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1-Hosting and visiting 6-Presenting figures and visuals
2-Telling a story 7-The recruitment interview
3-Speaking of oneself and of one's work 8-Presenting a system or a process
4-Speech strategies 9-How to sell a product or service
5-Giving presentations

Hosting and visiting

  1. being polite and respecting the other party
  2. Visits must be prepared and announced in writing (or phone) and you must confirm some days before.

    Give a visit card.

    RQ : in Asia, speak first to the person with the higher grade.

    To leave : (from the most to the least polite way)

    - " Could I trouble you for the time, please ? "

    - " Do you happen to know the time, please ? "

    - " Do you have the time, please ? "

    - " What’s the time, please ? "

    - " I suppose it must be quite late,... "

  3. distance and contact
  4. For Europe :

    Stay at arm’s length.

    Don’t shake hands every time but once, at the beginning of the day.

    Women don’t kiss.

  5. time
  6. Europe : Be on the dot.

    India : No time matters.

    Japan : Never be kept waiting.

    Confirm the appointment.

    If you are late, phone.

  7. conviviality, complicity and co-operation
  8. At the beginning of the session, you have to break the ice.

    Encourage questions.

    Avoid remarks like : " you’re not late ! "

    Do not introduce yourself as an assistant.

  9. the individual and the group
  10. To be self-assertive = être sûr de soi.

  11. verbal politeness
  12. 2 forms : Ritual exchange (with a beginning and an end) and freedom.

  13. respecting the other party’s main techniques
Not mentioning the agent.
- " Would it be possible to have it, "
Insist on what, not who.
Using modality.
Ex : could, might, may, It looks as if...
- " Would you be able to... "
- " It looks as it could be done "
- " It might be a good idea to... "
Take into account the feeling of the interlocutor.
Using hypothetical and conditional.
- " I wish you could... "
- " We would appreciate if you could... "
- " It seems to be... "
Exaltation and hyperbole.
- " We are pleased to offer you... "
- " We would be delighted if... "
- " We are looking forward to... "
- " It was a pleasure to... "
Euphemism and understatement.
Minimise the impact of a request.
Anticipate a strong reaction.
Ex : Slightly, rather,...
- " I’m afraid it would be... "
Justification, explanation
- " I’m sorry to trouble you but... "
- " I do apologise for the mix up... "
Tags confirming
Create an atmosphere of complicity
Indirect approach by questioning and beating around the booth.
- " Do you think you could help us with this problem ? "
- " It’s rather hot in here. "

Telling a story

  1. how to tell a story
    1. announcing
    2. - " Let me tell you a story... "

      - " I bet you don’t know what happened to Henry when... "

      - " This reminds me a good story... "

    3. using time and tenses
    4. Organisation around a few events in chronological order.

      Frequent use of the past simple.

      Hinges (= charnières) are essential : Before, simultaneously, afterwards, prior to, meanwhile, ultimately,...

      Examples :

      Après qu’il eu reçu l’appel téléphonique du client, il vérifia ses dossiers.

      - " After he had received the call from the customer, he checked in the files. "

      A ce moment-là, il se rendit compte que la commande n’avait pas été traitée par le département comptabilité.

      - " And then, he realised that the order had not been processed by the accountancy department. "

      Normalement, on fait ça au même moment que les produits sont emballés avant d’être expédiés.

      - " Normally, this is done at the same time as the goods are packaged prior to dispatching. "

    5. structuring
Format : textual structure.
Ex : a given story :
- Start : presentation of the basic data.
- Complications : the problem evolves.
- Looking for means and ways to solve the problem.
- Solution, ending.
Conclusion, morale.
Cause and result : effects between the events.
Ex : Therefore, as a result, consequently,...
Opinions, morale, commentaries.
Put the story in wider argumentation.
Link up the main topic of conversation and topics of the story.
    1. staging a story

The story is a screenplay (= scénario).
It contains :
- actors (reported dialogue)
- a narrator (express feelings)
- the addressee (he can have to participate : rhetorical question ; ex : " You can imagine what I felt... ").

The story is underlined by persuasion :

- " That’s incredible... "

- " That’s how we managed to solve the problem. "

  1. what sort of story
  2. In a professional environment : experiences, anecdotes.

    It enables the dialogue to be convivial, open to personal life.

    It can be a common shared experience, reminding it reinforces complicity :

    - " We had a similar experience... "

    - " Let me remind you of... "

  3. public / private
The American are open minded, they open their private life to foreigners.
In Japan and Germany, the private area is protected.
  1. neutral / emotional
Neutral :
Feelings and emotions are not to be shown.
In Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Scandinavia.
Emotional :
Their conversations are animated with funny stories.
In Italy, France, USA.

