from a great distance away for the entire winter.
accountable [E(kaUntEb&l] diverse [daI(v:s] funeral [(fju:n&rEl] incident [(InsIdEnt] jaded [(dZeIdId] law enforcement [(lO: In)fO:smEnt] mounted police [)maUntId pE(li:s] paper trail [)peIpE (treI&l] plain clothes: in ~ [)pleIn (klEUDz] refugee [)refju(dZi:] sawed-off shotgun [)sO:d Qf (SQtgVn] supervise sb. [(su:pEvaIz] responsible for something and required to explain your actions varied; with many differences a ceremony that is held after someone has died an unusual, often unpleasant event no longer interested in something because you have experienced too much of it the task of making sure that people respect the law a special group of police officers who ride horses documents showing that something has been done wearing ordinary clothes instead of a special uniform sb. who leaves a place to escape from danger a long gun that fires lots of small bullets that has been made shorter by cutting off the end to be in charge of someone at work

basketball tournaments since 1974 has kept me balanced and focused. Less than five to ten per cent of the community are a problem. But because youre always dealing with the negative side, you get a bit jaded. This lets me see young people in a different light and doing positive things. I also cycle and collect Scotch whiskies.
Biggest regret: I played a bit too much basketball at uni-

versity and didnt finish my degree the first time. But I did go back to school later and finished it in 2000.
Travel opportunities: For us, doing overseas missions is

just an extension of what we do here, trying to make the community better. My last tour was in East Timor. The isolation was tough, and Im not sure if I want to go camping again soon!
Skills needed: Interpersonal skills. You have to like peo-

ple. Everybody makes mistakes, and we often see people at their worst, whether its a tragedy or a crime.
Least favourite part of job: The paperwork. But it is part

of what happens when you supervise people. Theres got to be a paper trail: youre accountable.
Work ethic: Our police work is not law enforcement, its

peacekeeping making sure the right thing is done at BS I the right time.
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2/2012

Kathleen Becker

dian Mounted Police in Burnaby, British Columbia. I work mostly as an administrator: answering peoples questions or replying to emails, helping to make sure everything runs smoothly. I also coordinate all the special events in the city when police officers are required: for example, parades and funerals.

n TEST APPLYING FOR A JOB

TIME FOR A CHANGE


Do you need to write a job application in English? In this special test, you can find out whether you know all the necessary terms and expressions. By CAROL SCHEUNEMANN and HILDEGARD RUDOLPH.
all levels

1.
THE SITUATION:
Penny James works as an administrative assistant in the production department of Smithson Pumps in England. She has decided its time to look for a new job. Lets join her as she begins her search. Daniel: Penny: Daniel: Penny: Penny: ad

Getting started

medium

Penny is talking to her friend Daniel about creating digital documents to use when applying for a job. Use the words from the box to complete the sentences.
n

application

CV

description

letter

position

referees

Ive found an interesting a) job ________ . But the company wants to get the b) ________ by email. Will you help me to put my documents in digital form? Sure. Is your c) ________ up to date? Well, almost. I have to include my current d) _______ . What about former employers do you have any as e) _______ ? Yes, three previous managers have written positive letters for me.

Daniel: Good. So lets scan those letters and make PDFs. And have you prepared a standard f) covering _______ ? Penny: Daniel: Yes, but Ill have to adapt it to better match the g) job _______ . Good. Then, lets begin!

2.

Keeping it short

medium

Penny and Daniel are familiar with most of the abbreviations found in job ads. Are you? Write the words in full in the space provided.

a) asap b) exec c) exp d) hols e) k f) neg.

= _________________________ = _________________________ = _________________________ = _________________________ = _________________________ = _________________________

g) pa (p.a.) = _________________________ h) req i) sal j) yrs k) F/T = _________________________ = _________________________ = _________________________ = _________________________

iStockphoto (2)

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GLOBAL BUSINESS BUSINESS PRESS

BEHIND THE HEADLINES


Headlines in English-language media can be difficult to understand. They are often very idiomatic and full of jargon and wordplay. Also, to save space, words may be left out, which makes it difficult to recognize the grammatical structure. Here, we look at the meaning of some recent headlines.
advanced

Financial Times

The Wall Street Journal

Pain in the azzurri : This is a play on words. A person or situation that causes a lot of problems or is annoying is referred to colloquially as a pain in the arse (US ass). The Italian word azzurri is the plural form of azzurro, meaning light blue. This was the official colour of Italys monarchs until 1946 and the colour worn by Italian sporting teams, such as its football and rugby teams. The article is about Italys economic problems and how they were made worse by the countrys prime minister at the time, Silvio Berlusconi. In simple English: The problems in Italy are being made worse by its annoying prime minister.

