Lesson 1 - Meeting and greeting people

1.1.2022, , Izvor: Verlag Dashöfer

Lesson 1 - Meeting and greeting people


We meet all kinds of people in business and the situations in which we need to use English vary. Furthermore, the kinds of communication we use differ depending on the situation. You can be in a situation when you need to use English for talking to people from your company who don‘t speak your language. These may be your colleagues, managers of higher status or your subordinates. They may work in the same place as you do, in another office, or even another branch. Moreover, you may have to deal with people from outside of your company in English: suppliers, clients, visitors, or the public.

These people may be strangers, acquaintances or friends. They might be of your age, younger or older than you. The relation you have with a person determines the kind of language you use. It may even affect the expression you use or the words you say when you meet people: it‘s not appropriate to say ”Hi. How are you?“ when meeting the director general of a large company, or to say ”Good afternoon, it‘s a great pleasure to meet you.“ when being introduced to somebody you will be working closely with.

Another example could be saying: ”You can‘t be serious!“. In a serious conversation this statement would mean that the person does not take you seriously. This is obviously a bad sign and would call for you to explain your position in more detail. However, if this comment were made during a lunch while you were telling a funny story, the statement would mean that the person found your joke amusing. It could make you continue telling more of the story.

People form an impression not only from the way you do your work but also from the way you behave and speak. Your body language, gestures, and expressions may also tell people more about you than the words you use.

Finally, people in different countries have different ideas of what sounds friendly, sincere, or polite, as well as what is considered rude or unfriendly. Good manners in one culture may be considered bad manners in another.

1.1 The Aim of the Lesson

  • - to learn new vocabulary connected with greetings (formal vs. informal), introducing yourself, your job position, what do you do, jobs and job descriptions, types of work, ways of working, conversation topics, obtaining and giving information
  • - to learn small talk strategies
  • - to practice usage of appropriate language when starting a conversation, maintaining or finishing a conversation
  • - to learn and practice question formation, especially question tags
  • - to foster new and already known vocabulary, phrases and idioms


2.1 Starting the Conversation – Introducing Yourself

Participating effectively in Business English environment not only requires knowledge of English grammar, but also an understanding of key communication factors. This feature focuses on key points you might want to consider each time you use English.

The following sections also give helpful language hints as to the most appropriate forms of English to be used in each situation.

Here is a list of the important factors that need to be understood in each communication situation:

Function: What is the main purpose of the conversation?
Domain: What is my position in this conversation? What is my role?
Register Use: Who am I speaking with?
Urgency: How important is what I have to say?

Is the conversation about making a serious decision? Is the conversation entertaining?

Generally, language functions, which include negotiations, interviews, presentations, etc., call for more formal language structures.

Informal occasions call for more informal language; in fact, informal occasions allow you the time to show off your knowledge of idiomatic language. It's best to not use colloquial or idiomatic language when using formal language functions.

Every conversation starts with an introduction. This might be formal, informal or neutral, depending on the situation. In formal situations it is expected that the person in higher positionintroduces the person in lower position.

Exercise 1: Write short answers to these questions.

  1. Which factors need to be understood in each communication situation?
  2. When is it not appropriate to use colloquial or idiomatic language?

Exercise 2: Skim through these simple dialogues and decide which of them are formal, neutral and informal.

  1. Richard: Hello Mary. How are you today?

Mary: Hello Richard. I‘m fine, thanks.

Richard: Mary, I‘d like to introduce you our new colleague Kate Bell, she will be working in our department as a new software designer.

Mary: Nice to meet you Kate, I hope you will like it here.

Kate: Nice to meet you too, Mary.

  1. Mr. Klee: Good afternoon. I don‘t think we‘ve been introduced yet. Therefore, let me introduce myself, my name is Martin Klee and I work as a senior manager for SPH Bank.

Mr. Edge: Good afternoon, it‘s a great pleasure to meet you. My name is Carl Edge and I am a brand manager in H&D. I‘m glad to meet you…

  1. Rachel:Hi Peter I haven‘t seen you for ages! How are you?

Peter: Hi Rachel, I‘m fine thanks. I would like you to meet somebody. This is my very good friend from Sweden, Olaf.

Olaf: Hi, nice to meet you, I‘m Olaf but everyone calls me Oli.

Rachel: Nice to meet you Oli.

The conversations above are very simple. The phrases in bold are used in a formal environment, whereas the other phrases are usually used in informal or neutral situations.

Here are some more phrases you may use in formal situations:

How do you do?*
How are you?*
How have you been?*

*Keep in mind that you are not required to respond to these questions honestly. You are not really being asked about your wellbeing. Either respond with a positive answer (examples listed below) or simply reply with another question. In case you are asked ”How do you do?“ it is very acceptable to reply in the exact same way, with ”How do you do?“

I‘m - very well, quite well, great, splendid, wonderful...

In an informal or neutral environment, it is acceptable to use the following

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