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Business English and British culture
17.10.2015, 09:41

Описание: BBC


What British workers say                     What British workers mean


With the greatest respect                        You’re totally wrong

That’s not bad                                         That’s rather good

That’s quite good                                    That’s rather bad

I’m not too bad                                        I am good

It could be worse                                     It probably couldn’t be worse

I’ll bear it in mind                                   I’ve already forgotten about it.

Sorry                                                       Excuse me/Hello/ I’m late/ You’re sitting in my

                                                                 chair/ You’ve stepped on my foot

That’s one way of looking at it              That’s the wrong way of looking at it

I’m sure it’s my fault                              It’s your fault

I’m easy                                                 I’m happy with any of the options

I am not trying to be rude                      I’m about to be rude

I’m not trying to be funny                      I’m about to be insulting

To be honest…                                       I’m about to be frank

Whenever you have a minute                 Do it now

At the end of the day                              When all is said and done

I might join you later                              Don’t expect to see me       




Idiosyncrasies of the Brits at work

By Mark Johanson

11 September 2015



One of the most amusing adjustments for expats arriving in a British office is the ritual of tea and biscuits.

Chilean architect, Camila Rock, said there is a bell at her London architecture firm that rings at 16:30 every day, at which point the office grinds to a halt for an office-wide teatime, prepared by different teams each week.

“I was told right from the start that if I don’t add a drop of milk I am not having a proper (cup of) tea,” she said, adding that she relishes this social moment in the day.

It's no laughing matter. The Brits take their daily “cuppa” seriously; it crosses industries and age groups. And while it may be an old-fashioned tradition, the tea-break is making a comeback.

“It’s a really friendly tradition,” French fashion analyst Irwin Welcman said. He moved to London from Paris in 2013. “Each time someone in my team is going to have a tea, they ask the whole team if anyone wants one and now everybody knows each other's tastes.”

A study by biscuit baker, Thomas J Fudges, of 2,000 British workers, revealed one in four would be more likely to close a deal in a meeting because of the biscuits provided, with shortbread, chocolate bourbons and flapjacks all likely to win a favourable reaction.

James Field, senior training manager at Debrett’s Training Academy, said Brits also feel that it’s important to be able to offer clients a tea “because it can be a daunting thing coming into your office. They’re not in their space and they may feel a little on edge, so to get the best out of them, it’s important to serve them well.”

A different kettle of fish

Other nuances of British workplaces are far harder to get to grips with.

Corporate culture is often thought of as a universal language, but many expats in the UK agree that Brits have their own dialect.

Small talk before a meeting, no matter how important the discussion, is as British as the tea and biscuits. Field noted that the weather, the turnout and the food you just ate are all common icebreakers in the UK.

Idle chitchat, however, can prove challenging for expats from places like the US where being assertive and quickly getting to the point  are considered admirable leadership skills at work, both in person and online.

Adding to the confusion, talking too much can also get you in trouble.

When Rock moved to the London office of her company four years ago, she was struck by just how quiet the office was. It was a massive workspace — bigger than any she’d worked in in Chile — but it was utterly devoid of sound.

And even when her new colleagues did speak, they seemed to be forever apologising for something, for not leaving enough personal space in a queue, or to preface a question. “In Chile there are always people messing around in the office, but in the UK everybody is really, really silent and really, really polite,” the 32-year-old said.

Lost in translation

Lawyer, Sean FitzGerald, who moved to London from New York in 2012, said he knew an American who became a censor for fellow expats at her firm who were struggling with the subtleties of British exchanges. “The Americans would even run emails by her and she would say: ‘Oh no, no, no. That’s too forward’ Or: ‘That’s too aggressive’.”

When it comes to conflict in the workplace, Fitzgerald said Brits tend to be more passive-aggressive than their American counterparts.

“There is definitely an emphasis on formality, on being overly polite and, to a certain extent, deferential,” the 31-year-old explained. “I remember one or two contentious calls where it was amusing for me to hear how the British challenged one another on the phone in the most kind and polite way possible.”

American Amy Peterson said Brits use “countless catchphrases and passive semantics all in the name of trying to convey an annoyance with someone without actually saying ‘you’re annoying me’”. If a manager is unhappy with a project, she explained, he wouldn’t say he disliked it. Instead he might say: “I see what you’re trying to do here, but let’s chat about what else you could do.”