The Economist

Can Euro Zones: Normally, one would write the Euro Zones, but articles are often left out in headlines. Note that the normal British spelling is eurozone. In typical US headline style, all the words here start with a capital letter. Word Be Its Bond: This is a reference to the Latin motto of the London Stock Exchange, dictum meum pactum, or my word is my bond. The idea is that an oral agreement is binding, even without a written agreement. The word bond here is also a reference to the suggestion by the European Commission that the eurozone countries should issue joint bonds, called stability bonds or euro bonds. The article questions, however, whether the suggestion can be put into practice. In simple English: Are joint bonds for the eurozone a realistic option?

Metro

Keystone: This refers to the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would have run from Alberta in Canada to Texas in the US. The business sector and the trade unions supported the project, but environmentalists were worried about the greenhouse gases that would be released by extracting gas from the tar sands in Alberta. Keystone was also a US film company, formed in 1912 and famous for its silent comedy films. cop-out: If you cop out of something, such as a decision, you avoid taking the responsibility for it. Here, cop-out is used as a noun. It refers to the fact that the US State Department, which had been investigating the pipeline proposal since 2008, put off a decision at the end of 2011. (In early 2012, it rejected the pipeline.) Cop is also slang for a police officer, and the Keystone Kops were the incompetent police in many Keystone comedy films. In simple English: A difficult decision about the proposed Keystone oil pipeline has been put off.

Blacks: Here, Blacks Leisure, Britains leading outdoor

retailer.
in the red: To be in the red means to be in debt or to make losses. Blacks Leisure was 36 million in debt at the time of the article, and so it had decided to put itself up for sale in order to try to save the business. Also, it made losses of 16 million in the first half of 2011 and so it warned that its full-year performance would be worse than had been expected. In simple English: The British retailing company Blacks Leisure is even more in debt than before.
be in debt [)bi: In (det] issue sth. [(ISu:] oral [(O:rEl] pain in the arse [(peIn In Di )A:s] ifml. put off retailer [(ri:teI&lE] to owe money to make sth. officially available to buy spoken, rather than written something that makes people angry (arse = a persons bottom) to delay, to cause to happen at a later date a company that sells goods to people to use

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BUSINESS SKILLS SAYING NO

STANDING YOUR GROUND


Saying no to a business partner doesnt have to mean the end of a business relationship but only if you say no in the right way, and at the right time. BOB DIGNEN explains how and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
medium

uch of the literature on international communication focuses on the need to build consensus and find win-win solutions. But this is only part of the story in the real world. Sometimes, it is essential to be able to say no to managers, colleagues and customers. In this article, we investigate the art of disagreeing and of rejecting requests. We also look at some of the different approaches to saying no. Before you read on, think about the following questions. Then, as you read the article, compare your ideas with ours: What are the risks of saying no? How can saying no help us to achieve goals more effectively? What are the different ways of saying no?

I agree with the idea in principle, but at the moment, the circumstances are not right. I agree with the idea, but my boss wouldnt. I wasnt listening to what you said, and Im actually disagreeing with something else. What you said is too threatening to my own identity to accept at this point in my life. I am a senior manager with authority. Im angry. I know youre right, but please just listen to me. Yes.

Clearly, people use and interpret the word no in very different ways. For the speaker, it may just be a simple contradiction, an attempt to correct a misunderstanding of facts. Listeners, however, often hear a personal attack, triggering emotions that start a destructive, aggressive and defensive cycle.

