Aktualisiert: März 28
Once again, it’s almost the holiday season - a time of joy and light and gathering with friends and family. As we make our way towards the end of the year, where holiday work parties take place and people finalize work tasks before taking off for the holidays, some English-learners may wonder about how best to wish their co-workers a happy holiday season.
What is appropriate and for which type of co-worker? What if you are unsure about their religion or holiday customs? This business topic is intricately linked to culture, and today’s post will explore these questions from the U.S. workplace perspective.
In the U.S. in particular, several other religious and/or non-denominational celebrations are happening around the same time as Christmas. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Winter Solstice are the most prominent examples. Christmas is the most wide-spread holiday, yet it is also celebrated by non-religious people as well.
Since not everyone in your social circle is celebrating the same holiday, or you may not be sure what they celebrate, some examples of greetings are listed below. New Year’s, on the other hand, is a secular holiday, and “Happy New Year!” is a standard greeting that can be said to one and all.
Formal Holiday Greetings - for clients, customers, and new acquaintances:
Wishing you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
All the best this holiday season!
Informal Holiday Greetings - for friends, close colleagues, and close customers:
Have a very Merry Christmas (ex. Happy Hanukkah) and a Happy New Year!
Best wishes for you and your family for Christmas and New Year’s!
Sending warm wishes to and yours this holiday season!
Have a healthy and happy New Year!
Aktualisiert: März 28
Making a business-related phone call in English can be very intimidating for non-native speakers. However, those working in English-speaking work environments can boost their confidence by learning and practicing a few phrases that will help them navigate most business calls.
In this post, underlined phrases are those that are vital for basic telephone conversations.
1. Introductions as a receiver
As the receptionist or person answering a call, it is important to also fist introduce yourself and the name of the company/organization.
“Hello, this is Stan White at Business101, how may I help you?” Mr. White should have a friendly tone with the caller.
2. Introductions as a caller
Let’s suppose Lisa Green needs to call to confirm details about a meeting next week with Mr. Smith. She dials, and when the receptionist answers, she introduces herself.
“Hello, my name is Lisa Green. Is Mr. Smith available? I’d like to speak with him about our meeting scheduled for next week.” Ms. Green should be clear about why she is calling.
3. Connecting a caller (Receiver)
Stan White, the receptionist, responds to the caller,
“Sure thing, Ms. Green. I believe Mr. Smith is in his office. I will transfer you. Please hold.” He places Lisa Green on a brief hold and transfers the call.
4. Confirming meeting details (Caller)
Let’s suppose in the first scenario, Mr. Smith is in his office and Lisa Green’s call is forwarded to his desk. He answers,
“Ms. Green, nice to hear from you! Are we still all set for meeting next week?”
Lisa Green replies,
“Yes, Mr. Smith, no problem with the meeting. I just wanted to confirm how many copies of the Annual Report I should bring? And, would it be alright if a colleague of mine also attended? He’s been very involved with the report.”
Let’s suppose Mr. Smith responds to both of these questions. He and Lisa Green are ready to end the call. Lisa says,
“Thank you so much, Mr. Smith. I look forward to meeting with you next week.” Mr. Smith says, “You’re welcome, Ms. Green. Have a nice day! Goodbye.” Lisa responds with a “goodbye” and they end the call.
5. Taking a message (Receiver)
But, let’s suppose Mr. Smith was not available. Stan White needs to take Lisa Green off of hold on the phone.
“Ms. Green? I’m sorry but Mr. Smith is not available right now. Would you like to leave a message?”
Lisa Green now has 3 options: She can leave a message with Stan White, she can email Mr. Smith, or she can try to call again later/tomorrow. She replies
“Yes, please. Please tell Mr. Smith I just have a short question about our meeting next week. If he can either call me back this afternoon, that would be great.”
Stan White asks,
“Is this the best phone number to reach you? 12345678910?”
Lisa Green confirms the number, and thanks Stan White. He replies
“Thank you, have a nice day.” and they end the call.
Be sure to check out next week’s post deal with more complicated business calls and useful phrases for how to handle them.
Now that we have clarified how to begin an English-language business email, as well as address a variety of common business email exchanges, let’s discuss how to handle the trickier situations that may come up in an office context.
1. Giving an apology
Mistakes happen, and it may occur at some point that you must apologize to a colleague or customer via email. In this case, start the appropriate salutation, and go directly into the apology in the first line of the message. The phrases “I sincerely apologize for….”or “I am incredibly sorry that…” will be suitable. Especially with clients or customers, close the message by stating that “Rest assured that we will resolve this issue as quickly as possible, and that it will not occur again in the future.” This statement indicates that the business takes ownership of its mistakes and care about quality.
2. Notification of rejection or bad news
Giving bad news to anyone is always a drag, and the same goes for emails. Oftentimes, it may help to think of these messages like a sandwich—in layers. Give an opening, kind sentence, follow with the line of bad news, and close the email with one more kind sentence. One example may be:
Dear Mr. Johnson,
Our firm was very pleased to host you for an interview last week, and were really impressed with your portfolio. (kind) Unfortunately, there was a pool of exceptional candidates for this position, and we have selected another to fulfil this role. (negative)
Please do not see this as a negative reflection on your own capacities. We wish you the best of luck in your future career. (kind)
With Kind Regards,
3. Expressing gratitude
There are many ways to thank someone in an email, and it’s important to do so if someone has gone above and beyond for you at work. Some great phrases to express gratitude include “I’m so appreciative that you…..” or “Thank you for all your efforts, I am so grateful!” and “Many thanks for all your help!”. It’s also a nice gesture to offer to reciprocate a favor for the person that helped you, such as offering coffee or lunch.
4. Making a referral
Referral are an important aspect of business culture. If you receive a request from a colleague, client, or outside asking for a contact, follow the rules for appropriate forwarding and replying (ie, use CC and BCC appropriately, and beware of ‘reply all!’). For example, Mr. Johnson asks John Smith to make a referral for him to Ms. Brown at another company. Mr. Smith can use phrases in his email to Ms. Brown like “I highly recommend Mr. Johnson…” “an asset to your team because…” and close with “would it be alright if I introduce you/put you in touch?.”
5. Proper closings
There are several options for signing off an email. Whichever you choose, be sure to ALWAYS do a spell-check and read-though before sending—not doing so will make you seem sloppy and give a bad impression to the reader. Options include:
… choose the one that best fits the tone of your message. Good luck with your email-writing!