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Taking shape

Episode 170621 / 21 Jun 2017

After Denise's sacking, Anna and Tom are worried that they might be next in the firing line! But things are looking up – Paul asks Anna to explain her plastic aubergine idea to the development team. Will she be able to convey her ideas to them clearly?

Language to use for conveying your ideas to others

This episode focuses on the language that you might use to try and explain your ideas to someone who is new to your project.

Phrases from the programme:

  • I have a specific idea in mind.
  • I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on how to improve my idea.
  • I'd like to use your design skills to produce a fantastic product.
  • I need to sign off your designs before they go into production.

Listening Challenge

How long does Anna want her prototype plastic aubergine to be?

The answer is at the bottom of the transcript below:

Transcript

Narrator
Hello again and welcome to English at Work. It's another day at Tip Top Trading and hopefully a happier one, following Denise's bad news about her job. I wonder if Tom and Anna are about to get the same bad news?

Paul
It's really awful having to let a member of your staff go but that's the situation we're in, I'm afraid.

Tom
And now you're going to let us go aren't you? Honestly Paul, I've given my life to this company and, quite frankly, I'm disappointed… no, I'm angry at your decision. See your biscuits? Well…

Anna
Tom!

Tom
That's what I think of Tip Top Trading…

Paul
What?! Hold on Tom. I think you're a bit confused. I'm not sacking you too. I need to talk to you about plastic vegetables… you know, the aubergine idea?

Tom
Oh… I see. You're not sacking us? Sorry Paul… I'll buy you some more biscuits. So what was it that you had to say?

Paul
Plastic vegetables. Yours and Anna's idea for a plastic aubergine. I like it. It's good. So, I need you to develop a prototype we can use to show our potential clients.

Anna
Well that's great. So where do we get the prototype made?

Paul
Upstairs, on the 4th floor. We have a great development team who can magic up some amazing designs.

Anna
They're magicians?

Tom
No Anna. They're just developers who make things out of plastic.

Paul
Thank you Tom. Look, why not go and have a chat to them now and get the ball rolling.

Anna
But we're not making balls.

Tom
Come on Anna… I'll explain. See you Paul.

Narrator
'To get the ball rolling' – he means to get the project moving along. Developers can design and make models of your products which you can show and develop. But you need to give them clear and specific instructions. Let's see how Anna gets on.

Tom
So this is the development team. Oh hi George, you up for footie on Sunday? Great. Have you met Anna before?

Anna
Hello.

Tom
We've come to talk vegetables.

George
Try the greengrocers!

Tom
Ha ha, very funny! No, we need a plastic aubergine making, mate. It's our new big idea.

George
Easy. We can just remould the design for the Imperial Lemon.

Narrator
Can they Anna? Is that what you wanted? To get what you want, you need to explain exactly your requirements.

Anna
But what shall I say?

Narrator
Tell them exactly what you were thinking by saying 'I have a specific idea in mind' and 'I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on how to improve my ideas' and, 'I'd like to use your design skills to produce a fantastic product'.

Anna
I see. OK, time for me to take control. George… this is quite a special project for us… isn't it Tom?

Tom
Oh yeah, right, absolutely.

Anna
So we want to get it right and I already have a specific idea in mind.

George
Great, sure, tell me more.

Anna
Well, based on a real aubergine, I was hoping it could be 20 centimetres in length, using grade 1 plastic resin, with a black-purple colour and a 30 degree curve on that side. Does that make sense?

George
Erm yeah. Quite clear.

Anna
Obviously you are a designer, so I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on how to improve our idea.

George
Well, it looks very impressive already. Gosh, Tom, where did you get her from?

Anna
He didn't get me from anywhere. Now, I'd like to use your design skills to develop a fantastic product that I can show everyone. OK?

George
Err… yes. I'll get onto it straight away.

Narrator
Excellent Anna. Sometimes it's important to take control and say what you really want but in a positive and encouraging way. These are the phrases that Anna used:

I have a specific idea in mind.

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on how to improve my ideas.

I'd like to use your design skills to produce a fantastic product.

Narrator
There's one more phrase to use to make sure things go to plan if someone is making something for you. That is 'I need to sign off your designs before they go into production', that means approve the plans before anything I made. Off you go Anna…

Anna
…so when will you have the designs ready then?

George
Hopefully by tomorrow morning. Is that OK?

Anna
That will be great but I will need to sign off your designs before they go into production – that way, there won't be any mistakes – will there?

George
Crikey Tom, she’s a bit bossy.

Tom
No! She's a pussy cat really… a bit of a softy.

Anna
Now come on Tom. Fetch my things, we need to go and sort out a leaving present for Denise.

Tom
Oh yeah right, of course, see you George.

Narrator
Hmm, I think Tom's the pussy cat! Let's hope the designs come out well. But even more important is Denise's last day at work tomorrow – how is everyone going to cope? Find out next time on English at Work. Bye.

Listening challenge - answer

How long does Anna want her prototype plastic aubergine to be?
20 centimetres.

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