1. The risks of saying no


What exactly does no mean? That may seem like a dumb question but, like many dumb questions, it gives us important insights. Once you start thinking about it, the list of possible answers becomes very long and very interesting. Below are some possible meanings of no. You may be able to think of even more:

2. How saying no can help us


It is important to understand the psychological dimensions of saying no. It can connect deeply to our ideas of professionalism and self-esteem. This means that no has to be articulated sensitively, in the right way and at the right time. Otherwise, its benefits may be lost, and a conversation may turn into an interpersonal conflict. Because the point is that there are real benefits to saying no, to disagreeing with, resisting and rejecting what others are proposing. The thoughtful and strategic use of the word no can deliver real advantages:
a) No forces us to rethink things. The great

I disagree with that idea 100 per cent. I dont respect you, your ideas or your culture. I partly agree, but lets have more of a discussion about this.
keeping the same opinion or plan, even when sb. is trying to change it a way of doing something to question whether something is right or good the conditions that influence sth. here: the act of saying that something someone said is wrong or not true stupid an understanding of something to refuse to accept something belief and confidence in your own abilities, character and talent in a higher-ranking position without hurting peoples feelings to cause sth. to happen or exist a solution that is good for everyone

Standing your ground approach [E(prEUtS] challenge sth. [(tSlIndZ] circumstances [(s:kEmstnsIz] contradiction [)kQntrE(dIkS&n] dumb [dVm] insight [(InsaIt] reject sth. [ri(dZekt] self-esteem [)self I(sti:m] senior [(si:niE] sensitively [(sensEtIvli] trigger sth. win-win solution

thing about disagreement is that it can support critical thinking, particularly in groups or teams. It can force further reflection, which leads to more thoughtful arguments, alternative points of view and fresh insights. For truly creative thinking, we need to challenge ideas that at first seem logical and plausible. Saying no can release a diversity of perspectives and help us to find creative solutions.
b) It helps us to set goals. Many people are overloaded and overstressed at work. Effective time management is essential, both for setting the right goals and achieving4
2/2012

38 www.business-spotlight.com

Practice makes perfect!


And theres no easier way to practise than with Business Spotlight plus.

Business Spotlight plus is a bimonthly workbook based on the articles in our magazine. Inside, youll find: 20 pages of motivating exercises grammar, business vocabulary, everyday language and culture and a test to check your progress

for able of l i a v A issue t every Spotligh s s e Busin ernational Int

Together, our magazine and Business Spotlight plus offer you the perfect self-study material. Published six times a year. You can order Business Spotlight plus here:

www.business-spotlight.com/plus

TECHNICALLY SPEAKING TECHNOLOGY

Two days after it opened, the Millennium Bridge had to be closed. An engineering fix was needed
EAMONN FITZGERALD ON THE LATEST TRENDS
advanced

It was a symbolic moment when Queen Elizabeth II officially opened Tate Modern, a gallery for international modern art, in London on 11 May 2000. The old Bankside Power Station, which used to supply energy to British industry, was now the home of works by Picasso, Warhol, Matisse and Dal. A month later, Queen Elizabeth was back on Bankside to officially open the Millennium Bridge, the first new Thames crossing in more than 100 years. Around 90,000 people used the bridge on 10 June, and as the crowds walked between St Pauls Cathedral and Tate Modern, they noticed something unusual: the 370-metre-long steel structure was vibrating. All bridge builders plan for vibration caused by traffic or wind, but the designers of the Millennium Bridge were not prepared for the scale of the sideways movements, caused by so many people walking across the Thames. Two days after it opened, the Millennium Bridge had to be closed. And the wobbly bridge, as Londoners named it, stayed closed for an embarrassing, expensive two years.
cradle [(kreId&l] damper designer [di(zaInE] diamond jubilee [)daIEmEnd (dZu:bIli:] dismantle sth. [dIs(mnt&l] embarrassing [Im(brEsIN] fit sth. to sth. fix harmonic absorber [hA:)mQnIk Eb(zO:bE] microbubble [(maIkrEU)bVb&l] scale strut [strVt] sunken [(sVNkEn] ultrasound imaging [)VltrEsaUnd (ImIdZIN] wobbly [(wQbli]

