Business English Conversation — Lesson 1: Giving Opinions in English | Business English Course

Business English Conversation — Lesson 1: Giving Opinions in English | Business English Course//5-02


You’re listening the Business English podcast for professionals on the move.

In this Business English POD episode, we’ll be looking at ways to give an ask for opinions. We’ll be looking both at more formal (or careful) language as well as at more informal (or direct) language.

Giving and asking for opinions is a very important part of meetings and discussions of all types.

First let’s listen to a more formal situation. We’ll be listening to part of a meeting at DigiSoft, a multinational software company. Sheila, a vice president, is talking to Walt, George and Bruce, three software engineers, about the deadline for the new software release. Release here means launch: That is bring the product onto the market.

Sheila: So, let’s move on to the topic of release date. Gentlemen, when do you think we will be able to launch this product? Walt?

Walt: Well, I tend to feel that we should probably be able to start testing the product in April. That means that if all goes well, we can have a first release in May or June.

Sheila: I see, thank you, Walt. What’s your reaction to that, Bruice?

Bruce: May or June… Well, from my point of view… that sounds about right.

George: Excuse me, may I come in here? I wonder if I could say something.

Sheila: Go ahead, George. What would you like to add?

George: Well, it seems to me that May is much, much too early. Actually, we’re still having some pretty major problems with bugs in the update engine, and I just don’t see how we will be able to fix those bugs.

Okay, now let’s listen to George, Bruce and Walt walk into the break room right after the meeting. Sheila, their boss, is not here; this is a more informal situation.

Bruce: Hey guys, did you see the Chelsea/Liverpool game last night? What did you think, Walt? Quite a game, huh? Chelsea looked pretty good!

Walt: You always have to rub it in, don’t you Bruce? You know, I am a Liverpool fan.

Buce: How about you, George?

George: Actually, that was one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen. But the way you guys keep telling the boss we can finish the product by May, none of us are going to have time to watch any more football games. We’re all going to be working overtime every night, burning the midnight oil!

So now you’ve heard both formal and informal conversations. First, let’s look at the formal conversation. How does Sheila ask for her employees’ opinions?

Sheila is in charge. She is the boss and the chairperson of the meeting.

One way for her to ask for an employee’s opinion is simply to say his name with a rising intonation or tone.

Sheila: … Gentlemen, when do you think we will be able to launch this product? Walt?

Sheila also uses some other ways to ask her employees’ opinion. All these ways are relatively formal. They signal that this is a formal meeting.  She says…

Sheila: I see, thank you, Walt. What’s your reaction to that, Bruce?

And:

Sheila: Go ahead, George. What would you like to add?

Together with these speakers, try some other formal phrases for asking for an opinion:

  • How do you feel about that, Cecilia?
  • Could you please share your thoughts on that, Sam?
  • What’s your view on this, Richard?
  • Tony, what’s your feeling on this?Now, let’s look at the language Walt, Bruce and George use to express their opinions in a formal situation. Walt says…
    Walt: I tend to feel that we should be able to start testing the product in April…This language — «I tend to feel that» — shows a careful, formal tone. Walt uses this tone because he is talking to his boss, and perhaps because he is not sure whether or not the others will agree with him. Let’s keep listening.
    Sheila: I see, thank you, Walt. What’s your reaction to that, Bruce?
    Bruce: May or June… Well, from my point of view… that sounds about right.
    Bruce likewise uses more formal, careful language: «Well, from my point of view.» This makes him sound more polite, since he is talking to his boss. In addition, it gives him time to think. Giving yourself time to think is another reason to use these phrases.

How about George? How did he offer his opinion?

  • Excuse me, may I come in here? I wonder if I could say something.
  • Go ahead, George. What would you like to add?
  • Well, it seems to me that May is much, much too early.Think about the ways that George uses to express his opinion:
    «I wonder if I could say something», and «Well, it seems to me that…» These ways of expression are also quite careful.» George has a good reason to be careful, doesn’t he? He disagrees with his colleagues.
    Now let’s practice some further  formal (or careful) phrases for expressing your opinion:
  • I have the impression that… he didn’t really want to come.
  • Don’t you think that that’s a little early?
  • I tend to feel it’s a little bit early to start.

    Next, let’s turn to the more informal discussion between Walt, Bruce and George. Remember, they are in the break room right after the meeting. Bruce asks George and Walt:

  • Hey guys, did you the Chelsea/Liverpool game last night? What did you think, Walt? Quite a game, huh? Chelsea looked pretty good!

    This is an informal, relaxed discussion among colleagues. You can tell it’s informal because Bruce uses the informal word «guys» to address George and Walt. Also he says «What do you think?» This is an informal way to ask  for an opinion.  Walt says:

  • You always have to rub it in, don’t you Bruce? You know I’m a Liverpool fan.

    «To rub something in» is an idiom. It means to remind someone on purpose of something that is uncomfortable or painful. //*7-03

 

 

 

 

 

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