Speaking of oneself and of one’s work

  1. interviews and surveys’ objectives
Looking for information to make decisions
Ex : Opinion polls, market analysis, problem analysis,...
Evaluate competence and personality
Ex : Recruitment interviews, conflict analysis (critics to solve the problem)
To influence others
Ex : Advertising, educating, selling.
  1. questioning
    1. particular roles
Create a good climate to get spontaneity and open mind.
People are not to be disturbed, tell why you carry out the interview, give the topic immediately.
Interview must be prepared beforehand to cover all the possible areas.
Be careful to let the other party speak to get the maximum amount of information.
Go from the general to the specific, from the past to the future
    1. examples
Open and general questions
- " What do you think of the present quality control system ? "
Close, specific questions
- " What is your present salary ? "
Binary questions
- " Would you prefer a fixed bonus or a percentage of the profit ? "
Questions that include the answer
- " You spend a lot of time writing report, don’t you ? "
Encouraging questions
- " Could you tell us more about your past experience in sales ? "
Clarification questions
- " Could you tell us more about your responsibility in connection with marketing ? "
Confirmation questions
- " If I understand you well, you are looking for a product whose maintenance cost is lower than that of your present one, is that right ? "
Hypothetical questions
- " How would you react if you thought that your boss had made a mistake ? "
Off-putting questions
- " Why did you decide to leave your previous employer at a time of economic recession ? "
Questions inviting to ask further information
- " Do you have any questions concerning the position ? "
  1. the recruitment interview
Questions on the CV
The candidate :
- Old position
- Expectations for the new position (RQ : delay the question of money as far as possible)
- Personal questions : strengths and weaknesses
The position
Conclusion :
- " If I understand you well, you expect me to... "
Ask for a letter of confirmation and for a brochure of the company.
  1. answering

Must be prepared as far as possible.

Get information on the company.

You must be able to say why you are the right candidate and comment on your CV.

Thank the people.

Follow them up (= relancer) by a letter.

Direct answers.
- " I feel that giving a bonus that correspond to a percentage over turnover would involve the personnel more over the progress of the company. "
Globalising and careful answers.
- " It depends, in theory it’s a good idea but in practice we may have difficulties to implement (= give reality) it. "
Bad answers.
- " I find it difficult to answer this question since I’ve never had any experience in this field. "
How to gain time.
- " Before I answer this question, I would like to... "
Asking for clarification or returning the question.
- " What do you mean by bonus ? "
- " What amount do you have in mind ? "
Rephrasing and generalising.
- " This question calls for another one, which I think is central to the issue... "
Dividing a question.
- " Your question has got two facets. I mean first..., second... "
  1. recruiting and promoting : a few cultural differences
Looking for a job is efficient through networking :
- Professional recommendation
The family
- The " old boy system " : in the US, recommendation of an ancient student of your school.
Training :
- In France : if you come from Polytechnique, you have a good wage.
- In Japan or Germany : the final degree is not a guaranty ; all newcomers start at the bottom.

Speech strategies

  1. sharing and complying
Following rites of sociability
Conditions of preserving all social territory
Ex: " Good morning..."
Respecting somebody's freedom : politeness
Keeping the meeting in a polite way, avoid rough words
You must reproduce the world in an acceptable way for everybody
  1. guiding people
Structure talk
Take the party to one idea to another
To make obvious, convincing by quoting, anecdotes, examples...
Giving orders and advising to push people to take actions
- Catch someone's attention by something he / she knows (= reassuring)
Ex : " I grant you that in this aspect you're right "
- Call to good common sense
Ex : " It's tend to reason... "
  1. negociating
To decide to share or not an opinion.
Accept, refuse or make allowance
To grant = favourable atmosphere.
You must shade : thing are not white or black
All agreement are conditional, it enables you to scan all possibilities for the talk to evolve, to cover the complete range of all aspects
It introduces the other party to the way you are thinking
  1. communication management

3 set patterns :

1st one :
- Introduction
- Method
- Results
- Discussion
- Conclusion
2nd one :
- Description of the problem
- Disadvantages
- Advantages
- Summary
- Conclusion
3rd one :
- Disagreement
- Confrontation
- Research of new models
- Conclusion

