Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6: Episode 19 | Put Your Heads Together: Solving Problems Proactively

Sometimes in the world of business, and even in our personal lives, we act in a reactive way instead of a solutions-based way. When COVID had shut down my job last year, the anxiety level was out of the roof because I didn’t know how I would generate income. So, when the second shutdown happened this year, I was more than prepared and excited.

Putting your heads together is an idiom that means “helping one another find a solution.” In the entrepreneurial world, sometimes you need to sit down in a mastermind group to ponder what’s happening and plan out actionable steps. In today’s podcast, you have stories and a situation between two women who came across a massive problem at work.

Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6: Episode 18 | In-Company Interviews: Pitching, Closing, Noun Phrases

Welcome back to another interview session! We have the usuals today: Lisa, Robert, Phil, and Wiktor who talk about pitching, knowing your product inside and out, knowing your customer’s needs, and how detrimental it could be in terms of promising your customers an outcome,

To be honest, here in Thailand, lots of language centers love to super-impose on advertisements “Guaranteed 7.5 IELTS!” This is a marketing scheme, but if that had been in America, they could be sued for false advertisement.

In saying that, I never promise anyone anything. What do I do instead? Tune into the podcast!

{Patreon Special} Elementary | Reading | Digital Download Day

Are you at a lower-level and you want to practice basic English? If you just started following and haven’t heard seasons 1-3 yet, then it could be a bit daunting to understand the rate at which I speak. So, to improve your reading, vocabulary, etc….here’s a template on my Business English Podcast badge! I’m covering elementary reading blogs in the world of business, so if you’re interested in exclusive content, $30 a month with a bunch of perks gets you in!

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TOEFL iBT | Listening | Listening Tips for Success! | How to Note-take with a Utensil

Welcome back to the super amazing blog here! I’m BEYOND grateful to give this to you, and normally this is available to my Patreon students — but again — a student has come forth and showed me that she has a lot of listening difficulties. So, I want to be able to do this blog/podcast for you guys.

Listen for the main idea


In most cases, the first question after each lecture is a main idea question also known as a gist question. At the beginning of a listening lecture, the professor usually mentions what the main topic of the lecture will be about, but sometimes the topic might be branched into something more specific. Please note the topic can change, so always be prepared to note down any new topics.

Listen to the speaker’s tone of voice


Sometimes you’ll be asked questions regarding the speaker’s attitude or opinion. To answer these questions correctly, tone of voice matters. For example, does the speaker sound excited, confused, sad…etc?

Listen to how ideas are connected throughout the lecture


When listening to a lecture, make note of the way the ideas in the lecture are connected. In other words, how the professor organized the lecture. When you encounter a question asking you how the lecture is organized, you can refer back to your notes. Some of the main relationships between ideas include cause/effect, compare/contrast, and steps in a process.

Listen for key points not specific details


TOEFL listening questions will not test you on small details. For example, you won’t see questions that are about a specific year, name, or location. Instead, questions will test your understanding of key points mentioned in the lecture.

Listen for signal words that indicate different parts of the lecture


To help you capture key points in the lecture, you need to learn to listen for signal words or transition words. These words are like the road signs that tell you what is coming next. Signal words can tell you the beginning or the end of a topic. They can also help you move through the middle of the lecture by introducing topics.

Signal words
“Okay”, “Well”, “Now”, “But”, and “So”

