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Top Tips for Business English
Teaching socializing skills
Basics socializing
Activities  Teacher's notes

Top Tips for Business English
Teaching socializing skills
by Rosemary Richey

Teacher's notes

> Main article
> Activities

Aim of worksheet and language level

To expand basic vocabulary commonly used in a socializing context, and to use the Macmillan English Dictionary to explore the meaning and context words and phrases are used in.

The worksheet emphasizes practical language for upper intermediate to advanced levels. It is appropriate for one to one lessons or groups.

Time and materials

The overall timing for the activities should be about 50 minutes. This will depend on the size of the class, and if it is set up as pair or group work, or as a one to one practice. Students need access to the Macmillan English Dictionary (MED). Teachers will need at least a flipchart and whiteboard and ideally an OHP/OHTs.


Activities 1 and 2

1 Distribute the worksheets. Do a pre-task discussion of socializing with the students. Elicit the positive and negative sides of socializing in business. Discuss how these points affect students' confidence in using English.
2 Briefly go through the introduction with the class.
3 Have the students in pairs or group do activities 1 and 2.
4 Review the answers by each pair or group contributing their findings.
5 Display the possible answers on an OHT or give as handouts, and discuss any difficulty students may have had in finding certain phrases in the dictionary.

Example answers for activity 2

a instead of or as a representative of someone
b senior
c help someone
d to drink (your tea with something added)
e suitable for a particular purpose
f very bad
g pleasant
h area or type of work or employment
i giving satisfaction, pleasure or profit
j said or brought up something in conversation
k something you do for someone else in order to help them
l want
m drinks for all in a group
n say that people should have a toast
o succeed in talking (or communicating) with someone
p occasion when you travel from one place to another (especially with long distances)

Activities 3 and 4

1 Students do the activities individually and then compare answers with a partner. Have them check their answers in the dictionary.
2 Go over the answers with the students as a final check, and display them on an OHP or flipchart.

Answers for Activity 3

a take
d reached
b rewarding e fancy
c dismal    

Answers for Activity 4

a sensitive
d proximity/offended
b titles e stereotype
c taboo/avoid    


Here are some tips for activities 1 to 3 as extra class practice or homework. In each case students check the dictionary for their answers.

1 Have the students look for other phrases with the verb give that name parts of the body, e.g. arm, eye, teeth, elbow, etc. Students write down example sentences of how the phrases are used. Discuss with them how the body parts underscore the meaning of the phrases, and in what register and situations the phrases may be heard.
2 Students compile a brief list of positive and negative weather words that could be used in small talk. Start off the list with the example of dismal and cheerful.
3 To expand on the meaning of propose a toast, elicit from the students typical best wishes, congratulations associated with giving toasts.
4 Expand practice on the meaning of rewarding. Students can check on other word formations of reward and give examples from their jobs about rewards and what is rewarding about their work.
5 Have students brainstorm 3 or 4 other ways to use reach. Get them to write examples sentences for phrases such as reach to, reach as far as, reach out, reach into, reach for, reach across.

Follow-up on activity 4

1 Discuss examples of cultural stereotypes. Are they usually true or not? How do we stay away from stereotyping in business?
2 Elicit 4-5 other points about body language. Proximity or closeness when standing or sitting next to a client could give mixed signals. Students can write down their ideas and then discuss in pairs or groups.