Giving presentations

  1. room and environment
Arrive early to get familiarised with the room (microphones, overheads,...)
Arrange furniture in the room depending on your needs : scatter the chairs around for the people not to chat together)
Prepare visuals.
  1. body
Conform to usage in cloths (tie, skirt,...)
Do not move every time.
Do not stand before the screen.
Keep eye contact with the audience (select one person or a big area)
Scan the audience regularly.
Keep and entertain a feeling of complicity, go to the people.
Do not be too static, motionless.
Use your hands to underline key words.
Rehearse (= répéter) in front of a mirror.
Actions speak better than words.
  1. notes
Use A3 or A4 format.
Write in big characters or capitals.
Write the phonetics for some words.
Use telegraphic style.
Use a highlighter.
Use short sentences.
Give examples.
Write transitions.
  1. voice
Must be clear, articulate and loud.
Not necessary to have a good accent if people understand you well enough.
Slow rate of speech.
Make pauses when figures.
Repeat things to remember but without abusing of it.
The fist minutes, speak slowly so that people get accustomed to you.
It is possible to change voice rate to make it less boring.
- " I’m always surprised to say... "
- " I find it sad to say... "
- " I was happily surprised when... "
  1. visuals and pointers
  2. Point to the machine, not to the screen.

  3. stage panic
Have good notes with logical arrangement.
Focus your audience attention by speaking of problems they feel concerned with.
Share a personal experience with the audience.
Know the first sentence by heart.
Have a good breathe.
Have a stand-by procedure, in case (a summary).
  1. company culture

Family model

Hierarchical model

Egalitarian model

Where ?

- Spain

- Latin America

- India

- Northern Europe

- France


- Canada

- Northern Europe

- UK

Basis of cohesion

human relationships.


A specific task to carry out.

Roles in the company

- The subordinates are loyally attached to their supervisor.

- The supervisor considers his subordinates with benevolence (= condescendance) and leniency. He cares for their well-being.
Ex : In Japan, they encourage weddings between people working in the same company.

- Roles are given from the beginning, linked to your final degree.

- No consideration of the individual.

- Authority is legal and political.

All members are, in theory, equal.


To be a supervisor, you do not need to be successful, but you need seniority.

The salary depends on your hierarchical place.

Relative to performance and results.


Harmony, quality of interpersonal relationship is as important as the task to be done.

No emotions, no relational element because they disturb the established order.

- Quick : when the project is over, the team is broken.

- Individualism is encouraged.

Every team member was selected for what he was able to give to the project

Presenting figures and visuals

  1. role of visuals materials
Indicate the topic to the audience (Ex : plan).
Illustrate your purpose.
Keep people with the purpose.
Help to give figures.

3 drawbacks :

Do not use too many visuals.
They must be clear enough, look professional.
They must be connected to the presentation, always.
  1. different types of visuals equipment
Transparencies (overheads).
You face the audience (you have notes in front of you).
It gains time : they are prepared in advance.
You can block a part of the visual with a sheet of paper.
RQ : Don’t block the view, have the special pens, use pointers, bad when you need to give text.
Flip chart (presentation board).
Unfold it gradually.
RQ : Less visible, used only once.
White / black board.
Photocopies (handouts).
People don’t have to write everything.
RQ : Warn the people they will have them but Don’t give them at the beginning.
Slides (= diapositives).
Needs a remote control.
RQ : For technical presentation.
Liquid crystal graphic tables.
Use an electronic pen to animate visuals.
Computer projectors.
Needs a portable computer.
  1. different types of visuals
Flow-chart (= organigramme).
Process-chart. Ex : a manufacturing sequence, how to change the cartridge of a pen...
Flow-template (= patron, modèle). Ex : manufacturing shoes.
Cross-sections (= des coupes).
  1. controlling and guiding the audience’s attention
Introduce the visuals to the audience.
- " If we now turn to the figure which represents the cross-section of the buildings, we are immediately struck by the vast space given to staircases. "
- " As you can see on this curve, between 1990 and 1994, the quantity of books published doubled. "
- " I’d like to focus your attention on... "
- " If you look closely at the 1st line of my table,... "
- " I hope this graph gives you a good visual of... "
Make a plan of the presentation and give the main steps.
- Introduction (announce, interest)
- Description (comment)
- Direction (details)
- Conclusion
  1. figures in presentation
    1. counting
= :
to total, to be, to come to, to amount to, to number.
* : 8*4=
8 times 4 are...
+ : 8+4=
8 plus / and 4 are...
/ : 8/4=
8 divided by 4 are...
fractions :

