Chinese for Effective Professional Engagement

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What you’ll learn

The ability to use Chinese language skills effectively in a professional setting is what sets skilled language practitioners apart from language learners. Developed by some of the top Chinese-language experts in the country, “Chinese for Effective Professional Engagement” is designed to enhance your language skills so you can communicate more effectively and confidently in your work. 

In 28 self-paced lessons, you will gain linguistic and cultural fluency required for working successfully with colleagues, clients, and peers in Chinese-speaking regions. Lesson topics were selected by a panel of government, higher-education, and private-sector professionals. By learning targeted vocabulary, key phrases, and cultural nuances, you will be well-prepared to confidently use your Chinese in the workplace.  


How to take this course

“Chinese for Effective Professional Engagement” is a self-guided course designed for busy working professionals. It is structured around a number of key skills that are critical to effective professional engagement, organized into 28 lessons: 17 video lessons and a minimum 3 out of 11 close-reading lessons. All study materials use simplified Chinese characters. While the lessons should be completed sequentially, students can proceed at their own pace and go back to review prior lessons on demand. 

Each 10-15 minute video lesson covers a different topic. You can watch the videos whenever you want, as many times as you want. Students are encouraged to pause the lesson when needed and to re-watch in order to fully absorb the material. Homework assignments, supplementary readings, and discussion prompts are provided for further study.  

We strongly recommend that you work through the syllabus with an in-person or remote tutor that fits your learning style. We understand that many students have their own tutors or have professional guidelines on which tutors are allowed. For those interested, we are currently offering a discount on language tutoring through italki, the world’s largest marketplace for language tutors.  

This course is suitable for

  • A broad range of intermediate and advanced speakers.
  • Students who already have a working proficiency with simplified Chinese characters.
  • Students who can already easily comprehend both written and spoken information and express themselves.


Tuition is $1200. With discount code LAUNCHPROMO, early registrants can enroll for $899. All proceeds support the American Mandarin Society (AMS), a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization. This online course not only furthers AMS’ important mission, but also serves as a key fundraising source for the organization.

We offer an educational discount for students currently enrolled in school. We also offer group discounts for businesses. Make sure to speak to your employer about educational reimbursement and provide them with our course information sheet.


Addressing and introducing people in a professional setting

开场白和自我介绍|Unit 1 will cover how to confidently introduce yourself, colleagues, and important visitors according to their correct title and position. This is important because it demonstrates respect and resonance with Chinese professional and cultural norms, sets Chinese counterparts at ease, and facilitates subsequent conversation.

Conducting a meeting

安排会议 |Unit 2 will cover not only how to successfully request and schedule a meeting in Chinese, but also how to run the meeting smoothly from beginning to end. This includes how to make welcome remarks that acknowledge all parties, how to set the agenda, how to manage the rhythm of the meeting, and how to formally conclude by recapping points and thanking participants. This is important because adhering to a Chinese cultural formula when holding Chinese-language meetings has proven to make Chinese counterparts more comfortable, as well as making the meeting more productive. 

Making formal public remarks

正式致辞|Unit 3 will cover key pointers for how to elegantly deliver formal remarks at a professional event, such as a ribbon cutting or reception. Making public remarks includes three core components: how to make introductions and acknowledgements, how to promote exchanges or other professional goals, and how to express thanks. 

