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Geschäftsreise auf Englisch - Ein Geschäftsbesuch in Großbritannien

Schlagwörter: Geschäftsreise auf Englisch, Englisch Geschäftsreise, Business Trip Englisch; Vorstellung Englisch; Vorstellen auf Englisch

There it is, staring out at you from the calendar: your visit to a business partner or customer in the UK. You know most of the people from across the channel; they've visited you in Germany or you've spoken with them on the phone. That's not what has you nervous. You're worried more about your English and the impression you'll make. Will you say the right things at the right time and use the right words? Will you recognise a joke when you hear one? After all, the English are the masters at, well, English.

We've put together a concise guide to essentials that will help you sail through your first UK visit with flying colours.


Intercultural

  • Professional and academic titles are not
    used except for medical doctors and
    the clergy. Introducing yourself using
    such titles will make you look arrogant
    and self-important, and it's very likely
    people will joke about it after you've left.


  • Use Mr or Ms when addressing indi-
    viduals unless they introduce them-
    selves first using their first name only.

Arrival

If you're visiting an office in a multi-story building that is home to many businesses, there may or may not be a reception desk in the lobby. If there is, you should check in there first. It may be a central reception desk for all businesses in the building. If it turns out to be a security or information desk, be prepared to check in again after you've used the lift. If the business is not on the ground floor, use the lift, not the stairs. Otherwise you may arrive panting, red or sweating.

What to say

Hello. I'm Jenna Holzmann from BCE.

I'm here to see Jonathan Swaine (at Megacorp).

I have an appointment with Elizabeth George at 2.

Incorrect: I have a date with...


What you might hear

Yes. One moment please.

I'm sorry, but she doesn't answer her phone. Please take a seat while I track her down for you.


What you might say

Could I use the Ladies/Gents/toilet before you let her know I'm here?


Greeting

The typical introductory greeting is "Elizabeth George. How do you do?" The correct response to this greeting is to introduce yourself and express pleasure at the meeting:

Jenna Holzmann.

I'm very happy to meet you (at last).


If your host does not greet you with his or her name, then the correct response to How do you do? is How do you do?

If you are asked "How are you?" the correct response is "I'm fine, thank you. And you?"


Asking for things you might need

I'd like to freshen up a bit - it was a long trip from the airport.

I seem to have misplaced my pen. Could I borrow one?

Would you mind if we had a short chat before our meeting - just the two of us?

I urgently need to recharge my mobile phone. Is there a place where I could plug it in?

Could I have a glass of water, please?



Under discussion

The British style of communication encompasses both understatement and direct communication. This can make it difficult to understand what is said in seriousness and what is meant as a joke. Perhaps what is key to keep in mind at all times is that understatement should always be assumed. If someone says something that seems strong and concrete, consider that this may be irony or sarcasm. If statements are prefixed by "perhaps" or "it could be that", you might be hearing the other person's real opinion.

Be aware that conversations can quickly enter the realm of personal questions and informal humour. Failure to take such conversation lightly with a smile and participate could make a very negative impression. If you act as though you find such conversation unprofessional, you're likely to be written off quite quickly as a stiff bore – especially if this happens during initial small talk.

Make sure you shake hands with everyone who is participating in a meeting, and make eye contact with everyone in the room on a regular basis.

In light of this information, the number one thing to understand in a UK meeting room is that German directness will under most circumstances not be appreciated. Statements of opinion should not be made as if they are fact or preceded by "I find that..." or "My opinion is that...". The better approach is to position opinions as suggestions or proposals:

Perhaps we should consider...

Could I propose that we examine ...

Could I suggest that we take a devil's advocate position and consider doing exactly the opposite?



Saying goodbye

If things have gone well in your meeting, you need to reinforce this in words. Saying goodbye is not enough. Be sure to show your appreciation of the situation:

Well, I think our session was quite productive. What do you think, James?

I certainly think my trip has been worthwhile. Do you feel we've left anything uncovered?

And thank you very much for lunch. The next time you visit us it will be my turn. I'll take you to my favourite cafe.



Departing questions

Can you tell me what is the best way to get to the motorway/train station from here?

I have a few hours before my flight this evening. Could you suggest a good restaurant? Would you like to join me for dinner?

Schlagwörter: Geschäftsreise auf Englisch, Englisch Geschäftsreise, Business Trip Englisch; Vorstellung Englisch; Vorstellen auf Englisch

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