Communication at work: a business conversation lesson

If you are still teaching this week, as I am, it likely means you have business students. At least in Brazil most regular classes have wrapped up in preparation for the holidays.

Because fo that, I have decided to post a business lesson I’m using with my last few students this week. I personally hate talking on the phone, so I saw myself in the article and thought it made for some great discussions of business practices. This is aimed at adult students who are B1 or B2.

As a side note, this will be the last lesson posted this year, so thanks everyone for stopping by and spreading the word about the blog.


The steps below are based on a PowerPoint presentation you can download from Dropbox or from Google Drive.

[Slide 1]

Get students in small groups and ask them to discuss the questions. Get some feedback from the whole group and make sure you ask students to justify their opinions.

Board their ideas, in particular about communication with clients.

[Slide 2]

Tell students they are going to watch a video talking about client communication. Show questions and play the video. Ask students to compare answers before getting feedback from the whole group.

Ask students to justify their answers, whether they agree or disagree with Gary.

[Slide 3]

Show students the LinkedIn logo and set the gist task: read the text quickly and check whether the authors agree with the opinions from the video. Give students about two minutes for this and then let them compare answers.

After checking with the whole group, show students the specific questions. Give them more time to read the article again and, after pair-checking, correct answers with the whole group. It is a good idea here to ask students to justify their answers by pointing to sentences/words in the text.

The original article can be found here and my adapted version is below.


[Slide 4]

Get students together in new pairs/trios. Before discussing the questions, elicit the meaning of ‘misunderstand’.

When the discussion starts to die down, turn it into a whole class discussion and ask students to share their opinions.

[Slide 5]

If you have some extra time, show students these two comments from the original article. Give them a minute to read the comments and then get students to discuss if these things happen at their companies or not.

[Slide 6]

Go over the pronunciation of the words in bold – the only tricky words here are ‘trickle’ and ‘rookie’ so make sure you focus on those. In addition, draw their attention to the catenation in ‘make or’.

Get students to guess the meanings based on the context. If you’re working with B1 students, you may want to give them definitions to match. After a few minutes, elicit their ideas and ask CCQs to double check if students know what expressions mean.

[Slide 7]

In pairs, students answer conversation questions. Feel free to change the questions so that they are more suitable for your students.

Thanks for reading.

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