Transitioning to business

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Imagine this situation, you are enjoying a conversation with your boss about a football match you both saw on TV. He turns to you and says, “I want you to leave the company.” How would you react?


To avoid an inappropriate transition to the business that has brought you and your communication partner together, whether that is a meeting, presentation or negotiation, it is worth putting some thought into what you say. A good transition is made smoothly, effortlessly and with the support of your communication partner. The two things you will need to do this are:


1. Signal

2. Invitation



1. Signal

To signal a transition in English there are 5 commonly available words, these are: “OK”, “right”, “well”, “so” and “now”. For effective use, use plenty of volume, intonation and extend the pronunciation, for example, “Ooohkaaaay”. In addition, as there are only 5 words that commonly serve the function as a signal to transition in English, make sure that you vary their use. If a single word is overused, it quickly loses its power and can become annoying to your communication partner.



2. Invitation

Consider these two expressions. Which would you react more favorably to in a one-on-one communication situation: “let’s start”, or “shall we start?”?


The 2nd expression is probably more appealing because it invites your permission, gives you a greater sense of control, requires your response and so gets you immediately involved rather than using “let’s” which has the danger of being perceived as top down. Other suitable invitations include:

“Are you ready to start?”

“Can we begin?”

“Shall we get down to business?”



Now practice putting these two techniques together to successfully transition to business!


“Soooo, Anthony, shall we begin?”



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