BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Misunderstandings

BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Misunderstandings

BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Misunderstandings

   

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: How are you Neil and what are we talking about today

Neil: I’m very well, and today we’re talking about misunderstandings. A famous French writer once said that “Language is the source of misunderstandings” and with me in the studio today are colleagues Conrado and Stephani, who have come in to tell us all about a misunderstanding they had recently. Conrado and Stephani, welcome

Stephani: Thank you

Conrado: Thank you

Neil: So, tell us about your story

Conrado: Well, we work in the same company, but in different offices. And one day I was speaking to Stephani on the phone, and I asked her a question, and she didn’t know the answer, so she said hang on

Stephani: ‘Hang on’ means wait. I wanted him to wait while I found the answer

Conrado: But I got confused, I thought ‘hang on’ was the same as ‘hang up’, and ‘hang up’ means put the phone down, finish the phone call

Stephani: So when I came back with the answer, he was gone! So I called him back and told him the answer, then he asked another question, so I said ‘hang on’ again, and again he was gone! Three times I had to call him back

Conrado: I didn’t understand why she was getting angry with me. She got really angry actually, before we sorted it out

Neil: Hang up, hang on… That’s a really good one

Feifei: If only you’d had Business Betty there to help

Neil: Ah Business Betty. (The door opens) Ooh here she is now

Neil / FF: It’s Business Betty

BB: Hello

Neil: Hello Betty and may I say you’re looking absolutely fantastic as ever

BB: Thank you Neil and how can I help you

Neil: We need some tips on avoiding misunderstandings

BB: Certainly. If language is the source of misunderstandings, the best way to avoid misunderstandings at work is to check what people mean when they’re talking to you. There are several ways to do this. You can simply say What do you mean by that

Neil: What do you mean by that

BB: That’s right. Or you can tell the person what you think they mean, in your own words. Say Do you mean

Neil: Do you mean

BB: Or So, are you saying

Neil: So, are you saying

BB: Or Correct me if I’m wrong, but do you mean

Neil: Correct me if I’m wrong, but do you mean

BB: Good Neil. You can say Sorry, I’m not sure if I got that. Are you saying

Neil: Sorry, I’m not sure if I got that. Are you saying

BB: Or you can ask the other person to explain what they mean. Say something like Sorry, what exactly do you mean by that

Neil: Sorry, what exactly do you mean by that

BB: Or say Sorry, could you go over that again

Neil: Sorry, could you go over that again

BB: Could you expand on that

Neil: Could you expand on that

BB: And finally, another way to avoid misunderstandings is to check that the person you’re talking to has understood you. Just ask them! Say something like Is that clear

Feifei: Is that clear

BB: Or, after an explanation, say Does that make everything clear

Feifei: Does that make everything clear

BB: And never forget the golden rule of avoiding misunderstandings – if in doubt, ask! It’s better to ask now than make a mistake later

Neil: Thanks Betty

BB: You’re welcome. Bye

Neil/FF: Bye

Neil: She’s so good… don’t you think so, Conrado and Stephani? Don’t you think she’s brilliant – Business Betty

C & S: Oh yes

Feifei: Well that’s very good because we’re about to put it to the test

Neil: Yes Conrado and Stephani. Let’s imagine that you’re back there now in your offices you’re having this conversation that got you into so much trouble. But this time use some of Betty’s tips and see if you can get it right

Feifei: Does that make sense? Have another go at the hang on / hang up conversation, but this time do what Betty suggested. OK? Are you ready

C & S: Yes, we are ready

Role-play

Conrado: Ring ring

Stephani: Hello, Stephani speaking

Conrado: Hello Stephani, it’s Conrado. I just wanted to ask if the reports are ready

Stephani: The reports… do you mean the monthly reports or the yearly reports

Conrado: Oh sorry, yes, the monthly reports

Stephani: The monthly reports. OK, just hang on

Conrado: Sorry, I’m not sure if I got that. Are you saying Wait a minute

Stephani: Yes, just hang on a couple of minutes please

Conrado: OK

Stephani: (A couple of minutes’ later) Hello Conrado, sorry to keep you waiting. The monthly reports are nearly ready – the accountant is finishing them this afternoon

Conrado: Correct me if I’m wrong, but do you mean they’ll be ready by the end of today

Stephani: Yes, they’ll be ready by 5 o’clock today. Does that make everything clear

Conrado: Oh yes, thanks, that’s great. Thank you very much

Stephani: You’re welcome

Feifei: And that’s the end of today’s role-play

Neil: How was it for you two

Conrado: It was great, much much better

Stephani: Yes, I wish we’d done it that way in the first place

Neil: That’s good and that’s it

Feifei: Are you saying that we’ve reached the end of today’s programme

Neil: Yes we have, so thanks for helping us out today Conrado and Stephani. It’s goodbye from all of us. Join us again for another 6 Minute English

All: Bye

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