Category Archives: BUSINESS ENGLISH

Business English: Questions for International Negotiators

QUESTIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATORS

1. How Important is it in your opinion to do research on the cultural background of the person you will be negotiating with?
2. How are negotiators from different countries and cultures different in your opinion?
3. Have you ever had a “crisis” situation come up when negotiating across cultures? How did you resolve it?
4. Have you ever had to negotiate with someone from a different culture that made you feel “disrespected”?
5. Has your own culture (country or company) ever been a problem in a negotiation?
6. What do you think is/are the most important element(s) of dealmaking in the 21st Century
7. Do you think “reciprocity” is important in negotiation? Is it more important in some countries than others in your view?
8. Do you believe that only a written contract at the end of a negotiation binds you or your company? Or could you incur obligations just based on a discussion and handshake?
9. When should you (or have you) walked away from a negotiation?
10. When is it appropriate in your view to go above the person you are negotiating with to find someone of higher authority to make a deal?
11. How do you personally deal with “difficult” negotiators?
12. What are the secrets to your most successful deals?
13. What lessons did you learn from deals that fell through?
14. Have you studied other negotiators in your field? What do you think makes an effective negotiator?
15. Which countries have the most unreliable negotiators in your experience?
16. How does your company typically settle disputes when negotiations and deals fall apart?
17. What do you think you still need to learn or improve to be a more effective negotiator?

 

writing in English

Writing in English: 5 Common Writing Tasks That English Learners Fear and Tips for Conquering Your Fears

WRITING IN ENGLISH

Below are 5 types of writing tasks that English learners can find daunting including college application essays, emails, letters, research articles, abstracts, memos and reports. We offer you advice on how to handle each. For an extensive discussion on memos and reports, please click here. Or read on below for tips on writing emails, business letters, research articles, abstracts and application essays.

In a previous article on writing business emails, our blog editor wrote “when English is not your ‘mother tongue’ writing effective emails in English can pose a challenge.” This is still true. But there are a few additional tips that might help you get better at the craft.
WRITING AN EMAIL IN ENGLISH

1. Understand that there are seven basic parts to an email:

  • The identification of the sender
  • The identification of the recipient
  • The subject line
  • The body of the email
  • The closing
  • The signature
  • The disclaimer

This format is probably universal in any language.

2. The purpose of your email should be stated in one sentence in the subject line of the email. For example, are you writing to:

  • Explain
  • Complain
  • Request
  • Thank
  • Apologize
  • Confirm
  • Invite
  • Decline?

3. The body of the email is the most important part.

  • Begin with a neutral and polite greeting – for example:

Dear Mr Smith or

Good morning Mr Smith.

  • Start with a polite phrase – for example:

“Thank you for….”

“please confirm that”

  • Keep the body of your message clear and concise by using short sentences, proper punctuation and by using grammar rules – especially tenses – correctly.

4. End with a polite closing such as:

  • Kind Regards
  • Sincerely yours
  • I remain at your disposal.
  • Yours Faithfully
  • Respectfully
  • Respectfully yours

5. Become acquainted with as much email vocabulary as you possibly can

  • Address
  • Attachment
  • Bcc
  • Disclaimer
  • Emoticon
  • File size
  • Flag
  • Format
  • Forward
  • High priority
  • Html
  • Importance option
  • Inbox
  • Mark as read
  • Pdf
  • Reply
  • Sender
  • Sender
  • Signature

6. Be sure your email uses the right level of formality and that you have put a legal disclaimer at the end of your email.[/tab][tab title=”Application Essays”]

  1. Think of your audience before you even begin and set the right tone.
  2. Be open-minded and express it in your writing
  3. Read the instructions carefully before you even begin so that you are answering the question asked and no the one you thought was asked.
  4. Be concise. Follow the KISS principle (keep it short and simple) where appropriate.
  5. Do not exceed the page limit.
  6. Be yourself but also try to be creative without going overboard; show that you have a sense of humor and can be edgy but remain cultured and intelligent.
  7. Begin with a question for maximum impact.
  8. Answer the WH questions: Who, What, When and How
  9. Be yourself.
  10. Proofread and edit your work before you send it off.

 

WRITING AN ABSTRACT FOR AN ARTICLE

, you should write your abstract after you write the article or report. This is counterintuitive but all the experts agree that it is the most effective and efficacious way to write an abstract because that way you can capture exactly what the article is about and hit the main points. The purpose of the abstract is to provide the reader with enough but concise information that entices them to want to read more of your article.

Next, be concise. Follow the KISS principles: Keep it Short and Simple. Aim to use one paragraph to summarize the main points of the article. Crunch a maximum amount into each sentences (make every sentence count) without compromising the brevity rule.

Next, mention your hypothesis, method, findings and conclusion if possible in no more than two sentences. And keep your sentence length under 25 words per sentence.

Finally, summarize the summary in no more than two sentences.

[/tab][tab title=”Research article”]First, begin by consulting the journal for specific editorial requirements.

Then, begin to pre-plan your writing by organizing your ideas according to specific points you want to make.

Write your introduction. This should be limited to one page if possible and should adequately alert the reader about what you intend to prove or disprove and the methodology you plan to use. Your introduction should answer the “so what” question: Why is the research or article important? What question or issue does it address? What answers does it provide? What is your hypothesis. Is this a quantitative design or a qualitative study?

Plan a rough number of paragraphs you want to write. Each paragraph should generally cover a separate point. Organize your p paragraphs logically and sequentially so that your work will flow smoothly once you have a finished product. Paragraph structure is very important.

Follow the rules of English grammar with regard to tenses, articles and tone. For example, use the present tense to report facts. Use the past tense to report findings and results. Active voice is preferred over passive voice. Use articles and determiners such as “a” “an” “the” “my” “these” and “those” appropriately .

Cite your sources appropriately using primary sources such as research articles over other secondary material such as websites if possible.

If this is a an empirical paper, state your design in a methodology section. Is this a quantitative or qualitative design?

Other tips

  • Use 12 point times Roman font unless otherwise instructed
  • Double space
  • Do not exceed the page limit
  • Number your pages consecutively

[/tab][tab title=”Letters”]Like emails, letters can be either formal or informal, although in a business context, letters are formal almost 100 percent of the time.

A. There are 8 basic parts to a business letter:

  • Date
  • recipient’s address
  • Sender’s address
  • Re
  • Salutation
  • Body of the letter
  • Closing
  • Signature
  • Enclosures (if any)

B. There are different approaches to writing a business letter as far as placement of the various parts in particular the date, signature, closing and addresses.

