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Learning Languages for Life

Category: Business (page 1 of 3)

Business Machine Learning: text-to-speech

The Situation

It’s critical for patients to understand what medicine they’re taking and how to take it. Every prescription medication in Australia requires an accompanying Consumer Medicines Information (CMI) leaflet, describing what the medicine does, how to take it, and possible side effects. The trouble with the leaflets is that the information on them changes frequently, and it’s difficult to get updated information to consumers.

GuildLink, the pre-eminent provider of up-to-date medicine information for consumers and health providers, solves this problem by storing, managing and distributing CMIs electronically. They recognized the need for audio CMIs to meet the needs of consumers who can’t use the printed information for a variety of reasons—including impaired vision, a non-English-speaking background, and learning disabilities such as dyslexia

Blazing Trails

Thanks to the Appen TTS engine, GuildLink was the frst company in the world to
provide audio CMIs and is still one of the only ones doing it. “There’s an increase
in demand for accurate and current medicines information and being able to
provide the information in multiple ways has helped alleviate that,” says Paonne.
“Appen’s text-to-speech conversion has been pivotal in helping us provide more
information in more ways and helping patients understand what they’re taking.”

GuildLink’s pioneering service has led to partnerships with several Australian
government-sponsored websites that use the information in the company’s
database. Those include the Therapeutic Goods Administration site, and other
distributors of medicine information.

But the company doesn’t want to stop there. “To further improve accessibility,
we’d like to look into translating the CMIs into multiple languages in the future,”
says Paonne. “It’s so important that consumers have high-quality, accurate
information they can understand. Our philosophy is the more information you
give people, the better.”

from here

retail case

Business podcast: leadership

30 minutes with Shellye Archambeau, former chief executive officer (CEO) at MetricStream and board member at Verizon and Nordstrom .

Before listening, think about your own answers to the questions Shellye is asked (as a board member):

1 – When it comes to establishing clear vision that inspires and excites,
how as a leader do you convey a message that can resonate with the
masses of people and excite them?

2 – What’s your view on risking taking particularly in larger organisations as opposed to smaller ones?

3 – What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?

4 – How can you make your own luck?

Now click on the link below and listen to the 3rd podcast section (Leadership, goals, and work-life optimization)

link to listening

MIT Sloan business school: How to lead digital transformation



images (all taken from the sloanreview report linked above)

MIT Business school (Sloan): Digital Business Model for a bank

In the video, the MIT Sloan speaker talks of his interview with he Executive chairman of Spain’s second largest bank and leader in digital innovation on how it executed its digital transformation. You will hear ideas related to the following questions. Before watching, think of your ideas, then compare.

1 – What six questions should a company CIO / executive ask himself when thinking about the digital business model of his company?



Imagine you’re the CEO of a large European bank. Times are tough. There’s pressure on margins. Customer satisfaction scores are not brilliant. You have a whole lot of new competitors biting at your heels like platform companies offering financial services.

How can you change your business model of providing products such as car / home loans?

What is your digital competitive advantage?

How will you connect using mobile / IOT?

Do you have crucial capabilities to reinvent your enterprise?

Do you have the leadership to make the transformation happen?

Now watch the video (2.39 – 15 minutes= 12 minutes)

Harvard Business School: competitiveness in the digital transformation era

Answer the questions below that the Harvard business school lecturer answers in the video. Then watch the video to see if he agrees with you

Are you experimenting with use of tech across the board? Is there any result?

Is it a good idea to outsource the innovation ?

Which aspects of your business should you reconsider as a result of digital transformation (he mentioned four)?

What, in your opinion, are core strategy rules for a business?

Who are Amazon’s competitors?

Imagine you’re selling a bike. Apart from saying that the bike is better or
cheaper, how can you create value?

People often walk into a tech hardware selling (e.g. phones) brick and mortar shop, find what they want then order online. What might the BM shop do to increase income?

Big data analysis has been done on how the weather effects buying habits. Can you guess what 3 correlations were noticed?


Job Interview: What are your weaknesses?

The video below shows some bad answers to the question “What are your weaknesses?” What makes the answers bad?

Now watch the same bad answers, but followed by good versions. What language techniques does the interviewee use to sound more positive?

Fill in the gaps below from memory, then listen and check

Psychologically BAD Weakness Psychologically GOOD Weakness
My English is bad / not good.My English is good, but I think it 1) _____ be better.