And there’s nowhere to hide. When Peterson relocated from Washington to London eight years ago to work in marketing analysis, she found that the cubicles she’d grown accustomed to in the US capital were replaced in the British capital by an open plan office with long communal desks.

“It felt like I had no privacy,” the 37-year-old recalled of the change. “Trying to be on the phone was a bit of a nightmare and you often felt like everyone could hear your conversations.”

Peterson likened the overall transatlantic culture shock to “lots of little things that add up to an overall feeling that things are different.”

Work-Life balance

One thing most expats agree on is that the British have mastered the art of work-life separation.

A typical workday for Erkan Atay in his native Turkey could stretch from nine in the morning to nearly nine at night. It’s not that he had more work to do than anyone elsewhere in the world; the reason for the long days was almost purely social. There were long lunches with colleagues or extended coffee outings to break up the monotony of the day.

Atay got “such a big surprise” when he moved to the UK three years ago to work as a business partner in commercial finance. His colleagues at the London telecommunications company left the office at 17:00. “I thought to myself, everyone here is working like a machine, eating breakfast and lunch in front of their computers and only interacting in a very professional way,” the 31-year-old recalled.

It’s been quite an adjustment from life back in Istanbul, but Atay said he really appreciates the balanced life in England. He likes leaving at 17:00, not checking work emails over the weekend and not dealing with fiery “Mediterranean-style” debates in the boardroom.

Manners please

"Good manners are really important in the boardroom,” said James Field at Debrett’s Training Academy. “Once we’ve moved from small talk to business, we still subconsciously recognise... the way you are looking at someone, how you sit in your chair, how you engage with someone, how you pass water around the table.”

That said, Atay misses some of the workplace camaraderie of Turkey — and finds UK office temperatures so cold he has to wears jackets year-round. But, he said, he’s finally getting into the swing of British business life.

To comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Capital, please head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

This story is a part of BBC Britain — a new series focused on exploring this extraordinary island, one story at a time. Readers outside of the UK can see every BBC Britain story by heading to the Britain homepage; you also can see our latest stories by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Категория: Тексты для анализа | Добавил: Voats
Просмотров: 716 | Загрузок: 0 | Комментарии: 70 | Рейтинг: 0.0/0
Всего комментариев: 701 2 3 4 »
70 alexandrzpukr  
It is great idea to itroduce tea-breaks during the working days.
Why not offer clients a tea and biscuits during a meeting.
You can talk before a meeting in order to break the ice.
You cannot let yourself talk too much before the meeting
While a(at the meeting) meeting, The British would rather not talk too much.
Tea and biscuits let(whom?) get the best out from the clients.
People who do nothing but mess around the office are annoying to others.
The British used to behave meticulously.

69 nstrdnv  
1.You had better speak just a little not to get yourself in trouble.
2.Trying to be on the phone was a bit of a nightmare and you often felt like you let everyone listen(to) your conversation.
3.They will not have a meeting started without a small talk.
4.Small talk before a meeting lets break the ice.
5.Tea lets get the best out from the clients.
6.Why not add a drop of milk to have a proper cup of tea.
7.Atay feels himself freeze in the office so he has better wear jackets year-round not to get cold.
8. Balanced life in Britain lets Atay leave his emails unchecked over the weekend.

65 kseninap  
Expats are made to have a ritual of tea and biscuits in British offices.
What meaks clients not feel a little on edge?
You would rather have a small talk before a meetting.
You had better be more passive-aggressive when it comes to conflict.
Peterson felt she had no privacy in an open plan office.
A balanced life in England lets the expats have more free time after work.
Why not go to the supermarket and buy biscuits for teatime?
Expats cannot but agree that Brits have their own dialect.

66 Лена  
Ksenia! About Peterson the sentence does not correspond to the task, though from the point of view of grammar it`s ok.
Ex.: She felt him grow accustomed to the new way of life.

62 surname252  
1. Different nuances of British workplaces are considered to be rather challenging for many expats to get to grips with.
2. Talking over the phone in an open plan office can make you feel like you have no privacy at all.
3. The ritual of tea and biscuits cannot but impress a lot of expats who arrived to Britain.
4. The British would rather have a small talk before a meeting.
5. There are some workers in Turkey who do nothing but have extended coffee outings with colleagues.
6. The British are thought to be less aggressive than their American counterparts. 
7. The British will never let themselves behave aggressively.
8. Why not have a tea-break during the working day?