Navigating a reception
出席招待会|Unit 4 will teach you practical phrases and methods to network at receptions and other work-related events, including how to insert and extract yourself from conversations, make introductions, and how to be a polite guest.
Discussing sensitive topics
讨论敏感话题|Discussing sensitive topics in Chinese is a crucial skill for professionals like you who are navigating an increasingly complex geopolitical working environment. Today’s class will cover how to tactfully comment on sensitive topics, as well as how to redirect a conversation when dealing with an antagonistic counterpart. This is important in a professional context for maintaining productive relations with business contacts or government officials, even when views on the immediate issue may be extremely divergent.
Giving and receiving gifts
赠送礼物和接受礼物|Gifts play an unavoidable role in working relationships with China, and it is important to be equipped with a toolkit of phrases prepared for giving, receiving, and sometimes declining them. This lesson will teach you a core set of sentence structures, actions and gestures that generally apply to this professional situation, which will help increase your cultural fluency. 
Expressing compliments, praise, and condolences
表示祝贺、赞美和慰问|Learning how to give praise and compliments to work associates, and how to gracefully receive them, is a subtle art that is crucial for building strong US-China professional relationships. This lesson will bolster your vocabulary and introduce sentence structures commonly used to give and receive compliments in a work setting (rather than a personal setting), as well as how to offer congratulations on a happy event such as an engagement or marriage. On the other hand, what can one say when dealing with life’s most unfortunate circumstances, such as news of a serious illness or death? Rather than offering awkward translations of English phrases, we will learn several key expressions to motivate or recognize colleague’s contributions and how to use Chinese to appropriately express sympathy and condolences in the workplace. 
Common mistakes when moving between English and Chinese business phrases
商务场合中英文转换的常见错误 | Unit 8 focuses on strengthening the grammar and sentence structures used in common business phrases, and will call attention to common mistakes to avoid. 
Presenting an argument
表达论点|Whether making a pitch, expressing an official point of view, or countering a conflicting opinion, Chinese-speaking professionals will benefit from learning how to argue politely in Chinese. This lesson will break down how to make an argument step by step: 1) attention getter, 2) making your point, 3) giving examples, 4) making rejoinders, 5) and the conclusion. This will help you make a template to use for presenting an argument in your own professional setting.
Receiving and conducting an interview
采访和接受采访|One secret of a successful interview is learning how to answer the question you want to answer, not always the question that was asked. By using clear examples and sentence structures, this lesson will familiarize professionals with the Q &A formula often used in Chinese-language interviews. At the same time, this unit covers how to best conduct an interview for a broad variety of situations.


Writing business emails – Subject, greeting, and sign-off
写邮件——开头和结尾|This is the first of four units that will cover key aspects of writing Chinese emails, from the subject and title address to the sign-off. This unit focuses on how to write appropriate greetings and closings in business emails. We will also review how to refer to attachments and others copied on the email.
Writing business emails - Invitations
写邮件——邀请函|This unit covers how to send an invitation email in Chinese.
Writing business emails - Thank-you emails
写邮件——感谢信|This unit covers how to write a thank-you email.
Writing business emails - Related strategies
写邮件——相关策略|This lesson will address two more helpful templates for the following situations: 1) reaching out to someone you don’t know (a cold email), and 2) raising questions and concerns in an email.
WeChat communication and etiquette - Part I
微信的兴起|This is the first of the two lessons about how to use WeChat in a professional setting. After all, WeChat is not just about the emojis! This first lesson will give you a basic rundown of China’s most popular communication app. We will cover WeChat’s different functions and some contexts in which it is used. 
WeChat communication and etiquette - Part II

微信的使用和礼仪|In this lesson we will continue discussing some best practices for using WeChat. This segment will prepare you to quickly and appropriately respond to WeChat messages by giving you a run-down of basic tips and handy phrases.

Written greetings

写贺词|This lesson is for professionals like you who want to go above and beyond just being able to write your name in Chinese characters. Today we will learn how to write a simple but meaningful message when required (for example, writing in a greeting card or guest book). This will help avoid the awkward reveal that even though you speak well, you forgot how to write!


