Business English Lesson 3 – Socialising in English

Lesson 3

Flying in

Last lesson, we concentrated on following up from first contact. This lesson we focus on how to speak to anyone on a plane, while traveling, or in between two places, where business opportunities may come up.

When taking a plane, travellers often display a wide range of behaviours. These may vary from stress, excitement, fear, sadness, and happiness.

So it can be challenging when taking the opportunity to strike up a conversation. On the other hand, it can be a great chance to make new friends, business contacts, or simply pass away the time.

In this section, we look at ways to talk to anyone in an airport or on a flight, or in any public space where opportunity lies.

So let’s get into this.

The first dialogue is set in an airport lounge before passing through customs.

Male Business traveler : Excuse me, do you mind if I sit here?

Female Traveler: Not at all! Let me just move my jacket.

Male Business traveler : Oh thanks. It’s so cold over there near the window that I had to move.

Female Traveler: Yes, it is cold outside at the moment.

Male Business traveler: I’m not used to this cold as I often do business in the South.

Female Traveler: Oh really? So, what do you do?

Male Business traveler: I give business presentations on the current property developments in Dubai. I’m flying out to a conference this weekend. How about you?

Female Traveler: That sounds very interesting. I’d love to know more. About me? I’m a compulsive leisure traveler! I just love traveling, though I also make it my business.

Male Business traveler: Well, I’d be happy to tell you more about what I do. Ask away. But first, tell me how how you make money from traveling! If it is easy if love to jack in my job and just travel for the rest of my life!

Female Traveler: (laughing) Well, it involves a lot of work, but I am a travel blogger. I sell my articles to magazines and websites.

Male Business traveler: That’s incredible! And you manage to make a living from it?

Female Traveler: I do pretty well. Let’s say that. How long have you been in the game of presentations?

Male Business traveler: I’ve been doing this for 5 years now. I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Female Traveler: I see. You must get to meet some incredible people on your way.

Male Business traveler: Absolutely, though it’s nice to have a break and talk about normal topics. Tell me more about your travels. Where is the one place in the world that really left an impact on you?

Female Traveler: That’s a difficult question but I would have to say The small town of Coober Pedy in Australia. They live completely underground you know as it’s so hot.

Male Business traveler: Interesting! There’s a place like that in Jordon. It’s built into the mountain.

Female Traveler: I think that is on my bucket list. Oh look my flight had come up. Well, it’s been nice chatting. Here’s my card which has all my details on it. That way you can follow my blog.

Male Business traveler: Wonderful! I look forward to following it. Here’s my card. If you are ever in Dubai, shoot me an email before and I can find you some accommodation for free if you write a wonderful review!

Female Traveler: I will do that. Thanks and have a good journey.

Male Business traveler: Same to you.

Let’s review a things here. First of all, note how the conversation started.

Excuse me, do you mind if I sit here?

This is always a safe opener and only rarely will you get an answer that may force you to find another seat and conversation partner.

In this example, the conversation quickly moved onto the topic of business. It is up to you if this is appropriate and welcomed from the other person in the conversation. However, it can be a good idea to simply cut the small talk and follow some of the following tips:

Tips on how to talk to anyone

  1. Ask their opinion
  2. Ask a question which generally gives an easy-to-answer reply
  3. Comment on the environment
  4. Get information on an update (e.g. travel, sports, news etc.)
  5. Skip the small talk and go in deep!
  6. Ask for advice or recommendations on something. E.g. tourism etc.
  7. Ask any open-ended questions
  8. Ask a question about kids, pets, hobbies etc.
  9. Ask a hypothetical question
  10. Make a note of something nice. E.g. The design of the place you are in.
  11. Make a comment on the weather, but make it creative.
  12. Ask for local information or something relevant to the place you are at.
  13. Ask for assistance.
  14. Offer assistance.
  15. Share a common experience your listener will relate to. E.g. the pleasure of travelling business class etc.
  16. Introduce yourself. Explain why you are doing it. E.g. simply to make conversation, as a social experiment, or to pass the time.

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