7 ideas for business English classes
Liven up your business English classes and encourage high student talking time with these fun and creative activities.
NEGOTIATIONS In pairs students role-play a negotiation. Each side will be given a sheet listing demands and concessions. Each side of the negotiation is awarded points for the type of concessions they get from the other side. For example, if one side manages to get a 25% discount, they get 10 points and the other side gets 0.
TELEPHONE CALL ROLE-PLAYS Telephone role-plays can be used with a variety of different topics such as leaving and taking a message, placing an order, arranging a meeting, making a complaint etc. The main point is to give students the chance to practice communicating in English without the visual clues that are present in face-to-face conversations. The easiest way to do this is to have students sit back-to-back during the exercise.
YEARLY COMPARISON INFORMATION GAP Students are provided with information sheets containing details about a company's performance in the current month compared with its performance in the same month of the previous year. Some of the information on each student's sheet is missing and they have to ask their partner questions to find out the missing information.
BUSINESS DIARIES ARRANGING A MEETING In pairs students are each given a diary with their appointments for the week ahead, each diary is different. The students role-play a phone conversation where they try to arrange a time to meet that fits in with both their schedules. E.g. 'Are you free Thursday lunchtime?' "Sorry, I'm meeting the area managers then. How about 10 a.m. Friday?*
DRAGON'S DEN/SHARK TANK The class is split into several groups of two or more students depending on class size. These groups are then divided into inventors or investors. The inventors are given a product sheet with information about a certain new product they have invented. The investors are given a question sheet with questions to ask about the product and a budget of $1,000,000 to invest in each invention. Each inventor group visits an investor group and pitches their product. The investors ask questions and decide whether to invest in the product or not and how much to invest. The inventor group with the highest level of investment wins. More advanced level students can create their own product and question sheets.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR COMPANY This is a good activity for a first lesson with a students from the same company. Depending on the size of the class, split the students into pairs or small groups. The aim of the activity is for students to describe their company as they would to a visitor, played by the teacher. The teacher should make sure they have copies of brochures and other company literature that can be used in the activity.
ANALYZING CHARTS AND GRAPHS Students are given charts and graphs. They need to study the graphs to extract specific information such as developing trends, product sales in different regions etc. Once they have finished analyzing the charts, the students can give a presentation to the class outlining what they have found.
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