Business English Greetings Lesson

Almost every English course, Business English or otherwise, starts with introductions – and quite properly so, as often no one in the classroom knows each other or at least the students often won’t know the teacher and it is a good way to warm up the class and get everyone to relax a bit.  And it is just good starting point for each course.

While in a typical conversation class the we might focus more on hobbies and interests, in a Business English class our target language following our names should move toward explaining our job functions and our company.

Unless your work setting is quite casual, the best option on the charts below is to use the FORMAL option.  It is better to be more formal than to be too casual.  Most non-Western cultures can be quite formal on initial meeting and being too informal can damage the potential of the meeting.  Remember the Korea adage: First impressions are everything.

First Meeting:

Identification Company Information
Good morning**, I’m . . . I’m from . . .
Hello, my name is . . . I work for . . .
I’m with . . .
I’m in charge of . . .
I’m responsible for . . .
Hi, I’m . . . from . . .
** morning/afternoon/evening

Response to Introduction:

Initial Greeting
How do you do? I’m pleased to [finally*] meet you.
It’s nice to [finally*] meet you.
Hi, Nice/good to meet you.
Hello, Pleased to meet you.
Response to the Greeting
How do you do? It’s nice to meet you too.
I’m pleased to meet you too.
How do you do? Nice/Good to meet you too.
Hello, Pleased to meet you too.
Hi, (very informal)
* finally makes the greeting more cordial and friendly

Follow up with the initial response from the host might include:

Please have a seat. Please join us at the table.
Please take a seat. Can I get you a drink?*
Have seat. Sit over here.
Take a seat. Would you like a drink?*
Please sit.
* It is polite in many countries to offer tea or coffee to even an unscheduled guest.  Later in the day, in certain countries or in a less informal setting, alcohol might be offered.

Situation: Ms. Anderson arrives at the Bangkok Post to meet the circulation director, Khun Suwat.

Formal Dialog:

Anderson: Good morning, I’m Janet Anderson from Jiffy Transport Company.

Suwat: How do you do?  I’m pleased to finally meet you.  Please have a seat.

Informal Dialog:

Anderson: Hi, I’m Janet Anderson from Jiffy Transport.

Suwat: Welcome, come have a seat.

Dialog 2:

NOTE: You can easily see that less formal dialogs tend to be shorter and use ellipsis (leave out parts of the sentence).  Look at the differences in the formal and informal dialogs above to note how one is different from the other.

As the conversation continues . . .

Suwat: What do you do at Jiffy Transport Ms. Anderson?

Ms. Anderson: I’m the Business Manager in charge of new accounts, Khun Suwat, and your responsibilities here?

K. Suwat: I’m the Circulation Manager, I make sure our newspapers get where they need to go.




NEXT: Go to the greetings activity


Business English Greetings Lesson