Business Relationships

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."

Dale Carnegie (1888 – 1955), American self-improvement writer and speaker
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This Business English lesson plan on business relationships has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

In its most basic definition, business is about finding mutually beneficial relationships. Companies provide useful products and services, and in return, customers and clients pay money to these companies. Within the company itself, colleagues must work together in harmony for a common cause. But how do we create these relationships? In this Business English lesson plan on business relationships, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the professional relationships they have, how to build string relationships, and why relationships break down.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Profitable Venture | Top 10 Reasons Why Business Relationships Are Important

The article outlines 10 reasons why forging relationships is so important for businesses, including improving communication skills, fostering friendships and bringing repeat business. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any ways they might add to the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TED Talk by Frances Frei called “How to build (and rebuild) trust” which how important trust is in any kind of relationship, and how to build and maintain it.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the colleagues the students have a great relationship with, the ingredients of a great relationship, and the best ways to build relationships in business.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with business relationships such as to foster, to sour and ups and downs. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about business relationships. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as relationships with customers and clients, cultural issues for business relationships, and how the internet has changed the way we make build business relationships.


After the class, students will write a letter to a potential business partner to try and forge a new relationship. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.


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2 thoughts on “Business Relationships”

  1. I am trying to make a contribution, but can’t , I don’t want to use Pay Pal but it seem I don’t have a choice, nor can I download the lesson plan….

    1. Hi Christopher,

      Thank you for your comment. Sorry about that, I’ve been playing around with format for the posts and forgot to update the business lessons. If you try it now, the links for the lesson plans should be working (if not, let me know).

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