Why do Effective Business English Dialogue Skills Matter Today?
Business English is the language of transactions and getting things done. We use it in our everyday lives in buying goods, asking for directions, and inquiring about and paying bills. Moreover, Business English encompasses our professional lives, from our job application process to our everyday office conversations.
Effective Business English dialogue skills make you achieve your goal in a conversation. In the fast-paced business world, it is important to convey your message with brevity, flexibility, and accuracy.
When you speak clearly and intentionally, you create more meaningful and productive conversations between yourself and others. Therefore, the utmost importance of business English dialogue skills is making successful conversations.
Why do English Learners find Developing Business Dialogue Skills Hard?
Learners, both native and non-native English speakers, find it hard to develop business dialogue skills because it is different from the informal dialogue. Business dialogues use formal language and follow definite rules.
English learners often find it difficult to adjust their tone when speaking to colleagues, business partners, associates, and executive members. The formal language of business uses jargon, idioms, and phrasal verbs that learners don’t usually use in everyday casual conversations.
Aside from this, learners encounter challenges in finding English lessons that expound on listening and speaking exercises in real-life common office conversations.
With proper study material and consistent practice, English learners can grasp strategies and overcome hardships in developing business dialogue skills.
What are Effective Strategies to Learn Business Dialogue Skills in English
There are many ways to learn business dialogue skills in English. The strategies differ between corporate improvement and individual exercises, but ultimately, the best strategy is practicing business conversation skills daily.
Businesses should invest in their employees as part of their business development plans. This means that they should continuously provide opportunities for professional development. Here are three ways to learn business dialogue skills at an enterprise level:
- provide access to learn Business English online through corporate training or paid courses
- make business information like protocols and organizational structure available for reference
- use project management tools to streamline communication
Individual learners have the flexibility to create a study plan to learn business English conversations. Here are some tips to get better at speaking business conversation skills:
- find your perfect conversation partner to practice with (e.g., an English foreign speaker, business savvy friend)
- simulate business situations like interviews, meetings, and presentations
- listen to business news and podcasts
- read books, journals, and blogs about your profession
- explore social media and connect with the business community
How Should Business English Learners Practice Speaking Skills?
Business English learners often face difficulty speaking confidently in meetings or presentations. The first step for improvement is to assess the level of your skill. After that, the development of your speaking skills will be on an upward trend.
Beginner learners usually have little background knowledge about English speaking skills. Their first step would be familiarizing themselves with the common words and expanding their business vocabulary.
Secondly, they should study the business basics of their target profession. For example: if a beginner learner’s target is to enter the marketing industry, they should research the typical processes in that field.
Learners in this stage acquire the core speaking skills by listening and mimicking. A model or instructor should demonstrate common work conversations (e.g., greetings, introducing one’s self, asking for information, borrowing materials). The learners’ task would be to copy the model until they achieve mastery. Mimicking activities develops the listening skills of English learners.
The learner’s goal in this stage is to acquire speaking knowledge and comprehension as well as be confident in carrying out simple everyday conversations.
Moving on to the next level, intermediate learners can apply and analyze speaking strategies. They move from having simple conversations to elaborate English dialogues. Some activities to exercise are presenting at a meeting, responding to a complaint, and giving instructions.
Intermediate learners can practice their skills by doing simulations. The language exercises for intermediate learners are mock interviews, presentations, business speeches, telephone conversations, and giving recommendations.
The learning goal for this level is to apply their speaking and listening skills in industry practices. Learners are to analyze conversations and formulate responses on their own.
Finally, advanced learners can practice more on synthesis and evaluation. Advanced learners have the business skills to speak and hold lengthy, complex conversations.
Advanced learners can practice their skills by participating in business meetings, and business brainstorming sessions in the daily work setting. The best language exercise for advanced learners is to be in the actual workforce. They grow their skill through face-to-face interactions, business phone calls, and video conferences.
Business English Dialogue Examples:
In this part of the blog, our resident businesswoman, Lilly, and businessman, Tad will walk us through dialogues on various common business activities.
Dialogues for Everyday Casual Office Conversation
Casual conversations are the easiest way to connect with a colleague. Compared to informal dialogues, conversation topics in casual business talks consist of light general knowledge. Remember to refrain from talking about your personal struggles during casual office conversations.
Knowing how to bounce back questions is crucial as it ensures a two-way conversation.