An engineering fix was needed, and 89 dampers, also known as harmonic absorbers, were fitted to the bridge to control its horizontal and vertical movements. On 22 February 2002, the Millennium Bridge reopened and it hasnt wobbled worryingly since.
February and June, then, are key months in the history of this structure. They are also important months in the life of the queen. On 6 February 1952, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of the House of Windsor became Queen Elizabeth II. And to celebrate the royal diamond jubilee and the queens 86th birthday, Britain is throwing a four-day party in June. Among the highlights will be a parade of 1,000 boats on the Thames. A million people are expected to watch from the riverbank. The prime minister, David Cameron, announced an additional diamond-jubilee event, at Londons Science Museum: the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. This global award is worth 1 million. It is open to individuals or small teams working on anything from the microbubbles used in ultrasound imaging to giant sea turbines

that can convert waves into clean energy. Cameron said that Britain seemed to have forgotten the contribution of engineers to society; as a result, too few young people now see it as an attractive career option.
The troubled bridge over Londons water

This is the country that gave the world the Industrial Revolution. Our engineering changed the world. And its not just part of our past. We are very good at it today.
As an example of what British engineers can do, Cameron mentioned the Olympic Stadium in East London. This extraordinary structure is a sunken bowl surrounded by a cradle of struts that will seat 80,000 people during the Olympic Games. The entire cradle can be dismantled after the Games, leaving a smaller, 25,000-seat arena in the bowl. The engineering work was carried out by Buro Happold, which is more British than it sounds. The firm was founded by Sir Edmund Happold and has its head office in a very British city: Bath. On 27 July, the London 2012 Olympic Games will be declared open by BS I Queen Elizabeth.
EAMONN FITZGERALD is a technology jour-

a bed for a baby; here: a structure shaped like a cradle a piece of equipment that stops a movement from being too strong someone who plans how something will look and work here: the date 60 years after the queen came to the throne to divide something into its separate parts making you feel ashamed to add sth. to sth. else by attaching it a solution a piece of equipment that stops a movement from being too strong small bubbles used as a contrast agent for ultrasound imaging the size or level of something a piece of metal or wood that is used to support part of a structure lower than the level of the surrounding land a method used in medicine to examine the inside of a persons body not stable, moving from side to side

nalist and social media consultant based in Germany. Contact: eamonn@eamonn.com

2/2012

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LANGUAGE SHORT STORY


Looking tough: but sometimes you cant judge a book by its cover

VIDEO GAMES
Libraries can be exciting and fun! At least, this is the new image a film team is trying to create. But who is the best person to play the starring role? By JAMES SCHOFIELD
Digital Vision

oddy looked at the silver object in his hand. It was heavy and powerful. He hoped that he could do this quickly and that he would feel nothing. He looked for one last time at his familiar reflection in the mirror and lifted the object to his head, hand shaking then put it down again, breathing fast. But he knew he had to do it. He, Roddy Baldwin, junior librarian from the British Library in London, had been sent to work in the Department of European Library Institutions (DELI, for short) in Brussels. What he needed now was to win a competition against his colleagues from the other national libraries of the European Union. Again, he raised the electric hair clippers to his head and, this time, began to shave off his hair. The competition had started a month earlier, when the head of the department, Mr van Groop, informed them that the European Commission wanted to make a film about DELIs work. The film team would focus on one person in the department and follow him or her around for a week. What kind of person are they looking for, Mr van Groop? asked Roddy. Oh, somebody to make libraries look exciting and fun, I believe. Ill make a recommendation to them next month when they visit, he replied before continuing the meeting. During the coffee break, they all laughed at the idea.

Fun? said Florian, an authority on medieval manuscripts from the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. There are more serious things to focus on in Europe today, no? Everybody agreed then they all went home and began plotting how to win this competition. Bjrn, a document-storage expert from the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm, used a scientific method. He spent a weekend analysing videos produced by the Commission and made a list of the most frequent character types. On Monday, it was clear that something awful had happened to him. His cool Scandinavian suits, open-necked white shirts and quiet intellectual personality had been replaced by something much more colourful. That evening, Roddy took him to a nearby pub for a drink. Well, yes, thank you kindly, Bjrn said, slapping him on the back. I dont mind if I do. Ill have a pint of Guinness, that I will! As they stood at the bar waiting for their drinks, Bjrn loosened his emerald-green tie, which was covered in little gold harps. Sure, Roddy, and its a fine man you are, Bjrn continued when the drinks arrived. He looked around and said in a cheerful voice: Do you think we might have a sing-song in here later? Bjrn, said Roddy, you dont like Guinness, you never sing and you are wearing a truly ugly tie. Why are you pretending to be Irish? You arent even any good at it!

