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Socialising in business


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Socialising in business

1. Lead in

Answer the following questions:

What role do manners play in social interaction?

To what extent are manners determined by culture?


Read the following text. Make a list of the rules that you have never been aware of. Compare your list with the list of your neighbour. Together, rank the rules according to the importance you attach to them. Do these rules apply to the Romanian context?


by Ann Marie Sabath


Actions that most people take for granted, or never think about, affect business deals. You may have the greatest product or the most marketable service since the invention of instant coffee, but if there is sand in your social gears, you may as well not be there in the first place.

Business relations at all levels should be simple and effortless or at least should seem that way. With increased competition, having the right price or the right product isnt always enough; the comfort level between business people must also be right.

Perhaps thats why, according to a recent USA Weekend story, one of the themes for the 90s was good manners means good business. Knowing what to do and when to do it projects confidence and savoir-faire essential to success.

So, whether you are meeting a client for the first time, conducting business over lunch or making telephone calls in transit, one thing is certain: your actions are being watched.


It takes 15 seconds to make a first impression, and the rest of your life to undo it if it was a negative one. Observing the Rule Twelve is the key to projecting a positive image:

  • The first 12 words you speak should include some form of thanks, if appropriate. When meeting someone for the first time, express your gratitude. Example: Thank you for scheduling this meeting.
  • The first 12 steps you take should be those of confidence. Whether you are walking from the parking lot to your office, or are going to the reception area to greet clients, walk with a purpose with vim, vigour and vitality.
  • The first 12 inches from your shoulders down should include impeccable grooming. Your hair, collar and tie/scarf accessories should be a reflection of the quality person you are.


What you say and how you say it is The name of the game. Thats why the four most commonly asked questions about greetings and introductions are listed below:

Q: When introducing my supervisor to a client, whose name should I say first?

A: The clients.

Q: When being introduced to a woman client, is it appropriate for a man to initiate a handshake?

A: Absolutely. In the past, social etiquette dictated that men should wait for women to initiate the handshake. However, in todays business arena, it is appropriate for either party to initiate this gesture of welcome.

Q: What is the best way to remember the name of a person Ive just met?

A: When meeting someone for the first time, make a point of using his or her name when shaking hands. By repeating it at least once during your conversation, the name will be reinforced in your mind.

Q: What should you do when you encounter someone whose name slips your mind?

A: When the person approaches you, extend your hand and say your name. Typically, the other person will mimic your actions by giving his or her name.


Whether youre breezing down the freeway or stalled in traffic, car phone courtesy should be automatic. When calling from a car phone:

  • Identify yourself and indicate that you are calling from a car phone. This may expedite the call.
  • When receiving a call on your mobile phone, identify yourself with your first and last name.
  • When you have passengers, your car phone should be used sparingly, if at all.

When calling someones car phone:

  • Identify yourself and ask if this is a good time to talk.
  • Remember, using a car phone is expensive. Discuss only pressing issues; save other conversations for office calls.
  • If at all possible, refrain from putting car phone users on hold.


  • When inviting clients to lunch, remember that the restaurant you select is perceived as an extension of your office. Choose a restaurant where the food is of good quality and the service is reliable.
  • Familiarity breeds success. When frequenting the same restaurant, you can expect to be recognized, called by name and shown to an area that is conducive to doing business.
  • When escorted to a table by a maitre d, your guest(s) should precede you. When seating yourself, take the lead.
  • Be sure to offer the power seat to your guest. Seat yourself with your back to the door or main part of the room.
  • When making a food recommendation, realize that most guests will also take your suggestion as a guideline to suitable price ranges.
  • When the server asks for your order before your guests, say Id like my guests to order first. Besides being appropriate, its a cue that you will take care of the check at the end of the meal.
  • When reaching for the breadbasket, salad dressing, etc., offer them to your guests before helping yourself.
  • Tip adequately. Treat your server with the same consideration you show to your business associates. A generous tip is a small price to pay for good service, personal attention and the business you hope youll earn.

