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Intermediate Instant Lesson™

Meeting & Greeting

Pre-Reading Activities

A: Discussion
Your teacher will give you some questions about meeting people. Discuss the questions in small groups. You do not have to agree on your answer.

1. You are meeting some new employees at work for the first time. How do you greet them?
2. You are meeting your new boss on your first day of work. How do you greet him or her?
3. You are meeting the person who you will share an office with in your new job? How do you greet him or her?


B: Case Study Part One
Problem: You are part of the international sales team of a company. It will soon be your first trip to a different country. You enjoy meeting new people from other countries, but you do not know how to greet them.
Questions: What do you know about the following countries? Work in pairs and say what you think will be the correct answer for each question.
1. How do you greet business people in China?
2. How do you greet business people in France?
3. How do you greet business people in Qatar?
4. How do you greet business people in Russia?

C: Give Your Opinion

Answer these quesitons in pairs:
1. First impressions (what someone thinks when they meet you for the first time) are extremely important in business situations.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this?
2. What things do people notice when they are meeting another person for the first time? Make a list. One is done for you as example.

  • clothes
  • __________
  • __________
  • __________
  • __________
  • __________
  • __________
  • __________

3. Which of these things (the things you wrote in 2.) are most important to you? Why do think this?

Reading Activities

A: Comprehension Part One
Answer these questions as you read Part One of today's article:
1. What do we do first when meeting someone?
2. How important is this greeting?
3. How important is showing that you know about the different customs of other cultures?

Part One
Modern etiquette: international greeting customs
WASHINGTON, Mon Mar 21 (Reuters) - In business, the first thing we do when we meet someone is shake hands.

While it seems simple enough, this "first impression" greeting sends a powerful message about you and your respect for others.

For the most part, the western-style handshake is the accepted form of greeting in the international business world. However, the manner in which it is performed varies from country to country.
Your understanding of the subtle, and not-so-subtle, differences, as well as the traditional greetings of a country, conveys a great deal. It sends a message about how you view and value a culture and whether you respect your colleagues and potential partners. (Continued.../)
Article © 2011 Thomson Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2011

B: Comprehension Part Two
Answer these questions as you read Part Two of today's article:
1. Who will you shake hands with when you are at a business meeting that is not being held in the United States?
2. How will you shake hands when you are at a business meeting that is being held in the United States?

Part Two

(Continued.../) When doing business outside the United States, make sure you shake hands with everyone you greet and greet everyone in the room. Failure to do so is considered a rejection of those you omitted, and will be noticed.

Also, be sure to shake hands upon arrival and departure.

When meeting associates in the U.S. a firm handshake is preferred but when traveling abroad it's a different story. Here are a few ways you might be greeted by others when doing business abroad:


Article © 2011 Thomson Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2011

C: Matching Information
Read Part Three of the article and match these tips with the correct country:
be ready to receive a hug
shake hands gently
shake your hand just one time
don't stare
shake hands firmly
shake hands when saying goodbye





Part Three

(Continued.../) CHINA - While the western handshake is accepted, it is performed with a lighter grip and a pumping motion. Chinese also lower their eyes slightly as a sign of respect when meeting someone. Staring into their eyes can be perceived as a sign of disrespect.

JAPAN - Both handshaking and bowing are accepted forms of greeting in international business circles so take your lead from the person you are meeting. If shaking hands, do so lightly. If you are greeted with a bow, respond by bowing in kind.

RUSSIA - Russians usually use a firm (sometimes very firm) handshake when meeting a guest. If you've met the person before don't be surprised if the greeting includes a hug. Russian men customarily kiss their guest's cheeks (men and women alike) while women reserve such intimacies for other Russians and simply shake hands with foreigners.

FRANCE - Shake hands with one brisk stroke upon arrival and departure and make sure to shake hands with everyone.

Article © 2011 Thomson Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2011

D: Filling Gaps
Read Part Four of today's article and put the words below in the correct gaps:

Part Four
countries,  they, her, hands, handshake, top, style, time, lunch, country, rejection
(Continued.../) LATIN AMERICA - Latin Americans use a light, lingering 1. _________ (about twice as long as an American handshake) and pulling away too soon is interpreted as 2. _________. A man may offer his hand to a woman, and he may "kiss" the 3. _________ of a woman's hand.

EUROPEANS - While their handshake is the western 4.
_________, eastern and western Europeans re-shake hands whenever they are apart for a period of 5. _________. For example, it is considered polite to shake hands when you leave for 6. _________ and when you return.

ARAB COUNTRIES - Male friends may embrace and kiss each other on both cheeks following a light and lingering handshake. 7. ________ also stand very close to one another when talking. If you are a non-Arab woman traveling to an Arab 8. _________, let the man offer his hand first because some Muslim men do not shake 9.  _________ with women. Many Arab business women who often travel to Western 10. _________ shake hands with men and women. Let 11. _________ offer her hand first.

Article © 2011 Thomson Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2011

E: Case Study Part Two
Problem: You have just attended a one-day workshop on doing business from people from other countries.Your boss has asked you to report back. Do the following:
1. Make notes on meeting people from different countries in a business situation. You may look back at today's article. Use your own words and do not copy from the article. One is done for you as an example.
2.  Work in small groups. Take turns in reporting on the different countries using your answers. Other students may ask you questions.





France: shake hands when saying hello and goodbye, shake hands once 




F: Discussion
Answer these questions in pairs or small group. You may use your own experience and ideas:
1. To what extent do you think behaving correctly with people from a different culture is important in a business situation?
2. Think of a time when you were meeting someone for the first time in a business situation and the meeting went well. Why do you think it went well?
3. Think of a time when you were meeting someone for the first time in a business situation and the meeting went badly. Why do you think it went badly? What could you have done differently?

Post-Reading Activities
You may do one or more of these.

A: Word Search
Complete this word search. Look for words from today's article. The words could be placed horizontally, diagonally or vertically.

B: Show You Understand
Show in pairs how to greet other people from some of the other countries in today's article.

C: Extending Your Knowledge

Invite people into class who are from different cultures to you. Ask them to talk about some of the different cultural differences there are between your cultures.

Pre-Reading Activities

A: Discussion - Notes
At this stage the questions do not specify which country these situations are taking place in. You may wish to specify that it is the United States, or you may wish to say that it is the country with which the students are most familiar. You may like to add other details such as the age or gender of the people. However, these questions are designed to be a brief introduction to the rest of the lesson, so do not take too long over them.

B: Case Study Part One - Notes
Avoid giving answers at this stage as students will find answers to these questions in today's article.  You may wish to set a time limit to allow students to have a short discussion. However, if students have experience of meeting people from different countries, or are enjoying sharing anecdotes, you may wish to allow the conversation to continue for a longer time. Today's article looks at handshakes at different countries but your discussion could include what to say.

Reading Activities

A: Comprehension Part One
1. We shake hands. 2. Very important, 3. Very important because it shows how you view and value a culture and whether you are likely to respect the people you are doing business with.

B: Comprehension Part Two - Answers
1. Everyone, 2. firmly.

C: Matching Information - Answers
be ready to receive a hug - Russia
shake hands gently - China
shake your hand just one time - France
don't stare - China
shake hands firmly - Russia
shake hands when saying goodbye - France

D: Filling Gaps - Answers
1. handshake, 2. rejection, 3. top, 4. style,  5. time, 6. lunch, 7. They,  8. country, 9. hands, 10. countries, 11. her.

E: Case Study Part Two - Discussion - Notes
This part of the activity asks students to use their own experience to answer the questions. Students may disagree on their answers.

Post-Reading Activities

A: Word Search - Answers



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