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Week 3 - Gabrielle and Dana

Page history last edited by Claire Hart 7 years, 2 months ago

Welcome to Week 3!  


During this part of the week, we will discuss how to help Business English learners develop small talk and interpersonal skills while communicating internationally. To do this, we will examine basic concepts and techniques borrowed from the field of management and suggest ways to apply them in class. Gabrielle and Dana will be your moderators for this week. 


There are also two live sessions this week, one with Gabrielle on 27th January, 6pm GMT and one with Dana on 29th January, 1pm GMT (see below for more information and the links you need to join them).


  • By the end of the week, you will have:
  •  discussed the importance of interpersonal skills in an international business context;
  • examined the communication and behavioural elements that make up interpersonal skills; 
  • explored useful techniques to develop IS;
  • applied/adapted these techniques in a Business English activity



Task one: Small talk in a business environment (30 Minutes) - Monday & Tuesday 


The aim of this task is to introduce the use of small talk in a business environment.  Please read this article about the importance of small talk and how to get better at it and take some time to reflect on the questions.  Please post your response to the questions below in the Week Three - Task One group in Edmodo.


  • To what extent are you a small talk fan?
  • How does your culture see the role of small talk in business communication?
  • How do people normally show each other that they are ‘liked’ while conducting small talk?
  • Do you agree that we have no choice about making small talk?
  • How would you encourage people learning English to try out small talk?


Live session with Gabrielle on Monday27 January at 6pm GMT.  

You can watch the recording of Gabrielle´s session by clicking on this link: Recording of the live session with Gabrielle



Task two (30 minutes) - Monday (after the live session) - Wednesday

Think about an interesting way to teach one of the following areas of language in a business English class.  Share any ideas you have on activities and exercises and resources you can recommend in the Week Three - Task Two group in Edmodo.


  • Opening/closing/ending structures: routine small talk phrases 
  • Open/closed question forms
  • Story telling and telling jokes
  • Turn taking
  • Positive conversation style
  • Vague language: mmm, yea



Task three - Interpersonal skills (20 minutes) - Wednesday-Thursday

Please read the summary in this file and share your thoughts in the relevant small group in Edmodo  


1. Given the importance of interpersonal skills, discuss the potential challenges that non-native speakers may encounter when interacting in an international business context.

2. What approach would you use to teach interpersonal skills in one of the courses (General English or Business English) that you currently teach?


If you don’t have any course in mind, you can use the following example:

An upper-intermediate group of 5 students who work in an international insurance company. Two of them are in the Marketing department and the other three work in customer service.  They need English to participate in meetings, video conferences, write emails, hold telephone conversations, entertain foreign visitors, and deal with complaints and offer solutions. They meet twice a week for 90 minutes.



Live session with Dana on Wednesday29 January at 1pm GMT.  

You can watch the recording of Dana´s session by clicking on this link: Recording of the live session with Dana



Task four - Interpersonal skills (15 minutes) - Wednesday-Thursday


Look at the images in this document then answer the following questions. Share your thoughts in our Edmodo group. 

1. Where do employees seem to communicate and interact more effectively? Why?

2. For each image, mention two skills that they either possess or need to interact at work



Task five (30 minutes) - Thursday-Sunday

Please, choose one of the interpersonal skill techniques discussed in the live session:

  1. Explain why you find it useful for communication training purposes
  2. How would you use it/adapt it in a Business English activity?

Post your comments in our Edmodo group and comment on at least one of your fellow participants´ posts. 



Optional Material:

You might also like to watch this video on dealing with difficult people presented by communication skills trainer Bob Dignen. 



Live sessions


Please attend the live session with Gabrielle on Monday, 27 January at 6pm GMT.  

You can watch the recording of the live session by clicking on this link: Recording of the llive session with Gabrielle



Please attend the live session with Dana on Wednesday, 29 January at 1pm GMT.  

You can watch the recording of the live session by clicking on this link: Recording of the live session with Dana 

Here are the slides from Dana´s live session: Developing Interpersonal Skills in Business Skills






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