Topic 9. Voicing Belief / Disbelief

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Topic 9. Voicing Belief / Disbelief

I. General

Practicum 9.1

Study the communication strategy of Voicing Disbelief

Step1 Express mild disbelief by a rising tone or an ‘echo’ question to show involvement
Step 2 Add a tentative expression of surprise (try not to hurt the feelings of the other party)
Step 3 Doubt if there are grounds for the other party’s claims, ask for evidence
Step 4 You might conclude with the incredible-phrase (it is incredible)

Practicum 9.2

Arrange the Voicing Belief / Disbelief vocabulary in 4 groups relating to 4 steps of communication strategy

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Did he? This may very well be true I am afraid I can’t accept  It is unbelievable

It seems to interfere with the natural course of events / the historical evidence

From my experience

It needs further investigation / study / consideration/ treatment

This position doesn’t seem to be convincing enough

Your position needs to be reinvented

Current trends are

You seem to challenge conventional wisdom

This statement sounds rather controversial / doubtful

I am afraid there is no way it could have happened

There is a little / slight doubt that

Have / are / did / do / will / were they?

I knew he would / did / had / was

II. Voicing Belief / Disbelief Practice

Practicum 9.3

Account for the most natural pattern of communicative behaviour in the suggested settings, rely on Voicing Belief / Disbelief strategy:

- president of a crisis management consulting agency is voicing his belief in the crisis management and at the same time disbelief that most executives are fully ready to respond to emergencies

- CEO is voicing disbelief in the need to look at a scenario for his company in which every customer defaults tomorrow

- a journalist, speaking with an entrepreneur who predicts the worst-case scenario for his rival, is voicing his belief

Practicum 9.4

Account for the most natural pattern of communicative behaviour in the suggested settings

-a university professor, delivering a lecture, is voicing his disbelief in upbeat news reports and is supporting his gloomy view on the current financial state with statistics

-a foreign economist is voicing her disbelief in the facts provided by the professor in his lecture

-a young and aggressive entrepreneur is voicing his belief in the recession benefits mentioned in the lecture

Practicum 9.5

PracticeVoicing Belief / Disbelief strategyin the following situation

-a crisis manager for a delivery company is voicing his belief that the flow of information via mass media added to the financial collapse

-chief underwriting officer of a human asset management consultant agency is voicing his belief in the statement Don’t stop taking risks, but make sure the risks you do take play to your strength

-an ad manager is suggesting to play with grammatically incorrect words in the next advertising, his employer is voicing his disbelief

Practicum 9.6

PracticeVoicing Belief / Disbelief strategyin the following situation (to be done in writing)

a professor, grading a student’s course paper stating that in slow-growth economy firms can win big in the marketplace by doing things only a little bit better than the competition, is voicing his disbelief in the conclusions (tips: even in a conservative environment it is hard to deliver a truly compelling message to customers if you sound like everyone else; even with an unforgiving climate on Wall Street, merely cutting bottom-line costs doesn’t do much to spur top-line growth)

Text 9a

The text to follow deals in a talking economics. Study the text and use it as a starting point for communication

Arising Out of the Ashes

The credit crunch has tested the system with a severity that took the experts by surprise. Big banks collapsed, houses that were people’s pensions dropped sharply in value and, in the case of Iceland, a whole country went pop. For a generation since the fall of the Berlin Wall the big problems of the global economy appeared to have been settled. Inflation was tamed and unemployment conquered. Wealth flowed magically from stock markets and property portfolios. New countries made the leap from poverty to prosperity in the space of a generation. All that changed in the space of a few weeks. There is nothing safe or settled about the economy any more.

But a look at the way the system has changed shape over a couple of hundred years teaches us two things, both relevant to the kind of economy we are going to be living with for the next 25 years. First, capitalism comes in plenty of different flavours. Next, it changes in response to a crisis. Out of each past crisis have come new industries, new ways of doing business, and new ways of earning a living. They are created from the ground up by entrepreneurs figuring out new ways of using resources, by workers shifting their priorities and by consumers changing what they buy and how much they are prepared to pay for it.

Great businesses can emerge even in downturns. The motor, electrical and chemical industries that were the backbone of postwar British industry came into their own during the 1930s. To many experts the crisis we have just witnessed is not so much a rerun of the 1930s, which started with a stock-market collapse. The panic began with the failure of an American bank, leading to the collapse of the Austrian stock exchange, ushered in a decade known as theLong Depression. Just as in the 1930s, there was also intense innovation. In America Thomas Edison was setting up General Electric and wondering if there might be a market for light bulbs. In Germany Deutsche Bank was launched as a new type of industrial bank. The 1970s might have been marked by hyper-inflation, oil-price shocks, trade-union militancy and IMF bailouts. But that didn’t stop entrepreneurs such as Microsoft’s Bill Gates or Apple’s Steve Jobs creating the personal computer industry.

