Office & General Workplace Conversation for Business English

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

This lesson gives you guidance on common business English topics, situations and terminology that may come up when discussing the office, general business and routines in a business setting.

What Skills Does BULATS Test?

Are you ready to communicate in English in business settings? Many job recruiters use the Business Language Testing Service (BULATS) test to answer that question. BULATS covers all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

In this lesson, we focus on the specific BULATS topics that pertain to office and general workplace conversation. Let's first take a look at conversation topics and situations, and then review some terminology that is part of business discussions.

The Job Interview

As a potential job candidate, you first have an interview. Likewise, the conversation portion of the BULATS test first covers interview topics. You need to be able to speak about the following topics:

  • Your background (where you come from, your traveling experiences, your previous or current job and its responsibilities)
  • Your education (your studies, past and current, which can include your experiences learning English)
  • Career plans and personal interests (your future career development plans, hobbies and interests)

Interview Vocabulary

Some of the vocabulary you are likely to use for the interview portion of the test includes the following:

  • Accomplished
  • Applied
  • Accepted
  • Business program of studies
  • Work experience
  • Coordinated
  • Collaborated
  • Created
  • Documented
  • Managed
  • Upgraded
  • Goal
  • Vision
  • Opportunity

Work-Related Topics

Because at work you might have to discuss or make a presentation on a work-related topic, you have to be able to do this when you take the BULATS test. Some of the topics include the following:

  • Business meetings (You can describe a business meeting you attended, including details like where it was, what people discussed and why it was important. Remember to include the most interesting moments.)
  • Office suppliers (Speak about how your company chooses its suppliers, what the company expects from suppliers, what happens if an experience with a supplier is not satisfactory, and how satisfied your company is with a supplier.)
  • Working with colleagues (Describe someone with whom you particularly enjoy working, including a description of what the person does, what type of responsibilities you share with the person, and why you like working with the person. Remember to include whether or not you would change something about the person and give reasons for your answer.)
  • Best workplace you have ever had (Describe the workplace location, your responsibilities, why you liked it and whether or not you would change something about it.)

Vocabulary for Work-Related Topics

Here is some of the vocabulary you are likely to use when talking about business meetings.

  • Meeting agenda
  • Meeting attendees/participants
  • Duration of the meeting
  • Topic of discussion
  • Input from attendees
  • Brainstorming
  • Clarification
  • Confidential information
  • Motion
  • Unanimous
  • Wrap up
  • Making recommendations
  • Agreeing
  • Disagreeing
  • Agreement
  • Planning

Vocabulary you are likely to use when talking about office suppliers may include:

  • Products
  • Provider
  • Supplies
  • Materials
  • Goods
  • Contractor
  • Logistics
  • Supply chain
  • Warehouse
  • Handle
  • Prices
  • Offers
  • Efficiency

Vocabulary you are likely to use when talking about working with colleagues may include:

  • CEO
  • Manager
  • Supervisor
  • Peer
  • Shared responsibilities
  • Duties
  • Cooperate
  • Collaborate
  • Hands-on approach
  • Helpful
  • Integrity

Vocabulary you are likely to use when talking about the best workplace you've ever had may include:

  • Company
  • Organization
  • Mission
  • Management
  • Compensation package
  • Bonus
  • Benefits
  • Working environment
  • Rapport

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