Let’s meet Lilly, Tad, and their other colleagues in these sample dialogues:
Greetings with Colleagues
Scenario: Lilly and Tad are co-workers who run into each other in the office lobby.
Lilly: Hi Tad! Good morning.
Tad: Hello Lilly! How are you?
Lilly: I’m good. I had a restful weekend. How about you?
Tad: I had fun doing barbeque with my family. Do you want to ride the elevator with me?
Lilly: Sure! Lead the way.
Scenario: Tad will introduce a new co-worker to Lilly.
Tad: Lilly, I would like to introduce Fred to you. He’s the new member of the team. Fred, Lilly is the head of the finance department.
Fred: Hi, Lilly! Nice to meet you. I’m the new accountant, and it’s my first day today.
Lilly: Welcome to the team, Fred! Nice to meet you too. Feel free to approach me if ever you have questions about our process.
General Small Talk
Scenario: Lilly and Tad went for a coffee during their break time.
Lilly: Today’s weather is great, isn’t it?
Tad: Yes, after two rainy days, it’s great to see the sunshine again.
Lilly: By the way, have you seen the new season of the Game of Thrones?
Tad: I’m not aware they released a new season! I will add it to my weekend ‘watch list.
Scenario: A video conference meeting has ended.
Tad: That ends our meeting. Thank you for your time, and have a great day!
Fred: I’ll email you the minutes before this day ends. Goodbye!
Dialogues for Business Calls
Everyday phone conversations are a norm in the business world. Knowing how to properly handle phone calls will contribute to your success as a business person. During calls, it is important to use our listening skills and engage respectfully.
Introducing your Business on Cold Calls
Scenario: Tad will call Lilly, a prospective client, for his new business.
Tad: Hello, this is Tad, from the General Cleaning Services Inc.
Lilly: Hi, Tad. How may I help you?
Tad: Can you spare me two minutes to introduce my business?
Lilly: Sure. What services do you offer?
Tad: General Cleaning Services Inc. helps busy people make their homes sparkling clean! We use state-of-the-art equipment and environment-friendly cleaning products to polish and disinfect your space. Avail 25% off our services on your first booking at http://www.generalcleaninginc.com. Would you like me to reserve a schedule for you now?
Lilly: No, thank you. I will keep your contact in case I need it in the future.
Tad: That’s great! Thank you for your time.
Introducing yourself to Existing Clients
Scenario: Lilly will call Tad to introduce herself as the customer service lead of LillyPad.AI
Lilly: Hello, may I speak to Tad?
Tad: This is Tad speaking. Who is this by the way?
Lilly: Hi Tad! This is Lilly of LillyPad.AI. I’m in charge of our customer service. You subscribed last week on the LillyPad App.
Tad: Yes, that’s right.
Lilly: I just want to connect with you to inform you that you can contact this number if ever you have questions regarding our product.
Tad: Thank you! I will save your number on my phonebook.
Lilly: Awesome! Happy learning from the LillyPad.AI team! Goodbye.
Speaking with Business Partners
Scenario: Tad and Lilly are business partners who are deciding on a business venture.
Lilly: I suggest we expand our business to creating electric bikes following the trend in mobility and transportation right now.
Tad: That is a great idea, but we need to conduct a feasibility study before proceeding.
Lilly: I agree, let’s get the ball rolling. I will relay this project to our automobile engineers.
Tad: I’ll inform our market researchers too. Let’s touch base in a week.
Asking for Clarification or Additional Details
Scenario: Lilly requests further explanation regarding her task.
Lilly: Hello, Tad. I called to ask about my recent project.
Tad: Okay, how can I help you?
Lilly: Could you clarify what kind of editing I should do? Will I have to do line editing or copy editing?
Tad: It’s line editing, another member did copy editing before the paper landed on your desk.
Lilly: That clears the mud. Thank you.
Dialogues about Problems or Issues
Scenario: Lilly calls the customer service of her internet service provider for her disconnection notice.
Customer service: Hi, how may I help you?
Lilly: I’m wondering why my line was disconnected when I already paid my bill before its due date.
Customer service: Let me check our system. May I know your account number?
Lilly: It’s 00123456.
Customer service: According to our records, your payment was posted after your due date. I will submit a ticket for your service reconnection right now.
Lilly: It can’t be right that my payment was posted after my due date. I have my statement of account with me.
Customer service: You paid using a different mode of payment that requires one business day of processing.
