The Business of English – Episode 9: A customer survey

The Business of English – Episode 9: A customer survey


Today I’m going to look at the results of
our customer survey. First I’ll go through the survey questions, then summarise the results,
and finally I’ll outline the conclusions. After that, there’ll be time for questions
and discussion. So, let’s start with the survey questions. Turning to the results, as you can see from
the diagram, most people decided what to buy when they saw the product at the showroom.
About one third made their decision based on what the salesperson said. The others knew
what they wanted to buy already. Most of those made their decision on the recommendation
of a friend. Only a few said they relied on advertising. Let’s move on to the conclusions. The first
one is that it’s very important that salespeople on the floor know about our products. Another
is that after-sales service is critical. People who experience good after-sales service are
more likely to recommend a brand. And finally, advertising – it’s expensive, so we need to
make sure we’re getting results. In today’s program, we look again at a presentation.
Tan is presenting the results of a survey. Let’s see how he does it. How does Tan start
his presentation? Today I’m going to look at the results of
our customer survey. When giving a presentation it’s important
to state clearly what you are going to talk about at the beginning. What is your topic? For this, Tan uses the future tense, “I’m
going to”. He could also have said, “I will”. And instead of ‘look at’ he could have used
other words: examine
analyse review
discuss After introducing the topic, what does Tan
do next? First I’ll go through the survey questions,
then summarise the results, and finally I’ll outline the conclusions. After that, there’ll be time for questions
and discussion. Tan outlines the structure of his presentation.
There were three parts. Notice how he signals this by using sequencing words: first, then,
and finally. The structure of his talk is:
Introduction, then part 1, survey questions part 2, survey results
part 3, survey conclusions There’s one more sequencing signal in his
introduction. Did you hear it? After that, there’ll be time for questions
and discussion. Even though Tan said ‘finally’ he would talk
about conclusions, he has something ‘after that’. This is because the questions are not
part of his presentation. He’s telling his audience that after he’s talked about conclusions,
it will be time to ask questions. So sequencing words are very useful – they
tell your audience how many parts are in your talk – and they can signal when you are moving
from one topic to the next one. Sequencing words are words like firstly, secondly, thirdly,
then, next, finally, after that, following that, and later on. Another type of signal
can be used to show you are moving from one part of your talk to another. Here are three that Tan uses – practise them
with him. So, let’s start with the questions Turning to the results Let’s move on to the conclusions
When we speak in English, pauses and intonation are as important as the words we use – because
they help people understand. Listen: Let’s move on to the conclusions. The first
one is that it’s very important that salespeople on the floor know about our products. Another
is that after-sales service is critical. Without pauses or intonation, it’s much harder
to understand – and it sounds boring. Let’s add pauses.
Let’s move on to the conclusions. The first one
is that it’s very important that salespeople on the floor
know about our products. Another is that after-sales service is critical.
Pauses should come between sentences – here. But you’ll notice small pauses in the middle
of sentences – after phrases. These help the listener to follow what is being said. Now we add intonation and stress.
Let’s move on to the conclusions. The first one is that it’s very important that salespeople
on the floor know about our products. Another is that after-sales service is critical.
Intonation is the way we pronounce sentences. Note the downward intonation at the end of
sentences, “Let’s move on to the conclusions”, “about our products”, “After sales service
is critical.” Stress occurs in words, and sentences. In
words, one syllable is stressed. The wrong stress makes it hard to understand. So:
conclusion, not conclusion products, not products Even more important in speaking, is to stress
the important words in a sentence. This helps the meaning of what you are saying – it gives
emphasis. So Tan says, “Let’s move on to the conclusions,”
stressing ‘conclusions’ because it’s the key word in this sentence. The other words stressed
are the key words for understanding. Let’s listen to Tan once more, noting the
pauses, intonation, word and sentence stress. Let’s move on to the conclusions. The first
one is that it’s very important that salespeople on the floor know about our products. Another
is that after-sales service is critical. Let’s look at the diagram, and how we can
describe numbers, or statistics. First, Tan says, “most people decided what
to buy at the showroom”. Because more people decided at the showroom
than at home, we can say most, the majority, or over half. To describe people deciding at home, which
is less than fifty percent, we could say a minority or less than half . Looking at the reasons for decisions, we are
comparing four groups of people. We can use descriptive words such as many, some, a few.
And we can say the greatest number or the highest percentage . The greatest number of people went by the
salesperson’s recommendation. We could say only a few relied on advertising. And we can use words like approximately, about,
nearly, over and under. approximately one third
about a quarter over a quarter
under a third Finally, let’s look at Tan’s conclusions.
The first one is that it’s important that salespeople on the floor know about our products.
Another is that after-sales service is critical. People who experience good after-sales service
are more likely to recommend a brand. And finally, advertising – it’s expensive, so
we need to make sure we’re getting results. Notice again how Tan uses signals for his
conclusions. His audience can clearly hear that there are three. He says:
the first one another
and finally Notice also how Tan uses adjectives to make
his points. You shouldn’t use the same words all the time. What are the adjectives?
They are important, critical and expensive. So, to summarise:
State your topic. Outline the structure of your presentation.
Use signalling and sequencing words. Pay attention to intonation and stress.
Use descriptive words and adjectives, not just numbers.
And in conclusion, that’s all today on The Business of English.