Part One – Introduction
[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 colours, 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.
Part 2 – Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card
[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:
- when and where the meeting was held
- who was at the meeting
- what the people at the meeting talked about
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.]
Sample Answer 1:
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 the 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 next day and we had our favourite 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 2:
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 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 the larger part of the previous year’s target, it was difficult reaching the entire goal. 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 in last season. So, they ranked me up with some benefits as well. For all such events, I remember the meeting.
Part 3 – Two-way Discussion:
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 organising 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 organising 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.