The examiner asks the candidate about him/herself, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. Do you like to have flowers in your home? [Why/Why not?]
A. Yes, I do like to have flowers at my home because they are naturally beautiful, elegant looking with a lovely scent, and they make me smile when I am in stress. Besides, since flowers come in all shapes, sizes and colors, they make the interior of my home look even better most of the times.
Q. Where would you go to buy flowers? [Why?]
A. Personally, I would always prefer to go to a local garden in order to buy some garden-fresh flowers, but unfortunately, it is not always possible when living in a city environment. So, instead, I run to a local city flower store which tries to keep fresh and beautiful flowers as often as possible. Sometimes, I order for some flowers online when I am absolutely busy and can’t manage time to visit the local floral shops.
Q. On what occasions would you give someone flowers?
A. Personally, I feel that we don’t really have to have an occasion for giving flowers as “gifts” to our loved ones, but giving flowers on occasions like marriage day anniversary, new years, and graduation days would make the persons involved feel even more special.
Q. Are flowers important in your culture? [Why/Why not?]
A. Yes, I would say that flowers carry some special meanings in our culture since they are being used as “gifts” for centuries in order to express our love and passion for the special people in our lives. No wonder, a significant number of people in my country are involved in growing flowers and selling them on different occasions.
[The topic for your talk will be written on a card which the examiner will hand you. Read it carefully and then make some brief notes.]
Describe a meeting you remember going to at work, college or school.
You should say:
and explain why you remember going to this meeting.
[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]
Model Answer 1:
Well, I never really enjoy attending any meeting, “period”. I didn’t like it when I was going to college, and I don’t happen to enjoy it now either at my work. But, of course, the world doesn’t really care what I think about attending a meeting and neither does my CEO boss. So, when he, my CEO that is, called for an urgent meeting about a year ago, I just didn’t have any other option but to oblige.
This meeting was held at the huge office chamber of my CEO. In fact, the office room is so huge that it could easily accommodate the seating arrangement of at least 50 people at the same time. And why couldn’t it?! After all, he was the owner and also the boss of one of the largest snack making companies of my country, with an annual business turnover of about US $30 million as well as almost 350 employees.
However, after entering the office room of my boss, I could actually see only 12 or 13 people who were attending the meeting. Among them, the majority were the most senior-level managers and a few mid-level managers, including this poor me. Of course, I wasn’t really aware of the agendas of the meeting (usually only the most senior-level managers are notified about the meeting agendas at my work) in advance, but when the meeting actually started, I came to know that the boss was effectively thinking of raising the amount of annual bonus at the end of every year only for those employees who don’t ask for any extra time off other than the scheduled annual holidays and vacation time.
So, what this meeting exactly had to do with my participation in it, or why I remember going to this meeting? Well, the answer is, I was the first employee to receive the additional amount of annual bonus because I was the one at my office who didn’t take any additional time off outside of the regular annual holidays and time off.
Sample Answer 2:
Thank you, sir, for this nice and interesting topic. As I am a full-time employee in a large multinational company, attending or arranging meetings is a quite frequent event for me. But for this cue card topic, I would like to talk about a meeting I had with some of my classmates in my school.
We had this meeting at a public park which was located near our school. As far as I can recall, we went there after school was over. I was in my grade 7 at that time and we had this meeting to decide who should we nominate our class captain between Milton and Rifat. I think we had this meeting just before the day we were supposed to nominate our class leader. The meeting lasted for about one hour.
At least 7-9 of my classmates, who were very close friends and had a great bond, were present at the meeting. Ismail led the meeting and we wanted to come to a decision about the next day’s captain nomination. In this group of 8-10 students, 2-3 were very close friends of mine. There were around 30 students in our class and all would be able to cast their votes for the class captain selection except the three who were candidates for the captain election. Since three students were competing for the election, 27 remaining students would be able to vote. As a group of about 10 students, our votes thus had been very crucial.
The first agenda of the meeting was to note down the pros and cons of Milton and Rafat as our class captain. Then the second issue was to score them both based on 20 criteria that we had already listed. After that, we let every one of us talk for 2 minutes to express his opinion. Our final agenda, the most important one, was to come to a decision point to choose a captain in favour of whom we will vote.
Why do I remember this meeting? – Well, this was probably the first important meeting I had in my life. The excitement of having a secret meeting that would influence greatly in deciding our class captain was overwhelming. Moreover, I felt like being an important part of this meeting since I proposed the idea of having this meeting. This meeting, in reality, greatly influenced the class captain selection the next day and we had our favorite captain, Milton, nominated! This whole event took place when I was only 12 years old. Due to my age, agenda for the meeting, our excitement for it, I still remember this meeting very vividly.
Sample Answer 3:
Being an executive for a marketing company, it is really difficult to maintain schedules everywhere as the executive has to remain busy always. Still, I can remember the first annual meeting with this organisation where I am ranked with the senior marketing manager.
