Boost up your speech skills



1.1. Listening Development

Assignment 1. Listen to the recording to Unit 1. Camela and business English expert David Evans are looking at business socialising. How does David describe business socialising? What situations are given as examples? Who are involved in these conversations? Where do they happen?

Listen again and say whether these statements are true or false:

  1. Socialising is one of the easiest things business people do.
  2. It is OK to start a conversation with a stranger at a business conference.
  3. When the speaker says “You must be Darren” she is absolutely sure what the interlocutor’s name is.
  4. At the first meeting it is not customary to ask detailed questions about jobs and careers.
  5. It is extremely important to provide your interlocuter with contact details.

Assignment 2. Listen to the recording to Unit 1 again. Jot down the words and expressions, which the speakers define and exemplify after their dialogue. Find the Russian equivalents.

1.2. Vocabulary Enrichment

Assignment 1. Which of these expressions are used for the purposes specified in the table below? Complete the table with these expressions. Then add other expressions you know. You can find them in the Active Vocabulary section at the end on Unit 1.

to introduce a person to another person:

    to respond to an introduction:
    extremely formally:

      less formally:

        to greet a person:

          to ask how a person is doing:

            to finish up a conversation:

              to say goodbye to a person:

                • It’s a pleasure to meet you.
                • I have to be going now.
                • Hello, Bill. Bill – Mike. Mike – Bill.
                • Will you excuse me for a moment?
                • Later.
                • I’m afraid I’m running late.
                • Have you two been introduced?
                • I’m delighted to make your acquaintance.
                • Hi!
                • How do you do?
                • How are you doing?
                • Nice / pleased to meet you.
                • (It was) nice meeting you.

                Assignment 2. Put the following conversations in the right order. Write numbers in the boxes.

                Conversation 1

                • Mr. Dalomi.How do you do, Mr. Thompson? Where are you from? You have an accent I can’t quite pin down.

                • Mr. Thompson.How do you do, Mr. Dalomi? I’m Jack Thompson, Jane Santana’s deputy.

                • Mr. Dalomi.Welcome to Oxford. It's nice to see you again.

                • Mr. Thompson.It’s great, absolutely great! There so many things you can do here, so many places you can see. And career opportunities are just amazing!

                • Mr. Dalomi.Excuse me, I don’t think we’ve met before. My name is Joe Dalomi.

                • Mr. Thompson.I’m Australian-born, but I have spent over a year working in London for Begerbird.

                • Mr. Dalomi.Oh, I see. How do you find London?

                Conversation 2

                • Frank.How do you do, Ms. Prime?

                • Stella.Of course, it’s much warmer than back at home. And the rain has never stopped since I arrived!

                • Sven.Hi, Frank. Have you met Ms. Prime from our office in Toronto. Stella, this is Mr. McCabe from our Sales Department.

                • Frank.The famous, or I’d rather say the infamous British rain! They say it’ll clear up by the weekend though.

                • Stella.Please, call me Stella.

                • Frank.And I’m Frank. Hi. So, when did you arrive?

                • Stella.Just yesterday.

                • Frank.Oh, I see. And what are your first impressions of London?

                Conversation 3

                • Jamie.Why, yes… I thought you looked familiar. I think we met at the team building exercise last spring.

                • Heather.Oh, yes. Jamie Cabot. Hello!

                • Jamie.Hi, Heather. How are you doing? Have you attended any other team building exercises recently?

                • Heather.Hi. I’m Heather Wells, the assistant director at Fisher Price inc.

                • Jamie.Bye.

                • Heather.Yes, it was nice talking to you. Later.

                • Jamie.I actually find them pretty useful and stimulating.

                • Heather.Oh, no! I find them disgusting. And you?

                • Jamie.I couldn’t agree more. I have to be going now. I’ll be seeing you then.

                • Heather.Oh, I see. Tastes differ, don’t they?

                Assignment 3. Look through the following phrases and try to think of the situations in which you can use them.

                May I introduce you to ... ?
                How do you do?
                Do you know ... ?
                Hello. / Hi.
                Good morning. My name is ...
                I don't think we've met.
                Excuse me. Are you Mrs. Eustace?

                ... this is ...
                How do you do?
                ... this is ...
                Nice to meet you.
                I have an appointment to see ...
                I'm ...
                I'm ...

                Assignment 4. Read the small talk below and find the 10 mistakes.

                Woman.We could ask for a better day, could we?

                Man.I know. There isn't a cloud in the sky. I love this time of year.

                Woman.Me too. The cherry blossoms are beautiful, you think?

                Man.They sure are. But I heard he is calling for rain all weekend.

