Home > Business Situations, Extreme Adjectives, Key Business Language, Socialising > Emotional Response – The Grammar of Socialising

Emotional Response – The Grammar of Socialising


This is a business English lesson plan to help learners socialise more effectively.

It helps learners to develop their confidence to respond in a conversation, which is a critical part of any social situation.


 Stage 1 – Discussion

At the beginning of class, engage learners in conversation about what they’ve been doing recently.

During the conversation, record any language that you think could be developed / improved

Don’t focus on grammar and vocabulary errors here but language that sounds strange in a social conversation.


–  The meal last night was very interesting

–  My stay in London was not bad

– A: I had a very good time last night



Stage 2 – Vocabulary

Write the word simpatico on the board and ask learners if they know what it means and if they have a similar word in their language.

Ask learners how they feel if they are simpatico with someone

Give learners the following words:

  • Empathic
  • Sympathetic
  • Have rapport with
  • Get on (well) with

Elicit have rapport with and get on with and ask learners what the other words mean


Stage 3 – Discussion

Lead a discussion on techniques learners use to build rapport with people

Variation – collocations with rapport

  1. Introduce these verbs – have, build, establish, develop, make, get
  2. Ask learners to discuss which verbs are common partners with rapport
  3. Answers – have, build, establish, develop

Stage 4 – Conversational Skills – Emotional Responses

  1. Record the following conversation using a Digital voice recorder or Audacity or give learners the transcript:

A: How are you?

B: Tired, doing a lot of overtime.

A: OK. That’s bad.

B: What about you?

A: Going on holiday next week.

B: Right, that will be nice

  1. Ask learners to discuss whether the speakers have rapport with each or are taking an interest in each other
  2. Give learners a copy of the transcript and this word list:
  • Great
  • Amazing
  • Awful
  • Really
  • Terrible

Ask learners to change words in the text to make the speakers sound more interested in each other.

Suggested Answer:

A: How are you?

B: Tired, doing a lot of overtime.

A: Really? That’s awful.

B: What about you?

A: Going on holiday next week.

B: Great, that will be amazing


Stage 5 – Pronunciation

Model the stress and intonation of some of the improved responses.

Great, that will be amazing


Follow Up

Practicing social English in an organised way is very difficult so my advice is the next time you’re chatting to your learners listen to how they respond and tell them if they respond inappropriately.

Then try to get them to remodel their language using a more empathic/extreme option


Cultural Point

Views on socialising and responding are closely linked to national cultures and some learners may be resistant to this language.

This is a fair viewpoint as, although this language is very common, it’s also very Anglo Saxon.

However, even if learners don’t adopt these techniques, introducing this language is an amazing way to get learners thinking about rapport building and will challenge them to think about how they socialise and how they may be perceived by people from other cultures.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: