Read the text and choose the best word for each space.
It is often considered impolite and sometimes
very rude not to respect cultural and religious customs when doing
business in the Middle East. Here is some advice on what to do and what not to do in Muslim countries.
One important point to remember is to dress despite the heat. A suit, shirt and tie are acceptable for men,
and women should remember not to wear short skirts or low-cut,
tight-fitting blouses and tops. As a sign of respect, it is better to
as much of the body as possible. The arms with long-sleeved
blouses, and the legs with trousers or long skirts.
Meetings could start a little late in this of the world. This is often acceptable and should not be
commented on. Meetings tend to start with a lot of preliminary
before moving onto the serious topics, so it is essential for
visitors not to things. Business meetings often appear casual and informal,
often in cafés or restaurants. But be careful! When talk turns to business
things can move very quickly, and deals are made in much
time than in Western Europe.
The Arabic handshake involves touching the heart with the
of the right hand after each shake, although visitors should
note that when Arab women they should not offer their hand unless the woman
gives her hand first. It shows politeness to to a man as ‘Sayed’ (Mr) and to a woman as ‘Sayeda’ (Mrs),
followed by the first name. It is also very important for visitors never
to sit in such a way that their feet are pointing directly at someone
is considered extremely offensive if you cause a client or a colleague to
lose , so if you want to correct or criticise someone, wait until you
are with them later.
Friday is considered a day of prayer and rest, so meetings should not be
for this day. Phone calls to Arab people should also be avoided
on Fridays. Similarly, local people will not answer the telephone
siestas, which are usually taken between 2 pm and 5 pm.
Business hours are Saturday to Wednesday 8 am –1 pm and 4 pm –7 pm.
Businesses which are by Western staff might open Sunday to Thursday 8 am – 5 pm.
Business socialising in Dubai can be quite formal. Lunch meetings are more
common than evening meetings and sometimes business meals will be
in places that do not serve alcohol. So, if you ask for it you may
embarrass or even insult your host.
Political tension is often high in the Middle East and visitors are
strongly advised not to politics. If you are asked for your opinion, be careful. It is
probably a good idea to stay neutral.
Listen to check
Read the following text about business etiquette in Miami (Florida).
close proximity to Latin America makes it a fascinating place to do
business. Throughout the past decade, a large number of companies from the
Caribbean, Central and South America have set up offices here and, as a
result, Greater Miami’s workforce has grown younger, more multilingual and
more culturally diverse. However, for business purposes, it is still
essentially America. Therefore, dress code is smart and business is
managed the American way – quickly, efficiently and frankly. Business
cards should always be presented. Outside the boardroom, Americans are
often informal and will use first names. Business socialising, drinking
and dining is popular in Miami.
Office hours are generally 0900-1700, although these can vary slightly
from one organisation to the next. When public holidays occur on a weekday
or weekend, they are usually celebrated on the nearest Friday or Monday,
thereby creating a three-day weekend. Meetings often take place in social
situations and, because of the fast-paced business life of Americans,
breakfast meetings are common. Lunch meetings are also popular, sometimes
with alcohol. Meetings may also take place over the weekend.
Now complete the following definitions with words from the text. Follow the
Example: Ten years is
a business or an office is to
open or start it. 2. The total number of people who work for a company is its
. 3. If something is it has
variety. This word is similar in Spanish. 4. If your clothes are ,
you look good and you are probably fashionable and chic. 5. To speak is to be
honest and direct. 6. The is the place where
the directors of a company hold meetings. 7. is eating dinner
usually in a formal way. 8. To means to change or
be a little different. The Spanish word for this is similar. 9. is a formal adverb, and
in Spanish it means por eso/ello, de ese modo or por esa razón 10. The phrasal verb to
means to happen or occur (ocurrir) 11. If something is
it goes or moves very quickly.
Listen and repeat the sentences.
Now complete the following sentences with words from the previous exercise
(you can write two words in one space).
1. You look very
in that suit David. Are you going somewhere special? 2. When our flat became too small to run our business efficiently,
an office quite near to where we live. 3. There are seventeen employees in our
, and four are on part-time contracts. 4. Tomorrows presentation will start at 11am in the
speaking, I don’t think we can afford another advertising campaign this
year. 6. New York City has a very
lifestyle. 7. I enjoy
in good restaurants when I travel and trying local specialities. 8. The next meeting between our two companies will
on July 5th.
