welcoming a visitor in English

Welcoming a Visitor in English to Your Country: Small Talk for Business People & Professionals


Do you have to meet a visitor soon and are wondering what are the rules for welcoming a visitor in English? Often times, you may be called upon to pick up someone at the airport and transport them to their hotel.  The drive from the car to the hotel could be a very short one as well as it could be relatively long. So you need to keep a conversation going. But often times, you will be meeting this person at your office, your home or even in the bar at their hotel.

If you are concerned about sounding like a “native” speaker with your English speaking guest, just get that out of your mind right now. You don’t have to sound like a native but you can sound more “natural” with a few key phrases and questions.


The Flight:  When welcoming a visitor in English to your country here are some questions you can ask about their flight:

  1. How was your flight?
  2. Was it a smooth flight?
  3. Did you have a good flight?
  4. Was the flight okay?
  5. How was your trip?
  6. Did you have any delays or was your flight on time?
  7. How long was your flight?
  8. Was your flight direct? Or did you have to transfer?
  9. Did you find your way here alright?
  10. Are you feeling jet lagged?
  11. How long are you staying?
  12. Did you have any trouble finding your luggage?
  13. Have you flown this airline before?
  14. Would you fly this airline again?

About general matters:

  1. Which hotel are you staying in?
  2. How long will you be staying?
  3. Can I offer you a drink?
  4. Would you like something to drink?
  5. Have you had anything to eat?
  6. Would you like to grab a bite to eat?
  7. Can I offer you a cup of tea?
  8. Any plans for sight-seeing?
  9. What’s on the agenda for the weekend?

About themselves: When welcoming a visitor in English to your country, you obviously need to ask them about themselves:

  1. So which part of the United States are you from?
  2. Have you always lived in this state?
  3. How long have you been with the company?
  4. Is this your first time representing your company in this country?
  5. Which region are you from?
  6. Your accent is interesting; can you tell me where your accent comes from?
  7. Do you have kids?
  8. Where are you currently based?
  9. how long have you been working in this industry?
  10. Are you interested in sports?
  11. Do you drink? What would you like?
  12. What Can get you?
  13. What do you like to do in your free time?
  14. Is this your first time here?
  15. How long are you here for?
  16. What kind of food/cuisine do you prefer?

About the weather: When welcoming a visitor in English to your country the weather is always a safe conversational topic:

  1. How is the weather where you are coming from?
  2. Do you mind the cold?
  3. You don’t mind the bad weather do you?
  4. How are you coping in the heat?
  5. Isn’t this weather just wonderful?
  6. Isn’t this weather just awful?
  7. Do you mind if I open the window to let in the fresh air?
  8. Is it cold enough for you?
  9. Is your coat warm enough?
  10. Would you prefer that i turned down the heat?
  11. Is it too hot for you?
  12. Is it too cold for you?

Current events: When welcoming a visitor to your country, current events can be a good topic of conversation but you should exercise discretion depending on the situation as this set of questions could have some controversy for some people

  1. What is the latest news on this story?
  2. What is the political situation back in your country?
  3. What is your opinion on your current president?
  4. Do you think your president will win again in the next election?
  5. Did you vote for Obama?
  6. Why do you think your president took that position?
  7. What is the latest on the crisis?
  8. Do you know if anyone survive?
  9. Were there hostages?
  10. Was it a terrorist act?

NEXT: How to do Business with Americans 

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