What’s the next thing you need to do in English? Do you have a meeting or video conference programmed? Perhaps you have to communicate with a colleague or colleagues in another country, in English. It would be a good idea to prepare for this.

What is the purpose of the meeting? Do you want to get information or give it? Or both? Whichever it is, your business communication will be more effective if you are specific with your questions and the information that you give.

It is quite common for people to ask vague questions such as:

‘How are things going with the suppliers?’

This might get the response:



‘The same as usual.’

But is that what you really want to know? If you want to know about stock availability or delivery times then it would be better to include these terms in your question so that your colleagues know what you mean and can give you the information that you need. For example:

‘How long does SupplierX need to deliver new orders?’

The same is true when talking about sales. A vague question might not get the response you need:

‘How are the sales figures at the moment?’

‘Not too bad.’

‘Quite good.’

‘Better than expected.‘

‘Could be better.’ etc.

With these responses you still don’t have any more real information than you started with. It would be better to ask:

‘What are the figures for this month/quarter and what are the percentage comparisons for the same period last year?’

Whatever you are discussing, if you need specific information you should ask for it - be specific with your questions. This will make your communication in meetings more efficient and effective. In fact, maybe you don’t need a meeting at all. Maybe you can just send the questions by email.