1. The date can be placed at the left margin or the right margin.

2. The recipient’s address is always placed at the left margin but your sender’s address can be omitted if there is a letterhead; or if there is no letterhead, it can go on the left margin above the recipient(s address. Or the writer can create a “fake” letterhead by putting his or her address at the top of the page.

3. After the the addresses, put the “re” line. This will state in a short phrase or sentence the purpose of the letter.

4. In the body of the letter, break up the points into paragraphs using only one paragraph per point.

5. The closing in a letter, like an email can be any of the following depending on the context and preference of the writer:

  • Sincerely
  • Faithfully yours
  • Yours, etc.
  • Yours truly
  • Kind Regards

6. Always type your name but leave space to insert a handwritten signature.

7. If you are enclosing something in your correspondence, write “”encl.” after your signature. If you are enclosing more than one thing write “encls.”

[/tab][/tabs]

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English Transitional Words: Make your spoken and written English pop with these linkers and connectors

ENGLISH TRANSITIONAL WORDS

Transitional words and phrases are plentiful in English. Some modern English writing experts have advocated reducing the use of connectors and linkers. That is to say that the overuse or misuse of English transitional words  should be avoided. For English learners, these words serve a useful purpose or multiple purposes. These words help keep one’s thoughts, words and writing  clear;  and using them helps  the reader or listener to stay on the same page with the speaker or writer. Transitional words can be used as signposts. They enrich speech and written communication and makes the speaker or writer seem more intelligent or more fluent especially when the words are used correctly and judiciously. (One rule of thumb to remember is that you must almost always follow a transitional connector by a comma.)

Transitional words like “additionally,” “therefore,” and “moreover” are used to:

Below are a list of transitional words plus an audio and quiz. Free with a monthly pass or premium pass.

[section title=”#1 Showing Contrast”]

  • In contrast
  • Conversely
  • By contrast
  • However
  • Rather
  • Yet
  • But
  • Instead
  • Although
  • Even though
  • Nevertheless
  • Despite

 

EXAMPLES:

1) In contrast with normal procedure, my boss asked us to ignore the fire alarm.

2) In contrast to normal procedure, my boss asked us to ignore the fire alarm.

3) The Picasso was expensive; by contrast, the Renoir was not.

4) Learning English is easy; conversely, Learning Sanskrit is hard.

5) The woman is beautiful; by contrast her daughter is totally unattractive.

6) The idea was to have a small wedding; however my mother had other ideas.

7) I dont think I can make it tonight; rather, I would prefer to go home and rest and see you tomorrow.

8) The attorney was insulted by the judge; yet she maintained her composure.

9) This situation is not ideal but I do not have a choice but to go forward with it.

10) The plaintiff did not want to settle the lawsuit; instead, she instructed her lawyer to prepare for trial.

11) Although this multinational has polluted the global environment, no international court has been able to find them liable for gross negligence.

12) Even though I am upset, I will still go through with the plan.

13) Nevertheless, we parted as friends.

14) Despite the urgency of the situation, the paramedics took their time to respond to the 911 call.

[/section]

[section title=”#2 Adding information”]

  • Additionally
  • In addition
  • Added to that
  • Moreover
  • Furthermore
  • Likewise
  • Also
  • As well as
  • Incidentally
  • By the way
  • Notably
  • And
  • As if that was not enough
  • On top of that
  • Plus

 

EXAMPLES:

1) Additionally, I am fluent in three languages.

2) In addition, I am fluent in three languages.

3) Added to that, I am fluent in three languages.

4) Moreover, this was not one of the terms agreed upon.

5) Furthermore, this was not one of the terms agreed upon.

6) Likewise, this situation is unacceptable.

7) Also, I would like to reiterate my interest in the position.

8) Chinese nationals, as well as Malaysians, were on the doomed flight.

9) Incidentally, nobody informed me that there would be a meeting this morning!

10) By the way, are you going to John’s bachelor’s beer night?

11) Notably, these results are inconclusive.

12) And, it was a grand disaster, if I may say so myself.

13) As if that were not enough, she then proceeded to where red stilettos.

14) On top of that, I was hungry and tired.

15) Plus, she paid for Google advertising.

[/section]

[section title=”#3 Generalizing”]

  • Generally
  • In general
  • Normally
  • Usually
  • As usual
  • As always
  • Typically
  • Ordinarily
  • As a general rule
  • More often than not
  • In most cases
  • For the most part

 

EXAMPLES:

1) Generally, I don’t like blond perms.

2) In general, PayPal is reliable.

3) Normally, cats and dogs do not get along.

4) As usual, she showed up late.

5) As always, she showed up late.

6) typically, men prefer to ask a woman to marry them; not the other way around.

7) Ordinarily, he is a lot more careful than that.

8) As a general rule, this company likes to avoid litigation.

9) More often than not, I am late for work.

10) In most cases, there appears to be no correlation.

11) For the most part, I am content with my life.

[/section]

[section title=”#4 Expressing results”]

  • For this reason
  • As a result
  • As a consequence
  • Finally
  • Because of this
  • So
  • Thus
  • In the final analysis
  • In the end
  • Accordingly
  • Therefore
  • This is why

 

EXAMPLES:

1) For this reason, I do not recommend this course of action.

2) As a result, the hypothesis is flawed.

3) As a consequence, I cannot make this recommendation.

4) Finally, the other side acquiesced.

5) Because of this, I think we should avoid this course of action.

6) So, it is not a good idea to proceed.

7) Thus, I can only conclude that this is not in our best interest.

8) In the final analysis, it is you who has to make the decision.

9) In the end, correlation appears to equal causation.

10) Accordingly, I propose that you suspend action till further notice.

11) Therefore, the marketing department should change its tactics.

12) This is why the results are the same.

[/section]

[section title=”#5 Illustrating or emphasizing a point”]

  • That is
  • That means
  • That is to say
  • Incidentally
  • In particular
  • Especially
  • Most of all
  • Above all
  • In Fact
  • Actually
  • The fact is
  • Namely
  • For example

 

EXAMPLES:

1) This is, the financial data is inaccurate.

2) That means, language Policy in the EU should remain an issue for each member state to handle.

3) That is to say, the foregoing was in error.

4) Incidentally, I never said that.

5) In particular, what happened in the meeting should never happen again.

* 6) Especially the first one.

7) Most of all, the tribesmen would like assistance with brokering a peace deal.

8) Above all, the primary consideration has to be the kids.

9) In fact, it was mentioned in two clauses in the contract.

10) Actually, this was not addressed in the boilerplate contract.

11) The fact is, you are wrong.

12) Namely, both groups contributed to the negligence.

13) For example, the blue and red colors have been known to oxidize.