1. “Okay” and “Now” are usually used to transition into a different topic or a different key point.
2. “Well” is usually used before answering a question.
3. “But” and “So” are usually followed by a key point.
Examples
All right folks, let’s continue our discussion of alternative energy sources and move on to what’s probably the most well-known alternative energy source— solar energy. The sun basically provides earth with virtually unlimited source of energy every day, but the problem has always been how do we tap this source of energy. Can anyone think of why it’s so difficult to make use of solar energy?OK. Another ancient Greek philosopher we need to discuss is Aristotle—Aristotle’s ethical theory. What Aristotle’s ethical theory is all about is this: he’s trying to show you how to be happy—what true happiness is. Now, why is he interested in human happiness? It’s not just because it’s something that all people want to aim for. It’s more than that. But to get there we need to first make a very important distinction. Let me introduce a couple of technical terms: extrinsic value and intrinsic value.All right, so far we have been looking at some of the core areas of linguistics, like syntax, phonology, semantics. Now I’d like to talk about the branch of historical linguistics, and the comparison of several different languages, or the comparison of different stages of a single language. Now, if you are comparing different languages, and you notice that they have a lot in common. Maybe they have similar sounds and words that correspond to one another that have the same meaning and that sound similar.
bestmytest
Signal words
Let’s move on to …
This brings me to my next point, which is….
So far we have have been looking at…. Now I’d like to….
So now that we’ve covered…
What … is all about is this…
Examples
All right folks, let’s continue our discussion of alternative energy sources and move on to what’s probably the most well-known alternative energy source— solar energy. The sun basically provides earth with virtually unlimited source of energy every day, but the problem has always been how do we tap this source of energy. Can anyone think of why it’s so difficult to make use of solar energy?OK. Another ancient Greek philosopher we need to discuss is Aristotle—Aristotle’s ethical theory. What Aristotle’s ethical theory is all about is this: he’s trying to show you how to be happy—what true happiness is. Now, why is he interested in human happiness? It’s not just because it’s something that all people want to aim for. It’s more than that. But to get there we need to first make a very important distinction. Let me introduce a couple of technical terms: extrinsic value and intrinsic value.All right, so far we have been looking at some of the core areas of linguistics, like syntax, phonology, semantics. Now I’d like to talk about the branch of historical linguistics, and the comparison of several different languages, or the comparison of different stages of a single language.   Now, if you are comparing different languages, and you notice that they have a lot in common. Maybe they have similar sounds and words that correspond to one another that have the same meaning and that sound similar.   
Signal words
(opinion) I think, It appears that, It is thought that
(theory) In theory, the hypothesis is that
Examples
You have an advertising budget to spend, but how do you to spend it wisely. Again, research is the key. Good research gives you facts, facts that can help you decide, well, as we already mentioned, decide the right market to target, and the best media to use. But also: When to advertise? or…or how to get the best rates? Like, maybe you’re advertising Sport equipment, and you have been spending most of your budget during the holiday season when people buy gifts for each other. Now, in theory, that would seem a great time to advertise, but maybe a research shows you’re wrong, that the customers who buy sports equipment tend not to give it as a holiday gift, but want to use it themselves. In that case, advertising during a different season of the year might give you better results.We recently noticed an increase in cloud cover over an area of the ocean waters around Antarctica. An increased area of low thick clouds, the type that reflects a large portion of solar energy back to space and cools the Earth. Well, the reason for this increased cloud cover, it turns out, is the exceptionally large amount of microscopic marine plants. Well, the current hypothesis is that these microorganisms produce a chemical that interacts with the oxygen in the air, creating conditions that lead to the formation of the low thick clouds we observed. Well, that’s true. It could have huge implications. So, maybe we are talking about controlling the weather. Perhaps, if the microorganisms near Antarctica really are responsible, perhaps we can accelerate the process somehow.

Pay attention to the following transition words which can help you capture the main ideas and examples:

Type of connectionTransition words
These words show the order of ideas.First/Second/Third
Firstly (or “First of all”)/Secondly/Thirdly (or “Lastly”)
For one thing/For another thing/Finally (or “Lastly”)
In the first place/in the second place/Finally (or “Lastly”)
These words show the addition of informationIn addition, furthermore, additionally, also, next, moreover, what’s more, on top of that
These words shows conclusions.To sum up, in summary, in conclusion, to conclude, all in all, all things considered ,overall, taking everything into consideration, in a nutshell
These words demonstrate contrastConversely, on the contrary, by contrast, by way of contrast, on one hand/on the other hand
These words compare or demonstrate similaritySimilarly, likewise, by the same token, along similar lines
These words show result.As a result, as a consequence, consequently, therefore
These words state a generalization.Generally, on the whole, in most cases, in general
These words clarify a point.That is, in other words, to put it simply, That is to say, just to reiterate
These words give examples.For example, for instance, take something, for example, to give a clear example
These words state an alternative.Alternatively, as another possibility
TIPS TO IMPROVE TOEFL LISTENING SCORE

NO SKIPPING ANSWERS
Unlike the reading section, in the listening section you CANNOT skip answers and come back. If you skip a question, you will not be able to go back and answer it

Make an educated guess on questions you are unsure of
When you don’t know the answer, try to figure out which choice is most consistent with the main idea of the conversation or lecture. Another way is to eliminate obvious wrong answers.

