Questions 23 to 30
You will hear a talk about a conference. The manager of a company is talking about a conference which his company held recently. Choose the correct ending for each of the sentences 23 to 30. Mark one letter A, B or C for the ending you choose.
I think it’s now a good time to try to evaluate the conference which we had last week. First, I’d like to thank you all for your hard work in organizing the conference. It was well attended and also quite successful in several ways. But there are lessons which we can all learn for the next conference we organize. And so I’d like us all to try to evaluate the conference from our different points of view. I myself will begin by giving you my own reactions to the conference. First, I’ll comment on its strengths and then later I’ll deal with what I see as one or two weaknesses.
Let me begin by saying that I feel we got the timing of the conference just right this year. We managed to choose dates when the people we wanted to attend could actually make it – and we informed everyone about it in plenty of time. Now what about the conference programme, itself? There seemed to be enough time in the conference for everything to be covered-but not too much time. No one had too much time on their hands. The balance on the whole would have been perfect if there could have been a little more opportunity for informal sessions built into the conference timetable. I think we ought to allow slightly more time for informal demonstrations and discussions in future. We want our agents to feel confident about the products they are handling –and three or four fewer formal talks could have been replaced by such informal sessions of the nature I’ve been describing. But this is only a small point, and it didn’t reduce the usefulness of the programme in any serious way.
The choice of venue-the Guangzhou Peace Hotel-was excellent. The facilities the hotel provided were first-rate. I know a few of our agents had to arrive one or two days early and stay at least a day after the end of the conference. But this aspect, I think, is inevitable. We’ll never be able to overcome this problem wherever we organize the conference.
Now let’s move on to the main objective of the conference. I know man of the participants seemed to be aware of its objective-but by no means was every participant aware of this. Just to remind you, we set out to familiarize agents and branches with the most important of our new products this year-not last year but this year. But were we a hundred per cent successful in actually achieving this objective? I had a feeling that certain participants tended to lose sight of our goal. At least three of the presentations dealt with previous products more than our recent ones. That was a pity because, as a result, our attempt to launch certain recent products during the last six months, thanks to our research and development department. But somehow we didn’t emphasis enough the great advances which we’ve made. Or perhaps we did emphasis them, but they became obscured by mass of information about older products.
And now we come to the selection of delegates who attended the conference. Our area managers needed to attend but most of our own staff from head office didn’t really need to be there, not as ordinary delegates. Yes, it was nice to see them, but the conference wasn’t really intended for them. Perhaps this was why the conference seemed to lost focus at certain times and why the people for whom it was intended-our agents-didn’t get as much out of it as they should have done.
Now to something quit unpleasant and worrying in certain ways. As many of you are aware, one real problem of holding such conferences is that caused by them. I don’t mean theft of company property or personal belongings-though this can sometimes be a headache. I mean theft of ideas: it’s so easy for a competitor to come along (sometimes pretending to be an agent) and steal ideas form us. I think we’ve got to be a little more careful in future about what we exhibit. It’s dangerous to put on display describe products only after they’ve been successfully launched. Otherwise, competitors can always come along, see them and then set up in direct competition with us.
I fully realize that the conference was organized as an extra responsibility by a small team of people who had their own work to do at the same time. The organization of conferences is always a difficult and time-consuming task. It can also be a thankless task. On this occasion, they deserve our sincere thanks and appreciation. But what I would like to do this afternoon is to discuss the appointment of a full-time conference and exhibitions organizer, given the expansion we foresee, I think it’s time we were seriously considering making such an appointment early next year.
Questions 23 to 30
You will hear a discussion about in –company courses (courses given inside a company) and outside courses (courses given outside a company).
Choose the correct ending for each of the sentences 23-30. Mark one A, B or C for the ending you choose.
M1: Good morning. I’ve asked you both to my office to hear your views on useful training courses which might benefit certain members of our staff. First, what do you think the general idea of training courses that we might send personnel on? How useful would such courses be. And should we look at courses outside the company or should we seek to bring in specialists to give such courses on the premises? I just want your general views at this early stage.
M2: I think training courses would be very useful indeed to improve our performance and keep abreast with recent developments of all kinds.
W1: There are a lot of extremely good courses given in many countries in East Asia, especially in Japan and also in Singapore. There’s also a particularly good course that’s very relevant to our needs given by the Management Training Board in London.
M2: The trouble is that it costs a lot to send our people abroad on training programmes.
W1: Training and development are always expensive, but they usually pay for themselves in the end-I mean in the improved performance of the people who attend. It’s the company that benefits-even more than the individual.
M2: Thats true, b my point is that it would be cheaper to bring in a couple of specialists and have the training sessions here within the company.
W1: Clearly, we’ve got to consider in-company training courses-but we shouldn’t dismiss outside courses as being necessarily much more expensive. Even the best courses abroad are only slightly more expensive-relatively speaking. The most expensive part of any training course is not the course fee, high as this often is! Neither is it the cost of travel and accommodation. It is simply the length of time staff are absent from their jobs. They still have to draw their salaries. Also, special arrangements have to be made to do their work while they’re away. But even in this respect we can save something by good planning beforehand. I mean planning efficient ways of substituting staff and reorganizing the work of people who’re going to be absent.
