Use VCR to Improve Your Performance in English Meetings

Use VCR to Improve Your Performance in English Meetings
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    In global business where direct communication is necessary for clear understanding, it is crucial to speak up without hesitation, especially in meetings. 

    Speaking up not only demonstrates your participation and competence but also allows you to contribute your ideas, ask clarifying questions, and actively participate in the discussion.

    Being able to generate business-relevant questions and comments during meetings is an important skill, as it demonstrates your ability to understand key points, identify areas for improvement, and have meaningful dialogue. 

    Moreover, asking thoughtful questions can help you gain a deeper understanding of the topic at hand, seek clarification, and establish your abilities as a valuable team member.

    A common question is, what should I ask about?

    In a business meeting, the two most common question types are:

    1. Questions that help clarify your understanding, or the understanding of others. This ensures that everyone has the same understanding. Some examples are:
      1. “Could you explain _____ one more time?”
      2. “Could you tell me more about ____?”
    1. Questions that make the conversation deeper, more relevant, or more meaningful. These questions cut to the heart of the business matter, and raise business-relevant concerns. To uncover these questions, we recommend using VCR.

    VCR: Uncovering Value, Cost, and Risk in English Business Meetings

    Organize your thoughts with VCR

    When speaking in English business meetings,, it can be helpful to have a few categories in mind to help you organize your thoughts and speak more smoothly. VCR is a system of categories that help you sound more business-like and professional. It stands for Value, Cost, and Risk. You can apply it to any topic.

    Value: the positive outcomes or benefits

    In business, “value” means the benefits or good points that a business wants. This usually means things like improved customer satisfaction, growth, increased revenue, increased market share, or improved brand image, for example. 

    Here are some questions focus on value:

    • What is the value proposition of ______?
    • How does _____ benefit our customers?
    • What problems does ______ solve?
    • What are the key benefits?

    Cost: The price or resources needed

    Cost is very simple. To think of costs, think of money or resources. Resources can include more than just money! Headcount, or the number of employees assigned to a project, is a resource, too. In general, cost includes topics like budget, savings, profit/loss, expenses, and cost performance. 

    Here are some questions that focus on cost:


    • What are the costs associated with the topic?
    • What are the financial implications?
    • What are the opportunity costs?
    • What are the time and resource requirements?

    Risk: how outcomes can go wrong

    In business, risk often refers to potential problems. It doesn’t mean only negative outcomes; it also means problems that might happen during the process. Common risk categories include safety, revenue, brand reputation, employee retention, and more.

    Here are a few questions related to risk:


    • What are the risks associated with the topic?
    • What are the potential downsides?
    • What are the potential obstacles or challenges?
    • What are the contingency plans?

    By applying the VCR framework to any topic, you can quickly develop a more structured and business-like discussion. This can be especially helpful when you are speaking in front of an audience or when you need to persuade someone of your point of view.

    How to use VCR in a business setting

    To use VCR in a business setting, listen to the speaker with value, cost, and risk in mind. VCR acts like a lens, or a pair of glasses, focusing your thinking. Is the speaker talking about a value, a cost, or a risk? For example, have they considered all the risks with their plan? Are there other options that could lead to greater value?

    To help you remember VCR in a meeting, we recommend writing down VCR in your notes, such as a notebook or word document. If you don’t already take notes in meetings, you should! Having meeting notes can be extremely helpful for strong communication in English business meetings.

    Once you have the framework in mind, it’s easy to use. Here are some examples of how you can use the VCR framework to generate questions or comments about different topics:

    • Topic: The benefits of social media for businesses
      • Value: Social media can help businesses reach a larger audience, build relationships with customers, and generate leads.
      • Cost: Social media can be time-consuming and requires a dedicated staff or agency.
      • Risk: Social media can be a double-edged sword, as negative comments or reviews can damage a business’s reputation.
    • Topic: The importance of customer service
      • Value: Good customer service can help businesses retain customers, increase customer loyalty, and generate positive word-of-mouth.
      • Cost: Good customer service can be expensive, as it requires well-trained staff and a commitment to quality.
      • Risk: Poor customer service can damage a business’s reputation and lead to lost customers.
    • Topic: The future of artificial intelligence
      • Value: Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize many industries, from healthcare to transportation.
      • Cost: Artificial intelligence can be expensive to develop and implement.
      • Risk: Artificial intelligence could lead to job losses and other unintended consequences.

    Look more professional and feel more confident

    By using the VCR framework, you can quickly develop a more structured and business-like discussion on any topic. This ability to speak your comments or questions without hesitation is extremely valuable in both personal and professional settings.

    To learn more skills for business meetings, check our Complete Guide to Business Communication.

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