Activity 34: Making Appointments

▶ Duration:  30–35 min
▶ Aim:  Practise language for making appointments
▶ Summary:  Students arrange both business and personal appointments with other members of the class.

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In this activity, each student is given a blank weekly planner, and their aim is to fill it with as many appointments as possible. But there are two parts to the activity. Firstly, the students invent a company for themselves and play the role of business person arranging meetings during work hours. Afterwards, the students abandon these roles and arrange personal meetings with their friends, outside work hours. In this way, the difference between formal and informal ways of making appointments is made clear to the students.

If your textbook contains a dialogue about making an appointment, then this is an excellent way to introduce the language. I used the dialogue from Chapter 9 of Advanced Talks Volume 1. If this is not possible, you might like to consider devising your own short roleplay and writing it on the board.

Make enough copies of the following blank weekly calendar so that each student can receive one: appointments.doc (html preview).

If you have time before the activity starts, draw a copy of the worksheet on the board to save time later.

If you are using a dialogue, ask the students to read through it first, either quietly to themselves or aloud in pairs. Afterwards, extract the useful sentences and write them on the board, then model and drill each one several times, being sure to point out the sentence stress and mark it on the board. The sentences I used, with the main sentence stresses underlined, are as follows:

I’d like to make an appointment with you.

Could we meet to discuss...

What day will be convenient for you?

What time would be convenient?

How about...?

I’ll look forward to seeing you.

Explain that you will give each student a planner for the week, like the one you have drawn on the board. But the first thing the students should do is to make up a company and write this company and their own name on the back of the sheet, just like a business card. Write an example on the board using your own name, for example:

Mr Todd Owen
Owen Soup Company

Remind the students that they can make up any type of business they like. Check:

Hand out the sheets at this point, and give them time to write their “business cards”.

Tell the students that their task is to make business appointments with other students. Explain that these appointments must be during office hours, between Monday and Friday (highlight these ten boxes on the blackboard). The students will have to agree on when to meet, where to meet, and what to discuss.

Demonstrate with one or two students. Look at their “business card”, and then (using the language written on the board as a guide) arrange a business appointment. Try to give a suitable reason for the meeting. For example, if you are the representative of a soup company and the student is the representative of a private school, you could meet to discuss signing a contract to provide canned soup to the school dining hall. On the planner you have drawn on the blackboard, write the name of the student and the reason for the meeting in the appropriate box.

Take a moment to ask the class for some possible reasons why two people might have a business meeting, for example buying or selling, cooperating, asking advice, discussing a legal issue, etc. Also tell the students that they cannot meet with the same person twice. Check:

Let the activity begin. When most of the students have filled in most of the appropriate space on their planners, stop the activity. Ask some students for feedback, e.g. “Have you got an appointment on Tuesday afternoon? What is it?”

Tell the students that the language they have been using is formal, and usually we would not use these sentences with friends. Write up some sentences that are appropriate to use with friends, for example:

Do you want to meet some time?

When are you free?

OK, see you then!

Again, the main sentence stresses are underlined in the sentences above. Model and drill several times. Then explain that the students are going to make appointments with their friends, outside of business hours. Demonstrate with one or two students, using the language on the board as a guide and writing the name of the student and the reason for meeting on the planner you have drawn on the board. Ask the class for some possible reasons why you might meet, for example to eat a meal, climb a hill, watch TV, go dancing, go shopping, play sport, etc. Again, remind the students that they cannot meet with the same person twice. Check:

Once most of the students have filled in most of their planner, stop the activity, and ask some students for feedback as before.

As an introduction to this activity, I took my own wall calendar to class and showed it to my students. I explained that I have to write all my appointments down, otherwise I forget them. I asked the class, “Have you ever forgotten an appointment?” After hearing a few answers from the students, I asked everybody to ask their partner, “How do you remember your appointments?” I stopped the discussion after a minute or two, and asked a few students for feedback (the best way to get feedback from a pair discussion like this is to ask one of the students in the pair to tell you what the other student in the pair said).
Rating: 5 stars

A relatively simple but fun activity. Inventing reasons to meet keeps it from becoming too repetitive, but is not too difficult for the students to manage. At the same time, it raises awareness of the distinction between formal and informal language.

i will like to learn more about oral english and im always available thanks
glory umoh []
22.08.2005 , 19:37

I tried this in my class and we all got fun with my students. I found it's better for students to do such activities in a team with another.
Dan []
20.09.2005 , 16:47

My name is Vigneswaran from India ,am 23 male . I would like to know more about English conversational practice.if u have more literature please send it to me . I will also share some literature with you that I have.
Warm Regards
Vigneswaran.R.P [] [homepage]
19.10.2005 , 23:11

i would like to know more about English Conversation Practice.
Thanks and Regards
Sujatha [] [homepage]
26.10.2005 , 04:44


what kind of age students would you recommend this for?
Tom []
05.01.2006 , 17:13