M1: How long are the courses you’re thinking of?
W1: The longest course I envisage would be about ten weeks. Some courses might last no longer than one month. One month to ten weeks seems to be about the best time to justify the expense involved in traveling and accommodation costs.
M2: The advantage of in-company courses is that they can be shorter or longer than the time you’ve just mentioned. But their chief advantage is that the course can be specially tailored to meet the precise needs of the staff attending-that is, that is , the companys own special requirements. Also all courses can be given at times which cause least inconvenience to the company-perhaps during the mornings for one group of personnel and during the afternoons for another.
W1: But isn’t another advantage of courses provided by the opportunity to meet other people attending the course? During discussion sessions and workshop groups, participants can meet people from other companies-and even from other countries. In this way they can get an insight into other methods of working and of dealing with problems something they can’t get on in-company training courses.
M1: Well, thank you both for your views. This session has been very helpful. Whatever decision we make here-outside courses or in-company courses- I feel it’s very important for all those attending to be reminded that such courses are a considerable expense for the company. And consequently, ti’s only reasonable to expect all those attending a course to write full reports. Also I’d want them to complete a course evaluation form which we must arrange to draw up.
Questions 23 to 30
You will hear a talk about the qualities of leadership. The talk is given by a management consultant to participants on a training course. Choose the correct ending for each of the sentences 23-30. Mark one letter A, B or C for the ending you choose.
The subject of my lecture at this morining’s training session is: leadership. What makes a leader? I think this question is very relevant for everyone here today since you are all senior executives in your company and have leadership responsibilities to a larger or smaller degree.
Being a good leader in business is very much similar to being a good leader in public life-or even in the army. Many of the qualities required are the same-though, of course, a few qualities are quite special to leaders in business. First of all, however, a good leader in public life or in business mustn’t be frightened to make firm decisions. You must be able to arrive at quick decisions and act on them. It’s no good thinking too long about what to do nor is it much use seeking everyone else’s opinion. And it’s not very good to be cautious and careful about everything. No good leader appears hesitant to his or her subordinates. Good leaders know exactly what to do-they always give the impression of being absolutely convinced about the correctness of their decisions and their subsequent actions. There’s no doubt in their mind abort what they should do-and, as a result, people find it easy to believe in them and to follow them. They know they are right.
So far what I have said will seem obvious. But what may not be so obvious is that some business leaders actually create their own crises to give them an excuse-or an opportunity, shall we say-to control things. As a result they are able to act in a more authoritarian way and have direct control over a situation. Surprising as this may sound, it’s true. A crisis may not always be deliberately caused by any conscious decision or action, of course. Often good leaders are intuitively able to create such crises. Or possibly the crises arise since a good leader is invariably someone with strong opinions and firmly held beliefs.
Good leaders are not necessarily bad people in any way. About all, they are reliable. And they are consistent in their actions. They don’t change their minds easily and they keep their promises and agreements.
As I’ve just implied, good leaders know precisely what they want to achieve. They have clear goals-policies which they are determined to pursue at all costs. And also their messages are usually quite simple and clear, which everyone under them can understand and try to follow.
Above all, good leaders are always good communicators-whether in business or in public life. As I’ve just said their message is generally simple. But even when it’s rather complex and hard for some people to understand, a good leader knows instinctively how to communicate it with great ease and clarity. He or she will appeal to people’s emotions just as much as to their intellects. Good leaders can persuade others to do what they want by winning people’s hearts and minds. Ambitious leaders in particular play on people’s emotions. Sometimes a sense of humour will help in communicating a message.
A lot of leaders lead by example. They are persuasive but they also provide examples and, in many cases, role models for colleagues and subordinates to follow.
Almost all leaders know how to delegate their authority. They are able to identify the kind of people to act for them and carry out their policies. If they are in business, these subordinates are trusted to deal with all the small-but important-policy details and the day-to-day running of offices and factories. Letting subordinates deal with everyday matters enables the lesder to be free to concentrate on issues which are important.
There’s also the question of luck. Great leaders are invariably very lucky-or perhaps they make their own luck.. For example, a good leader seems to be in the right place at the right time. Whenever there is a crisis, the leader is there, ready to act-just when needed.
I’ll stop at this point but I’ll set you a good exercise to do. Think carefully about the qualities I’ve mentioned and see how they can be applied to your own business organization. But don’t evaluate the leadership qualities of your boss! Concentrate on your situation rather than on any single individual. Consider which qualities are most important for successful leadership in your own organization. And, above all, don’t set out to do a self-assessment exercise of your own potentials!
Questions 23 to 30
You will hear a talk about ways of developing a new CD-player. The talk is given by the manager of a large company. Choose the correct ending for each of the sentences 23-30. Mark one letter A, B or C for the ending you choose.
