Combining business English with general English is the most efficient way to build your confidence using English at work quickly. With more and more companies becoming international, there are many different scenarios in which we need to use English for work including:
Presenting a project, proposal, sales pitch, financial figures etc.
Facilitating or attending meetings both in person or now, more commonly, online
Negotiating a deal
Attending a networking event
Attending a conference
Taking a client for dinner
Socialising with clients or colleagues from different branches
In this blog, I'm going to look at some common problems and solutions to help you get started with business English and achieve your goals.
One of the most effective ways to enhance your Business English is to immerse yourself in real-world business scenarios. Listen to business podcasts, watch business news regularly, and participate in mock negotiations and meetings. This not only exposes you to the terminology but also provides context, making it easier to understand and remember. Remember - language is not just about words but how they're applied in practice.
Being able to use English for work requires the ability to use general English as well as business English. Whilst it’s important to practice and absorb the language as much as you can, classes will help you accelerate your learning journey and also give you the opportunity to get live feedback on any weak points you have. Repetition is key!
We can help you with this! If you want to find out more click here.
One of the main problems we face when learning a new skill is feeling overwhelmed. Start with your main goal and think about how you can break that down into smaller, achievable goals. Create a list, a table or a mind-map to visualise your path to success, as you would do with another project. Give yourself a reward when you achieve something to keep you motivated.
Often a lack of time and flexibility is the biggest barrier to learning English or another skill. Work, family, hobbies, resting, suddenly the day/week/month is gone and we haven’t been able to make time to learn. Here are some solutions for this:
✔ Listen to a podcast or music in English whilst doing something else such as working, travelling to and from work, exercising or doing household chores. This means your learning doesn’t cut into your leisure time.
✔ Take classes with a flexible structure. Having regular classes is key to accelerating your learning and with a flexible booking system that you can control yourself, you’re more likely to achieve this.
Our fear of failure or embarrassment can hold us back, stopping us from seizing opportunities when we get them. It’s important to embrace our mistakes as they help us grow and develop. You never know, you might surprise yourself! Here are some ways you can build your confidence:
✔ Practice regularly, the more you practice, the better you'll become. Engage in daily English speaking exercises, even if it's just speaking to yourself. Over time, this will help in building fluency and reducing hesitation.
✔ Speak slowly and clearly, focus on clarity over speed. Speaking slowly gives you time to think and frame sentences, reducing the anxiety of making mistakes.
✔ Prepare and practice common Scenarios, if there are specific situations where you're likely to speak English (e.g., during meetings, presentations), practice those scenarios. Over time, these situations will feel more familiar and less intimidating.
Business English is scattered with industry-specific vocabulary that can be daunting for beginners or those transitioning between sectors. Here are some solutions to help you feel less overwhelmed:
✔ Create a personal glossary or dictionary where you jot down unfamiliar terms as you encounter them. Include their definitions, sample sentences, and perhaps even origins if that helps you remember.
✔ Instead of trying to understand every new term at once, focus on a set number each week. Diving deep into a few terms can often be more effective than a superficial understanding of many.
✔ Do online exercises to help you understand the terminology. Spaced repetition of vocabulary is an efficient way to retain it, online exercises are an effective way to do this. I am creating interactive online exercises - you can access them here.
Global Communication: The business world is increasingly interconnected. From emailing a supplier overseas to discussing strategy with an international partner, Business English facilitates effective communication.
Professional Image: Using the correct terminology not only ensures your message is understood but also presents a polished, professional image.
Career Advancement: For many jobs, especially in multinational corporations, a firm grasp of Business English is essential. It can open doors to promotions and new opportunities.
So, in a nutshell, business English is more than just vocabulary; it's a tool. When wielded effectively, it can lead to clearer communication, more fruitful collaborations, and a heightened sense of professionalism. Whether you're just beginning your career or are a seasoned professional looking to refine your skills, investing time in mastering Business English can pave the way for success in the corporate landscape. Remember, every expert was once a beginner.