• 5 Ways to Prepare your English for a Business Meeting

    I recently had a student who was preparing for a business meeting with an important client he was hoping to make a sale to. My student is from Spain, and his client is from England. The client did not speak any Spanish, so my student had two options: get an interpreter or try test his business English at a real, live meeting.

    After some coaching from myself and another teacher, Muireann, the student decided he could handle the meeting without an interpreter. Yesterday he reported back to me to say that the meeting went very well. He was able to understand his client, say what he needed to say, and is pretty confident that the sale was made. Here are some tips I developed based on how we prepared the student for his meeting.

    1. Practice, practice, practice: Our student added extra classes in preparation for his meeting. Each of these classes was specifically focused on preparing him for the upcoming meeting. There is no good substitute for live classes with a native English speaker.
    2. Accent and Dialects Matter: Our student had been taking classes with me. I have an U.S. accent, but the person he was meeting with has a British accent. To help him prepare for different accents, we had the student take classes with Muireann, who is from Ireland, so that he was prepared for the sound of different English accents. We also studied some differences between British English and U.S. English.
    3. Role Play: In preparation for the meeting, we (the teachers) pretended to be the client, and asked our student to present his product to us. We worked with him on how to present his business, and how to say some of the key points of his presentation in English.
    4. Live English: We advised the student to listen to as much English in his daily life as possible, whether he was tuning into the radio, watching the television or movies, reading or listening to podcasts. Specifically, we told him to listen to BBC radio’s podcasts as often as he could, to help prepare him for a British accent.
    5. Confidence: Once you’ve done all the preparation you can, it’s time to relax and be confident. You’re probably going to make some mistakes. There may even be some small misunderstandings. But overall, if you’ve prepared well, you will be able to say what you need to say, and understand the things that are important to understand.

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