Unit 4: Exchanging Information
First offer appropriate information yourself. If you want to find out about a particular area, offer information of your own first to show you can be trusted. Think carefully about what information is appropriate to pass on to others.
Ask questions indirectly. If you want to ask about somebody or something, use statements with question tags rather than direct questions, for example, you know John, don’t you? Rather than Do you know John? A direct question may frighten someone into remaining silent but a statement that sounds more like speculation will often be confirmed or corrected by somebody with better information.
Create intimacy. If you don’t know somebody very well, but want to exchange information with that person, you can use these techniques: Drop their name into conversation more than usual and use we, us and our as often as possible, for example, I think we’re going to see a lot of changes in our department soon, Peter…
Candice: I really want to thank you, Michael, for taking me with you to the meeting. I just can’t get used to driving on the left!
Michael: No problem.
Candice: You used to work for our new chief legal officer, Christine Bender, didn’t you?
Michael: Yes, that’s right. She and I started together in the legal department five years ago. Then I changed over to IT.
Candice: Christine is so successful. She did an amazing job for us dealing with that whole corruption scandal last year, don’t you think?
Michael: Yes, she did. But, between you and me, Christine could never have managed that without her team.
Candice: That’s so true, Michael. She always picks good people to work with her. By the way, Iheard on the grapevine that she’s going to move to our New York office next.
Michael: Yes, I heard that too. I wonder how her husband feels about it. He’s a journalist, I think.
Candice: Well, according to Christine’s assistant, Mrs Weber, that’s not a problem. He’s going to write articles about New York nightlife. Although I can’t imagine who’s going to look after Children then.
Michael: Apparently, they’re going to have a nanny. I overheardChristine talking to the boss about it this morning. It must be very expensive, but they’ll have enough money.
Candice: I suppose they might appoint somebody from Christine’s team to carry on her work.
Michael: Ah, no! It seems that Christine didn’t want to recommend any of them to the boss, so Gabriele from the commercial department will take over. Christine’s team was really angry.
Saying it accurately
Tick the phrases that show that your information is based on what you’ve heard on the grapevine, rather than what you know. Follow the example.
According to Jane, …
I’m sure that …
I overheard Ben saying …
I’m convinced that …
It’s certain that…
I heard on the grapevine that …
It seems/appears that…
By all accounts, …
…so I’m told.
It’s guaranteed that…
Did you hear that…?
I heard that…
Complete the following sentences with words or phrases from above. Make it clear that these are simply reports that you have heard on the grapevine. Try to use each phrase only once.
1.……… the section manager is going to resign tomorrow.
2.She’s been for interviews at other companies, ……… .
3.She hasn’t been happy here for a while, ……… .
4.……… she wants to work abroad.
5.……… she’ll be gone by January.
6.……… her secretary, the board isn’t going to replace her internally.
7.……… they are planning to restructure her division?
8.……… they will combine the two departments so that they can make cutbacks.
Read these answers. Write statements creating a sense of intimacy with the speaker. Follow the example.
1.Find out if Jay has spent time in the Washington office.
‘You’ve spent time in our Washington office, haven’t you, Jay?’
2.Check that Rachel approved the new brochure before it was sent to the printers.
3.Find out if Matt knows the new CEO.
4.Ask if Lianne is attending the conference this year.
5.Find out if Dan has seen the budget for next year.