Business English speaking: persuasion

BUSINESS-ENGLISH-SPEAKING-ACTIVITYI prepared this speaking activity for my adult Business English students to help them practice using persuasion and structuring their arguments better. It combines discussion section with role-play, which makes it a dynamic and engaging activity your students will surely enjoy.

The Task

Start with the talking points to find out what your students understand by being persuasive, whether they are good at persuading others, and whether they believe persuasion is more effective than force.

Then look at three situations, A-C. Let students brainstorm different arguments in paris or small groups. Once you have at least two arguments for each situation, take a look at the list of expressions 1-12. Students should match the expressions with the situations, and then try to identify examples of persuasive language used. They may try to rephrase their arguments to make them sound more persuasive.

Finally, it is practice time. Divide your class into pairs or small groups. Students should take turns trying to persuade their partner in eight different situations, using expressions 1-12. The one being persuaded should try to remain hesitant for as long as possible before they are finally convinced.

Here is another Business English class idea based around the topic of using LinkedIn.

Personal Experience

This turned out to be a very dynamic and engaging class. Both sides of the persuasion game played their roles really well and paid a lot of attention to using right expressions. My students appreciated the work context and really enjoyed formulating persuasive arguments.


How persuasive are you

How persuasive are you_key





  1. I like the ideas and the presentation, but the situations are not “adult” enough or business like enough for my students who are working in multinational companies using their English to negotiate in meetings about budgets, approaches to projects, deadlines, marketing ideas…

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