[/section]

[section title=”#6 Summarizing”]

  • Thus
  • In summary
  • To summarize
  • In conclusion
  • Therefore
  • In short
  • To sum it all up
  • In the end
  • In the final analysis
  • Overall
  • Globally
  • On balance
  • To sum
  • At the end of the day

1) Thus, my conclusion is that my hypothesis is correct.

2) In summary, this sort of thing should never happen again.

3) To summarize, let me begin by reiterating that the results are inconclusive.

4) In conclusion, environmental protection agencies need to get more aggressive with protecting the global environment.

5) Therefore, your position is unsupported by the facts.

6) In short, you cannot do that.

7) To sum it all up, 2014 was a banner year for us.

8) In the end, I must concede that I was wrong.

9) In the final analysis, there is no workable solution for this problem.

10) Overall, the team did okay.

11) Globally, the output was satisfactory but there were internal departments that need to show improvement.

12) On balance, this could have been a much worse scenario.

13) To sum it up, the red team wins.

14) At the end of the day, he gained more than he bargained for.

[/section]

[section title=”#7 Repetition and emphasis”]

  • In other words
  • To put it mildly
  • Clearly
  • That means that
  • That is to say that
  • Briefly stated
  • Reiterated
  • Again
  • Put another way
  • Notably
  • Please take note that

 

EXAMPLES:

1) In other words, this proposal lacks persuasion.

2) To put it mildly, I was shocked by their response.

3) Clearly, this can’t happen again.

4) That means that, barring any unforseen developments, I should complete my doctorate in 3 years.

5) That is to say that what you did here was not only unethical, it was also illegal.

6) Briefly stated, she felt threatened by her subordinate’s Superior intelligence.

7) Reiterated, you must have made a mistake.

8) Again, your leadership skills need some fine-tuning.

9) Put another way, I was grossly disappointed.

10) Notably, this center has always been at the center of Parisian culture.

11) Please take note that, effective immediately, I no longer want to a member of this institution.

[/section]

[section title=”#8 Sequence, Order, Timing, Time Relations”]

  • First
  • Second
  • Next
  • After
  • Then
  • Last
  • Lastly
  • Finally
  • Before that
  • In conclusion
  • Contemporaneously
  • At the same time
  • Just then
  • Earlier
  • Later
  • Midway
  • Simultaneously

 

EXAMPLES:

1) First, I have worked in Madrid.

2) Second, I speak Five languages which include Russian, Swahili, Chinese, French and English.

3) Next, he took his shirt off.

4) After, the boss yelled that she was an incompetent nincompoop.

5) Then, ,her mother started to cry.

6) Last, her husband asked for a divorce.

7) Lastly, I would just like to close by saying that I had a marvelous time and  would love to see you again.

8) Finally, please give my regards to your mom.

9) Before that, I worked at Ernst and Young.

10) In conclusion, I think what you did amounts to malfeasance.

11) The cars sped, contemporaneously, in opposite directions.

12) At the same time, I did not think she would have sunk so low as to spy on me from a key hole.

12) Just then, the doorbell rang.

13) Earlier, I plugged the keyhole with toilet tissue.

14) Later, the company hosted a cocktail soiree.

15) Midway through the conference, the speaker collapsed.

16) Simultaneously, the alarms sounded.

[/section]

[section title=”#9 Comparisons, similarities and distinctions”]

  • Similarly
  • Likewise
  • In the same way
  • By contrast
  • Comparatively
  • Correspondingly
  • On the other hand
  • Conversely
  • In a like manner
  • On the flip side

 

EXAMPLES:

1) Similarly, our firm should aim to be one of the top ten in the world.

2) Likewise, we should want to be the best.

3) In the same way, we should aim to be the best.

4) By contrast, the level of motivation needed to become the best is lacking in our firm.

5)  Comparatively speaking, these two languages could not be more different in terms of the amount of time it takes to achieve proficiency.

6) Correspondingly, the data for 2007 also shows a link between a change in administrative personnel and a drop in sales.

7) On the other hand, there is another way to interpret this data.

8) Conversely, when the same rules were applied in this situation, the outcome was not the same.

9) In a like manner, you should not do and say to others what you would not have them do and say to you.

10) On the flip side, social media advertising is very expensive.

[/section]

[section title=”#10 Giving examples”]

  • For example
  • Example
  • Such as
  • For instance
  • To illustrate
  • Namely
  • Particularly
  • including
  • Notably

 

EXAMPLES:

1) For example, this clause does not make sense.

2) Example: Mr Garrette was late 25 times this month.

3) I had numerous duties such as, responding to inquiries; doing research and assisting the director.

4) For instance, she lied Under oath.

5) To illustrate, lets suppose the two cars collided.

6) Namely: the high bulbs with high resolution tend to last longer than the others.

7) Particularly curious was the fact that he went surfing in weather such as that.

8) Including: shirts, pants and blouses.

9) Notably, this only happens on Wednesdays.

[/section]

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business calls in English

Business Calls in English: 8 Tips for Mastering the Art of Telephoning in English with a Business purpose

Business Calls in English: 8 Tips for Mastering the Art of Telephoning in English with a Business purpose

 

Business calls in English can run the gamut from routine to very serious from friendly to hostile.  How you handle a business call will obviously depend on who, what, where, when and why you are communicating with the other person or persons.

Under normal circumstances, when people make business calls in English (or any other language, really)  it is usually to:

  1. confirm
  2. clarify
  3. inquire
  4. discover
  5. verify
  6. participate
  7. explain
  8. facilitate
  9. negotiate
  10. plan
  11. collaborate
  12. dispute

Depending on the reason for your call, your tone and actual words of communication will differ. Obviously, for instance, you would speak differently if you are “disputing” than if you are “collaborating.” And so forth.

If your English skills are below fluent and you have an important business telephone call to make, consider practicing or rehearing the call beforehand or role play with a friend or colleague whose English is better than yours.

This post is based on busines calls that lean more towards the friendly side than to the hostile side. While it does not cover every possible contingency, the goal is to give you at least a basic primer for making business calls in English.

8 Tips for Making Business Calls in English that Make the Professional Grade

  1. At the start of the call, identify yourself by name and if appropriate, by company, or the department in which you work.

For example, “Hello, this is John Smith with Merrill Lynch. I am calling from the asset management department. May I speak with Allain Duroc, Please? I need confirmation that the Lagos conference has been cancelled.”

2. Get familiar with modal verbs because it is impossible to have a business telephone conversation without them. (Obviously, you need to work on this long before you even make the call.)

