Five tips for saying no to a native English speaker without saying no

Have you ever received an answer from a native English speaker for something, and you weren’t quite sure whether it was a positive or negative response? They didn’t say no but somehow you had the feeling that they weren’t saying yes either? Or did you find out that the ‘yes’ wasn’t really a yes – it was only meant to appease you or was used as a way of backing out of a conversation?

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Five tips to ask a British person to do something for you

I spent many years working in local government in the UK. Sometimes, the job was quite difficult. I often had to ask people to do things that I couldn’t do myself, and I wasn’t their manager. Directly asking for something to be done did not always get an immediate response and I could not expect they would be cooperative. I learnt that when I had something in common with the person, or I found something out about them, that it made the task easier for them to do and that they were, in a way, more helpful.

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Five reasons why ‘Hello’ is the best way to start an e-mail

The status of e-mails, at least in the English language, has evolved over the past 15 years.

I remember e-mails from 15 years ago being issued with text message speak and poor or no punctuation. However, today they are a valid form of communication by many in business – equivalent to a letter. Therefore, this has increased the importance of the salutation at the beginning of an e-mail. What kind of tone do you want your e-mail to have? What is the right tone, and does it depend on who you are writing to?

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Five tips for giving business information in an email to a native English speaker

One of my first office-based jobs was as an Assistant Project Manager.

I was responsible for servicing meetings – having to send out agendas, minutes, notify clients of meetings etc.

One time I sent out an email explaining the reason for having a meeting, and, having explained why, then put the important actions at the end. I was told off for doing this – my manager said that no-one would notice this information at the end. I was instructed to clearly put the most important information at the beginning and to keep the email concise and short.

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