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Lesson Transcript

Braden: Hi, everyone. Braden here.
Ann: Ann Here. Being Agreeable in Difficult Situations. In this last lesson of the series, you will learn how to be agreeable in difficult situations.
Braden: In this conversation, the guest is calling the front desk from their room in the late evening. The conversation is between the Guest and the room service attendant.
Ann: The speakers have a staff-customer relationship, so they will be speaking professionally.
Braden: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Ann:Our last tip in making small talk is to open up, but not too much. Small talk is meant to be easy conversation, so you don’t want to get into any kind of detail about anything really.
Braden:The point at this stage is just to talk about yourself. This makes the conversation personal but still maintains the “light” feeling of small talk.
Ann:For example, suppose the guest mentioned rock climbing. You could say something like, “I love rock climbing. I go every week.” or, if you enjoy music, you could say, “I love to listen to music when I go rock climbing.”
Braden:That could start you off on another conversation but remember, be aware of your surroundings and if your guest is busy or tired, or if you’ve arrived at their room, then you can say goodbye.
Ann:Okay, now onto the vocab.
Ann:Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson. First, we’ll look at the phrase “nominal fee.”
Braden:This means that the fee is very small. This is a polite phrase that’s often used in professional contexts.
Ann:But don't confuse the word "nominal" with "extra", as that isn't what it means. "Nominal," when speaking of prices, means "far below the real value." In this case, a crib would probably cost over a hundred dollars for the guest to purchase. Compared to that, $15 is quite small.
Braden:That’s right. And there’s an important note about pronunciation - the word “nominal” is spelled "no" "minal." However, the correct pronunciation is “nAHminal.” So, the "o" makes an open "ah" sound. In other words, saying "no" "minal" is incorrect but saying "nAHminal" is correct.
Ann:Next we’ll look at “charged to your room.”
Braden:The phrase “charged to your room” means that instead of paying upfront, you can wait and pay for the service when you check out of the hotel.
Ann:For example, suppose you order dry-cleaning and have it charged to your room. During checkout, there will be an additional charge on your bill for the dry cleaning, which you will then have to pay.
Braden:Okay, now onto the grammar.
Ann:In this lesson, you’ll learn how to be agreeable in difficult situations
Braden:In the dialog, we heard the phrase, “I apologize for the inconvenience ma’am.”
Ann:In the dialogue, the guest was surprised about being charged for the use of the crib. This made her somewhat irritated. The room service attendant was in a very difficult situation, and had a disappointed customer on the phone.
Braden:When hotel guests are irritated, angry, or disgruntled, one of the most important things to do is be positive and agreeable. This can be done in many ways.
Ann:Three of the most important attributes of agreeable people is that they are kind, sympathetic, and cooperative. Let’s look at each of these individually.
Braden:Kindness is “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” One way of expressing kindness is by offering to help.
Ann:That’s right. For example, in the dialogue, the room service attendant said, “I can help you with that.” This is a very kind and professional thing to say. It shows that the room service attendant is willing to help.
Braden:Sympathy is the next thing we’ll talk about. Sympathy is “a feeling of understanding or pity between people.”
Ann:In other words, different people sharing a common feeling. Expressing your feelings can sometimes be very difficult. One good way of doing this is by telling the other individual that you have gone through a similar experience.
Braden:In the dialogue, our room service attendant said, “The motel charges me for a crib, too, when I bring my infant.”
Ann:This is a very sympathetic thing to say, because it shows to the guest that he has gone through a similar experience and understands what the guest is going through.
Braden:Next, we’ll talk about being cooperative. To be cooperative means that you “work together with other people toward a common goal.”
Ann:The word “cooperative” comes from the root word “operate” which means “to work.” The prefix “co-” means “with”. So, to “cooperate” means to “work with.”
Braden:In the dialogue, the room service attendant co-operated with the guest by first, helping her understand why there was a fee for the crib, and second, by quickly answering all of the questions the guest had.
Ann:For example, the guest said, “Cribs are usually a free service.” The room service attendant quickly cooperated with the guest and gave the following explanation...
Braden:“I know. Our motel manager says it's because we have better complimentary continental breakfasts.”
Ann:Being agreeable in difficult situations is a very useful trait. Hotel managers will value your help greatly if you are able to be agreeable in difficult situations.


Braden: Well, that’s it for this lesson, and for this series. We hope you found it useful and interesting. Thanks for listening, everyone!