Examples:

  • May I speak with your supervisor, please?
  • Would you mind re-sending the fax? We were unable to read the last few lines.
  • Would that be all the information you need? Is there anything I can clarify further?
  • Can I help you with anything else? Keep in mind that the company never agreed to participate in this survey so my authority to give you more information is limited.
  • Should I include that report in the presentation? Do you think this would help to better explain the findings?
  • When will you arrive in Brussels? Should I make reservations for dinner?
  • Could you repeat that? I don’t know if I fully understood your line of reasoning.
  • Who was supposed to handle this client’s account? Because I’m afraid this person will be fired.
  • Where might I find the stock accounts in the file, do you know?

3. Review auxiliary verbs DO, BE and HAVE as these verbs are vital to business telephone conversations (obviously, you would need to do this long before you need to be making the business calls in English!)

Examples with BE (3 tenses)

  • I am delighted to speak with you finally after such a long time emailing each other.
  • I was in New York on business and apologize that I missed the meeting yesterday.
  • I will not be in the office next week so I would need to reschedule the conference call.

Examples with DO

  • I do believe I received your last email but I don’t remember if you answered this specific question.
  • Do you agree that this contract is one sided?
  • I don’t think Ariane is the right person for this assignment. We should send Paul instead.

Examples with HAVE

  • Hello Roman, this is Mike Dubke, do you have a minute for a quick discussion about the powerpoint?
  • Hello Janice, I am calling because I just realized you have not sent in your timesheets.
  • Have you got the updated files on a disk?

4. Review WH words (who, what, where, when, how) as these words are integral to conversation including Business calls in English.

Examples:

  • Who might I say is calling?
  • What can I do for you?
  • Where are you calling from exactly?
  • When would be a good time to follow up with another phone call?
  • How can I help you?

Business calls in English

5. If you need the call to remain short and brief, ask closed ended questions (so that you can get a “yes” or “no” response); or say something like:

  •  “I received the latest figures. I can get this back to you on Friday. Would this work for you?”
  • “Hi John, I am calling to have a quick word on the new contract negotiations but I would like to keep it brief due to a meeting. Can you please clarify clause 5 on the second page?”

 

 

6. If you need to transfer the call:

  • Tell the person you will transfer him or her.
  • Give the person the extension number to which they are being transferred as well as the person they are being transferred to.
  • Alert the person receiving the transfer who is on the line and why they are being transferred.

7. Watch your manners and etiquette

For example:

  • Smile when possible as it can be heard in your voice
  • Say please, thank you, good morning, good evening, etc., when appropriate
  • Don’t yell and scream
  • Apologize when necessary
  • remain calm and classy
  • Don’t eat and chew gum
  • Use language and tone appropriate to the conversation
  • Turn off other interruptions such as cellphones, pagers, music and other devices
  • Avoid putting the person on hold to talk with colleagues.
  • Listen without interrupting

8. End the call in a professional manner

For example:

  • “Thank you for calling, have a good day.”
  • Thank you for you time this was very helpful.”
  • OK that sounds good. What is the best way to reach you if I have further questions?
  • It was good to speak with you, I will let the boss know that you called.
  • It is going to be great to collaborate with you on this project. Shall we talk tomorrow as scheduled just to finalize everything?
  • It’s confirmed. Thank you, goodnight.
  • I will verify that and get back to you ASAP. Take care, goodbye.
  • Ok Great, let’s talk again soon.
  • OK, I’ve got to run. Thank you for your assistance. Have a good day. Bye.
  • Have a nice day!

NEXT: Business English Role Play for Negotiation

 

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ENGLISH RESUME

How to write an English resume: 10 Tips for crafting the Perfect English CV

On Writing an English Resume

ENGLISH RESUME

There are tons of reasons why having an English resume is a smart idea these days, not the least of which is globalization. Need I say more? As part of your Legal English or Business English education, you may be thinking that in addition to your CV you want to create your resume in English.   How do you accomplish this, you wonder? Where do you even begin to turn your curriculum vitae (“CV”) into a resume? Well, here are 10 tips for writing your English resume:

1. Resumes are summaries of your work and professional history that are usually organized chronologically in reverse order. So the dates on your resumes should show from most recent to less recent. That rule also goes for listing your education history as well as your experience.

2. Resumes are not CVs so do not include your age, race or other personal details or paste your picture on your resume, as this is highly inappropriate for an American audience, and possibly other English speaking audiences as well.

3. Never exceed the three page absolute limit for a resume. While CVs can go on for miles, no American recruiter will take kindly to overly long resumes.  Some experts claim that one page should be sufficient. But two pages are fine. Anything over two pages should be viewed with circumspection and if your are not applying for a academic or research position, you are probably shooting yourself in the foot by making your resume too long. Trim out the fat where possible is the sage advice.

4. Experience and Education are the two most important areas to be highlighted. Always start with the one that is stronger for you. If your educational pedigree is more impressive than your experience, start with your education. But if your experience trumps your education, highlight your experience first then put your education next – but in reverse date chronological order starting with the most recent.

5. You do not have to start with an objective statement at the top of your resume, but it does not hurt; especially if you have a particularly articulate one liner that is specifically targeted to a specific position.

6. You can, but are not required to summarize your resume at the very top of the document. In the summary you can put up to five items that will be addressed in the bottom of the resume.

7. Always spell check and have an English language native speaker look over your resume before you send it out – if your English is not above intermediate level.

8. If you have particularly impressive references you can include their names “name drop” at the bottom of your resume with their contact details. Otherwise if your references are not particularly name-drop worthy, just say “References available upon Request.” This is the last line of your resume.

9. Yes you should include language skills, computer skills, interests, publications, honors, and hobbies but these should appear towards the bottom and should be stated in a short, concise manner.

10. Remain consistent with punctuation, highlighting, font, language and tone throughout the document.

Finally, if you are going to send your cover letter digitally by email, observe these tips about writing effective business emails in English at this link.

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writing effective business emails

The ABCs of Writing Effective Business Emails in English

WRITING EFFECTIVE BUSINESS EMAILS IN ENGLISH

writing effective business emails

Writing effective business emails in English is an art. Emails are probably the most common way that business people communicate today.  Gone are the days when managers, managing attorneys, and executives spent significant chunks of time dictating letters to their secretaries. Many just send a quick text or email instead. The problem is that when English is not their “mother tongue” writing effective emails in English can pose a challenge. People actually “fear” writing emails in English when English is not their mother tongue. You can get over your fear of writing English emails if you follow certain rules.