Dialogues with an Angry Customer
Scenario: Tad calls an online shop for delivering his order late.
Customer service: Good morning, how may I help you?
Tad: I’m very disappointed with your service. I ordered one week in advance and the parcel hasn’t arrived yet today! This is my third time following up on my order.
Customer service: Let me track your order, sir.
Tad: It’s too late now! That is a gift for my mother’s birthday today. Now, because of your inefficiency, I have to arrive at the party empty-handed!
Customer service: Apologies for the inconvenience, a member of our team is already reaching out to our courier service partner. We will try to send the package ASAP.
Tad: That’s nonsense! The celebration is in an hour, I want a refund!
Customer service: I can process your refund today. And to make it up for the inconvenience, we will send you a coupon with a 15% discount on any of our products. This time, we will make sure that your order will arrive on time.
Asking for the Order
Scenario: Tad finished explaining the benefits of his product, a multivitamin.
Tad: You will need this every day. And it’s worth spending on your health. Would you want to place an order?
Fred: You’re right about the benefits. Do you offer a 30-tablets bottle of this instead of 1000? I’d like to try it out for a month first.
Tad: Of course, we have that available. Do you want to pay via bank transfer or credit card?
Ending the call
Scenario: Lilly will adjourn their video conference meeting.
Lilly: That is all for today, thank you for your ideas. I will send you the action items tomorrow. Have a great evening!
Team member 1: This meeting has been fruitful. Pleasure working with you. Thank you too!
Team member 2: I will look forward to the action items. Goodbye, everyone!
Dialogues for Business Meetings
Business meetings are an essential avenue for sharing ideas and information, establishing goals and priorities, and discussing issues that require resolution.
There are two types of meetings: formal and informal. Informal meetings are usually spontaneous, casual gatherings where everyone shares their thoughts and opinions.
Formal meetings are planned events where participants follow a specific agenda. Both types are important, but the latter has its advantages over the former.
Business presentations generally have four parts: introduction, discussion, summary, and feedback.
The presenter will greet the attendees, introduce themselves, and state the background or overview of the presentation in the introduction. In addition, the presenter will also set the rules for the presentation.
Good [morning, afternoon, day], everyone. Thank you for attending this meeting. I am [state your name and position], and I am part of [state the business you are representing]. My presentation is about [state your topic]. I will discuss [summarize your subtopics]. Please reserve your questions after my presentation. I will entertain your queries after my discussion.
The discussion is the meat of the presentation. During the discussion, the presenter ensures the flow by arranging the topics chronologically or according it their relevance. Transitional words ensure the coherence of your speech.
A few examples of transitional words are:
|to begin (with)||in this case||since|
|following this||as I have noted||on the contrary|
Summarizing wraps up your presentation and reiterates to your audience the topic and points of your presentation. A clear summary ties up your discussion and provides a brief conclusion.
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For the audience, feedback gives them the chance to question, clarify, and comment of the discussion. As for the presenter, feedback is their moment to synthesize and evaluate points raised by answering the audience’s question.
During business presentations, the presenter gives the audience a chance to express their opinions or offer suggestions as part of the feedback.
Lilly: What do you think about our new product?
Tad: Overall, it is great and very unique. I would just like to move the production date to the concerned departments enough time to package it and prepare its launch.
Lilly: I see your point but we cannot risk moving the production date and having our competitor get ahead of us.
Here are some phrases you could use when giving an opinion:
|In my opinion…||I think…||Correct me if I’m wrong but…|
|Upon hearing your explanation, I can say that…||I agree with you, however…||I do believe that…|
|Regarding your point…||I’d like to make a comment on…||I am certain that…|
Asking good questions in meetings
In order to make sure that the discussions are productive, you need to ask good questions. Good questions help keep the discussion focused, and they encourage people to share their views.
Questions should be open-ended so that the answers are not limited to yes or no. They should also be relevant to the subject at hand.
You can ask questions such as:
- What do you think of our strategy?
- Could you provide evidence to support your point?
- How is this model responsive to our customers?
- How can we mitigate the risk?
- What is our timeline for this project?
Introducing yourself and others in English
Networking with professionals always starts with an introduction. A good introduction following the rules of business etiquette will define the connection you will make.