In a deep depression, three things happen to kick-start new businesses. First, all the raw materials you need to get started suddenly become cheaper. Shops, factories and labour all tumble in price. Next, big companies become more open to innovation. Lastly, in bleaker times you have to invent your own future. Recessions can have a very beneficial upside because they lead to the survival or renewal of strong companies and the extinction of the weak. Researchers predict, that globalisation, one of the dominant trends of the past decade, is about to be thrown into reverse gear. Instead of making everything in China or Turkey, we are about to bring manufacturing back home again.

In the wake of collapses, new industries are created in part by the stimulus initiated by governments. Plenty of governments have pushed through ‘cash for clunkers’ schemes. Trade in your rusty old gas-guzzler for a newer model and you get a cash rebate. The results are impressive. The US is hurling money at new high-speed trains, at healthcare research and at renewable energy, providing plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Where will the mega opportunities of the next 25 years lie? The one thing we can be certain of is that the industries of the future will be hammered into shape by restless entrepreneurs seizing whatever opportunities the crisis throws their way. Here are some areas where fortunes are expected to be made.

Local Manufacturing. It doesn't make much sense to use millions of barrels of expensive oil shipping and flying goods around the world when new technologies and lower transport and storage costs mean they can be made locally. Fruit and vegetables could be grown much closer to their markets, using some of that renewable energy created by government stimulus packages.

Talent scouts. In a hyper-competitive world, any tiny shred of creative genius will make the difference between success and failure – and just about every business will have to find ways to source and develop talent.

Finance. The last thing the world wants right now is lots of clever young bankers thinking up new, smart ways of slicing and dicing money. But while that kind of investment banking might be dead, retail banking could get exciting.

M. Lynn. The Sunday Times

Practicum 9.7

Translate the italicized word combinations in text 9a into Russian

Practicum 9.8

Practicum 9.9

III. Communication Practice

Team work

A team of economical historians is setting the list of compelling evidences to prove the global economy is going to benefit from the recession, afterwards they are to present it on The UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis, the conferees are voicing their belief and disbelief. Rely on the Voicing Belief / Disbelief strategy.

Text 9b

The text to follow deals in talking economics. Study the text and use it as a starting point for communication

Coping with Catastrophe

Many companies have learned the hard way that catastrophe can come from nowhere at any time: the lethal gas leak at a plant in India, the collapse of two sky walks in the Kansas City. But more and more firms are not waiting until calamity strikes to think about what they would do. Instead, they are developing detailed plans to cope with such crises as industrial accidents, product recalls and even terrorist attacks.

It is the element of surprise that is most unsettling to executives confronted by sudden catastrophe. The savviest chief executive in the world often falls victim to a kind of paralysis when a crisis strikes. Any kind of conditioning may thus be comforting in a crunch.

United Airlines have set up corporate SWAT teams made up of employees who are trained to take charge in the event of an unexpected disaster. Attention to detail is a crucial component of most contingency plans. Dow Chemical has produced a 20-page programme for communicating with the public during a disaster, right down to such particulars as who is going to run the copy machines. Many companies designatea single corporate spokesman to field all inquiries from the press. A list may be drawn up of those executives to be notified in emergency situations, and the late-night phone numbers of local radio and television stations may be kept posted on office walls. Some companies even simulate mock disasters as rehearsals for the real thing, like fire drills. Other companies, including McDonald’s, are learning how to be prepared by enlisting the expert advice of public relations firms. In fact, crisis management has become a growth industry. Some firms are focusing on their crisis-management capabilities when talking to potential clients or have people around the country who can move on a 24-hour basis to handle a corporate crisis. Often, these independent experts offer a much needed objectivity, as everybody involved isemotionally charged.

Despite the new popularity of crisis management, executives who are fully ready to respond to emergencies are still in the minority. When adisaster unfolds, many corporate chiefs shake their heads and refuse to acknowledgethe gravity of the problem. The most frequently made mistake is denial, and it’s the biggest one you can make. Denial then gives way to anger. When the crisis doesn’t go away quickly, the panic sets in. Company officials must next overcome a powerful impulse to run for cover from the press and the public. Executives often bury their heads in the sand and refuse to communicate. But adopting a bunker mentality is always to their own detriment. Moreover many companies go astray by lying. When that happens, the public loses faith in the firm, and its products, which may never be restored.

One of the most important steps in dealing with a disaster is investigating its causes. When the fifth floor of a high-rise office tower under construction in Los Angeles collapsed, killing three people, the general contractor was besieged. The company hired a team of safety engineers and executives to assess the possible causes of the collapse.

Many companies become converts to crisis planning only after they have been shaken to their corporate core. That was the experience of H.J. Heinz, the consumer-products conglomerate. The firm attracted unwelcome attention last year when its subsidiary was accused of shipping a million cans of rancid tuna in Canada. Even after the Canadian Prime Minister impounded the fish, Heinz executives refused to speak to the press or the public. Two months ago, Heinz belatedly began organizing its own emergency-management team. Now, with some confidence, it hopes that its next corporate crisis will have a happier ending.