There are definitely unspoken rules for writing and sending emails and otherwise interacting on the Internet. First of all, you have to realize that there are two types of emails that you can send in a Professional context: formal and informal emails. The rules for each types are different. For example: never put an “emoticon” in a formal business email; and always have a subject line for formal emails. On the other hand, in informal emails, be free to use émoticons and omit the subject line if you wish. The point is to know the difference. A lot will depend on the purpose of your email.  Some people call this “Netiquette.”  And speaking of netiquette, it helps to know email vocabulary for both formal and informal emails. Below are 26 tips for writing effective business emails. You can call it the ABCs of Writing Effective Business Emails In English.

A.  Consider the top box of your email as being of vital importance. So make sure you indicate 1. who the email is going to; 2. who the email is from; 3. What is the subject of the email (very important); and whether the email is being cc’d or bcc’d.

B. It is more professional to have a signature line in your emails that includes your phone number, job title and company name.

C. If possible you should put a disclaimer in your email as well, at the foot of your emails, that warns potential Internet snoops that the contents of the email are “confidential”  and are intended for the person to whom it is addressed only.

D. Find out if your company has guidelines for sending emails and be sure to follow these guidelines.

E. Always use the spellcheck in English to make sure you have spelled words correctly; but do not depend on spellcheck alone since it is sometimes wrong so you want to copy edit your email or have someone copy edit for you if you can.

F.  Know the difference between bcc and cc. You use the bcc when you want to keep the recipients private from each other. You use cc when you are sending the email to more than one person but you don’t mind if the recipients know who else received the email.

G. Flag email as “high priority” only if you want an immediate response or if it is urgent.

H. The greeting of your email should sound professional so it is better to start with “Dear Mr Smith…” rather than “Hi Mr. Smith.” Of course, if you already have an ongoing relationship with the recipient, even in a business context it is okay to be less formal. This is a judgment call.

I. Get to the point of your email as quickly as possible. Are you writing to confirm something? Ask a question? Follow up on a previous conversation? Respond to a request? Then your first sentence in your email should get straight to the point.

J.  Treat your business emails as seriously any other business communication.

K. Never put in writing anything that could cause liability to your company in a business email.

L. When sending attachments in business emails, you may want to ask the recipient first about the format if you’re not sure that the file type or file size is appropriate.

M. Try to brush up on basic email lingo. Know what is the “subject line,” “recipient” “inbox,” “”cc,” “bcc,”  “attachment,” etc., means

N.  If you are writing an email with more than one paragraph, try to discuss only one topic in each paragraph. In other words, keep it short and simple and stick to the point of each paragraph.  Use signals such as “First,” “Second,” “Lastly.”

O. Use headings, subheadings, bullet point, and numbers if it will make your message clearer.

P. Depending on the complexity and sensitivity of the contents of your email, you may want to pre-plan and pre-write it as a Word document first before cutting and pasting it to your email.

Q. If you can, it is more professional to use @company email addresses for business emails rather than Yahoo or Gmail or AOL.

R. For non English Mother tongue emailers, it is necessary to remember that your sentences must express a complete thought; i.e.every sentence must contain a subject and a verb and possibly an object.

S. Don’t overuse emphasis such as bolds and italics.

T. Use active voice rather than passive voice except in  those circumstances that clearly warrant passive voice such as when the subject does not refer to a specific person.

U.  If you are not absolutely sure what an abbreviation or jargon means, or a slang term, avoid using it.

V. Never send a business email when you are angry- especially when it is at the receiver.

W. Leave a lot of “white space” in your emails. Make sure your sentences and paragraphs are adequately spaced keeping in mind that it is difficult for many readers to read tight, lengthy prose on a computer screen.

X. Choose the right level of formality. Do not be too formal or too informal depending on the context.

Y. Consider the type of font you use. You can’t go wrong with Times Roman. Or Garamond. But there are many fonts out there that are absolutely inappropriate for a business email.

Z. Considering that everyone is busy, structure your email logically so things appear in an order that makes sense to the recipient.

NEXT: WAYS TO START AND END An Effective BUSINESS EMAIL IN ENGLISH

 

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10 things not to say when you are socializing with American colleagues and business partners

On Socializing with American Colleagues

socializing with American colleagues

So you are taking an intensive English course in order to prepare for an important business meeting in America with your American colleagues who you have never met even though you have been colleagues for years.

You are excited and nervous at the same time. But you think you are prepared. You have learned a lot in just one week of intensif anglais and think you pretty much have the hang of what it takes to successfully communicate in English in a business setting. But there is just one thing: you are worried about the social activities that have been planned by your boss. While you know how to write effective emails and handle business calls and draft contracts, you are not so sure about socializing with American colleagues. What should you say? What should you not say?

You are right to be concerned. Success in business, whether as a lawyer or other business professional, is more than just completing your intensive course  in legal English or Business English. It is also about acquiring cultural sensitivity for those with whom you associate and conduct commerce. This works both ways, of course. Some Americans do need to be more culturally sensitive to the cultural nuances and differences of others, just as much as some non-Americans need to remember that “being American” is not an abstraction. There is flesh and blood behind all that bravado. And when conducting business, failing to understand this can potentially result in “blowing” deals that otherwise would have been inked.

So what are 10 things to avoid saying when socializing with American colleagues?

1. Unless you know this person very well, it is impolite to tell an American, “I hate your President.” The problem with this statement is that it is absolute, negative and potentially insulting to the listener. You could be talking to a major supporter of this particular president. You may be talking to someone who is also a hater of the President but they may not want to hear these sentiments from a stranger or a non-American.

Sure, not every American agrees with the policies of every President who holds the job. But just because they did not agree with everything that the President did does not mean they want to hear what an “idiot” you think their President is. This can be so undiplomatic, it could actually result in a loss of goodwill between you and the listener. And if this is a potential business partner, it could be the beginning of a deal gone bad.  So if you hate the President of the United States and you think the President is an idiot, do not tell it to your American colleague and potential business partner. Keep it your little secret. OK? It’s better.

2. Try to avoid telling an American, especially an African American, “Obama is the only one,” meaning that of the millions of African Americans in America, there is only one who is competent enough and smart enough and acceptable enough to be able to win the presidency of the United States. Americans have proven they are open-minded people who believe in meritocracy. Many, no matter their race and ethnicity, will find such a statement narrow-minded, insulting and racist.

3. Never ask an American, “how come Americans are so fat?” It is probably true that a large percentage of Americans are heavier than their Asian, European and African counterparts. But it is also true that some of the fittest people on the planet are Americans. Look at the Olympics and any competitive world sport. There are, in fact, a large subsection of the American population that takes health and fitness very seriously; and indeed, millions of Americans are slim and fit – even more than the world average. So do not generalize when socializing with your American colleagues and business people on this point, even if you may think “all” Americans are obese and even if you find this notion hilarious.

