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English Conversation – Making Decisions

Monday, November 19, 2012 @ 04:11 PM
posted by Jo

This is the preparation material for an English conversation lesson about making decisions. A decision is the selection between two or more possible choices.  Decision-making is a very important skill, both in the workplace and in our everyday lives. Some decisions are very easy to make, while others seem almost impossible. Some professional business trainers suggest a very clear process for making decisions. It can be helpful to follow these strategies. However, some people prefer to decide based on what feels right or wrong. 


In this video, a woman is describing how to answer a common job interview question which is about the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make. She explains some things you should think about to answer this question well.

  • Do you agree with the woman’s opinion about how tough decisions can be made?
  • Do you agree that the process of making a tough decision is just as important as the decision itself?
  • Can you think of a situation in which you have had to make a tough decision in the workplace?
  • How would you answer the question that the woman is discussing: What is the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make? What was it and how did you make the decision?

Expressions about making decisions

  • To change one’s mind – “First I decided to go to university in France, but then I changed my mind.”
  • To have second thoughts – “I am having second thoughts about getting married, what should I do?”
  • To take into consideration – “Thank you for your views, I will take them into consideration”
  • To make up one’s mind – “There are so many choices, it is difficult to make up my mind about the right one.”
  • To give it a lot of thought – “I have given it a lot of thought and I have decided to accept the job offer.”
  • To be in two minds about something – “I am in two minds about what to do. On the one hand, John is very confident and sensible, but on the other hand, he doesn’t have a lot of experience in this industry.”
  • To make a rash decision – “I made a rash decision and now I wish I never came here.”
  • To make a tentative decision – “I have made a tentative decision and after the meeting I will provide confirmation.”
  • To weigh up one’s options – “I haven’t decided yet, I am still weighing up my options.”
  • To keep one’s options open – “I just want to keep my options open for now, I still have 6 months to decide.” 

Conversation Questions 

  • Are you good at making decisions or are you usually indecisive?
  • Do you make decisions quickly or slowly?
  • Do you give things a lot of thought before making a decision?
  • Do you have a strategy or method for making important decisions?
  • Do you ever ask the opinions of others before making important decisions?
  • Have you ever made a rash decision and later regretted it?
  • Have you ever been in two minds about what to do in a situation?
  • Have you ever made a big decision and then changed your mind?
  • Have you ever had second thoughts about something?
  • Are you good at weighing up your options before deciding on something?
  • Do you like to keep your options open or do you prefer to decide on something quickly?
  • Do you ever have to make decisions in the workplace?
  • How is a good business decision made?
  • What is a decision you made with good consequences?
  • Have you ever made a decision with bad consequences?
  • Have you ever made an irrational decision? 

Making Decisions

What decision would you make in the following situations? Try to use some of the new expressions you have learnt.

  • The bank machine gives you an extra $100. Do you keep it or do you tell the bank about the error?
  • Your boss stole a small sum from the company and asks you to lie and say it was a technical error that caused the money to go into his account. If you tell the truth, you will lose your job. What do you do?
  • Your caught your friend cheating on an exam. Do you tell the examiner?
  • At a restaurant, you notice your friend’s wife having a romantic dinner with another man. Do you tell your friend, and possibly ruin his marriage, or do you mind your own business?
  • The principal of the school where you are teaching tells you that in order to get more funding from the state, you have to incorrectly report the income amounts of each of your students' families. Should you be honest in your paperwork, or should you just do as your principal tells you?
  • Your friend is on her way out the door for an important date and asks whether you like her blouse (you don’t!). Do you tell her the truth?
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