The art of a small talk

How to improve your English

Business know-how

Read the rest of the text and complete the following chart.

You will need to infer some of the information.

Differences in attitudes and behavior

Western Japanese

1.. use last name followed by san

2. subtle status symbols

speak your mind 3..

time is money 4..

regular hours with time off 5..

humour is vital and varied 6.

rarely meet outside work 7..

meetings outside work purely social 8..

more to life than work 9.

10. Karoshi



1. Work in pairs. Discuss what you can do to improve your English for business.

2. Read the tips. Do you do any of these things already?


-Study a bit every a day, not once or twice a week.

-Choose ten business words to learn each week.

-Get to know your dictionary and grammar book.

-Find business training websites in English.

-Move your mouth! Read out loud.

-Memorize expressions for business writing.

-Watch an English film with subtitles to help you.

-Read a news article in business press every day.

-Take an international business English exam.

1 Introduce yourself and use a tag line, e.g. Hi, Im Jules from Munich. This can get the conversation started as your colleague can ask a question about your home town or your trip.

2 When your colleague introduces himself/herself, try to repeat his/her name when you reply, or use their name later in the conversation.

3 Break the ice with a comment about a current news story or remark about the event youre at, its location and the weather.

4 Avoid these topics of conversation: your health, your private life, gossip. The best conversation topics are sports, books, theatre, movies, food, museums and travel. Try and find a shared experience or something else you have in common.

5. Keep the conversation flowing by not monopolizing the conversation. Ask a question and really listen to your colleagues reply. Then respond with comments from your personal experience and ask another question.

6 Ask open questions which require more than a one-word answer. If your colleague asks a Yes/No question, give extra information.

7 Sounds like hmm and phrases like Really can be used to indicate that you are listening and interested, and will encourage your colleague to tell you more.

8 Share information about yourself but keep it positive. People dont like colleagues who are negative, depressed or who complain a lot.

9 Remember your exit strategy. Have some phrases ready for excusing yourself politely and moving to another group of people, e.g. It was nice talking to you. Ill see you later.A transition word like Wellcan also communicate that its time to stop.

10 If youve enjoyed talking with your colleague, tell them so, e.g. Ive really enjoyed talking with you. I hope we have the chance to talk again soon.Leave a positive final impression with a smile and strong handshake.