4. Never imply to an American that McDonalds is the main daily cuisine for the average American. Yes, many Americans proudly consume Mcdonalds burgers and fries on a fairly regular basis. But chances are they also appreciate other types of foods as well. Not every American likes fast food. And by the way, a lot of Parisians flock to McDonalds daily for lunch these days so if MacDonalds is good enough for the French, who take their food so seriously, then by all means, it can’t be so bad that some Americans enjoy it from time to time.

5. It goes without saying that you should not generalize and say to your American colleague, “I think Americans are bullies.” There are bullies in the country, of course. A lot of them. Maybe too many. But there are bullies everywhere in the world. So if you are referring to a specific bully or bullies, you should clearly make that point and not let it seem like you are generalizing. Because many American are NOT bullies and do not condone this type of behavior.

6. You probably don’t want to ask or imply to an American the notion that “All Americans are gun crazy serial killers.”  Sure, there is an alarming amount of gun violence in the United States. But it is also true that there are lots of Americans who do not own guns and have never touched a gun or shot a gun. And even among those who do own guns, it is a very small percentage that goes out and commits mass murder. So even though the media and movies make it seem otherwise, you don’t want to get trapped in this discussion in a social setting with your colleagues. Gun rights are a sensitive issue in the country and could be too controversial a topic when socializing for business.

7. There is the stereotype that “Americans are dumb, ignorant and stupid.” Obviously you do not want to say anything like this with your business colleagues. A lot of the technological advancements the world enjoys comes from American invention. So obviously some people in the country are a little bit smart and such a stereotype – even an implying of this stereotype – can be highly offensive.

8. While the stereotype that “Americans put work over everything else” is not horribly negative, you still want to avoid insinuating this because it is not true of all Americans. In Silicon Valley, for example, companies specifically make a point of encouraging and supporting life/work balance for their employees.  It is true that there are still many white shoe law firms that value their employees based on how long the employee stays at the office versus going home and spending a few hours per day with their family. But it is wrong to assume all firms are like that and that all Americans care only about work and consumption.

9. Americans are loud is another common stereotype. Some are; not all. Again, don’t make these generalized comments in a business setting because you never know who the listener is.

10. The notion that “all Americans are racist” or that all Americans will tolerate racist views and comments is a dangerous one. Like any other country in the world, America does have its share of racist people. Who can deny that? But, especially in a work or business setting where you are socializing for business it is folly to assume you can make so called racist statements with impugnity just because you and the listener are from the same group. Again, you never know who the listener is and what implications these types of comments will have for you and your firm. If you are referring to a specific event or events that were clearly racist, fine. But in your business meeting, surely, you have other things to discuss than these types of controversial topics.

 

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Business Lunch English: All the Common Phrases for Invitation, Small Talk, Starting Conversations, Ending the Lunch

Let’s talk Business Lunch English

Business Lunch English
What is your favorite cuisine?

Business Lunch English is the type of English you speak at a business lunch. Obvious, right? So, imagine you have a power business lunch scheduled with a business colleague, business partner or potential business partner.  Whether you are the host or the guest, if your first language is not English you are bound to be a little bit nervous. There is no need to be. In many ways, meeting for a business lunch is easier than, say, taking a conference call in English when you are not face to face with the person.

In this post, you will find a lot of helpful phrases for inviting someone to the meal, conversations during lunch, and follow up emails. Keep in mind that these  are the bare minimum. There are innumerable ways to discuss business over lunch in English.

If you are the one to invite the person to lunch, be sure to ensure that the restaurant you choose – if you choose the restaurant – is appropriate to the occasion. You don’t want a place that is too packed or too loud if you intend to have an actual conversation during the lunch or dinner.

In some circumstances, it may be appropriate to make it clear if you will be paying. Say “it’s my treat.” If you don’t intend to pay, then just don’t say anything. You would never say to the person “you will have to pay for yourself,” as this is obviously rude.

Another thing to do just to be on the safe side is find out if the person has any preferences for the lunch or any allergies and things like that because the last thing you need is to schedule a business lunch where the person can’t eat because they are allergic or because they hate the cuisine you picked.

Business Lunch English
What are you going to have?

The key to a successful business lunch is to relax, enjoy your guest and your meal and throw in a little business with the pleasure. It is literally the one time when mixing business and pleasure is expected and allowed. However, one caveat: It probably is not a good idea to have alcohol during lunch unless you are very sure that you can handle your liquor with class and finesse at that time of the day. Even so, it is usually better not to drink at lunchtime and especially not during a business lunch.

BELOW FIND SOME HELPFUL BUSINESS LUNCH ENGLISH PHRASES FOR YOUR NEXT SUCCESSFUL POWER LUNCH

INVITING SOMEONE TO A BUSINESS LUNCH in English:

  • Are you free Friday around lunchtime for lunch?
  • Would you like to have lunch next Tuesday to discuss this?
  • Any plans for lunch tomorrow? Would you like to meet?
  • I will be in your neck of the woods next week and wondered if you would like to join me for lunch?
  • Let’s make a lunch date.
  • Let’s do lunch soon. When are you free?
  • Would you like to grab a salad with me tomorrow around lunchtime?
  • Let’s have lunch!
  • We need to get together over lunch and hash this out. Are you free this Thursday?
  • There’s a great Italian restaurant near my office would you like to join me for lunch there sometime?

 

ASK YOUR COLLEAGUE ABOUT ANY PRERENCES OR ALLERGIES THEY HAVE WITH REGARD TO FOOD CHOICE AND RESTAURANT AHEAD OF THE LUNCH. YOU CAN SAY FOR EXAMPLE:

  • Are there any types of food or cuisine you absolutely don’t want to eat?
  • Do you have any preferences as far as cuisine?
  • Is there a particular place you would like to go?
  • Would you like me to pick the place or shall we play it by ear?
  • Are there any types of food that you are allergic to or anything like that
  • Would you care to try the new Trinidadian restaurant that just opened up?
  • What do you like to eat?
  • Would you like to pick the restaurant?
  • Any particular place you would like to go?
  • Are you vegan or vegetarian or anything like that?

BUSINESS LUNCH ENGLISH: ORDERING YOUR MEAL

When you talk to a wait person in a restaurant, you will be using a lot of modal verbs such as “may” “could” “should”  “would”  “will” and “going to”

You might say TO THE WAITER:
  • May I have another glass of water?
  • Could I have another fork, please?
  • Would you please point me to the restroom?
  • I will have the grilled steak.
  • I think I’m going to pass on dessert. But I would like some coffee please.

