One of the requirements for international business communication is an excellent knowledge of the English language. That being said, we all know to use English properly, don’t we? Our self-perception and what and how we communicate are not identical: learning English in school is not enough for keeping pace in complex business negotiations. We want you to succeed during your meeting in English and that is why we wrote this article in English. So go along and memorize some important sentences and phrases.
Small talk is better than no talk!
Small talk is oftentimes being looked down upon in the German culture. It seems trivial: why should we talk about shallow topics when we could discuss something important instead? Our guiding principle is to be efficient and to not “waste” time with off-topic conversations.
However, this guiding principle should not take the lead during your meeting in English. People from Great Britain or the United States are well-known for their use of small talk and many other nations share this habit. So be prepared to talk about the weather.
Small talk: important sentences and set phrases
Do you remember the way you were taught to introduce yourself?
- “My name is Max Mustermann.”
This seems to be the proper way for self-introduction, isn’t it? In reality, this way to introduce yourself is considered unprofessional in the business-context – stating your name is enough:
- "Max Mustermann. Nice to meet you.“
Here are additional sentences in English for your meeting and their German translations:
- Nice to meet you: Schön, Sie kennenzulernen.
- Nice to see you again: Schön, Sie wiederzusehen.
- Let me introduce you to …: Darf ich Ihnen … vorstellen?
- I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name: Es tut mir leid, ich habe Ihren Namen nicht mitbekommen.
- Nice weather, isn’t it?: Schönes Wetter, nicht wahr?
- It’s a bit cold for this time of year, isn’t it?: Für diese Jahreszeit ist es ein wenig kalt, nicht wahr?
- Please take a seat: Setzen Sie sich doch!
English phrases for your business meeting
It is obvious that you should not use set phrases without knowing whether they are appropriate for the situation. You should still learn popular phrases like the following ones even if you just want to understand their meaning:
- kick-off meeting: the first meeting at the beginning of a project or the first phase of a project which includes getting to know all participants and setting goals
- to think outside the box: thinking in unusual ways
- It's a no brainer: this task is no challenge at all
- USP: Unique Selling Proposition, a factor that shows how your products or services are different from – and better than – those of your competitors
Business English: Do I talk or do I keep silent?
Being non-native speakers, we all are insecure and afraid to make mistakes during business meetings. So we tend to keep silent most of the time and do not dare to speak. However, especially while being abroad it is important to establish your presence during communicative situations. Do not be afraid of making mistakes: people do not necessarily remember what you said, but rather how you said it. Communicating in a pleasant and constructive way can overplay small mistakes with your use of vocabulary and grammar.
More hints and tools for your meeting in English
If you want to learn terms which are used in your industry, you have to engage actively with them. You can achieve this by regularly reading trade publications in English or by listening to relevant podcasts. This way, you extend your passive vocabulary knowledge and thus your understanding of complicated and technical topics in English. However, as the name implies, you have to get active for your active vocabulary and you can achieve this by going to language classes or using tools.
These tools help you master your meeting in English
The world is growing together and technology is helping this process: you no longer need to carry around thick and heavy dictionaries to memorize important words or sentences for your meeting. Use tools and apps instead for your written or spoken translations and your learning. If you are travelling, we suggest using these eight highly effective tools for you to overcome the language barrier
Are you looking for the right location for your meeting? Our Sofitel hotels
offer everything you need for a successful meeting. Here you can relax and fully focus on your discussion.