                Woman.Really? Oh well. I have to work all weekend anyway. I'm a doctor.

                Man.Wow. I'm sure you make good money with that diamond watch you have on.

                Woman.Ah, this bus seems to be running late. How long of a wait is it already?

                Man.I've been here for at least fifteen minutes now.

                Woman.Where are you heading today?

                Man.Actually, I'm going to the City Hall to cast my vote for mayor.

                Woman.Oh, what a coincidence. So am I! Who are you voting for?

                Man.Um, well...I'm still thinking about it.

                Woman.Here comes a bus now.

                Man.Oh, good. Wait, that's not the bus we want. That bus goes downtown.

                Woman.Well, it looks like we'll be waiting a little longer. I guess, I'll use this time to catch up on my reading.

                Man.I love reading. Right now I'm reading a Stephen King book. Do you like Stephen King?

                Woman.Not really.

                Man.Oh, here's our bus.

                Woman.Oh great. I thought it would never come. Well, have a nice day.

                Man.Say, did you catch the news today?

                Assignment 5. Complete each of the sentences below with an appropriate active vocabulary word or its derivative (consult the Active Vocabulary section).

                1. When you meet new business associates, you give them your to show your name, position, company, address etc. In the US it’s also called a .

                2. When you someone to another person, you tell them each other's names for the first time.

                3. To someone who has just arrived you say hello in a friendly way.

                4. Jane, come and my brother. You wanted to talk to him. I’ll introduce him to you.

                5. Pete, are you going to make the s? Please, tell us each other's names since we meet for the first time.

                6. When you make an arrangement for a meeting at an agreed time and place, for a particular purpose, you say that you have an .

                7. is polite friendly conversation about some unimportant subjects.

                8. In Great Britain they say that you book an appointment, while in the US you it.

                9. When you meet someone for the first time you formally say that you have made that person’s .

                10. A is someone who you do business with.

                Assignment 6. Translate the following sentences into English.

                1. На днях я столкнулся с господином Брауном, который представил меня своим партнерам по бизнесу.
                2. До свидания. Был очень рад познакомиться с вами.
                3. Я был бы очень признателен, если бы вы позволили мне познакомиться с вашей супругой.
                4. Первое впечатление очень важно. Особенно если вас представляют вашим партнерам по бизнесу.
                5. Мы едва знакомы с Уэллсами. Но у нас есть общие знакомые в Ноттингеме.
                6.– Почему ты не представил меня твоим партнерам? Это не вежливо!
                – Они были увлечены разговором, и я не хотел их прерывать. Но я уверен, что в следующий раз они будут счастливы с тобой познакомиться.
                7. У меня назначена встреча с Джоном Фогом, но я забыл в офисе свои визитные карточки.
                8. Позвольте представить вам Лизи Беннет из Бата. Она умеет мастерски вести светскую беседу.
                9. При первом знакомстве он показался мне открытым и общительным человеком, но когда я узнал его лучше, стало понятно, что он настоящий интроверт.
                10. Брайану будет трудно установить контакт с новым партнером, если он не попытается быть более наблюдательным.

                1.3. Reading Improvement

                Assignment 1. Look at the article’s headline – “How to Make Small Talk” – and write out 10 words used in the article the meaning of which you can guess from the context.

                How to Make Small Talk

                Making small talk with people you don't know well, such as your boss or a blind date, can be nerve-wracking especially if you want to make a good impression.

                Making small talk doesn't have to be painful, even if it's with a boss you want to impress or blind date you want to see a lot more of! Believe it or not, making small talk can be fun – even for quiet personality types. Making small talk is also an art that can be learned.

                "So…how about this weather?" doesn't often lead to stimulating dialogue (but don't hesitate to use it if you're desperate). If you must make small talk about the weather, be specific. Say, "It's freezing cold outside – have you ever heard that saying, 'colder than … ? Where did that come from, anyway?" might work better, depending on who you're talking to.

                Making small talk can be difficult even if you're an extrovert, but it's especially difficult for introverts. Here's how to enjoy making small talk.

                1. Keep up with current events. Make small talk about the news, sports, your community, or politics (unless politics is too controversial. On second thought, that can generate some pretty fiery dialogues!).

                2. Comment on a piece of clothing or accessory. Ask where it came from, what the significance is, how much it cost (just kidding). Making small talk is about being observant about people you don't know well.

                3. Pay attention to what they're saying. When you're making small talk, follow up on phrases; for instance, if they say they're "excellent", ask why – ask where you can get some. If they mention that they're exhausted, follow up on it. When you're making small talk, remember that great conversations and good connections can be just around the corner.