1/2 : a half
1/3 : a third
1/4 : a quarter
2/3 : two thirds

5/8 : five heights
4/569 : 4 over 5-6-9
40/87 : 40 over 87 (or 8-7)

    1. getting the numbers right
Insist on difficult figures : for 14, say 1-4 (no confusion with 40).
A zero following a decimal is pronounced " o " (or " not " for GB)
    1. approximations
in the region of, nearly, about, just above / under, approximately, more or less.
well over / below (= nettement plus / moins)
one thousand-odd (= un millier)
3,000 or thereabouts (= 3.000 ou à peu près)
    1. rates and ratios
1 :10 = one to ten (= un pour dix)
one out of ten (= un sur dix)
per square mile (= par mètre-carré)
  1. trends and tendencies
    1. similarity
to go steady, to equalise, to persist, to level-off / -out, to remain steady, to hold fast, to stand fast.
both, like, the same holds for / applies to, it is similar to, similarly
    1. difference

Upward movement :

a rise, an increase, a jump, to climb, to sky-rocket, to intensify

Downward movement :

a fall, a drop, a decline, a decrease, to slacken, to dwindle, to soften

unlike, contrary to, to be in contradiction with, to be a departure from (= un contraste marqué), to be a break from
    1. forecasting
certainly, definitely, to be sure
the outlook (= la perspective), the likelihood is (= la perspective est que)
to have doubts, misgivings


  1. the right career plan
You have to draw it, it’s compulsory before looking for a job.
You won’t have help from the recruiter
You’re not expected to say what career for the last 20 years ; you have to choose a branch and explain why it suits you.
Include : " I plan to stay with you as long as... "
Say how you look the company : maybe a stepping-stone to another company.
Be frank
Have a choice of special job you want : recruiters won’t tell you.
  1. knowing the recruiting company
Small company :
Head of the company, knows the company very well, has a precise idea of the candidate.
Medium company :
HRM (Human Resources Manager), has a general idea of the candidate : flexible, good behaviour, but the final decision is left to the department manager.
Large company :
Professional recruiters : headhunters.
  1. making the most of your cv
  2. underlining what sets you apart

Describe what you have done : it is what you are.

The extracurricular activities are very important but don’t put too many of them.


  1. the reality and truth effect
  2. Providing a credible picture of the system/process.

    1. speaker’s legitimacy
    2. You hold knowledge and experience.

      Do not mention this expertise, it must be implicit.

      - " The analysis was carried out in our laboratories... "

      - " As a member of the operational committee, I can tell you... "

    3. objectivity
    4. Reached by making the discourse impersonnal.

      Do not say " I " or " You ".

      Use the passive form.

      Center the discourse on the object.

      Reinforced by using pertinent terms to represent the object.

      - " Samples are injected in a chromatographe, the result is printed... "

    5. assessment and experiment
    6. Use the passive form.

      - " The cheques were immediatly cashed and the dispatch department was notified of the nature of the order. "

    7. generalisation
    8. Create a truth effect, not necesarily scientific.

      - " Computers are a great help in improving real time stop-taking procedures. "

      Multiply the generic markers : plural, Ving.

      Use the present to create a general truth.

    9. refering to visuals
    10. Reinforce the truth effect : links the discourse to specific effects.

      - " As you can see on the following chart, the amount of cars manufactured is directly related to the demand of the market. "

    11. organising discourse very strictly
    12. Use stop indications.

      - " I think we now have a clear picture of the different parts of the system. Let us now examine the process. Well, it consists of 4 main stages which are... "

    13. explanation
    14. Answers the question " Why ? "

      Demonstration or justification

      Linguistic markers : verbs, logical hinges expressing a cause to effect relation.

      - " This fact explains why the mixer broke down. "

    15. thematic and lexical coherence

    Obtained in choosing the right vocabulary.

    The words answer words like an echo.

    Computer : data processing device

    Relay : interface : intermediary stage

    - " The computers selected for all our accountancy department had to be compatible with our main frame computer based in Atlanta. Those data processing devices were usually equipped with full page screens. These displays make for better visualisation of spreadsheets. As a result of this recent investment in information technology systems, real time knowledge of financial situation is now possible. "

  3. describing systems or mechanisms
    1. definition, classification
      1. general vs. specific descriptions

Common to one type of system

- " Invoices can be classified into 2 main categories : sales invoices or proforma invoices. They both consist in the description of objects or services mentioning their price and, if necessary, the transport charges or taxes. Taxes usually apply to all items. The function of a proforma invoice is to give an estimate of the cost and, as such, it can be used as a document for a decision or a negotiation. "


Particular characteristics of the system

- " This particular invoice format has been designed to facilitate data processing. As you can see, it has specific markers that duplicate those appearing on the screen of your computer when any accountancy software is used. This type of invoice is suitable for laser and inkjet printers. "

      1. static vs. dynamic descriptions

Insists on localisation of the parts


describes the functioning of each part in relation to the whole.