63 Лена  
Well done. Thank you!

61 viktoriashpak2205  
1. Why not talk a little before a meeting ?
2. If you want to work in Britain, you should be polite.
3. The Brits can be more passive-aggressive than their American counterparts.
4. The Brits will never let themselves make any noise in theis offices.
5. Everybody should have good manners , as they are very important in the boardroom.
6. You can offer clients a tea and biscuits during a meeting.
7. The British would rather not talk too much during a meeting .
8. I think that this ritual of tea and biscuits will be very popular even after many years.

67 Лена  
Vika! Sentences 2,5,and 8 do not correspond to the task. You should have illustrated the cases when the particle  TO is not used with the infinitive.

60 dimrdaf  
Shortbread, chocolate bourbons and flapjacks can not but win a favourable reaction.
The British open plan offices make you feel like you have no privacy.
You cannot let yourself talk too much before the meeting.
You will not have a proper tea without a drop of milk.
One in four would close a deal in a meeting sooner if the biscuits are provided.
In Chile there are people who do nothing but mess around the office.
Why not have some tea and biscuits?
Most brits would rather be passive-aggressive than straightforward.

68 Лена  
You will not have a proper tea without a drop of milk. - what rule does this example illustrate? 
One in four would close a deal in a meeting sooner if the biscuits are provided. -? the same.

59 nastyayoqubismailova  
1.It is very difficult to join the team and get used to the new working conditions.
2.It is necessary to perform the ritual of tea and biscuits every day.
3.It is very important to serve the client well.
4.The British tend to be more adequate and quiet conversation than Americans.
5.It is very important to have a good education and manners.
6.The British used to behave meticulously.
7.During the working day the British will never allow themselves to make a noise or speak loudly.
8.It is important to communicate politely with the client, without violating his privacy.

64 Лена  
Nastya! The task was to illustrate the cases when we do not use the particle"to" with the infinitive. You were supposed to use the vocabulary from the article and the corresponding grammar material.

58 DesertEagle3  
1) You'd better stop wallowing in talk of his misfortune
2) Your enemies won't miss the opportunity of casting you in a negative light 
3) By backstabbing your colleagues, you can hurt them
4) I think that gossiping about friends is the last thing to do in life
5)You can establish a good relationships with your colleagues by remaining open 
6) The best thing you can do is to speak naturally with your friends. 
7) Telling lies is the worst human quality
8) Announcing that you hate your job can bring down the morale of the group 
9) He was not right, because he made a bunch of mistakes
10) I always worry about making big blunders at work, so i am trying to work hard

57 kotmatros  
1. I consider gossiping as an ugliest thing.
2. By telling lies to your friend, you stab them in back.
3. Eating smelly food may whet your colleagues' appetite and also arouse their annoyance.
4. Complaing about how much you hate your job brings down the morale of the group.
5. Your little mistake may forever cast you in negative light.
6. Gossiping damage you reputation.
7. Don't wallow in talk of other people's misdeeds or misfortunes, at first look at your own.
8. I'm quick to catch on to taleteller.
9. There are always scandalmongers waiting just around the corner.
10. Telling lies labels you as a negative person.

44 amadelia  
1) Alan was wallowing in talk of Jake's misfortune in the previous competition.
2) Your disability to speak nicely may cast you in a negative light
3) Alice claimed she was the victim of backstabbing by jealous colleagues.
4) I think that it is awful when people get carried away with gossiping about their friends
5)The best way to have a good relationships with your colleagues is to remain open
6) Cut the crap! You should speak naturally with your friends and family.
7) She had been around and she had learned a lot the very hard way 
8) You should prevent from announcing that you hate your job, because it can bring down the morale of the group
9) One rule of thumb which works well is to stay honest with your colleagues.
10) I made a bunch of mistakes and learned the hard way
11) I think it is normal to worry about making big blunders at work, it means that you are doing your job honestly

45 Лена  
8) You should prevent(smb) from announcing that you hate your job, because it can bring down the morale of the group. 
Katusha! You`ve made good use of the expressions but completely ignored the Gerund.

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