Our personal CD-player has now been in production for 10 months and it’s doing quite well. However, before sales start to fall, I feel we ought to look at ways we can develop this successful product. I think we ought to examine possible improvements under three general headings: product quality, product features and the style of the product. Let’s make a start by considering ways of improving the quality of our personal CD-player.
We know we have a good quality product, but in what ways can we improve it? I don’t think there’s much we can do as far as reliability is concerned. The CD-player’s great merit is quite simply: it is very reliable indeed. So far we’ve had hardly any complaints at all about its reliability. Out of the hundred thousand machines we’ve produced so far, we’ve had fewer than twenty returned because of any fault in the actual mechanism of the product. Yes, the player has certainly proved itself reliable to date. And this has been achieved without making the CD-player any more expensive than its competitors.
On the other hand, though, we’ve had a fairly large number of machines in for repair of their casing. I know that a number of our customers have been very careless and treated their CD-players and cracked the casing. Others have pulled open the top of the players to insert CDs instead of pressing the open button. I’m aware that the CD-players have been subjected to the type of rough treatment that was never envisaged when they were first launched. However, I think we’ve got to do something about this. In other words, we’ve got to find ways of making our CD-player even more foolproof than it is at present. It seems to me the first thing is to use a stronger casing than at present. The largely plastic casing simply isn’t strong enough and I suggest we use metal for at least part of the casing. Yes, it’ll mean a slightly heavier player-but this is the price we’ll have to pay for a stronger, sturdier machine.
In addition, I think we can improve the quality of the machine by making use of the new type of controlled laser beam which has recently been developed. I know we already have very good reproduction, especially for such a small machine. But we can make it even better., given the improved technology which is now at our disposal.
Well, now, this bring us on to feature improvement. Can we extend the rage of features of the CD-player? One feature which is at present lacking is a random selector. There is no device at all for users to have access to randomly selected tracks. At present, they either choose the tracks they want to hear or else they listen to the entire CD from start to finish. It’s high time we added to the interest of the CD-payer by having a button which will select tracks randomly-in no set order. Everyone likes a surprise now and again.
Many of you may think this the only feature which is lacking on our present CD-player, but we must be able to incorporate other small yet useful features. It’s imperative for us to maintain and develop our image as a very progressive company. I suggest that we try to think of one or two useful features we can add at little extra cost. I’m not saying that we should go as far as including a small radio. Nor should we incorporate a cassette player. But what about building in a small clock? This can be done without difficulty and without any real extra expense.
Finally, can we improve the style of our present CD-player? Can we round off some of those sharp square edges and make the player sleek and streamlined so that it will slide smoothly into a pocket or bag? Anyone looking at it should really want to possess it without even examining the sound quality and all the features! Let’s make it look far more modern and eye-catching!
Questions 23 to 30
You will hear a discussion. A company production director is discussing with senior executives a proposed structure for the production engineering department of a large company. Choose the correct ending for each of the sentences (23-30). Mark one letter(A, B or C) for the ending you choose.
M1: I’d like to discuss with you a proposed structure for the production engineering department in our company-our production engineers. These proposals are based on the type of organizational structure in several successful companies both at home and abroad. Nevertheless, I’m aware that some of these proposals are controversial and may come as a shock to some of you.
As you know, there are now 600 workers in our production engineering department. This workforce ranges from skilled machinists to production technologists. Their services are are highly centralized in our production engineering department at our headquarters. I appreciate that this results in a slightly smaller workforce as well as greater coordination and a concentration of specialist know-how. But we’re now finding that this very concentration of expertise here at headquarters encourages us to overlook some of the problems which many of our colleagues have in our twelve factories throughout the region. In a sense, the production engineering department is not aware of all that is happening in the factories and can’t understand some of the day-to-day problems.
M2: If you mean that we are getting out of touch with our factories, I think I agree. We don’t appreciate many of their difficulties. Shouldn’t our factories have more power to make decisions for themselves?
M1: Well, both yes and no. The whole issue is very complex.
W1: But after all, if our factories have more power to act as they like with regard to production engineering, we run the risk of them losing sight of the company’s overall objectives.
M1: That’s true. And so what I’d like to aim for is making our factories more independent from the view of production engineering while, at the same time, encouraging a greater degree of integration in the company.
W2: What about your position as the company production director? Surely, this is an essential position, and it’s essential for the company production director to have direct control of the factories.
M1: Yes, and, as the company production director, I’ll continue to have direct responsibility for each factory as well as for our headquarters.
M2: What about the managers of the factories?
M1: They’ll now have much more responsibility for their own factories.
W2: Will they be able to make decisions regarding production engineering?
M1: Yes, they will. But under each factory manager there’ll be a production engineering manager, responsible to the factory manager. He’ll be working at the factory itself-and not at our headquarters. He’ll also have authority in his own field.
M2: What about all the production engineers at headquarters? Will they no longer be required here?
W1: A few will, but others will be transferred to our various factories to work there. Our chief production engineer here at headquarters will be responsible for co-ordinating policy. And he’ll be assisted by a small team of production engineers. This team will be given direct access to each factory but it won’t be in a position to give instructions to the production engineering manager there unless the general manager of the factory has first given permission.