    1. parts
Localisation and relation relative to the whole
Aim relative to the whole
Functioning relative to the whole
    1. physical characteristics
    2. Size, shape, weight, material, colour, texture...

    3. application or functions

When, who, how...

  1. describing processes
Parts or ingredients (material and equipment)
Actors (men or machines)
Steps, sequence, change, motion (chronological organisation)
Importance and characteristics of the process
Precautions and recommendations (crucial steps, possible difficulties and errors)


selling is a very valued professional activity.

Objects, services, ideas, projects to sell.

Main objective of selling is to find the ideal fit between offer and demand.

Offer can be fixed : objects with a very determined price.

It can also be negotiable.

In most cases, the economic role played by the salesperson will come after that of communicator.

It affects communication : you’ll try to be an expert, adviser more than a shopkeeper.

Vocabulary around notion of service, not sale.

List of terms essential in sale :

What comes to mind

What to say instead

















  1. a sequence of actions
  1. Contact
    Making appointment, greeting people, being received, hosted.
  2. Getting to know the customer’s needs (needs analysis)
  3. Presenting the product
    Speaking about it, arguing : weighing the pros and cons.
  4. Questioning
    To get information and to exchange it.
    Agreeing on the needs and offer : meeting the requirements.
  5. Decision/not decision to buy
  6. Plan of action
    Delivering : how well, how soon
    servicing all need agreement.
  7. Leave taking
    Agreeing on the next contact.
  8. Follow up
    Seeing if good delivery.
  1. sociability

On 2 occasions :

The 1st contact (must be prepared in advance)
Leave taking
This is the opportunity to thank people for the time they spent with you, for the confidence they gave you.
Give information on the next step of meeting (ex : delivery) and reassure your customer.
If there is no agreement, express understanding.
  1. getting to know the customer
  2. Mostly done by questions and answers.

    However, this is when you discover his expectations, desires, motivations.

    Remember that the other party speaks on behalf of the company.

    Sometimes salespersons forget this because they tend to consider this is an individual.

    During the discovery stage, use open questions :

    - " What did you expect in terms of reliability ?

    Well, I’m prepared to accept 10% mistakes. "

    Goal : to have him to speak as spontaneously as he feels.

    It is the time to ask clarification questions (becoming more precise)

    - " Are you tolerating 10% mistakes all the time ? "

    You have to take down notes (figures).
    The moment you realise the customer is repeating himself, he’s exhausted all his needs about the topic ; so you can change subject.

    The needs can be (Maslow’s pyramid) : survival, security, belonging to a group, self fulfilment, practical considerations, economy or savings, novelty, aesthetic.

    Specific culture : culture who exist on the technical performance of a product.

    Diffuse culture : culture who value emotions, feelings and affectivity.

  3. presenting and persuading
  4. Your presentation must be prepared.

    You must create the reality effect : through words you convey a high picture of what it is.

    As close as possible as someone looking at it would feel.

    You must be credible. Use the right technical vocabulary and adapt it to your audience.

    You must trust in what you are selling.

    Use words and verbs to say you’re convinced, sure, you believe..

    You should have a set of arguments.

    It must be ordered.

    Arguments : characteristics of the product, expected advantages and returns.

    Arguments must be supported by evidences, you must illustrate.

    You must link your arguments to the values and needs you have identified before.

    - " As I said before... "

    - " As you may remember... "

    - " As I keep saying... "

    Involve the other party :

    - " You may wonder how we can solve the problem... "

  5. anticipating objections and pushing to act
  6. Giving references of previous customers.

    Tell the customer he is in competition.

    Do not smile when saying something, be earnest.

  7. dramatising the question
  8. Underline the fact that there is a lack in the customer’s life : he badly need the product.

    - " It is clear that often risk to..., but our product offers a good solution... "

  9. guiding by discourse
  10. - " Let me tell you about the various... "

    - " Am I consistent ? "

  11. questions/answers stage

Answering to objections.

The customer is no passive character, he may be sceptic, comment on what you say...

Ask the customer to make his question clearer.

- " What do you mean by large quantities ? "

Conditional agreement.

- " I understand your concern but you can easily understand that we can grant a discount only to big orders. "