I recently got this message from a subscriber:
I just joined your newsletter and my current Mandarin level is roughly low intermediate. I’m going to be working for a Chinese company in the near future and was wondering if you could suggest some things I can say in Mandarin to make a great impression on my Chinese coworkers right from the beginning?"
There’s obviously LOTS of little words and phrases you could say to get people to like, trust and want to work with you... But, for now, let's keep it simple!
A few quick notes on how to use the phrases...
hěn gāo xìng rèn shí nǐ！／xìng huì xìng huì！
Nice to meet you!
Note: Both these phrases can be used in work and social situations. "幸会幸会" has less of a “Chinese textbook feel” to it than "很高兴认识你".
fēi cháng qī dài hé nǐ yī qǐ gōng zuò.
I’m looking forward to working with you.
Note: This is a great phrase for setting a positive tone at the beginning of a project or when you meet a new colleague for the first time.
bù hǎo yì sī， dǎ rǎo nǐ yī xià！
Sorry to bother you！
Note: When you’re in a new work environment and you need help with something, "不好意思，打扰你一下" is a polite way to approach a coworker about the issue.
qǐng wèn yī xià nǐ yǒu shén me jiàn yì？
May I ask for your advice? / What do you suggest?
Note: Asking coworkers for suggestions and recommendations with this phrase can help show that their opinions matter to you.
hǎo zhǔ yì！／hǎo jì huà！
Good idea! / Good plan!
Note: Simple phrases you can use to praise and “give face” to someone who comes up with a good idea or plan. #FlatteryWillGetYouSomewhere
wǒ mǎ shàng qù zuò.
I'll do it right away.
Note: If something is important to a coworker (or your boss…) and you’re able to help them out, use "我马上去做" to let them know that you’ll deal with it right away.
nǐ xū yào bāng máng ma？
Would you like some help?
Note: Offering help in a friendly manner is generally a good way to make yourself popular around the office 🙂 (As long as it isn’t done in a way that makes the person you’re asking look “incapable”/“lose face”…)
wǒ men yī qǐ lái jiě jué zhè gè wèn tí ba!
Let’s solve this problem together.
Note: “Team work”… “Two heads are better than one”… If someone is facing a challenge and they’re having a hard time doing it on their own, use "我们一起来解决这个问题吧" to emphasize that you’re there to help and support them.
wǒ men kāi shǐ gōng zuò ba！
Let’s get to work! / Let's start working on it!
Note: Using this phrase after agreeing on a task that needs to be done can be a simple way of showing enthusiasm for, and commitment to, your work.
xīn kǔ nǐ le.
Thank you for your hard work.
Note: When it’s obvious that someone has put a lot of effort into something, "辛苦你了" is an excellent phrase to say to acknowledge their hard work.
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Have questions or thoughts about any of the above...? Let me know in the comments below 🙂