3. Vocabulary development

3.1. Match the following words or phrases from the text with their appropriate definition.

take for granted

a.      taking good care of your own appearance by keeping your hair and clothes clean and tidy

vim (old-fashioned)

b.      to make a process or action happen more quickly


c.      to get possession or control of something

stalled (v)

d.      to expect that someone or something will always be there when you need them and never think how important or useful they are

expedite (v)

e.      someone who is in charge of a restaurant, and who welcomes guests, gives orders to the waiters etc

maitre d (n)

f.        if an engine or vehicle stalls, or if you stall it, it stops because there is not enough power or speed to keep it going

take the lead

g.      energy

Make up sentences of your own to illustrate the meaning of the words above. Show them to your neighbour on the left and ask them whether they understand the meaning illustrated. If they dont, make the necessary corrections.

3. Each sentence below includes a phrasal verb with 'go'. Decide what word or words are needed to complete the phrasal verb in each sentence.

Mary and John have been going ___ for about six months and the boss has no idea.

They are planning to go ___ this summer. I think they are going to Japan for one whole month.

The thief managed to leave the company premises, but the guards went ___ him and caught him before he could get in his car.

A great cheer went ___ from the crowd as he managed to score once again.

They do not seem very happy to go ___ what we said. I think they do not agree with us.

Just read the instructions. They tell you how to go ___ installing the device in not more than ten minutes.

He used to spend a lot and neglect his work. No wonder that his business has gone ___, and he has lost everything.

Im afraid we will have to start our meeting without Jack. He has gone ___ flu and has to stay in bed for a few days.

Mike has told us many times not to rely on Steve. He always promises all sorts of things but then goes ___ on his word.

The terrorist had planted the bomb in the perfect place, but the police found it ten minutes before it was set to go ___.

3.3. Use the dictionary to study the use of the verb TO GO as a phrasal verb. Choose three entries and make up sentences to illustrate the meaning of the phrasal verb.


go about something phrasal verb to begin to do something or deal with something

We need to think of another way of going about this. The method we are using now appears to be ineffective.

4. Language Focus: The Noun Number Agreement

Number Agreement

the number of is followed generally by singular, while a number of by plural

The number of investors was huge. 

A number of shareholders were expected to sell their shares.

nouns/pronouns can be coordinated with the following simple or correlative conjunctions: and, or, either or, neither nor, both and, not only but also

a)     and, both and require the plural form of the verb

The president and the secretary general are not present.

Both the president and the secretary general are on a business trip.

b)     or, either or follow the rule of proximity ( the closest subject dictates the number of the verb)

His supporters or he has to take this issue very seriously.

Either he or his supporters have to take a decision.

c)      neither nor may follow the rule of proximity (as above), but in everyday use the plural is preferred

Neither the guests nor the host is to be blamed.


Neither the guest nor the host are to be blamed.

With as well as, except, but, with only the first noun dictates the agreement with the predicate.

Mr. Jones as well as all his colleagues is expected to come.

All the members of the board, but David, are here.

A man with a young child was asking for help.

5. Functions

a.      Identifying yourself

Hello, Im from

Hello, my name isI work for

Hello, let me introduce myself, ImIm in charge of// Im responsible for

Hello, first name+ surnameIve got an appointment with

b.     Greetings when you meet someone for the first time

First greeting

Reply to the greeting


How do you do? Im (very) pleased/ delighted to meet you.

Its (very) nice to meet you.

How do you do? Its (very) nice to meet you too.

Im pleased to meet you too.


How do you do? Nice/ good to meet you.

Hello. Nice to have you with us.

Hi. Pleased to meet you.

Nice/ good to meet you too.

Pleased to meet you too.


Group work. Groups of five: two of you work in the same company. You should welcome a group of three potential business partners. You have never met them before. Introduce yourselves to one another and reply to first greetings (you may use your real names or invent others). Use expressions from the boxes above. Prepare at least three polite questions that you may ask in such a situation.

Politica de confidentialitate



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