My English is good, but I think it could be 2) _ _____better

My English is good but it is 3) ___ __ good ___ it _____ be
I always have difficulty talking on the phone in English4)_________ I have a bit of difficulty communicating in English on the phone

, 5)________ if the other person has a very strong accent

I 6)___ always clarify the ideas

It 7)_____ be nice if it ____ a little bit easier
My communication skills are really badMy communication skills, 8)_____ good, could be a bit better I think.

It would be nice if my communication skills were a little bit better.

I think I need to 9)_____ my communication skills a bit 10)_____.
It’s always a problem for me to talk to other team membersI 11) ____ _________ had a problem communicating with a team member,

12)____ it’s something I’ve 13)_____ working _____

It’s something I’m getting better 14) ____

I 15)____ ____ I need to improve it a bit more
I’m not punctualAlthough I’m 16)____ a punctual person, occasionally I 17)____ be a little bit late 18) _____ ___ family commitments or things like bad traffic.

Although there’s 19)____ _____ a problem because of this, I think that it is something that could be improved a little bit.
I’m not patient / I’m really impatientFor me it’s 20)____ ____ important to meet targets and to meet 21)______, and I push myself a lot to achieve these 22) ____.

Occasionally, as a result, I 23)___ be a little bit impatient with colleagues.

24)________ , this is something I’ve been working on, and I’ve improved.

It’s just that I think 25)___ ____ _____ a little bit more improvement.

And then I’ll be quite happy.

Answers below:

Psychologically BAD Weakness Psychologically GOOD Weakness
My English is bad / not good.My English is good, but I think it could be better.

My English is good, but I think it could be a bit better

My English is good but it is not as good as it could be
I always have difficulty talking on the phone in EnglishSometimes I have a bit of difficulty communicating in English on the phone

, particularly if the other person has a very strong accent

I do always clarify the ideas

It would be nice if it was a little bit easier
My communication skills are really badMy communication skills, although good, could be a bit better I think.

It would be nice if my communication skills were a little bit better.

I think I need to hone my communication skills a bit more.
It’s always a problem for me to talk to other team membersI have occasionally had a problem communicating with a team member,

But it’s something I’ve been working on

It’s something I’m getting better at

I just feel I need to improve it a bit more
I’m not punctualAlthough I’m quite a punctual person, occasionally I might be a little bit late because of family commitments or things like bad traffic.

Although there’s never been a problem because of this, I think that it is something that could be improved a little bit.
I’m not patient / I’m really impatientFor me it’s always been important to meet targets and to meet deadlines, and I push myself a lot to achieve these goals.

Occasionally, as a result, I can be a little bit impatient with colleagues.

However, this is something I’ve been working on, and I’ve improved.

It’s just that I think it does need a little bit more improvement.

And then I’ll be quite happy.

Business: Motivate employees

Text 1

Below are 5 ways to motivate people in a small business. Read the text, for each point, think of whether this is true only for small business, is true mostly for small business, is true equally for small and large business.

5 Ways to Motivate Small Business Staff (adapted from here )

1. Offer Some Flexibility

If there’s one thing that employees might appreciate more than money, it’s time. With today’s hectic life, more employees than ever are struggling to find the time for family, friends, hobbies, and health.

By offering your employees some flexibility in hours, you’re acknowledging that you know they have a life outside of work. Even if you can’t offer your employees benefits like everyday core hours or work-from-home shifts, you might still be able to work some flexibility into your employees’ schedules. Think about letting employees come in early in exchange for letting them leave early, or even consider rewarding a hard worker with an unexpected paid afternoon off.

2. Recognize Good Performance

Nothing’s more discouraging than working hard on a project, only to have your hard work go unnoticed.

You should provide your employees with recognition for their hard work on a regular basis.  Show him or her your appreciation right away, with personalized gifts and awards, small bonuses, or even just by saying thanks.

3. Provide Professional Development Opportunities

Giving your employees the chance to enhance their skills makes them feel like the company is just as invested in them as they are in it, so it can increase loyalty and motivation. Professional development opportunities also motivate employees to succeed, and give them the tools they need to accomplish more. Knowledgeable, skilled employees are more motivated employees, and they’ll be more valuable employees, too.

