February 2012

ESL Business Talk: The Impact of Corporate Turnover

In this post, the discussion will be about corporate turnover.

  • What is corporate turnover?
  • What are 5 causes of corporate turnover? Why?
  • Do you think it causes a chain reaction? Why (not)?
  • What is the impact of turnover on a business?
    • See graph below for asking for additional questions and why.
  • How can you determine when turnover is occurring in large companies?
  • How can a business prevent turnover? At least 3 ideas. Explain why for each.
  • How can companies be more proactive? At least 3 ideas. Explain why.
  • What is the cost of corporate turnover (some say it averages about 50,000-75,000USD per person)
    • See below graph to ask if they agree and why.
  • Could turnover be healthy for an organization? Why (not)?
    • How long does it take to find a new employee?
    • Which teams and people are involved in hiring new people?
    • How long does it take to get someone new up and running?
  • Do you think direct managers care about turnover? Why and when?
  • Some people think 2 years is enough at one job before moving. Do you agree? Why (not)?
  • How long should a person stay in on position? Why?
    • How long should a person stay at one company for? Why?
  • What are your thoughts on job-hopping? Why?
    • What is the motivation for job-hopping do you think?
    • Do you think companies accept job hopping?
  • What do you think about being poached by another company?
    • How does the company losing the employee feel?
      • Can an employee take advantage of this situation?

Voluntary Turnover Graph

Turnover Costs

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ESL Business Talk: Brands

In this post, the discussion will about brands

  • Do you think branding is important? Why (not)?
  • Do you think brands are overrated? Why (not)?
  • What are some of your favorite brands? Why?
  • What are the top 3 bands do you think? Why?
    • Answer: Coca Cola, IBM, and Microsoft: Are you surprised? Why (not)?
    • Many of the famous brands are from the US? How do you feel? Why?
  • What does it take to make a brand famous?
    • Why are they so celebrated and respected?
    • Do you think logo designs are important? Why (not)?
    • Do you think slogans are important? Why (not)?
    • Do you think Word of Mouth is important? Why (not)?
  • How do brands become famous? How long does it take?
  • Do you trust brand names? Why (not)?
    • Do you trust generic products? Why (not)?
  • Do you think brands are a rip-off or do they deliver the value of cost?
    • Do you buy brands? Why (not)?
  • Do you think investing in brand companies just because they have a famous brand name is good choice? Why (not)?
  • Do brands die? Why?


  • Do you think people can be branded? Why (not)?
    • How would you brand yourself?
  • Do you agree with these points: Why (not)?
    • Become an expert on something related to your business
    • Establish a website or blog with your full name
    • Learn how to be a good source
    • Generate brand awareness through social networking
  • It is said that everyone is now self-employed (even if you work for a company). Do you agree with this concept? Why (not)?
  • Do you think business cards are important? Why (not)?
    • What should be said on a business card? Why?

Talked about Brands

Recommending Brands

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ESL BUsiness Articles: Stepping Down

In this post, the article is about a CEO resigning from a major automobile company. Your client will discuss their opinions about why and the impact when a CEO leaves the organization.

Items for discussion covered are:

  • Actions of the previous and new CEO
  • Impact of an executive leaving the organization
  • How to turn around a dying/failing business
  • Qualities of an executive
  • Golden parachute packages

See here for the document: Stepping Down

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ESL Business Talk: Reading

In this post, the dicussion will be about reading.

  • Do you think reading is valuable? Why (not)?
    • What are the benefits of reading?
    • What are the negatives of reading?
  • How often should someone read? Why?
    • How much time should be put aside for reading daily? Why?
  • What should a person read? Why do you think so?
  • “Tell me what you read, and I will tell you who you are” – Slovak proverb, Do you agree? Why (not)?
    • What do you read? How would you evaluate yourself then?
  • Do you think seminars or trainings are better than reading? Why (not)?
    • Do you think the cost to value represents this fairly?
  • Should companies provide a library within their organization? Why (not)?
    • What are the benefits of doing so?
    • How can this be funded?
  • If you read 2 books a week for a total of about 100 books a year, what do you think will result in your life? Why?
  • People claim they don’t have time to read? What would you suggest to rectify this?
  • Does it matter what type of books you read? Why (not)?
  • Should businesses give an incentive for employees to read?
    • Should it be part of the employees performance review then?
  • Do you think reading will lead to a faster promotion at work? Why (not)?
  • Do you think reading too many books is ineffective? Why (not)?
  • Should a book be re-read? How many times then? Why (not)?
  • Do you think TV is a good substitution for reading? Why (not)?
  • What book had a major influence on your life? How so?
  • What was your favorite book? Why?
  • Which book do you recommend to friends and family? Why?
  • Do you have a favorite author? Who and why?
  • Do you think reading to a child has an impact on their life in the short term? long term?
  • What are your thoughts on digital books?
    • How do you feel about reading a book on a PC? Why?
  • Have you heard of the concept “Mobile University”? What do you think it means?
    • Do you agree that listening to audio books is better than listening to music?
    • Do you or would you consider  listening to books more then?

