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15 Business English games for describing your company and job

“Describing your company” and “describing your job” are notoriously difficult subjects to tackle, and few textbooks make these topics manageable and fun. Common problems include questions that are culturally inappropriate (“Why did you choose that job?”), company structures that are difficult to understand and explain, and the wide variety in the amount of detail that […]

“Describing your company” and “describing your job” are notoriously difficult subjects to tackle, and few textbooks make these topics manageable and fun. Common problems include questions that are culturally inappropriate (“Why did you choose that job?”), company structures that are difficult to understand and explain, and the wide variety in the amount of detail that people might expect in an answer to “Tell me about your job”. The games below help to make a textbook class on these topics fun, filled with speaking and adaptable for any kind of class. They are also usable without a book, and work well as GTKY (getting to know you) activities for a first class, or as part of a question formation grammar review.

1. The chain questions game
In pairs or as a whole class, the first person asks one question about the other person’s company or job. After replying, that person asks the same question, and then adds one more question of their choice. The next person asks those two questions plus one more, etc, always starting again from the very first question. The game finishes when they lose track of the order of the questions. As a class, brainstorm the questions they used and good answers to them, then change pairs and ask all the questions, maybe introducing their partner after using the information they learnt.

2. One piece of info bluff
Each person gives a presentation about their job and/ or company, but adds one piece of information that is false. The people listening have to spot the false piece of information. They can ask further questions during or after the presentation to help them guess if they like.

3. This is my line bluff
Students write one piece of information about their job or company that the other students don’t know, repeated three times on three different pieces of paper. They keep one and give the other two copies to the teacher. The teacher mixes up the slips of paper and gives them out randomly, making sure people don’t get their own back. The first person chooses one of the three pieces of paper they now have , either the one they wrote or one of the two they received as they wish, and reads it out to the class e.g. “I work on the top floor of the tallest building in the world”. The other two people who now have the same piece of paper then read it out too: “No! I work on the top floor of the tallest building in the world”. All the other people in the class have to ask them questions to try to work out who is telling the truth, and write that down, e.g. “Anton Corbijn works on…” The two people bluffing can continue to lie when answering the question. Continue until everyone has spoken at least once, then reveal the true answers.

4. One hint after another
Students write some information about their job and company on a piece of paper with their name on the top, answering the questions on it if you have prepared that before or asked them to write questions in an earlier part of the lesson, or choosing which information they like if it is a blank piece of paper. Take in all the sheets and deal them out so everyone has a different person’s. They should read out the information from the sheet so that the rest of the class can shout out who they think it is, but choosing the most difficult information to guess from first.

5. The guess the questions game
Students give a piece of information about their job or company (not as a full sentence), and the others try to guess what the question that would obtain that answer is, e.g. for “29th” it could be “Which day do you get paid every month?”, “Which floor do you work on?” etc.

6. The impossible questions game
Students try to ask questions about their partner’s job or company that they don’t know the answer to, e.g. “What time did you finish work on 17th August last year?” or “What is your CEO’s wife’s name?” You can provide useful business vocabulary to prompt them on the questions if you like, e.g. subsidiary, HQ or workforce.

7. I know, you don’t
This is a variation on The Impossible Questions Game above. Students try to ask questions that their partner doesn’t know about their job or company, but the person asking does know about their own company or job, e.g. “What is/ was the founder of your company’s name?” “I have no idea. Do you know for your company?” “Yes, his name was Lazlo Biro”

8. The impossible questions bluff game
In this variation on The Impossible Questions Game above, if students don’t know the answer to the difficult question that they are asked, they should just make up an answer. The person who asked the question then has to guess if it is true or just imagination.

9. The T/ F Game
In this bluff game, the person answering puts one of the pieces of paper with T for “true” or F for “false” they have face down on the table when they answer. If someone thinks they are lying, they can call their bluff and make them take it back if it is an “F” card, along with any cards that are already there from earlier rounds. If it wasn’t a lie (i.e. it is revealed to be a “T” card), then the person making the accusation has to take all the cards. If no one makes an accusation, the cards all stay unrevealed face down on the table for future rounds. The first person with no cards wins, or the person with most cards when you stop the game loses.

10. Quick hands bluff
In this lying game, the student answering hides an eraser or other small object in their right hand if they are telling the truth or in their left hand if they are lying. The person who asked the question has to guess which hand the eraser is in, i.e. whether the answer is true or not.

11. Celebrity lifestyle bluff
Students are given information about a famous businessman and/ or company, and can choose for each question whether to answer with their own information, i.e. about their own job and business, or with the information on the sheet, i.e. with someone else’s. The person asking the question has to guess each time if the information is “Yours” or “Someone else’s”, and then eventually guess which famous entrepreneur and/ or firm they have been answering about.

12. Find someone who
This is the oldest game in TEFL. The students are given information about each other and wander round the class asking questions to find who each piece of information is about as quickly as possible.

13. Shouting find someone who
In this variation on Find Someone Who above, students try to find who each piece of information is about without standing up. They can do this by shouting or by asking people near by what they have found out about other people, but either way it is a good ice breaker for businessmen who might be shy about actually standing up.

14. Find how many who
In this variation on Find Someone Who, students predict how many people report directly to a director, travel abroad for their job, work for a wholly owned subsidiary etc, and then find out if their answers are true using one of the two variations mentioned above.

15. Answer me!
Students are given someone random answers about jobs and companies, e.g. “Twice a day”, “Microsoft”, “London”, and have to ask questions about their partner’s job or company to which those would be the real answers, e.g. “How often do you attend meetings of more than 5 people”, “Who is your chief competitor?” and “Which city is your company’s UK headquarters in?” or “Where was your last business trip?”

Written by Alex Case for TEFL.net July 2008
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic.

4 Comments

  • Arooj says:

    Great! Thanks a lot Alex 🙂

  • Valentina says:

    Thank you so! 😀

  • Mercedes says:

    Thank you very much!!!! You have saved my class! 😉

  • Carole Craig says:

    Thank you

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TEFL.net : ESL Lesson Plans : Classroom Ideas : Business English : 15 Business English games for describing your company and job