    Business lunch English
    Would you like some coffee?
  • I would like another glass of wine, please (although, as noted previously, drinking during your business lunch is probably best avoided.)
You might say to your lunch partner (or they to you)
  • What are you going to have?
  • May I ask you to explain what this is?
  • Do you think I should order the beet salad?
  • Will we have time for dessert?
  • Could you pass the salt, please

Business Lunch English Conversation and small talk

SMALL TALK

  • Your English is quite excellent, where is the accent from?
  • Is the weather any better in your neck of the woods than what we have going on here?
  • Anything good planned for the weekend?
  • Did you watch the football game last night?
  • Have you seen the latest exhibit at the Tate?
  • How are you adjusting in this new city? Do you miss home?
  • Is this your first time in New York?
  • How do you like Chennai?
  • Why did you decide to become an art dealer?

BUSINESS CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • So how long have you actually been with the company?
  • How much decision-making authority do you actually have in this company?
  • Tell me more about this proposal you and I have been discussing. Sell me on the idea.
  • What do you think would be the greatest challenge as far as getting this project to completion?
  • How far along are you as far as getting the necessary financing?
  • What are the next steps?

ENDING THE BUSINESS LUNCH

  • Wow, look at the time! I really must be heading back to the office now.
  • This was lovely, we should try to do this again soon.
  • Thanks for a very pleasant meal but I have to get going.
  • I’m sorry but I’ve got to bolt, I have a meeting in half hour back at the firm. I hope you don’t mind?
  • It’s time to head back to the office, I’m afraid. But this was really nice.

So, these Business Lunch English phrases are just a few of the ones you can use to invite someone to lunch or to converse with someone and have small talk over lunch (or dinner).  Remember the list here is not exhaustive. It is not meant to be a script. The key is to act naturally and to be attentive to your guest and to enjoy  your meal while remaining professional.

Don’t forget to send a follow up email after. It can be the same day or a few days later but not more than seven days later. Some key phrases you could use:

  • It was a pleasure to have met you on Friday for lunch
  • I think we had a very constructive discussion over lunch yesterday and I would very much like to follow up with a meeting with my boss next week.
  • Glad we finally had a chance to meet and talk. We should do that again soon.
  • I hope you enjoyed our lunch as much as I did. You have shed a lot of light on a few things for me and I really do appreciate it immensely.

 

Image: bowl

Image: Coffee

Image: man and woman in London

 


 

NEXT: Business English Role Play for Negotiation


 

Contact us to schedule Business Lunch English role play by Skype, Facetime or WhatsApp. 2 hour minimum.

 

MEMOS and REPORTS: IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?

Memos and  Reports

memos and reports
Pre-planning your memo?

 

LAWYERS, BUSINESS PEOPLE and UNIVERSITY STUDENTS SOMETIMES HAVE TO WRITE MEMOS AND REPORTS. As an English language learner you may be wondering whether there is a difference between memos and reports and if so what is that difference? There are several. Memos are distinct but not totally dissimilar from reports. A report can be a type of memo. But not all reports are memos and most memos are not, technically speaking, reports. With both documents, the aim is to be as concise, structured and clear as possible and provide information to the reader.

PARTS OF A MEMO

  1. Heading
  2. Main
  3. Body
  4. Conclusion

 

PARTS OF A REPORT

  1. Title
  2. Introduction
  3. Main Body
  4. Findings + Results
  5. Recommendations
  6. Conclusion

 

Below are the explanations of the various types of memos and reports and how these should be structured for maximum impact.

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

MEMOS AND REPORTS GENERALLY

As with any other type of writing, it is important to consider the audience, purpose and motivation whether writing a memo (short for “memorandum”) or report since tone, presentation and organization might change depending on these variables. Is this an inter-office communication? Is it a communication between governmental officials or international actors like states or multinational corporate entities? Is this something you are writing in an academic context?

memos and reports
Having fun writing your memo? Or is it a report?

It is also necessary to ask “what is the purpose of this piece of writing?” Is it to Persuade? Inform? Respond? Highlight? Deny? Question? Confirm? Typically, reports are written to inform or give analysis or in depth evaluation of data or to share your findings after a research project; while memos are written to respond, confirm, question, highlight and possibly persuade and/or recommend a particular course of action. Memos (inter-office memos to be exact) in other words, are a step away from being a letter or email correspondence that can be based on merely subjective criteria, while a report is a type of study that tends to share more objective information.

It is important to remember that even within these two domains – memos and reports – there are many different permutations. For example, you have memorandum of understanding, memorandum of law, interoffice memos, inter-company memos; briefing notes, letters and binders (SEE Wikipedia) to name a few. There are many variations of reports as well which will be discussed later.

Memos are usually shorter than reports but not always. A memo can be a half a page long but it can also be several pages. It depends on the purpose of the memo and the writing style of the writer. There are exceptions. Why do you write a inter-office memo? In an interoffice scenario you write a memo in order to give information or to highlight information to to explain something.

MEMOS AND REPORTS: The interoffice memo

Think of your interoffice memo as a letter or email without the “Dear Sir.” Instead of the salutation in the form of “Dear Sir” you will have a header like the following:

TO:

FROM:

DATE:

SUBJECT:

In the body of the memo explain your purpose for writing and get to the point of the memo as quickly as possible. Clarity and brevity are twin friends meaning try to be as clear as possible and get to the point as quickly as possible.

GUIDELINES TO HELP YOU STRUCTURE AN INTER-OFFICE MEMO

– Use a clear subject line.

– You can start the body of the memo in this way: “It has come to my attention that….”

– State your purpose in the first paragraph.

Summarize any potential objections.

– Keep the paragraphs short.

– Use subheads between paragraph groups.

– Use bulleted and numbered lists.

– Request action.”

(Richard Norquist citing Mitchell Ivers, Random House Guide to Good Writing. Ballantine, 1991)

The Legal Memorandum

The legal memorandum or memorandum of law is a special kind of animal. It is usually sent inter-firm from an associate to a partner where the associate analyzes a legal issue or question and recommends action to be taken – whether the firm should get involved in the case or not, based on the likelihood of winning or losing. But it can also be an external memorandum or “brief” which is submitted to the court. The legal memorandum is a mechanism used by lawyers to explain their understanding of a specific legal issue.

The legal memorandum begins with an issue or question then the body of the memo will contain the statement of facts and an analysis of the facts based on the law. Typically the author will include case law and citations in legal memoranda.

The legal memorandum would have recommendations or conclusions

The memorandum of Agreement

Usually an MOA is between two or more parties who reach a consensus to pursue a certain course of action or work on a particular project. It can also be a type of partnership agreement as well as a dispute settlement mechanism.

The Memorandum of Association

Under company/corporate law, this is like the articles of association that lays out the Relationship between the company and the outside.