4. Foster a Fun Environment

 Your employees spend a good deal of their lives at work, and by making the workplace more fun, you’ll make going to work more enjoyable, which can keep employees motivated and engaged. How can you do that? Workplace parties, bring-your-dog-to-work days, and weekly employee happy hours are some common strategies. Ask your employees for their feedback on what would make the workplace more fun.

5. Practice Effective Communication Strategies

In a small business, employees have the advantage of being able to directly see the impact their contributions have on the company. By communicating openly and effectively with your employees about how the business is doing and how they’ve contributed, you can help your employees feel like a part of the company’s big picture. Take their input seriously, and they’ll feel like a more valued member of the team.

Text 2 – video

Wall Street Journal interviews CEOs of big US companies. Do they mention any of the five pieces of advice above?  What else do they mention?

Soft skills (intermediate business)


For each of the following soft skills decide

a – why it is important

b – if you are happy with your level

c – if you need to improve it. If you choose ‘c’ think about how you can improve it


communication / teamwork / adaptability / problem solving / critical observation / conflict resolution / leadership





read the article below and see if you agree with “why you need it” / ” why employers look for it” / “how to gain it”

(adapted from

What are soft skills?

Some examples of soft skills include analytical thinking, verbal and written communication, and leadership.

Research from the Society for Human Resource Management found that employers actually care more about soft skills than they do technical abilities like reading comprehension and mathematics.

“Soft skills are key to building relationships, gaining visibility, and creating more opportunities for advancement,” says Kathy Robinson, founder of Boston career-coaching firm TurningPoint.


Soft skills for your career

1. Communication

Why you need it: Both written and verbal communication skills  improve your chances of building relationships with co-workers.

Why employers look for it: Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their peers, says Robinson.

How to gain it: One way to improve your communication and presentation skills is to join Toastmasters, a national organization that offers public speaking workshops.

2. Teamwork

Why you need it:  Success is the result of many people working toward a common goal.

Why employers look for it: Employers look to team players to help build a friendly office culture, which helps retain employees and, in turn attracts top talent.

How to gain it: Lend a hand when you see a co-worker in need. (“Hey, I know you have a lot on your plate. How can I help?”)

3. Adaptability

Why you need it: Things don’t always go as planned.  “Successful leaders are the ones who know how to be flexible when problems arise,” says Robinson.

Why employers look for it: “The speed of change in any given workplace is so rapid,” says Joel Garfinkle, executive coach and author of Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. Consequently, employers need workers who can adapt well.

How to gain it: Push yourself to be an early adopter of change. “For example, adapting to technology is crucial for people to be seen as someone who  meets new challenges,” says Garfinkle.  Offer to teach your co-workers what you learn.

4. Problem solving

Why you need it: When something goes wrong, you can either complain or take action.

Why employers look for it: Companies rely on problem solvers to deal with unexpected challenges.

How to gain it: “Always approach your boss with a solution, not a problem,” says Robinson.

5. Critical observation

Why you need it: Data doesn’t mean much if you don’t know how to interpret it.  Being a critical observer can help make you a better worker all around.

Why employers look for it: Companies need critical thinkers—people who bring a fresh perspective and offer intuitive solutions and ideas to help the company be better than the competition or improve internal processes.

How to gain it: To be a critical observer, you need to be able to analyze information and put it to use. For example, does your boss actually read the weekly sales reports? What was her reaction to bad news in the staff meeting? What’s the best time of day to approach your manager with a question?

6. Conflict resolution

Why you need it: “Any time you put more than one person into an organization, there is going to be conflict,” says Robinson. “It’s human nature.” Therefore, being able to resolve issues with co-workers will help you maintain relationships with peers and work more effectively.

Why employers want it: Being able to constructively solve disagreements with people shows leadership potential. Someone like this helps to promote a healthy, collaborative workplace.

How to gain it: The best way to resolve disagreements between co-workers is to address issues directly but diplomatically. So, when trying to solve a conflict, let both sides give their opinion and then work together to find a solution.

7. Leadership

Why you need it: Having confidence and a clear vision can help influence your co-workers. Displaying such leadership skills can lead to more opportunities for promotions.

Why employers want it: Bosses and managers are always looking for employees with leadership potential.

How to gain it:  Leadership means inspiring and helping others reach their full potential. One way to do that is to become the internship supervisor, which gives you the opportunity to manage people, learn how to motivate a team, and take on more responsibility.