B. Rudolph. Time Magazine

Practicum 9.10

Translate the italicized word combinations in text 9b into Russian

Practicum 9.11

Practicum 9.12

Practicum 9.13

Make up a list of preventive crisis-management measures, set your priorities

III. Communication Practice

Role Play

1) Account for the most natural pattern ofcommunicative behaviour in the suggested settings, rely onVoicing Belief / Disbelief strategy

- a TV-show host is voicing his belief to a spokesperson for United Airlines in their corporate SWAT team’s ability to take charge in the event of disasters to cope with;

- a reporter is voicing his belief in a recently published 20-page programme to cope with the Dow Chemical disaster;

- a journalist is speaking to a spokesperson for McDonald’s voicing his disbelief that they have people around the country who can move on a 24-hour basis to handle a corporate crisis;

- a TV-show host is speaking to a spokesperson for a construction company voicing his disbelief in their being reluctant to assess the possible consequences of the collapse;

- a spokesperson for Consumer Advocacy groups is voicing his disbelief to the CEO of Heinz that the company took proper measures to prevent the Canadian accident

2) Practice Voicing Belief / Disbelief strategyin the following situations

- a CEO is voicing his disbelief in the risks of assessed by the crisis manager

- a CEO is voicing his disbelief in the crisis manager’s attempts to mitigate the involved risk

- a crisis management student is voicing his belief in the idea that the current business practices are getting riskier

3) Practice Voicing Belief / Disbelief strategyin the following situation (to be done in writing)

a new crisis manager of a company, writing a memo to his CEO, is voicing disbelief in the efficiency of measures suggested by the previous crisis manageger


A group of risk-managers of a software company is elaborating on the strategy on how to treat / handle their biggest client’s claim. The major commercial bank that provides 80% of the software company’s revenue insisted on their making revisions in the business model. Rely on Voicing Belief / Disbelief strategy.

PROGRESS TEST 9 (part 1)

1. Explain what is meant by:

‘cash for clunkers’ scheme; bunker mentality; IMF bailouts; Long Depression; product recall; property portfolio; retail banking; SWAT team

2. Review the communication strategy ofSupporting the View:

1) The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity (J.F. Kennedy)

2) The measure of a country's greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis (T. Marshall).

3) A leader or a man of action in a crisis almost always acts subconsciously and then thinks of the reasons for his action (J. Nehru).

4) Close scrutiny will show that most ‘crisis situations’ are opportunities to either advance, or stay where you are (Dr. M. Maltz).


3. Review Voicing Belief / Disbelief communication strategy in the settings to follow:


a trainer at a workshop is voicing his disbelief in the advice not to discuss risk-factor details with the boss until moments before the lunch (tips: if you launch your marketing strategy with the ultimate goal minimize the risk, you are starting from a point of weakness, e.g. Nike recognizes that unless it takes risks, it is not going to be the brand of choice)


a professor, responding to a student’s idea to focus on a well-defined target group and gain genuine insight into that target’s idiosyncrasies

PROGRESS TEST 9 (part 2)

Topic 10. Evading & Being Vague

I. General

Practicum 10.1

Study the communication strategy of Evading & Being Vague

Step1 Start with space fillers to buy time
Step 2 Insist that the issue is controversial / arguable or the situation as unworkable
Step 3 Find plausible grounds to evade from decision-making (e.g. I’m afraid I am not entitled to decision-making)

Practicum 10.2

When practicing Evading & Being Vague strategy you may need the word combinations to follow. Try and explain what they mean

to beg the question, to be vague; to offer a vaguely-worded reply to an awkward / embarrassing / tough / hard question; to get out of replying; evasive talk; round-about way, to stretch / buy time; to be on the defensive; to handle / avoid awkward questions; to avoid / evade – tax avoidance / evasion

Practicum 10.3

Arrange Evading & Being Vague vocabulary in 3 groups relating to 3 steps of communication strategy

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Actually It is rather a controversial issue I would rather wait before I commit myself

This move involves the following side effects

The downside is

There can be two ways of dealing with

That is a gut issue, still before going into that I would like to discuss

The matter has been a public concern for some decades

I find it difficult to put the ideas into words / to word / to convey the idea

Generally / basically / virtually / in fact / practically / traditionally

It is not as easy as it might seem

It needs further investigation

The research does not seem to be completed yet

I would like to focus on how we could benefit from

That’s a provoking / complicated / arguable issue

There is still no agreement on 

It seems to be an unworkable situation

II. Evading & Being VaguePractice

Practicum 10.4

Account for the most natural pattern of communicative behaviour in the suggested settings, rely on Evading & Being Vague strategy : of the developers of Google search engine tells about his career path to the biographers; sounds evasive when asked about

-the reasons for his withdrawal from Google,

-accusations of copyright violation and

-lack of censorship,

-his current software designs

2.a spokesperson for the President’s Administration tries to evade the issue of treating the homeless in the US at the backdrop of recession

Text 10a

The text to follow deals in talking economics. Study the text and use it as a starting point for communication

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