Memorandum of Understanding

A memorandum of understanding which is more like a contract (and is seen often in public international law where nation states or international entities enter into legally non binding MOU agreements) can be many, many pages long.

Policy memos.

This is a type of briefing note that summarizes in a concise and coherent manner a public Policy issue and provides a recommended course of action.


REPORTS

MEMOS AND REPORTS
Writing a report got you overwhelmed?
Reports are written after making an inquiry, conducting an experiment or doing an investigation. Reports are different from memos in that reports are usually written to inform the audience about factual aspects of a particular issue or subject.

There are different types of reports including but not limited to research reports, analytic reports, situational reports, annual reports and informational reports. In fact, the list is quite extensive on the types of reports there are.

Some examples of reports are:

  • scientific reports
  • recommendation reports
  • white papers annual reports
  • auditor’s reports
  • workplace reports
  • census reports t
  • rip reports
  • progress reports
  • investigative report
  • budget reports
  • policy reports
  • demographic reports
  • credit reports
  • appraisal reports
  • inspection reports
  • military reports
  • bound reports, etc.”
  • (source: Wikipédia)

Structure of a report

Reports are very structured pieces of technical writing and they are usually separated into sections by using headings, subheadings, bullet points and section numbering. Reports require some measure of research and planning in advance of the actual writing of the document.

Many report writers use what is called the IMRAD method:

  • Introduction
  • Method
  • Results; and
  • Discussion

For academic reports you should consider including the following:

  • Title page
  • Summary page
  • Introduction (introduce the five WH words – Who, What? Where, When and Why)
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Summary
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Key considerations when writing a report:

  1. Analysis
  2. Evaluation
  3. Fact-finding
  4. Evidence
  5. Data-gathering
  6. Conclusion-drawing
  7. making recommendations

On making your report more impactful you might:

Include:

  1. Charts
  2. Tables
  3. Graphs
  4. Images
  5. Graphics
  6. Abstracts
  7. Picture
  8. Figures
  9. Surveys

Key Language for making recommendations in a Report

  • It is recommened that
  • It is advisable that
  • It is advisable to
  • This study suggests that
  • One possiblity might be to
  • This report proposes the following
  • Several possible courses of action include:
  • The following is advisable

 

SUMMARY: REPORTS vs MEMO

Memos can introduce reports. But both memos and reports are stand alone documents. You can have one without the other. A memo is a shorter synapses of a report often times. It can basically summarize a report. Interoffice memos are particularly common. Each company uses its own specific format. Usually though, inter office memos begin with a heading that looks something like this:Reports can be written for both an internal and external audience. Typically, though, the audience for a report will be pretty specific and the report itself is based on specific directives and instructions from which the report writer produces the final report with his or her recommendations.

 

BUSINESS ENGLISH ROLE PLAY FOR NEGOTIATION

Many Business English students have asked for business English role play exercises. This business English role play is the first of many to come.  It involves a negotiation between two business men in the Emirates.

Imagine that Mr Smith is an American businessman who has arrived in Abu Dhabi to meet with Mr Khan who heads an oil and gas company in the Middle East.  The two gentlemen will be discussing a deal to build a pipeline in Subsaharan Africa to drill for oil. Get a partner and role play this discussion.

For an example of the type of discussion you could have, see below:

BUSINESS ENGLISH ROLE PLAY

 

Mr Khan: So did you find your way here okay without any problems?

Mr Smith: Yes. It was a smooth taxi ride from my hotel. No complaints whatsoever, Mr Khan. Thank you for asking.

Mr Khan: Good. Are you enjoying the weather? Too hot for you? Just right?

Mr Smith: Oh, splendid.  I am sun and sea type of a guy myself born and raised in Corpus Christie. I enjoy the outdoors, this is definitely my kind of weather.

Mr Khan: Oh good. Sometimes Westerners find our climate a bit too hot. Good to know you can handle it. So let’s cut to the chase, shall we. So as you know we are close to closing a deal with the government of Eritrea to build a new pipeline in the north of the country that will allow us to drill hundreds of tons of crude oil without too much environmental impact. It’s expected to be a bonanza and everybody wants in on this deal. We’ve got some Chinese partners who are interested in partnering up on this and as a matter of fact we are scheduled to meet today.  We are pretty close to a deal. But we wanted to talk with you guys first before we talk with them. Are you ready to make a deal?

Mr Smith: Yes indeed.

Mr Khan: We are looking for an initial investment of USD $200 MILLION in cash wired to our account in Dubai at Emirates bank within 24 hours of closing on the deal.

Mr Smith: We are very interested in making a deal. We’ve done all the due diligence and it looks like a solid project, it does check all the boxes for us but of course it will depend on the final terms. We would like a minimum of 45 percent stake in order for this to make sense for us.

Mr Khan: 45 percent? That is totally out of the question. The maximum we can offer you is 25 percent.

Mr Smith: There seems to be some kind of mistake. Clearly 25 percent is way below what you are authorized to offer and what I am authorized to accept.

Mr Khan:  Thirty percent then. That is our best and final offer, take it or leave it.

Mr Smith: Excuse me, Mr Khan but my understanding from my superiors is that the final decision for this project rests with Mr Karim Nadel Al Khomeni. And Mr Nadel just this morning before I arrived at your office personally assured me that a 45 percent stake was within the realm of possibility for this project. Now, I know Mr Nadel is currently in Qatar and cannot personally attend this meeting in person-

Mr Khan: I’m sorry, excuse me, Mr Smith. You spoke with Mr Nadel this morning from his home in Qatar and he informed you that a 45 percent stake in this project was possible?

Mr Smith: yes, indeed.

Mr Khan: This is news to me, Sir. I am afraid I will have to speak with Mr Nadel before further talks on this matter.

Mr Smith: I’ve got his contact details we can call him now and put him on speaker phone I am sure he won’t mind.

Mr Khan: No, no, no, no, no. I don’t think that would be a good idea. I would need to speak with Mr Nadel privately and get back to you on this matter. Would you mind if we postpone further discussions till tomorrow?

Mr Smith: Well, I suppose not however I was in fact scheduled to fly back to Texas tomorrow evening. I guess I can always cancel the flight if need be.

Mr Khan: Thank you for your understanding, Mr Smith and do excuse this confusion.

Mr Smith: Of course it’s no problem. Shall we reconvene tomorrow then?

Mr Khan: Yes, tomorrow.

Both men get to their feet and shake hands.

 

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Now it is your turn to act out your own business English role play. You do not have to use the same approach you can be totally creative and original. Have fun with it and focus on having a “natural” dialogue.

 

NEXT: Welcoming a visitor in English to your country

AFTER: Business Lunch English