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Language point

Bjrn looked around to see if anybody was listening. Ive done my homework, he whispered. The Irish have total control of the European Commission 78 per cent of all people interviewed in the 289 videos I watched are Irish! So, my chances of being the star of this video are statistically much better if I act Irish, too. Slainte! Roddy shook his head sadly, drank his beer and went home. As he left, Bjrn was singing The Wild Rover. And so it continued: Florian grew a little consultants beard under his bottom lip and invested in a smartphone; Petra, from the National Library in Helsinki, began wearing makeup, contact lenses and shorter skirts; only Roddy couldnt find a new image until one evening at the cinema, when he saw Bruce Willis. Yes! he thought. That should be the new look for librarians! Tough, sexy and definitely exciting. The next morning, Roddy shaved off his hair. He arrived slightly late for the ten oclock department meeting, and the people from the film company had gone out to get coffee. His colleagues were already sitting in the meeting room. Roddys bald head caused a sensation. And to his surprise, they suddenly all seemed to believe he would win the video role. Wow! said Florian. We dont have a chance! Yeah! added Bjrn, as he took off his green tie. No chance! The Bruce Willis look brilliant! Hes..., started Petra. Well, well! said Mr van Groop as he entered the room, followed by two strangers, a man and a woman. This is why you are called Roddy BALDwin, yes? Everybody laughed politely. But please, continued Mr van Groop. My guests, he waved his hand at the people who were clearly from the film company are here to select our star, and so we...
bald head [)bO:ld (hed] consultant [kEn(sVltEnt] cute [kju:t] document storage [(dQkjumEnt )stO:rIdZ] emerald green [(em&rEld] go pink hair clippers harp I dont mind if I do [)aI dEUnt )maInd If aI (du:] junior librarian [)dZu:niE laI(breEriEn] medieval [)medi(i:v&l] open-necked [)EUpEn (nekt] plot sth. rover [(rEUvE] slap sb. on the back tie [taI] tough [tVf] a head with little or no hair on it someone who gives expert advice on a particular subject attractive, often in a sexual way the job of keeping documents in a special place where they can be found again when needed bright green to become red in the face a tool for cutting your hair a large triangular musical instrument with many strings stretched over a frame (expression) used to say that you accept something you have been offered someone who works in a place where people can borrow books and who does not have a lot of responsibility in this job relating to the period in Europe roughly between the years 1000 and 1500 with the top button not closed to make a secret plan someone who travels around without a purpose to hit someone on the back in a friendly way a long, narrow piece of material that men wear around the neck, over a shirt physically and emotionally strong

The guests had been whispering to each other, but then the woman leaned forward, looked at Roddy and said: You. Youve got just the right look for the central character. Even your names great. Roddy went pink with pleasure. They were talking about him tough, sexy and exciting!

The new look for librarians should be tough, sexy and exciting
Thank you, said Roddy. Thats wonderful. But Id like to suggest another name for my character in the video. Lets hear it. Well, what about Bruce? Like Bruce Willis! began Petra again. Hes so Bruce..., the woman said slowly. Bruce. Yes, that could work. Bruce the Bookworm! There was a moments silence. Florian, Bjrn and Petra seemed to stop breathing. Bruce the... the... who? asked Roddy quietly. Bruce the Bookworm, she answered. I was telling your colleagues just before you arrived. This video is for children, so we need somebody fun and friendly. We have this bright red worm costume made out of latex and with your whole head painted red, I think youre going to look really... BS I Cute, said Petra. Just like Bruce Willis.

Competition refers to an activity in which people try to win a prize, or be in first place. This is also called a contest, and the people who take part are contestants. In business, competition generally refers to rivalry in a particular market: Flat-screen producers have strong competition from Korea. Rivals are called competitors: We introduced voice technology before our competitors did. (See Executive Eye, page 63.) A sing-song (UK ) is an informal gathering in which people sing traditional or popular songs for fun. Slainte! [(slA:ntS] is what people in Ireland and Scotland say when they raise their glass to drink. Slainte means health. The English expression is Cheers!.