Listen and repeat the sentences.
Before you read a text on business socialising, match the following words to
make some common expressions. Follow the examples.
to be lost
to be difficult
to come across
*an acquaintance = amistad, conocido
Listen and repeat the sentences.
to hang out*
*pasar el rato
Listen and repeat the sentences.
Listen and repeat the sentences.
Predict what you would do in the following social situations. Choose a), b)
1. You have been invited to a
business party where there will be people you do not know. Do you…
a) make a list of possible topics of discussion before you go.
b) wait until you get there and think of things to discuss at the
c) wait for other guests to introduce topics of conversation.
2. At the party do you…
a) wait for people to come to you and introduce themselves.
b) make sure you speak and introduce yourself to everyone in the
c) only speak to people who seem to be open and friendly.
3. Do you prefer to be…
a) standing in the corner or at the side of the room where you can
b) sitting in a chair and watching people who are standing and
c) standing in the middle of the room with people around you.
4. If you only know one or two people at a party, do you
a) stay with them all the time.
b) make sure you circulate as much as possible and meet as many new
people as you can.
c) try to speak to one or two new people.
5. Which of the following is NOT a good way to begin a good
conversation at a business party:
a) “What’s your opinion on……?”
b) “Is this your first visit to……?”
c) “Don’t speak to the guy with the blue tie, he’s German.”
Now read and compare your answers with text.
How often have you been lost for words at a
business party? You speak about the weather, the picture on the wall,
And then what? During cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, you can make new
business contacts or cement relationships with existing customers. But
most of us hate superficial small talk and don't know how to make
polite chitchat at office parties.
It's really not as hard as you think, says Ewen Mee, a communication
expert and author of ‘How to Move in Modern Business’. Here Mee
highlights six important ‘DON’TS’ and gives some useful advice on how
to communicate effectively in certain small talk situations.
1. Arriving empty-headed
"People walk into a room full of strangers, and they don't know what
to talk about," Mee says. Few of us are good at thinking on the spot,
and it shows when we're trying to make clever conversation at a
moments notice. The usual result is boring business talk or repeating
yourself because you've run out of topics to discuss. Instead, select
some conversation subjects before you get to the party. "It's
important to have a good variety of topics," Mee says. "If not, you'll
end up talking about work, and your business may not be an appropriate
topic of conversation." Mee suggests talking about the "big things"
that are going on in your life: a home-improvement project, your
favourite activity or pastime or a new addition to your family,
whether it's a child or a dog. Letting people hear about your personal
life can make you a more interesting conversation partner, and sharing
personal details about yourself helps to relax the people around you
and encourage them to open up more. Talking about business is not
always a bad idea, as long as you think about what things a person who
is not in your company would find interesting.
2. Assuming everyone's acquainted
Don’t automatically think that you’re the only person who doesn’t know
anyone. People who think that way usually run away and hide behind a
plant or stay close to the walls. Behaving this way will make you look
shy, introverted and difficult to approach. Assume that nobody knows
anyone. "Walk into the room with the attitude that people want to meet
you. That's why people come to parties, to socialize," Mee says. If
you keep your thoughts positive and outgoing, it will be easier to go
up to someone and introduce yourself. You'll also come across as
confident and as somebody that people want to get to know.
3. Waiting for introductions
Once you've acknowledged that there are acquaintances to be made,
don't wait for others to make the first move. "It's a mistake to wait
for others to introduce themselves," Mee says. "It's taking a passive
approach and it's similar to sitting in a chair and being the 'potted
plant.' It makes people feel that they have to do all the work." And
if you don't start the introductions, it's quite possible that, either
because of laziness or shyness, no one else will be the first to say
"Hi." Mee suggests a simple five-step introductory process:
1. Establish eye contact
3. Put your hand out to invite a handshake
4. Say hello
5. Introduce yourself.
People will be relieved and grateful that you've taken the initiative.
