Business English. Meet, greet and small talk

Business English – Meet and Greet

How you greet people when you meet them using business English depends on a few things. For instance whether it’s a formal business meeting, the type of company, if you have met before, if you are meeting to sell something, or meeting to plan or decide on something.

If greeting someone formally you would say Mrs Hall or Mr Hall, or Mrs Jan Hall or Mr John Hall.

A less formal greeting would be Jan Hall or John Hall.

An informal greeting would be Jan or John.

Madam/ Ma’am or Sir, are very formal and rarely used in business in peer to peer interactions. This form of address may be used by people working in service industries such as a waiter or a driver. Having said that, ‘Sir’ and ‘Ma’am’ are used frequently in America, although again often in service industries. They are used less in the service industries in Australia.

Business English – Making Introductions

You might need to introduce yourself and maybe others as well, or someone else might introduce you.

When introducing yourself and someone else you always introduce yourself first.

You step forward, make eye contact with the person you are introducing yourself to, and hold your right hand out to shake the person’s hand.

Make sure you say your name and the other persons name slowly and clearly.

For example when introducing yourself and others:

“I’m Jan Hall, and this is my colleague John Hall.”

As you shake the person’s hand you might say: ” How do you do ?” (formal) or ” Pleased to meet you.” ( less formal).

If you are unsure of the formality of the situation, address the person by their title and surname e.g. Mrs Hall, until they tell you to address them differently.

business English- introductions

Business English – Small Talk

It’s usual when you first meet someone for people to engage in ‘small talk.’ This is a short exchange where you talk about general matters. It acts to relax everyone into the situation, and make them feel a little connected to start with.

It could be about the traffic, how they got there, the weather, sport or some other common topic. For example: John : ” was it difficult to find us?”

Jan: No, the directions were very good. The traffic wasn’t bad either.”

John: ” What’s the weather like out there? It was lovely this morning.”

Jan: ” It was earlier but it’s clouded over a bit now. The forecast said there’d be rain later.”

John: ” That’s a shame, I was hoping to go for a run after work.”

Jan: ” Do you run a lot?”

John: ” Not really, I’ve just started.”

Jan: ” Well I hope the weather clears up for you later on. Now, Shall we get started?”

It is really important to remember that when we are nervous we tend to speak more quickly. If you are still learning to pronounce English clearly, then you need to remember to consciously make an effort to slow down and pronounce all the sounds in your words. Don’t forget to breathe as well, as this helps be clearer and slower. Practise saying the name of the person you are meeting before hand. Practise using the specific vocabulary you will need in the meeting in relation to the type of business it is before you go to the meeting.

You will find clear and precise instruction on English pronunciation in our accent reduction programs British, Australian and American.

Also don’t forget to look at my article on the fastest way to make a bad impression in business here.

Best wishes, Esther

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