JAMES SCHOFIELD teaches business English at

Siemens. He is co-author of the Double Dealing series and has published several business short stories. His most recent one is Double Trouble (Summertown). Contact: james.schofield@siemens.com

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LANGUAGE ENGLISH FOR...

START-UPS

The first step to a successful business is a good idea. But what else do you need to start a new business? TOM SMITH has some answers.

Entrepreneurs wanted

s there ever an ideal time to start a business? Surprisingly, a recession can provide excellent opportunities to launch a new company. Its a time when many existing firms are going out of business, money lenders are seeking entrepreneurs with ambitions and strong qualifications, and governments may be offering generous financial support in an effort to get the economy moving again. One key tip for a successful start-up is to get in while the going is good. Of course, starting a business requires a certain way of thinking. Only those with energy and confidence, a desire to try something new and the ability to stick with it are likely to succeed. A large percentage of new businesses do fail, but the statistics are not as discouraging as they may seem.

According to the US governments Small Business Administration (SBA), seven out of ten new companies exist at least two years and 51 per cent at least five years. Having a good idea for a product or service is the essential first step, but it is important to learn as much as possible about your potential market. Will there be enough demand for the product, and who might also be selling something similar? Has someone else had the same idea already? Talking with potential customers and gathering facts and statistics online will provide the needed information and help in developing a marketing strategy. This information will be included in the business plan, a detailed description of business goals that also includes financial details, such as cash-flow analysis and an estimated break-even point. A good business plan is essential in the process of getting money to finance the idea, whether you are trying to borrow money from the bank, are hoping to attract venture capital (VC) or are pitching the idea to a socalled business angel. Once financing has been acquired, the chances of a start-up succeeding can be improved by using the services of a business incubator a support programme that can shorten the time it takes to get the companys products or services to market. However, entrepreneurs should always know what their alternatives are and have an exit strategy ready. Its not enough to create a business worth a fortune there should also be a means of getting the money back out again if the situation changes. The commonest way of doing this is to sell the business to someone else. One key tip here is: get out while youre ahead!
break-even point [)breIk (i:v&n pOInt] business incubator [(bIznEs )INkjubeItE] entrepreneur [)QntrEprE(n:] exit strategy [(eksIt )strtEdZi] get in while the going is good get out while youre ahead launch sth. [lO:ntS] pitch sth. [pItS] start-up [(stA:t Vp] venture capital (VC) [(ventSE )kpIt&l] the stage in business when income equals costs a company that helps people to start a business someone who starts or runs a business, especially one that involves taking financial risks a plan for ending your involvement in a business to start doing something while the opportunity lasts to end your involvement in something at the right time (while you are still successful) to start sth., such as a business or project to try to sell sth. by saying how good it is a new business money invested in a new type of business that is considered to be very risky

QUIZ:

Business basics

Choose the correct answer for each question. a) Which is the best country to do business in? 1. New Zealand 2. US 3. Singapore b) Sir James Dyson is famous for vacuum cleaners. What was his first invention? A new type of... 1. clock radio 2. wheelbarrow 3. aquarium c) What percentage of new businesses in the US have no employees? 1. 25 2. 50 3. 75 d) In which BBC TV show do entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to investors? 1. Money Tigers 2. Shark Tank 3. Dragons Den e) What gives you exclusive legal rights to published or recorded material? 1. patent 2. copyright 3. licence
Answers on page 83

Pixland

TOM SMITH is a language consultant and business English materials writer living in southern Germany. He is co-author of Business Proficiency (Klett). Contact: www.executive-english.biz

78 www.business-spotlight.com

2/2012

medium
The vocabulary list below is in British English unless otherwise marked.