The meeting was held at around 12 pm and the participants were asked to be at the head office conference room at least 15 minutes before the meeting. But unfortunately, on the same day, I had to execute some other tasks at the same time. In fact, some of the clients asked me to visit them on that day and I was unable to avoid the requests as the customers are valuable to us. Thereby, I was unable to appear at the right time and informed the issue to my authority. The meeting agenda was about the annual sales and marketing planning, targets, ways to achieve the goals etc. for the upcoming year, promotion of the executives and so forth. So, all the marketing representatives were asked to attend the meeting.
A large number of officials and executives were present at the meeting. The event began at the pre-set time and was presided over by the Chairman of the company. Almost all the invited guests were present there. The top officials and the board members were also present and took their seats in the first row. With the anchoring of the Managing Director, the agendas were discussed elaborately. Besides, the meeting was attended by the executives of all level (usually the junior executives were not allowed to attend such events but the trend has been changed considering some strategic issues of this annual planning). The meeting continued for the next two and a half hours and ended with a grand lunch.
There were lots of issues to be discussed at the meeting. It began with congratulating the newly elected board members, and the Chairman, in his speech, requested them to execute their respective responsibilities for the betterment of the company in their tenure. Then the annual planning issues were placed for discussion. Company’s overall progress was discussed as one of the key agenda. Though the company achieved a larger part of the previous year’s target, it was difficult reaching the entire goal. The human resource was a problem for the company and with the fresh recruitment, the company now aims to reach the set goals of this year and get a higher rank than last year. Among the other issues, the most notable are – the inclusion of new schemes of marketing strategies, ensuring the proper customer care and feedback, monitoring of the advancements and others.
I have participated in many other meetings of the company but this one is particularly memorable to me. Firstly, I was late for the meeting as I had to complete some other official business and distribute responsibilities of my nine-member marketing team. So, I could not make my entry at the right moment. Besides, I missed the initial part of the meeting and had to check out the meeting minutes for that. I will remember the meeting for many days as I gave a speech at the meeting over my activities and presented the strategies for my team to achieve the goals within the limited time. Moreover, the company wanted me to play some additional roles for my special performance last season. So, they ranked me up with some benefits as well. For all such events, I remember the meeting.
Sample Answer 4:
As a student of MA in Social Science at a university in New York, I passed some years in the USA. I had to work as a part-time sales executive at a local Samsung outlet to bear my expenses as I had no scholarships. I attended a strategic meeting there, and I will share my experience now.
The meeting was held in the afternoon at the outlet on a weekly holiday. I was asked to reach the outlet by the due time. The meeting was about setting up strategies for the increase in sales for that outlet. In fact, the other competitors selling similar products like Apple, Sony, Asus and others were having a very good business. So, the authority wanted us to increase our sales volume and wanted to set the right strategies for achieving the monthly sales targets.
My entire sales team and the higher executives of the company attended the meeting. An official from the Samsung headquarters was also sent here to instruct us on sales issues. They discussed different issues related to sales enhancing. I was present there with my part-time sales team while the other full-timers were also attended. In fact, the weekly leave was smashed by this meeting. So, almost everyone was restless in the beginning to get rid of it, but later when the serious issues appeared, they became active listeners and participated with their own thoughts. As a result, the meeting turned into a lively one and some effective strategies were discovered that helped us to move ahead successfully.
Actually, the sales volume was lower in this particular Samsung outlet than the other outlets in the city. Most of the times, we failed to reach the monthly sales target. So, the authority was disappointed with our performance and services. They also alleged us that the sales representatives are unable to provide the right service to the existing and potential clients which are producing that poor sale volume. Accordingly, the instructions were delivered by the Samsung representative. The instructions were positive and meant for the success of the entire sales team. Besides, some additional recommendations were placed from our part in accordance with the potential situations.
I remember the meeting for its importance. Basically, the moments were not positive for the outlet and it was unable to draw the attention of the clients to sell the products. The outlet used to sell different products from Samsung, basically mobile phones and computer monitors. The outlet owner had to undergo pressures from the authority when we failed to fill up the monthly sales target. Besides, the monthly sales had an impact on our salary as we were on a contract basis. As a result, such a strategic meeting was required to revive everything. I had the chance to share my idea and luckily the idea was accepted and helped a lot to generate revenue. For my contribution, I was awarded a handsome amount of money from the outlet. They implemented my idea for a long period. For all such reasons, I remember going to this meeting even today.
More Ideas to talk about this Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card topic:
Topic: Describe a meeting you remember going to at work, college or school.
1. Attending a meeting of the board of directors was an interesting experience for me. The meeting held in Singapore last month. Almost all the board members of the organization were present at the event. They discussed setting up the strategies for next year and compete with the other competitors. I can remember the meeting because I played the role of the host there. I had to arrange the entire meeting and stay at the venue until the meeting was over.