Most people will enjoy talking to you, but be careful not to interrupt
private, intense conversations. Body language should help you decide
if people are happy to be approached or not. Feel free to join a large
group, but ask permission before you attach yourself to a group. Say
something like, ‘Do you mind if I join you?’ or ‘I hope I’m not
4. Getting distracted
Even if you go to the business party with the appropriate outgoing
attitude, you can lose it if you don't actively participate. "You walk
into the room, sit down in the chair and grow roots like a potted
plant," Mee says. That's a mistake because it gives other people the
impression that they're supposed to come to you. "It makes it
difficult to approach you and you appear closed and defensive," Mee
”Keep circulating and move toward the area of the room where people
are congregating," Mee advises. "It shows you are available for
conversation and that you're confident and ready to interact." You
don't have to be moving continually, but when you do stop, find a
place conducive to communication. Hanging out by the buffet table can
be a good location, as is the centre of the room. Try to avoid staying
close to the walls.
5. Bad body Language
When people are tense or bored they tend to let their shoulders drop
and cross their arms. They don't smile, and if they're nervous, they
avoid making eye contact. These are the wrong messages to send at a
party. It's like putting up a "don't talk to me" sign or worse, one
that reads, "I don't want to talk to you." "You're telling your client
that he or she is boring or that you don't care about them," Mee says.
Try to make your body language open and welcoming . Uncross your arms
and rest them by your sides or put a hand in your pocket. And always
remember to smile and make eye contact. Even if you don't have
anything brilliant to say, just having good body language will help
make a good impression.
6. Never saying goodbye
People come to parties to mingle. If you hold onto the one person you
know at a party, you won't seem open and won't meet many people. It's
important to get to know others. But you've also got to know when it's
time to say goodbye. There's a real art to successfully leaving party
conversations. When you're ready to move on, use the person's name and
make eye contact. Give a warm smile and say you enjoyed the
discussion, but that you need to speak to some other people at the
party. It’s a nice idea to repeat something the person told you and
say how you found the comment interesting. If you sincerely want to
speak to this person again, ask if you could stay in contact and
exchange business cards.
"Here are five ways to start a good conversation and show genuine
interest in another person:
- "I noticed..."
- "Tell me..."
- "I appreciate..."
- "What do you think..." , What’s your opinion on…” or, "I need some
- "Why do you say that..."
"Listening is very important to proper communication. Listen first and
then reply in the same business manner of the person you are
communicating with. Watch your conversation partner for signs of
understanding. Their English may not be as good as yours. Remember
that body language, direct eye contact, open honesty and a healthy
positive attitude go a long way.”
chitchat – chismes, habladurías at a moment’s notice – en el acto, inmediatamente, casi sin
aviso to run out of sth. – quedarse sin algo to end up – terminar, acabar to hide – esconderse to approach – acercarse to assume – suponer to acknowledge – reconocer to relieve – aliviar, tranquilizar to join – reunirse con, unirse a, juntarse con to let sth. drop – dejar caer to mingle – mezclarse, charlar con gente (en una fiesta,
reunión) manner – manera, forma
Read the text again and answer the following questions.
1. Which of these is not one of Ewen
Mee’s suggestions for conversation topics:
a) your dog
b) your house
c) your tax returns
2. According to Ewen Mee, why is it a good idea to talk about
personal topics at business parties?
a) You may get some good advice.
b) Your conversation partner will probably feel more comfortable with
c) Your partner may have the same problems as you.
3. Which of these adjectives best describes the way you should
appear when you are socialising?
a) positive, outgoing, confident
b) repetitive, brilliant, passive
c) shy, introverted, nervous
4.Mee says that you should start the introductions because
a) you can choose who you speak to.
b) maybe nobody else will do it.
c) people are naturally shy.
5.According to Mee, one way to meet people is to
a) take a potted plant
b) eat a lot
c) stand next to the buffet table.
6. Which of the following is good body language?
a) crossed arms
b) uncrossed arms
c) looking down
d) dropped shoulders
7. When Mee advises us not to ‘hold on to one person’ at a party,
a) do not physically touch anyone.
b) do not be too friendly with the opposite sex.
c) speak to a lot of different people.
8. When you say goodbye to someone you should not
e) smile and say you enjoyed speaking with the person.
f) ask for a business card.
g) say you want to move on and meet people who are more interesting.
h) repeat something that they said earlier.