Strategy and growth


the buying or obtaining of a company a written document that states a companys goals and how to reach them competitive advantage something that helps a company to be [kEm)petEtIv Ed(vA:ntIdZ] more successful than others exit plan/strategy a plan for ending your involvement in a [(eksIt )pln/)strtEdZi] business feasibility study a detailed examination of a new project [fi:zE(bIlEti )stVdi] to decide if it is likely to be successful going concern a business that is expected to continue [)gEUIN kEn(s:n] to make a profit patent application a formal request for the legal rights to [(peItEnt plI)keIS&n] sth. that has never been made before pitch (sth.) to try to sell something by saying how good it is plough back profits to reinvest the money you have earned [)plaU bk (prQfIts] product life cycle (in marketing) the four stages of the [)prQdVkt (laIf )saIk&l] typical sales process of a product: introduction, growth, maturity, decline risk analysis the process of identifying risks and [(rIsk E)nlEsIs] developing ways of dealing with them start-up [(stA:t Vp] a new business acquisition [)kwI(zIS&n] business plan

Financing
assets [(sets] everything of value that a person or company owns break-even point the stage in business when income [)breIk (i:v&n pOInt] equals costs budget projection a statement or calculation of how [(bVdZIt prE)dZekS&n] much money you will need and have available in the future capital injection an investment made when a company [(kpIt&l In)dZekS&n] is in urgent need of extra cash cash flow [(kS flEU] the movement of money into and out of a business collateral [kE(lt&rEl] sth. of value that you promise to give a creditor if you cannot pay back money you have borrowed debt [det] money that is owed equity [(ekwEti] the money a company gets by selling shares expenditure [Ik(spendItSE] the amount of money spent funding [(fVndIN] money provided for a particular purpose liabilities [)laIE(bIlEtiz] the amount of money a company or person owes overdraft facility an agreement with your bank that [(EUvEdrA:ft fE)sIlEti] allows you to spend money when you have no money in your account raise capital to collect money that you need to start [)reIz (kpIt&l] or run a business savings [seIvINz] money that you have saved, not spent seed capital/funding money invested at the start of a project [(si:d )kpIt&l/)fVndIN] or company venture capital (VC) money invested in a new type of busi[(ventSE )kpIt&l] ness that is considered to be very risky working capital money that is needed for the day-to[(w:kIN )kpIt&l] day operations of a business

Company structures
cooperative [kEU(QpErEtIv] flotation / initial public offering (IPO) go public incorporated (Inc.) US limited company (Ltd) [)lImItId (kVmpEni] UK partnership self-employment [)self Im(plOImEnt] sleeping partner a business owned in equal parts by the people who work for it the process of offering a companys shares for sale for the first time (of a private company) to offer shares to the public for the first time an official company with legal status a company whose owners are responsible for paying only a limited amount of the companys debt a business owned by a group of professional people who work together the state of working for yourself and not for an employer someone who has invested money in a company and shares in its profits but does not work in the company businesses that do not have more than 500 employees, often family-run a person who owns a business and is the only person who is legally responsible for it

Marketing and sales


demand for sth. [di(mA:nd fO:] gap in the market [)gp In DE (mA:kIt] niche market [(ni:S )mA:kIt] target market [(tA:gIt )mA:kIt] the need or desire for a product or service an area of business in which few or no companies operate but where profits can be made a specialized area of industry that sells a particular product or service wanted by a small number of people the people to whom a company is trying to sell its products or services

small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sole trader [)sEUl (treIdE]

unique selling proposition a feature of a product or service that (USP) [ju)ni:k (selIN makes it different from all others prQpE)zIS&n]

People
business angel [(bIznEs )eIndZ&l] consultant [kEn(sVltEnt] creditor [(kredItE] entrepreneur [)QntrEprE(n:] loan shark [(lEUn SA:k] serial entrepreneur [)sIEriEl )QntrEprE(n:] tax adviser [(tks Ed)vaIzE] a private person who invests money in a new business someone who gives expert advice on a particular subject a person, bank or company to whom money is owed someone who starts or runs a business, especially one that involves taking financial risks someone who lends money, but charges high interest rates, often illegally someone who starts one business after another a financial expert who gives others formal advice on tax matters

For more information


BOOKS
The Financial Times Guide to Business Start Up 2012, Sara

Williams (Financial Times / Prentice Hall)


Oxford Dictionary of Business and Management, Jonathan

Law (ed.) (Oxford University Press)


Starting Your Own Online Business, Kim Benjamin (Crimson

Publishing) WEBSITES Business Link: www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/home startups: www.startups.co.uk The US Small Business Administration: www.sba.gov

plus Find exercises on this topic in Business Spotlight plus

2/2012

www.business-spotlight.com 79

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