Starting a conversation: how to introduce yourself
If you want to initiate a conversation with someone, here are some tips to help you out. First, smile and greet them before stating your name and details about yourself, such as what you do for work. The details you provide help you build rapport and establish trust. Second, be genuine and honest, don’t lie or exaggerate anything. Third, listen to their answers and respond accordingly. Lastly, try to keep the conversation going until you both decide to end it.
Example Scenario: Lilly and Tad work in the same industry but will meet for the first time at a business conference.
Tad: Hi, my name is Tad. I work in the marketing department of Company Y.
Lilly: Hello, Tad. I’m Lilly. I work for the advertising team of Company X. Your name sounds familiar. Are you the same Tad who launched that successful marketing campaign?
Tad: Yes, that’s me! How did you know?
Lilly: Fancy meeting you here! I followed and studied your campaign. You did a great job.
Tad: Thank you. I will deliver a presentation at this conference. How about you?
Lilly: It’s my first time attending this conference. It’s nice to meet you, Tad. Catch you at your lecture later!
Tad: Nice to meet you too, Lilly. See you around!
Professional Phrases to introduce yourself in English
You only make the first impression once. Hence, it is important to leave a good impression when introducing yourself. Here are a few phrases you can use for a proper introduction:
- I’d like to introduce myself. My name is…
- Hello, I’m…
- Let me introduce myself. I’m…
- Pleased to meet you. My name is…
- Nice to meet you. I’m…
Introducing a coworker in English
When you have colleagues, it is necessary to introduce each other to your respective connections and widen your network. Remember that business introductions are based on rank —not gender, age, or race. Thus, it is best to introduce your junior coworker to your executive colleague first.
Observe this scenario:
Lilly: Hi, Tad. I’d like to introduce you to Fred, he is one of our sales managers. Fred, this is Tad. He is our Vice President for Sales, and you will report directly to him.
Fred: Nice to meet you, Tad! I heard great things about you.
Tad: Nice to meet you too, Fred. Welcome to my team!
English phrases to introduce others in business small talk dialogues
Business conversations often include small talk. Small talk helps people get to know each other better and creates more opportunities for future interactions. Here are examples to introduce others in a business small talk:
- Hi everyone! Let me introduce Tad, he works for Company Y.
- May I introduce Lilly? She’s our executive secretary.
- Have you already met Fred? Fred works in the IT department.
Professional Small talk about your experience and background
Small talk is a great way to establish a connection. You can share about yourself and find common ground with your colleagues. Remember to be modest and respectful when sharing your background to avoid sounding like you are bragging. Topics you can share about yourself are your educational background, brief work history, and business trips or conferences you attended. For example:
Hi, I’m Lilly. I work in the sales department of Company Y for two years now. I graduated in 2018, and my undergraduate degree is a BS in Marketing Management.
Asking someone about their professional background
One of the topics of conversation when networking is one’s professional background. This topic builds the foundation of a meaningful business conversation.
Here are a few questions to ask someone about their professional background:
- What do you do?
- How long have you been working here?
- Where did you study?
- When did you graduate from college/university?
- What did you do in your previous job?
- What’s the memorable thing that happened to you in this profession?
- Where do you see yourself if you didn’t pursue this profession?
- What’s the greatest lesson you learned in this occupation?
- Do you have a professional philosophy? Would you mind sharing it?
- What’s your favorite thing about your job?
Business English dialogues result in productive discussions when colleagues speak intentionally, follow business English etiquette, and provide an avenue for healthy discussions. Business English learners may encounter challenges when studying however, they can overcome them by practicing their listening and speaking skills through real-life conversations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Start talking to a prospect with a greeting and set a light atmosphere when talking to a prospect. After that, you can transition into your business dialogue and ask about their problems or needs. You can ask open-ended questions such as: What are some troubles you face today? What would make your life easier? How does this problem affect your daily routine?
Casual office small talks are light conversations. Some examples are talking about the weather, pop culture, online trends, sports, hobbies, and movies among others.
You don’t need to force yourself to stop the small talk. If you feel uncomfortable while having a conversation, just say “I’m sorry but I need to go.” It will help you end the conversation on a good note.
Hello, my name is Lilly. I am the head of the sales department at Company X. In the next 20 minutes, I will discuss how our software can increase productivity by streamlining your workflow and automating common tasks. The three parts of my presentation would be our company’s vision, the features of our product, and our corporate pricing.
Good business English dialogue topics include: general small talk, making introductions, telephone conversations, delivering speeches, business presentations, addressing complaints, and giving instructions among others.
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