Think about these questions:

Do you have charm? How important is it? How can you develop it?

then watch the video




Pre-watching questions:

Why is communication so important?

Do you communicate well with people?

Do people listen to what you say?

How important are words and actions ?

Now watch the video:



Business: Porter’s 5 forces

Pre-module work: Use a search engine to familiarize yourself with Porters 5 forces, including advantages and disadvantages of the system

Module work:

Part A: Visualization

1  – think about how you might draw a chart of Porters 5 forces

2 – scroll through the following pages to look at the charts and compare your ideas




use google pictures if you want to find more

3 – draw a final chart (using relevant business jargon you have found)


Part B: Case studies

1 – think about your own analysis of Starbucks according to Porter’s 5 forces

2 – RECORD YOURSELF TALKING about it, listen to yourself and think “How did I use business jargon expressions?” / “How did I use signalling words?”

3 -read the text here

4 – compare your ideas to the author’s

5 – make notes of your ideas in comparison to the author’s USING some jargon from the text. To increase flexibility, think about your linguistic choice

6 – if possible, before the lesson, send a Telegram / WeChat oral message in which you present the information.

7 – in the lesson present (again)

repeat for either more articles or further down video:








sportswear industry


more general ideas and examples



Business reading to speak: Accenture 2017 report

THe following is adapted from Accenture’s 2017 annual report (here)

Step 1: Read and fill in the gaps

Accenture’s very strong financial performance in fiscal 2017 reflects the 1)c______________successful execution of our growth strategy—in particular, the 2) r______rotation of our business to new, high-growth areas. We 3) d_________all the objectives in our initial business outlook for the year, driving broad-based revenue growth that 4) s__________ outpaced the market, as well as double-digit growth in earnings per share on an adjusted basis. We also 5 )g___________excellent free cash flow and significantly increased our investments in the business, while 6)  a_______ returning substantial cash to shareholders.

We delivered 7) r_________  net revenues of $34.9 billion, with positive growth across the 8) v _________majority of our industry groups, geographic markets and businesses.

We also reached an 8) i___________________ milestone in fiscal 2017: Net revenues from what we call “the New”—digital, cloud and security services—grew about 30 percent to $18 billion. With our rapid rotation to the New and our 9) h_________ diverse portfolio of business, we successfully executed in an uncertain and 10) i____________ competitive environment and continued driving strong, profitable growth. Our very strong performance in fiscal 2017— on top of our 11) o___________ results for the last two fiscal years—clearly demonstrates that we are executing our growth strategy in a 12) d______ and sustained way. in each of our five businesses and driving synergies across them to deliver 13) ta_________ business outcomes for our clients. We also continue to leverage our 14)u__________ position in the technology ecosystem as the largest independent services provider and the leading partner of many key players. This is why Accenture 15) r________ the partner of choice for so many of the world’s leading companies and largest government agencies. We continue to build strong and 16) e___________ client relationships.  We are 17) e_______ pleased with the leadership positions we have built in digital, cloud and security services. We are in the midst of a technology revolution that is disrupting and transforming businesses and entire industries around the world. In this context, we are working with our clients to apply innovation and intelligence at the 18) h______ of their organizations.



Step 2: Check your answers below, then build your lexical choice. For each presented “gap”, think of 3 options in your context


  1. continued successful execution – continued successful______ x 3
  2. rapid rotation: rapid _______ x3
  3. delivered all the objectives: delivered _______ x3
  4. growth that significantly outpaced the market:   _______ significantly outpaced_______
  5. we generated excellent free cash flow:  we generated excellent _____________
  6. again returning substantial cash to shareholders: substantial ________
  7. record net revenues: record _____
  8. an important milestone: a ________ milestone
  9. the vast majority of:  the vast majority of ____________
  10. highly diverse portfolio: highly diverse ____________
  11. increasingly competitive environment:  increasingly competitive ________
  12. on top of out outstanding results:  outstanding ____
  13. in a durable and sustained way:  durable and sustained _____
  14. deliver tangible business outcomes:  deliver tangible _____
  15. leverage our unmatched position: unmatched _______
  16. Accenture remains the partner of choice: our company remains _______
  17. build strong and enduring relationships: strong and enduring _______
  18. we are especially pleased with:  We are especially pleased with_____
  19. at the heart of their organisations: at the heart of ______


Step 3: download and import the attached anki deck from here : make sure you do it third stage active style





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