Reading to Children


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ESL Busines Tips: The Power of the Pareto Principle

According to Wikipedia, the Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

What does this mean for your lesson? Well it can mean many things so lets look at three aspects.

1) I can’t say it enough, if you speak 20% of the time, 80% of output should come from the client. Talk time is incrediably important for your client as discussed in Do you talk too much? My thinking is a client came to you to learn to communicate so it is my duty to make sure the content matches their needs while at the same time they are getting an opportunity to verbally apply the material via conversation.

2) This also sadly means that 80% of lesson will likely be forgotten so make sure you are dilling the same words and phrases over and over to help make it stick. Covering to many points in one session will likely to a bigger loss. So keep focused on the subject and give variation of the same situation to help apply the concepts over and over but yet keep the situation fresh.

3) Look to the top 20% of clients who constantly return to take your lesson. They may be providing 80% of your success. See what is working and not working by comparing these clients to your your other 80%. Then try see how you can adjust to help boost your growth or teaching techniques.

ESL Business Tips: The Pareto Principle

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ESL Business Articles: Bullish on Gold

In this post, the article is about a famous hedge-fund investor who makes a call on buying gold. Your client will discuss their opinions about the value of gold and the impact of government and banking actions.

Items for discussion covered are:

  • Speculating on the precious metals market
  • The impact of government spending
  • Central banks actions on gold
  • Hedging against inflation

See here for the document: Bullish on Gold

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ESL Business Articles: Big Banking

In this article pulled from the Wall Street Journal, the student will read about how one of the biggest US banks is performing.

Items for discussion covered are:

  • How the banking industry is performing
  • Opinions about credit rating agencies
  • Investing in stocks
  • How are the real estate markets

You will then discuss about the article content by giving opinions about the situation.

See here for the document: Big Banking

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ESL Business Talk: The Job Market

In this post, the discussion will be about the job market.

  • What do you think of the current job market? Why?
  • Do you think it is get better or worse? Why (not)?
    • Do you think there is a vicious circle?
  • Where do you think the jobs are moving? Why?
    • Will jobs continue to move offshore? For how long?
  • Do you think developed nations such as the US or Japan will see growth in jobs in the near future? Why (not)?
    • Do you think China and other rapidly developing countries will slow down?
    • Do you think labor costs in emerging countries or BRIC nations are becoming to expensive?
  • Do you think there is enough talent is produced domestically?
    • How about abroad? What is the impact?
  • Do you feel sorry for people who lose their jobs? Why (not)?
  • Do you think it is the government’s responsibility to establish more jobs?
    • Should more government jobs be produced as a result?
    • Should government jobs be secure?
  • What does “Job Security” mean to you?
    • Do you think this is term of the past or does it still exist?
    • Should Job Security still exist today? What are the benefits and disadvantages?
    • What do you think of job hopping? Why?
    • What is the impact of job hopping on you? on the business?
  • Do you think cities have too many jobs? For example many people flock to Tokyo but the countryside population is declining rapidly. Is this a safe heaven?
    • Should the government adjust benefits to stimulate growth here?
  • Should young people look to work abroad? Why (not)?
  • How old should people work to? Should their be a fixed retirement age?
  • What is the impact of both genders working from young to elderly?
    • Should laws be imposed to restrict?

Graduating into the Job Market


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ESL Business Tips: Set Clear Expectations with MoSCoW

Understanding your client’s needs will put you ahead many of your competitors. Asking casually what they want to accomplish and assuming they just want to speak English is a good start but not enough to understand their expectations. Knowing what exactly it is they want to accomplish will allow you to customize your lessons to make sure you structure the content to satisfy their drive and hunger and of course, to have them keep returning back to you for more.

One technique to help you get started with is to use the business analyst technique, MoSCow. Here is a brief description pulled from Wikipedia:

This is used to prioritize requirements by allocating an appropriate priority, gauging it against the validity of the requirement itself and its priority against other requirements. MoSCoW comprises:

  • Must have – or else delivery will be a failure
  • Should have – otherwise will have to adopt a workaround
  • Could have – to increase delivery satisfaction
  • Would like to have in the future – but won’t have now

So now aks yourself (and your client),

  • What MUST the client be capable of doing by the end of  each lesson and/or by the end of the course?
  • What SHOULD be covered in these lessons? Articles, discussions, vocabulary drills, grammar drills, role-plays, etc.
  • What COULD be provided/discussed to increase satisfaction? Homework assignments, article preparations, etc.
  • What WOULD like to be learned in the future but not at this time.

So discuss with each of your clients when you first meet and also do follow-ups from time to time to adjust for new or revised goals. Take a memo and jot this information down so you can recall each time you prepare and meet with them. Delivering happiness to your customer is best done when you understand them.

This technique can also be used in a lesson when going over a project that you client wants to discuss, say in a presentation. Have them break it down with this process and see what they come up with and then have them explain their reasoning for each.

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