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FEATURE
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The intercultural dimension
of Business English

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Top Tips for Business English
Teaching meeting skills:
Meeting Essentials 2
Activities  Teacher's notes

onestopenglish.com

Top Tips for Business English
Teaching meeting skills
by Rosemary Richey

Teacher's notes

> Main article
> Activities

Aim of activities and language level

To expand vocabulary related to business meetings with special focus on etiquette. The activities provide practical language for upper intermediate to advanced levels. They are is suitable for one to one lessons or groups.

Time and materials

Allow about 50 minutes for the activities. The time you'll need 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 copies of the Macmillan English Dictionary (MED). Teachers will need at least a flipchart and whiteboard, and ideally an OHP/OHTs.

Procedures

Activities 1 and 2

1 Preview the topic of meetings with a 5 minute discussion to find out if students regularly attend meetings either in their own language or in English. Find out if their meetings involve local or international colleagues or clients.
2 Briefly discuss the introduction with the students, then ask them to form pairs or groups and to do activities 1 and 2.
3 Check the answers by each pair or group contributing their findings, and display the possible answers on the OHP or give as handouts.

Example answers

a rules about behaviour in a profession
b achieving good results
c to say something to stop someone when they're speaking
d to talk about something for a long time in a way that is boring or annoying
e to control something in a negative way
f politeness
g willing to consider new ideas
h someone who takes part in a meeting
i expressed in few words and in a way that is easy to understand
j to improve something

Activity 3

1 Students do the activity individually and then compare answers with a partner.
2 Write 2-3 possible word forms for each word on the whiteboard and ask students to identify the correct one for each sentence.

Answers

1 participate 2 courteous 3 interruptions 4 rambling
5 open-mindedness

Activity 4

1 Students complete the activity with a partner. Using the dictionary, they can exchange and compare their answers and example sentences with another pair of students.
2 Elicit 2-3 example sentences and have students write them on a flipchart or whiteboard.

Answers

agree disagree
to be in agreement
to be of the same opinion
to go along with
to see eye to eye
to differ
to object
to take issue

Follow-up

1 Open a discussion of any other points students can add to the do's and don'ts list from activity 1. Have students explain why each makes either a positive or negative impression. Discuss the impact of etiquette when dealing with people from other cultures in a meeting situation. Elicit any examples from the students' own experience.
2 If time allows, have students look at the entries for courtesy in MED. Discuss examples of common courtesy in business. Ask for examples of what a courtesy call is in business. Then check the meaning and elicit examples of using courtesy of.
3 From activity 4, focus on interesting dictionary entries such as to take issue with or to differ. Ask students to work in pairs and to look at the collocations box for the noun issue in the dictionary. Give examples of how to use beg to differ or agree to differ.
4 Create some role cards with mini-meeting practice for pairs. Write a question on each card and ask students to discuss language to agree/disagree and to show good business manners. Take your questions from current events, news or from the students' own work situations. Time the quick meetings for 5 minutes, then invite a couple of pairs to do their meetings in front of the class. The rest of the students listen and comment on the pair's use of language in terms of polite business etiquette.

Hints and tips

1 Review the answers yourself in MED with both the CD and the dictionary.
2 Practise with as many authentic examples from students' work situation as needed for understanding the language used in a meeting context.