Postman's Top Ten Tips
Source: Dr. James McCabe

1. Use your contact's first name. Today this is considered more friendly in international usage.

2. Don't shake your contact's hands as much as you would in German. Once is enough. Continuing to shake the hand of an acquaintance could be viewed as a distancing technique.

3. Always smalltalk. This is standard business protocol, and could be about the weather, holidays or your contact's homeland. Don't initiate smalltalk about religion, politics, health or family.

4. In business, we often use modal verbs to create a positive mood. More common modal verbs include might or could. Avoid stronger modals such as can or should.

5. It is better not to disagree openly with someone in English. A safer way to do this is to agree first, apologize, and then suggest another opinion.

6. English speakers use question tags constantly, don't they ? They sound silly, but in fact are a key feature of business communication, offering consensus instead of dictating facts.

7. All native speakers use phrasal verbs - these are two-part verbs like call off for cancel. By picking up (A phrasal verb meaning learn) a few of them, you begin to sound much more fluent.

8. Native speakers regularly touch base, in other words they contact each other from time to time just to say hello. This is a normal feature of business etiquette.

9. English speakers often make jokes at their own expense, something that may sound unusual at first. Called self-deprecation, it's good for customer relations.

10. Finally, it's a good idea to ask your contact to correct you, something they may not wish to do, at first, out of politeness. Viel Spaß !


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