                4. Share an anecdote about your day. Did you lose your keys or find $10? Maybe you ate at a new restaurant recently, or found a great new CD. Making small talk is about sharing the little things.

                5. Ask what movies or books they've seen or read recently. Someone once asked me that at a party. Admittedly, at first it felt contrived, but then we had a fantastic conversation about the book I was reading! Making small talk is about trying new conversations.

                6. Talk about TV. Share your favourite TV shows – whether it's Oprah's revelation of The Secret or your favourite sitcom. If you're Canadian, Little Mosque on the Prairie might be interesting to discuss! Making small talk about pop culture is easy and fun.

                7. Recall your past conversations with the same person. Ask if their son is still ill or how the Mexican holiday went. Making small talk is easier when your memory is good.

                8. Ask open-ended questions that require an explanation. For instance, "How are you?" isn't as effective as "Whatever happened with 'XXX' you were dealing with?" ('XXX' could be a business deal, family problem, or financial investment) Remember that anything is a potential topic of conversation. You can even talk about how uncomfortable you are making small talk – and ask them how they do it.

                9. Relax. Enjoy yourself. People are interesting! If you combine these tips for making small talk with sincere interest, you'll embark on a fascinating conversational ride.

                10. Let it go. If the conversation feels like dragging a piano uphill then it may be time to move on or let silence take over. You can't connect with everyone, and some conversations simply refuse to take life! Making small talk involves knowing when it's time to move on.

                (after Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen)

                Assignment 2. Mark whether these sentences are true or false.

                1. Making small talk is an art that can’t be learned.

                2. We shouldn’t make small talk about politics.

                3. You can’t talk about how uncomfortable you are making small talk.

                4. Making small talk is about sharing little things from our daily life.

                5. When we comment on a piece of clothing or accessory, it’s polite to ask where it came from and how much it cost.

                6. Anything is a potential topic of conversation.

                7. We should never ever speak discuss the weather.

                8. Making small talk is easier when your memory is good.

                1.4. Writing Enhancement

                Assignment. Read the profile of Derek Stirling and then write another profile about yourself (you may need to invent information about yourself as a member of your virtual company). Use the topics below to help you:

                • Name
                • Nationality
                • Home town
                • Company
                • Position in the company
                • Responsibilities
                • Hobbies

                My name is Derek Stirling and I'm Scottish. I live in Hadlow, a lovely English village near London, and I work for The Swire Group, Britain's largest private company. The Group's activities are divided into five business areas: shipping, aviation, property, industries, and trading. Our best-known company is Cathay (Pacific Airways).

                I work at our London head office; I'm head of Corporate Finance, and I'm responsible for developing the business of the Group.

                I'm always very busy and I don't have much free time, but when I do, I like fishing and I grow my own vegetables, just for fun.

                1.5. Speaking Reinforcement

                Assignment 1. Read the conversations aloud completing them with appropriate phrases. Then get ready to produce similar conversations in class with one of your groupmates.

                Conversation 1

                Joyce.______! What are you doing?

                Buffy.There's a lot of weird people outside at night... I just feel better with you safe and sound inside, Mom.

                Joyce.You have no idea how much tired I’m and...

                Buffy.Well, then why don't you go upstairs and get into bed, and I can bring you some hot tea?

                Joyce.That's sweet! (suspiciously) What'd you do?

                Buffy.Can't a daughter just be concerned about her mother?

                Joyce.(seeing Angel) Hi.


                Buffy.Oh! Okay... Um... Angel, uh, ______. Mom, this is Angel. Uh, we ______ ____ each other on the way home.


                Joyce.Delighted… What do you do, Angel?

                Buffy.He's my business associate. Uh, Angel's been helping me with my new project, you know I've been toiling there.

                Joyce.It's a little late for working. I'm gonna go to bed, and, uh, Buffy?

                Buffy.I'll say _____ _____and do the same!

                Joyce.(to Angel) ______. (goes up the stairs)

                Buffy.(pretending) Good night! We'll hook up soon and do that project thing!

                Conversation 2


                Olivia.Sorry I'm so late. The flight was a horror.

                Giles.Bad weather?

                Olivia.Baseball movie.

                Giles(amused): Oh… so sorry.

                Olivia.Yeah. That's enough small talk, don't you think?

                Assignment 2. This role play is to meet your groupmates after the holiday and to discuss how their holidays were, whether or not they are ready to start up a new academic year, what their impressions of the first year are; which expectations they have; what problems they have (eg, where to live, etc.). Try to develop your ideas. Be ready to perform the role-play in class.