Don’t take more than two minutes to answer a question.
If you spend more than two minutes on a question, you might run out of time. It is not worth it. Leave time for other questions that you have more confidence on. It’s better to have an educated guess and move on than it is to miss out on potential easy questions because you ran out of time.

NOTE-TAKING TIPS

Here are symbols you can use in your notes:

SymbolMeaningExamples
=refer to, occur, ..etcA concept that people make choices to describe a situation in a positive or negative way is referred to as word framing
Word framing = ppl describe a situation in ✓ or X way.
Because, as a result of, due to, because, owing toDue to the increasing popularity of e-books, there has been a fall in paper book sales.
∵↑e-books, paper books $↓
ThereforeElement 43 has radioactive decay, therefore element 43 doesn’t last very long, which means if that ever had been present on earth, it would have decayed ages ago.
Elem43 has radioa. decay ∴ it ≠ last long
=>result in, lead to, contribute to, give rise to, causeCarbon dioxide significantly contributes to global warming.
CO => global warming
isn’t, doesn’t, don’t, can’t etc.Element 43 has radioactive decay, therefore element 43 doesn’t last very long, which means if that ever had been present on earth, it would decayed ages ago.
Elem43 has radioa. decay ∴ it ≠ last long
+many, lots of, a great deal of, etc.Because potatoes have the ability to provide abundant and extremely nutritious food crop, no other crop grew in Northern Europe. As a result, the nutrition of the general population improved tremendously and population soared in the early 1800s.
∵ potatoes /nutri crop/+vitamins => popul↑ in Europe 1800s
++ComparativesOlder and more experienced birds who nest in the high density shrub areas have significantly more offspring than those in low density areas, which suggests the choice of where to nest does have an impact on the number of chicks they have.
older birds /nest in high shrub ++offsprings birds/nest in low shrub
+++SuperlativesWhat was even more surprising were all the large organisms that lived down there. The most distinctive of these was something called the tube worm. Here, let me show you a picture. The tube of the tube worm is really, really long. They can be up to one and half meters long, and these tubes are attached to the ocean floor, pretty weird looking, huh?
! +++special = tube warm /long/tubes attached to ocean floor
Little, few, lack ,in short of/ be in shortage of, etc.As I said the monsoon migrated itself, so there was less rain in the Sahara. The land started to get drier, which in turn caused huge decreases in the amount of vegetation, because vegetation doesn’t grow as well in dry soil, right? And then, less vegetation means the soil can’t hold water and the soil loses its ability to retain water when it does rain. So then you have less moisture to help clouds form, nothing to evaporate for cloud formation.
– rain in Sahara
land+dry => vegetation↓
–vegetation => soil ≠ hold water => -water to form cloud
!Important, interestingBut what’s particularly interesting about these volcanoes is that most of the volcanoes here on Earth are not shield volcanoes. Instead, they are other volcano types, like strata volcanoes, for example, which are a result of tectonic plate movement.
! volcanoes on earth ≠ shield volcanoes = strata volcanoes
tectonic plate => volcanoes on earth

Other symbols:

SymbolMeaning
&And, also, in addition, etc.
~about/around, approximately, etc.
And so on
$Sales, money, cost
e.g.For example
i.e.That is
xWrong, incorrect, bad, detrimental, negative, etc.
Right, good, positive, etc.

TOEFL iBT | Independent Essay | Evaluating an Essay #6 | How to Get a 24

Here it is, people! The last Independent Essay from my previous student who ended up achieving a 24 on her writing, giving her a grand total of 100 for her test.

So, in this video/podcast, this is what a 23/24 essay would look like, but the amount of things she could have done better is staggering. Nonetheless, hear me break down each paragraph, try drawing conclusions of the 2nd body paragraph, and see if everything correlates — which it doesn’t.  This is a great learning lesson for most of you out there, and she made a quantum leap to get that 24, which I’m absolutely so happy about.

Here’s the essay topic.

People learn things better from those at their own levels—such as fellow students or co-workers—than from those at a higher level, such as teachers or supervisors.

Podcast

TOEFL iBT | Listening | Lecture | Urbanization in America

Welcome back to another TOEFL iBT Listening! Because the podcast on Beluga Whales has done extremely well, I decided to do another for you, follow by listening tips for success and a reading test! So we have an action-packed week of TOEFL coming up beginning today and going through the beginning of next week. In saying that, let’s get into it!

