Business Conversation Questions are widely used in speaking activities as pair interview or group discussion.

Culture is the ‘way we do things round here’. ‘Here’ might mean a country, an area, a social class or an organization such as a company or school. It includes values – things that people think are important – and beliefs – things that people believe in. Cultural differences can arise when people from different cultures work together or do business together, for example in these areas:

a. Hierarchy What is the distance between managers and the people who work for them, and how is this shown?

b. Roles of men and women Are women often found at the highest levels of business and society? Are there jobs that are traditionally done by each gender? Is there a glass ceiling – a level of seniority in organizations beyond which women rarely go?

c. Conversation and discussion What is the system of deference -showing respect – in communicating with more senior colleagues? How do people behave in different settings formal, informal, social situations, etc.? What is their attitude to turn-taking – interrupting other people or letting them finish? How tolerant are they of silence? What is their attitude to proximity _ – how close people stand together? What kind of gestures and body language do they use? How much contact -handshakes, kissing -is there?

d. Attitudes to tasks Are people task-oriented -focusing on the task at hand? Or are they relationship-oriented -focusing on the people that they are working with?

e. Attitudes to time – planning, punctuality, the working day/week/year, meals and breaks, leisure. time -weekends, holidays, etc.

f. Relation of work and private life What forms of hospitality are shown to customers/clients? Do businesspeople invite colleagues and contacts to their homes, or is everything done in the office, restaurants, etc.?

From Business Vocabulary in Use 

Example Conversation Questions:

Can you define culture?
What are the most important cultural issues you’ve ever encountered with?
Which nationalities do you have more cultural similarity to?
what are cultural values?
what makes cultural differences?
how different are beliefs in different cultures?

Download PDF: Cultural Issues