2. The last annual general meeting of my organization took place in Delhi. All the employees of the organization were present there. The meeting discussed the overall activities of the organization and sought suggestions from the root level to improve the activities. I can remember the meeting because it was an important event for me. Though I was a junior staff there, the authority did not forget to invite me and honestly, it was a great honour.
3. My office recently arranged for a sudden meeting at the headquarters in Shanghai and I had to attend there. The chairman and the Vice-Chairman were present at the meeting. I was the only external participant and took part in the discussion. The meeting aimed at discussing the overall issues of the office and implement some new policies. The meeting was remarkable to me because I was promoted to a new position with some responsibilities after the meeting was over.
4. The meeting was about completing the unfinished syllabus of the students within a short time. it was held in the conference room of my college I work in. The principal with the other teachers was present at the meeting. I can remember the meeting because I was instructed to look into the matter. In fact, many of the teachers were neglecting their studies and I was assigned to make them sincere in completing their courses before the deadline was over.
5. Honestly, it was the longest meeting of my life. The meeting that the project director asked to join was held at a restaurant in the city of Paris. In fact, the meeting began at 3:00 pm and ended at 8:30. The meeting also discussed a wide number of matters and plans to get a berth in the local drug market. The meeting also focused on importing medicines from the Asian region. I was assigned some special responsibilities for the meeting. In fact, it increased my workload. So, I can remember the meeting very well.
Going to meetings:
Q. What are the different types of meeting that people often go to?
A. Meetings are the first and important steps towards getting important things done properly. These meetings may include job interviews, meetings among company executives in order to decide the future course of the company, meetings between government representatives and the community members, meetings between students and teachers in order to decide how a difficult class project should be completed in time and meetings between the heads of the countries/governments in order to discuss the critical political issues. Like these, there can be many other types of meetings which do help solve our problems more often than not.
Q. Some people say that no-one likes to go to meetings – what do you think?
A. I wouldn’t exactly agree with the suggestion that no one likes to go to meetings as there is no concrete evidence or data which would confirm such a sweeping “statement”. It is, of course, true that some meetings can be intense and difficult due to many opposing views and opinions on the difficult issues, but the participants of the meetings do manage to come up with some sorts of solutions to the problems, more often than not, at the end of the day. However, there are times when some people don’t feel encouraged to attend meetings because they think that they wouldn’t be able to get their points and views across which, they think, are important.
Q. Why can it sometimes be important to go to meetings?
A. It can be important to go to meetings sometimes because significant issues, which affect our lives, could be discussed in details. And, if such is the case, it is absolutely imperative that we make sincere efforts to attend these meetings so that we can also offer our views and opinions on the issues in order to help the participants come up with the perfect solution(s). Besides, going to meetings can prove out to be important also because it can introduce us to new ideas, even if they don’t affect us in any manner at present, which could benefit us at some points of time in the future. Finally, attending meetings is sometimes obligatory, especially in a professional environment, where we learn new ideas and get to know new people and their opinions.
Q. Why do you think world leaders often have meetings together?
A. We are living in a complicated world, and it is getting more and more complex by every passing day as different countries and governments are competing with each other in order to ensure their dominations over this planet called ‘the earth’ politically, socially, culturally and economically. As a result, leaders of this world are constantly in touch with each other and having meetings in order to avoid any conflicts, small or large, which may prove out to be devastating for the entire planet. Besides, world leaders can have some periodical meetings just to share some ideas among each other in the interest of common good for the entire world.
Q. What possible difficulties might be involved in organizing meetings between world leaders?
A. Possible difficulties, such as political issues, differences in political views, pre-set meeting schedules with others, and security concerns, may stand in the way of organizing meeting between world leaders. Talking about political issues, a particular leader may not be very popular in the host country, where the meeting is supposed to take place, because of some controversial political decisions, taken by him or her in the past. When it comes to security concerns, a particular world leader just may not be satisfied with the security arrangements, apart from prior meeting schedules, also of the host country which could pose some serious difficulties in arranging meetings.
Q. Do you think that meetings between international leaders will become more frequent in the future? Or will there be less need for world leaders to meet?
A. I like to think that meetings between international leaders would become even more frequent in the future because of the level of increasing complexities in international relationships. For better or worse, in today’s world, people across the entire world are connecting with each other more than ever before because of economic and cultural reasons, among others. So the world leaders would naturally feel the increasing pressure to help their respective citizens carry forward the relationship as smoothly as possible while minimizing the risk of possible conflicts also at the same time, by providing clear guidelines, agreed upon by the concerned world leaders. Advanced and super fast communication system and the need for global issues in the future would make such meetings and visits more “regular” than ever before.