Click on the arrow below to listen to the story. Then, practice the story by yourself to incorporate the speaking skills you have learned.
First thing every Monday morning, my team has a meeting with our manager, John Allen. The purpose of these weekly meetings is to update John with each team member’s progress on his/her current projects, and to discuss any problems or concerns we have. It is during these times that we try to present new ideas and suggestions on how to make our projects more successful. My entire team dreads attending meetings with John, in general, because he tends to be a know-it-all and is difficult to work with. He is very intelligent, but is also very controlling. He has a very low tolerance for mistakes and considers it a challenge when someone asks a question or presents a good idea or suggestion. If his decision or opinion is ever questioned, he immediately questions the team members’ motives. By the end of every meeting, the team feels irritated, frustrated, resentful, and upset.
Because our team has to work closely with John on a daily basis, we all decided to get together and form a plan of action regarding how best to deal with him. The first thing we decided to do was to change our attitude. Rather than letting John make us miserable, we would try to be more flexible, patient, and very clever about how we presented our ideas and suggestions. By being well-prepared, concise, and brief, John just might listen to our ideas. The second change we would try to make is to present our ideas in a more indirect way. We could use words like “maybe,” “perhaps,” “I was just wondering,” and “What do you suppose?”. This might help to sound more hypothetical and indirect, rather than challenging.
By making changes in the way we deal with our know-it-all manager, we hope John sees that we recognize him as an expert and that we are willing to learn from him. If we are less of a threat, then our ideas and information may get heard, making our entire team happier.