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Geschäfte unter Freunden

Schlagwörter: Geschäftsreise, Freunde, English, Englisch lernen, Geschäftssprache, Business-English

In general, we prefer to do business with friends. In other words, we prefer to do business with people we like, trust and respect. This is why it is so important to invest time in building appropriate business relationships and networks. And you often begin this process at the start of a meeting or negotiation.
Why should you do this? It allows you to break the ice by talking about neutral subjects (the weather, the trip, the hotel, previous visits, etc). You start to become receptive to your business partner’s way of speaking (very important if you are working in a second language). You warm up your own English before you get into the actual business. You begin to create a positive feeling of agreement before getting into areas where you might disagree.

In other words, you are starting to create a positive platform on which you can do business together. And many cultures demand you to do all of this before getting into the business discussion. If you don’t, there is a danger you will not be fully trusted.

There are three ‘steps’ in this socializing process:

1. Greetings and introductions
Listen to how your business partner greets you. He or she is telling you how they are feeling about you. Is the greeting a more formal one? (For example ‘How do you do?’) Is it informal? (‘Hi there.”) Or is it business-like and friendly? (‘Good to meet you.’) This gives you a clear idea of how they want you to behave and how they see the relationship developing.

Listen to how your business partners introduce themselves. Do they use first names, family names, titles, or all three? If it’s not clear what they want you to call them—ask. People like it when you call them by the name they feel is appropriate to the situation.

2. Small talk and social conversation
Your main priority is to build a positive feeling of agreement. You can do this in several ways.

First, be aware of your non-verbal signals. Smile. Sit in a relaxed way. Don’t use defensive body language.

Second, ask open questions such as:

Where are you staying?

When did you arrive?

What are your plans for the weekend?

Which airline did you use?

How often have you been in Germany?


This encourages your business partner to speak freely. It makes the conversation a two-way interaction.

Third, volunteer information about yourself and your situation:

I hope the weather stays sunny. I’m planning to go hiking in the mountains this weekend.

Did you see the game last night? Really exciting. The wrong team won, though!

Are you interested in art? If you are there’s a marvellous Rothko exhibition on at the moment. My wife and I went to see it last weekend.


If you do this right, you can begin to find out if you and your partner have similar interests outside work. And if you have, this can really cement the relationship.

3. Getting down to business
At some point you need to start to move on to business. When to do this varies according to the cultural background and personal style of your partner. You have to be sensitive.

Listen for signals. Some are non-verbal— picking up a pen, re-arranging documents on the table, moving their chair. Or they might use small verbal signals such as ‘Right!’ ‘Good!’ and ‘OK?’

Sometimes your partner will ask you, ‘How’s business?’ They will then use this ‘state of the market’ discussion to bridge over into the actual business at hand.

Why not use these signals yourself when you want to move the process along?

Remember, people like to do business with friends. So start building those business friendships in an appropriate way starting today.

Schlagwörter: Geschäftsreise, Freunde, English, Englisch lernen, Geschäftssprache, Business-English

Business English Trainer Weitere Artikel zum Thema Geschäftsreise auf Englisch finden Sie in unserem monatlich erscheinenden OWAD Business English Trainer.
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