My Notes

Process of which rural to urban/industrial

more and more move, cities got bigger and bigger

Why did they want to live there?

Cities

No need for them before factories because most people just farmed

1800s — inventors came up with machines of mass production

transformed agriculture, less human activity

people flocked to factories

Foreign countries and largest boom in immigration

fair share of positives and negatives

Bad

To house them, cheap building thrown up overnight

crowded and unhealthy — proper access to water, clean air, sanitsation

sickness and disease

new form — rise in crime

strong anti-immigrant feelings -=- strong racial biases and hate crimes

Positives

More opportunities, pay is higher in cities

Improvements to roads and businesses, transportation, subways, public trains

mass expansion of museums, libraries and theatres

parks established

revelation that public health mattered

first-large scale hospitals

As a result of massive movement

some of americas greatest cities: hundreds of new cities were born, New York 1.5 million and doubled to 5 million

Chi town – 300k people to 3 million people

Why cities had a tough time keeping up with growth

Most people live in urban landscapes

cities are much different: hospitals, libraries, parks, after 100 years, now we have policies

In what ways do we wstill need to grow, making same mistakes as a hundred years ago

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Podcast

1. According to the lecture, what was the main cause of urbanization?

– a lack of farming jobs because of famine encouraged people to find work elsewhere

– the invention of new machines transformed cities and farming, encouraging movement

– the attractive benefits of city life encouraged many people to make the move

– overpopulation meant that there wasn’t enough space in rural areas for all people

2. What does the professor suggest caused higher numbers of people to grow sick in cities?

  • The lack of proper sanitation in people’s homes and neighborhoods
  • the housing options forced people to live in overcrowded neighborhoods
  • a lack of planning mean there was no trash or water services
  • all of the above

3. According to the lecture, what was the result of so many new immigrants moving to America?

  • The rise in population led to more communal sentiments and a strong country.
  • along with new people came a new perspective on cultural acceptance.
  • all the new people created racially divided communities discrimination and anger.
  • the new races of people didn’t interact often and established their own cities.

4. What does the professor mean by the term “infrastructure”?

  • The structures in a city that make life easier and enjoyable
  • the shape that the different structures in cities take on
  • the imagined potential for a city after planning is done
  • the parts of a city that constantly need improvement

5. Why does the professor suggest that it’s understandable to see why cities had so many problems at first?

  • he describes the lack of technology that was available for providing basic needs
  • he explains that the political structures were bad and didn’t work for the people
  • he illustrates that the population growth happened faster than the cities could keep up
  • he imagines that the problems are part of any city at any time in history

6. What was the main point of this lecture?

  • to provide questions for improving our modern cities
  • to explain the causes and effects of urbanization
  • to describe the poor living conditions of the early cities
  • to compare and contrast past cities with modern cities

{Patreon Special} Pronunciation Course | Phase III | Stressed Words in Sentences

Stressed Words in Sentences! The differences between content/focus words and function words. If you’re having difficulty enunciating words in a sentence, my pronunciation course (available on all Patreon badges) will help you. Video course, at request, will go up on Podia (after the first request). So make sure you ask! Nonetheless, join my Early Access Badge to get the full course!

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TOEFL iBT | Speaking | Part IV | Creep & Slump

Another break down  of a TOEFL Speaking question and how some of you may be wasting quality time jotting down information that doesn’t have substance. I’ve seen this happened recently with one of my students and I realized it needed to be addressed, so here it is!

Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6 | Sales | Closing & Resolving Objections

Sometimes when you try solving objections, you’re looking at it from a win-lose situation. Win for you, lose for the other person — which they would regret later on.  Also, when you see a potential client drifting away, you shouldn’t continue pushing the narrative onto them, especially when you hear doubt behind their words. This makes the other individual feel very antsy and then they assume that it’s been approached as a transaction (win-lose rather than win-win). So, what could you do instead? Tune into the podcast!

TOEFL iTP | Reading | Answering Main Idea/Main Topic Topic Questions

We’ve got a super special for you today! I know a lot of my Indonesians LOVEEE my blogs on TOEFL iTP, so now we’re getting into the techniques on how to answer main idea/main topic/main purpose questions. Remember, there are questions available on my TOEFL iTP Badge! Make sure you get all the exclusive material, podcasts, training for $50 a month!

