Bad-model Good-model videos have a long history in management and business English training. The first time I came across the genre was in a series of management training videos from Video Arts (of John Cleese fame) but the technique was later employed very successfully in business English by Derek Utley and Jeremy Comfort of York Associates. Their early videos were picked up and remade by OUP and perhaps some of you will remember the resulting lovely’ Effective’ skills series? Those videos inspired me to play around with the genre myself so back in the 90s I wrote a little video called ‘Play it Again Sam’ for OUP.
But I digress. The way these videos work is you see someone performing a business task, but very badly. The class has to identify what they did wrong and decide how they could have done things better. They then act out a new and better version of the scenario before they get to see a second video where things go well. And if they haven’t got fed up by then, they can go on to compare the ‘good’ version they created with the ‘good’ version in the second video.
I wondered if it would be possible to do something similar again, but much shorter. Could we get something down to a minute? We couldn’t, but we got pretty close. Here are our attempts and I hope you find them useful for your small talk lessons.