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TOPIC: Language tips for business lunches and dinners

Language tips for business lunches and dinners #644

  • Dr_English
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One of the keys of being a good host during a meal is making sure the conversation flows. It is a good idea to get the other person talking as this takes the pressure off you and people love talking about themselves.

A great way to get people talking is to ask open questions, or a series of open and closed questions that build on each other. If you are asking a series of questions, the follow up questions shouldn’t sound forced and unnatural, and should build on the previous answer. You can then show that you are paying attention to what your colleague is saying by using confirmation statements and questions.

Here are some suggestions that may help:

Conversation starters

So, what do you think about Hong Kong so far?
Looking forward to the weekend? What do you have planned?
What are your holiday plans for this year?
I’ve never been to Boston. What would you suggest I do if I visit?
I have always been fascinated with Indian culture. What would you say the biggest challenge is for visitors to India?
I know you have only been in Germany for a week, but how does it compare with Brazil?
Do you follow football? What sports or hobbies interest you?
I’m sorry the weather has been so bad here in Germany. How is the climate in Shanghai?

Follow up statements/questions

What exactly do you mean by different customs?
And where else have you visited in Europe? Nice. What did you think about Madrid?
Tell me more about your school system in Sweden. That sounds really interesting.
That’s cool. How did you become interested in playing the guitar?
Really? Why is American football so popular?

Active listening/confirmation statements

I had no idea that skydiving was so common there. That is really fascinating.
So, you are saying that teenagers can drive a car when they are 15 years old? Wow!
Really? I didn’t know Americans don’t need a visa when they visit Europe.
Ok, I understand why you might think that is difficult.
How did you feel when that happened?
What did you say to him after that?
Dr English
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