BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Asking permission&polite requests

BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Asking permission&polite requests

BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Asking permission&polite requests


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word for word transcript

Feifei: Hello and welcome to another episode of 6 Minute English with me Feifei

Neil: And me Neil

Feifei: And how are you today Neil

Neil: It’s all good today thank you! I’ve got a really good question for you today

Feifei: Ooh a question – ask away

Neil: Which do you prefer Feifei: Open-plan offices or small private offices

Feifei: Open-plan offices or small private offices? Ooh, I much prefer open-plan offices – much friendlier

Neil: Yes of course because you’re a very friendly person… let’s hear from some of our friends and colleagues to find out what kind of office they prefer


Vox 1: In my opinion as a Brazilian, open-plan offices can be very good and effective because it’s easy for people to communicate and put ideas across; but at times we need some quiet space to concentrate and get the job done

Vox 2: In China, people would love to have their own private offices because we are very noisy and people arguing quite a lot sometimes, there is a lot of noise. So to have your own private space would be great, but unfortunately nowadays what we get is open-plan offices

Vox 3: In Indonesia, there are more open-plan offices these days, the good thing is that we can improve collaborations with other teams or departments. However, we sometimes face problems, for instance, as it’s really hot in Indonesia lots of people prefer to have air conditioning be set really cold whereas there are also people who can’t really stand cold air like me. So this can create a tension among staff

Feifei: Air conditioning! It drives me crazy! Actually it isn’t the air conditioning that drives me crazy Neil, it’s you: I keep asking you to turn it down and 2 minutes later you turn it back up again

Neil: Feifei you always turn it too low. And you drive me crazy because you never ask me if you can turn it down. You just do it without saying anything. It really annoys me. It’s so rude

Feifei: Rude? Do you think so? I think this is a case for Business Betty

Neil / FF: It’s Business Betty

BB: Hello! Is everything alright

Feifei: We need your help Betty. Neil and I keep arguing about the A/C. He says I’m rude

Neil: A/C meaning air conditioning. She is rude

BB: Calm down both of you and let me help. If you’re working in an open-plan office, it’s really important to consider the needs and feelings of the people working around you. If you want to ask someone to do something, it’s always a good idea to use a very polite request. Start with the phrase ‘Would you mind…’ and follow it with an -ing verb. Can you give us an example Feifei

Feifei: Would you mind turning off the air conditioning

BB: Very good. Neil

Neil: Would you mind opening a window

BB: Lovely. If you want someone to stop doing something, use the word ‘not’ before the -ing verb. Neil

Neil: Would you mind not smoking in the kitchen please

BB: Excellent. Feifei

Feifei: Would you mind not using my computer

Neil: Would you mind not leaving the door open

BB: If you want your co-workers’ permission to do something, say ‘Is it ok if I…’ and then say what you want to do. Examples please

Feifei: Is it ok if I turn the air conditioning on

Neil: Is it ok if I use your phone

Feifei: Is it ok if we have a meeting in here

BB: If someone asks your permission, you can say yes. Neil, how would you do that

Neil: Sure, no problem, go ahead

BB: Very good. Of course, you might decide to say no, Feifei: Feifei: I’d rather you didn’t, if you don’t mind

BB: And remember, the English words please, thank you and sorry always make a big difference! Both together now

Neil / FF: Please, thank you, sorry

BB: Very polite. Well done. Now: Is it ok if I leave

Neil: Yes of course, go ahead

FF: Thanks Betty

BB: Goodbye

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