Directions: I would like you to read the following passages and then mark each answer choice according to the following system:

  • s – too specific
  • g – too general
  • x – incorrect
  • i – irrelevant
  • c – correct

Let me walk you through the first passage down below.

{example} There are two main types of cell division. Most cells are produced by a process called mitosis. {example} In mitosis, a cell divides and forms two identical daughter cells, each with an identical number of chromosomes. Most one-celled creatures reproduce by this method, as do most of the cells in multi-celled plants and animals. Sex cells, however, are formed in a special type of cell division called meiosis. {example} This process reduces the number of chromosomes in a sex cell to half the number found in other kinds of cells. Then, when sex cells unite, they produce a single cell with the original number of chromosomes.

  1. What is the main topic of this passage?
  • The method by which one-celled organisms reproduce
  • A comparison between mitosis and meiosis
  • Meiosis, the process by which identical cells are produced.

“The method by which one-celled organisms reproduce” is a specific detail.

“A comparison between mitosis and meiosis” is the correct answer. The first sentence states “there are two main types” before mentioning mitosis and giving a definition and example of it. After that, it mentions sex cells and how they’re from a different cell division called Meiosis, then follows the definition and example. This would be the main topic because it covers the entire paragraph.

“Meiosis, the process by which identical cells are produced” is incorrect. It says nothing about meiosis producing “identical” cells. The produce single cells.

Your Turn

The last gold rush belongs as much to Canadian history as it does to American. The discovery of gold along the Klondike River, which flows from Canada’s Yukon Territory into Alaska, drew some 30,000 fortune hunters to the north. The Yukon became a territory, and its capital of the time. Dawson, would not have existed without the gold rush. The gold strike furnished material for a dozen of Jack London’s novels. It inspired Robert Service to write “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and other poems, and it provided the background for the wonderful Charlie Chaplin movie, The Gold Rush. It also marked the beginnings of modern Alaska.

This author’s main purpose in writing is to….

  • discuss the significance of mining in Canada and the United States
  • show the influence of the Klondike gold strike on the creative arts
  • point out the impact of the Klondike gold strike

The keystone arch was used by almost every early civilization. to build a keystone arch, stones are cut so that the opposite sides taper toward each other slightly. The upper and lower surfaces are carved so that when several stones are placed side by side, the upper and lower surfaces meet in smooth, continuous curves. Some form of scaffolding is built under the arch and shaped to accept the curved underside of the stones. Then the stones are fitted in place one by one. They keystone is the top center stone, the last to be dropped into position. Afterwards, the scaffolding is removed and the arch is self-supporting.

The passage mainly concerns the….

  • basic principles of building keystone arches
  • uses of arches in modern architecture
  • role of scaffolding in building keystone arches

Circumstantial evidence is evidence not drawn from the direct observation of a fact. If, for example, there is evidence that a piece of rock embedded in a wrapped chocolate bar is the same type of rock found in the vicinity of the candy factory, and that rock of this type is found in new other places, then there is circumstantial evidence that the stone found its way into the candy during manufacture and suggests that the candy-maker was negligent. Despite a popular notion to look down on the quality of circumstantial evidence, it is of great usefulness if there is enough of it and if it is properly interpreted. Each circumstance, taken singly, may mean little, but a whole chain of circumstances can be as conclusive as direct evidence.

What is the author’s main purpose in this passage?

  • to show that a manufacturer’s negligence can be shown by direct evidence only
  • to define circumstantial evidence and show its usefulness
  • to demonstrate that circumstantial evidence can be very useful in science

The Northwest Ordinance was passed by Congress in 1787. It set up the government structure of the region north of the Ohio River and west of Pennsylvanian, then called the Northwest Territory. It set the conditions under which parts of the territory could become states having equality with the older states. But the ordinance was more than just a plan for government. The law also guaranteed freedom of religion and trial by jury in the territory. It organized the territory into townships of 36 square miles and ordered a school to be built for each township. It also abolished slavery in the territory. The terms were so attractive that thousands of pioneers poured into the territory. Eventually, the territory became the states of Ohio, Indian, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

What is the main topic of this passage?

  • the structure of government
  • the provisions of an important law
  • the establishment of schools in the northwest territory

Additional questions can be found on my Patreon for $50 a month with examples, audiocasts, templates, exlclusive material and coaching.

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