Memorandum of Understanding (required)
In the course of your career, many of you will cooperate with Chinese organizations some form or another. Usually this type of cooperation involves signing a general agreement to cooperate. This may be called a Memorandum of Understanding or Framework Agreement. It is a very useful document to be able to read and understand. Before we begin this lesson, we need to stress that we are not giving legal advice, nor offering this MOU up as a template for actual use. We recommend always discussing with a lawyer prior to entering into any agreement. We drafted this MOU in order to help you familiarize yourself with many of the typical clauses and related issues to consider.
Reading military documents and articles is one of the more difficult tasks of China analysts. The documents can involve a large number of difficult, technical vocabulary unique to military. Once you get used to reading them though, the vocabulary and sentence structures will become more familiar. We should warn you…without a doubt, this reading is the most challenging of all our reading assignments, but for the serious student it covers a very important set of content and vocabulary.
U.S.-China Relations
This article discusses the current situation and development of US-China relations. The style of the writing presents a clear point of view and follows a set structure.
Technology & Artificial Intelligence
The development of technology is one of the biggest issues of concern today. The difficulty in reading this type of article is twofold: first, it requires extensive vocabulary - there are usually many technical and specialized words used in this field - and second, readers need some background knowledge. However, it is common to have to read about scientific field or new technology that you know nothing about. This article introduces artificial intelligence. By reading this article, you can start to become familiar with the specialized vocabulary and expressions concerning artificial intelligence and other high-tech disciplines.
Party Documents
China's official media often releases important government documents and notices concerning domestic policy. By reading such articles, you can learn about the background, goals, and measures of the policies, which will help you understand Chinese society on the government level. At first, you may find this type of article difficult to read. However after reading a few of these documents, you will find that the majority follows a fixed pattern. Familiarizing yourself with this pattern will facilitate the speed and comprehension of reading such documents in the future.
Trade issues are a hot topic in the international community. Reading such articles can help you familiarize yourself with trade-related vocabulary and expressions, and help you read articles on the same subject or participate in trade activities in the future. This article comes from the website of the Ministry of Commerce of China, in which Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen introduces the "Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement" and answered reporters' questions.
Economics & Finance
This reading is from the People's Bank of China. It is a summary of a meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee of the People's Bank of China. Reading this article, you can 1) learn and familiarize yourself with vocabulary related to economics and finance, and 2) you can understand how meeting minutes are written, which will help you to read similar articles in the future.
Newspaper editorials and opinion pieces
Reading this type of article will help you practice summarizing your own ideas, as well as quickly grasping the main point and logical structure.
Comparative Political Systems
This article is a scholarly paper on comparative politics. Reading this type of article can help you understand the opinions of different scholars, and at the same time become more familiar with different styles of expression. This article mainly discusses the democratic system in the West in a way that raises many questions worthy of consideration and discussion.
China’s Political Calendar
This text introduces five kinds of political meetings: the National Congress, the Plenary Session of the Central Committee, the Central Political Bureau Meeting and Enlarged Meetings, the Party Central Working Conference, and the Party Representative Conference. For each type of meeting, the functions and powers stipulated by the party constitution, the date of the meeting, and the meetings that have been held in history are all clearly introduced and explained. China's political system is a window to understanding China. By understanding the calendar of Communist Party meetings more clearly, one can understand the operation and governance of the country from the government level.
Climate Change
This text is an excerpt from a June 30, 2015 Xinhua article about China’s Nationally Determined Contributions to Climate Change, submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Reading this text can help you 1) learn how to read official texts and 2) understand vocabulary and expressions related to climate change and environmental protection.
Our course materials are all in simplified Chinese characters, but we plan to provide a traditional Chinese version soon.
We offer an educational discount for students currently enrolled in school. For more information please email from your .edu email account. We can also offer group discounts for businesses. Contact us at for more information.
Yes. We are happy to provide a customized invoice for you. We also accept bank wires if your employer does not use credit or debit cards. Please email for more information.
No, but best results will be achieved by practicing the homework with tutor. Our downloadable homework sheets are designed to give to a tutor so he/she can practice with you.
We recognize that many people already have tutors that they prefer to use. Additionally, government and other employers may limit the tutors with whom you can work, so we decided this is best organized by each individual student according to their unique circumstances. If you don’t have a tutor, you can find one through italki, the world’s largest marketplace for language tutors. Sign up today and receive $10 off at
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Enrolled: 44 students
Lectures: 28