SAY IN STYLE: Einladungen und Erinnerungen
Es gibt viele Arten von Einladungen. Wie formuliert man sie dem jeweiligen Anlass entsprechend? Und wie erinnert man Geschäftspartner an Zusagen, Termine und Fristen, ohne überheblich zu wirken? Antworten auf diese Fragen gibt Ihnen der BANKINGCLUB in Zusammenarbeit mit Business Spotlight.
Whether you’re inviting people to have dinner at your house, or asking them to join you for a quick drink at the pub, it’s important to get the message and tone of your invitation right. Here are some general tips:
Don’t ask: “Are you free this evening?” Your conversation partner will be forced to answer yes or no without knowing what you are about to suggest.
- The invitation should make clear whether other people are going to be there.
- It should also be clear whether the suggested activity is to take place in your house or somewhere else.
- The invitation should mention whether food and drink will be included.
- If you do not intend to offer food at times of day when people are likely to expect meals, let them know so they can make alternative plans for dining.
- Try to give people an idea of the level of formality and whether a certain type of clothing is preferred.
- When inviting others to a pub or restaurant, you should mention whether you plan to pay the bill, or whether people will be paying for themselves.
- Invitations to formal occasions, whether business or private, should be put in writing. Here are some typical informal situations and some suggested phrases to use.
Situation 1: you are hosting a dinner at your place for a few people, and you would like to invite a business acquaintance.
“My wife and I are having some people over for dinner on Saturday, and we’d be delighted if you could come.” “I’m putting on a dinner this Friday at my place, and I’d be honoured if you could come.”
Situation 2: you would like to invite someone to your home for dinner as the only guest.
“Would you like to come over to our house for dinner tomorrow? My family would love to meet you.” “If you’re free this evening, my husband and I were wondering if you’d like to have dinner with us at our house tonight. Nothing big, just a meal with the family.”
Situation 3: you want to invite someone out to a restaurant. You intend to pay.
“Frank and I would like to take you out to a fantastic steak place tonight, to celebrate your successful visit.” “If you’re free this evening, I’d like to take you to my favourite restaurant. You’ve done so much for us lately, and the schnitzel there is great.”
Note: If you want to make very clear that you plan to pay, say “It’s on me” or “It’s my treat (this time)”. One does not say “I’ll invite you” in English.
Situation 4: you want someone to join you at a pub or restaurant. You intend to pay only for yourself.
“I was planning to head over to Ryan’s Roast this evening after work. Care to join me?” “The other secretaries and I are going over to the pub next door. Would you like to come, too?”
Note: Try to avoid the phrase “You’re welcome to join us”. That could be interpreted to mean you are being polite, but don’t really want the person to come.
REMINDING PEOPLE – Don’t sound like the teacher!
People don’t like being given the feeling that you don’t trust them to remember something. To let your business partner save face, avoid starting sentences with “Have you forgotten…”, “You’ve forgotten…”, “May I remind you that…” or “I want to remind you that…”. In English, these phrasings are used mainly in disagreements, and can seem unnecessarily aggressive in everyday contexts.
Just making sure
When reminding people of deadlines, meetings, etc., it’s best not to say “Remember that the meeting is on Friday”. Instead, mention the date in the context of what needs to be done before that:
- Just wanted to check that you’ve got all the information you need for the meeting next week.
- The deadline’s coming up in a few days, so I wanted to make sure everything’s on track.
- The 20th is coming up soon, so I just wanted to ask you how things are coming along.
In an informal social context, it is common to phrase a reminder in the form of a question:
- So, are we still on for Friday afternoon?
- We’re seeing each other tomorrow, right?
- Weren’t you going to write me an e-mail?
- So, you’ll be sending me the directions to your house, right?
- And you’re bringing the wine, right?
When you think a colleague may have forgotten something, use an indirect question or comment, such as “weren’t you…” or “I thought…”:
Weren’t you meeting Harold today?
It’s almost noon — weren’t you supposed to be having lunch with Barnes?
Wasn’t your appointment with Sandra at four?
I thought you’d mentioned having an appointment with the boss this afternoon.
When someone has promised to do something and hasn’t done it, it’s best to avoid direct blame, which can be counterproductive:
- I was wondering about that document you were going to send me.
- Carla says she hasn’t heard from you yet. Did you have the right number?
- Just wanted to ask you about that cheque, because Mr Langtry has no record of receiving it.
© Business Spotlight
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