C1 Professional English – Presentations proposing a solution to a problem.

Here are some reformulated versions of the presentations given in class in October.  I have included some activities with the various texts too.

Example One:  Improving the information flow and clearly communicating strategies

Nowadays there’s no question that many people don’t really know what the strategies of the company they work for are.  Let me give you an example.  It happens many times that your boss tells you to do something that you don’t usually do and because you don’t really understand why you’ve been asked to do this, you don’t really perform this task with all your motivation.  So the main point that I want to make is that the guidelines of the company should be communicated in the best way from the top management level to workers in a company.  One way of implementing this is by establishing an information flow, for example an email sent by your boss to you each week in order to explain what the guidelines of the company are.

Activity:  substitute the words in italics in the text above for the more natural sounding / concise phrases below:

a weekly email           carry out       more clearly         to the best of your ability        far too often     

objectives / goals

Comments:  There’s a key difference in meaning between guidelines and objectives/goals – guidelines are kind of unofficial rules that suggest a way of doing something whereas objectives and goals can be used to imply the reasons for doing something.  For example, companies might produce guidelines which state what employees are expected to wear without producing an official dress code or there might be guidelines for the best way to give a presentation.  Objectives and goals are the aims/ideal outcomes and can be short-term (as in ‘the objective of this meeting is to decide on a pricing strategy for our latest product…’) or ongoing and long-term (as in ‘The company’s purpose is to advise and provide our clients with the most cost-effective IT solutions best suited to their business needs.”)

Example Two:  Why smoking should be banned

There is no doubt that many people who smoke during their working day spend a lot of time going downstairs, smoking cigarettes and talking to other people whereas those who don’t smoke stay at their desks working.  From my point of view this is unfair on two counts.  Firstly, it leads to an imbalance in the amount of break time smokers have compared to their non-smoking colleagues and secondly, it is a bad example to set.  Let me give you an illustration of this.  Take hospitals.  You’ll often find doctors smoking outside.  How can they then tell ill patients to give up when they are guilty of this vice?  It’s hypocritical and sets a bad example to the next generation.  So, that leads me to my main point, we should ban ashtrays outside workplaces.

Example Three:  Improving efficiency and productivity

Following on from what’s been said before, I’d like to take things a bit further.  Cigarette breaks, coffee breaks, chats with co-workers.  There’s no doubt that we waste a lot of time not doing our work!  As a result there’s not enough time to finish what we are supposed to do.  In order to control these things I think we should look more closely at the number of hours that we spend at work and how we use that time.  The solution, as far as I see it, is to use cards which we can sign in on arrival at our workplace which will show us exactly how many hours we’ve really spent working and not on taking breaks.  We can then evaluate our productivity and company’s can monitor how much work is getting done.

Example Four:  Reduced working hours to achieve greater productivity and a better work-life balance.

The main idea I want to put forward also concerns time wasted during the working day.  In some companies, for example in my case, we work long hours and if you add to this the time spent getting to the office and having lunch, which can be up to two hours, then the result is that you don’t have enough time for yourself, your hobbies or to see your family or friends.  Our great-grand-parents and grand-parents  fought hard to reduce the number of working hours during the industrial revolution so why are we heading back to a situation where so much time is spent working?  So, solutions…  Maybe these aren’t applicable to every situation but here are some ideas… With modern communication technology maybe we could reduce the number of meetings held with a lot of people because normally these are not very productive.  Or maybe we could reduce the lunch break and the culture of long, filling lunches because this often means you only want to have a siesta rather than getting back to work.  If we could do this, we’d have more free time for our own well-being.

Example Five:  The benefits of greater transparency

If I say the word “transparency,” what does it mean to you?  Clear?  Something you can see through?  But also transparency can be related to information.  Information can be for strategic purposes, human resources or even something to motivate staff.  But in many cases most businesses there is a lack of information.  What I means is that most of the time information stays at the top of the hierarchy rather than being spread down to the workers who need it in order to achieve their objectives.  It’s like a river and a mountain.  A dam is placed in the middle and the water, or the information doesn’t flow down.  The solutions are very simple.  For example, general meetings could be held where directors communicate with their employees.  These could be followed up with briefings summarising what was said.  Overall, a greater sharing of information would help everyone understand their role in an organisation better and help them perform more effectively.



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