What is Business English?
Business English is not a class to teach business. Rather, Business English courses teach the language which revolves around a business environment, such as an international company, an office job, or a professional conference.
The focus of a top quality Business English course in the USA is to teach you popular Business English vocabulary, idioms and phrases.
Whether you’re taking a Business English course in Boston or London, you’ll learn the basics of office culture, interpersonal communication, and etiquette in the English language.
What do you learn in a Business English class?
Business English courses teach you expressions for interviews, sales, meetings, networking, managing, negotiating, and other tasks essential to a professional career.
Most Business English students are already knowledgeable and experienced business people. Business English students just don’t have the English language skills necessary to conduct business in an English-speaking environment.
These business English skills may include writing friendly but professional emails, understanding idioms used in a Powerpoint presentation, and volunteering vital information during a team meeting.
An English course for business provides an opportunity to learn the real language that business professionals use. You’ll learn general terminology, idioms, and vocabulary that can be applied to a variety of business sectors, from entrepreneurship to entry-level positions.
Business English for beginners shows clear and accurate language to understand others and make yourself understood. You learn essential terminology, jargon, and language contexts in the business world.
More advanced Business English lessons teach you nuanced idioms, conversational strategies, and diplomatic language for challenging situations. You learn the language involved in deploying soft skills such as leadership, teamwork, problem solving, conflict resolution, and so on.
In an English course for business, you may learn different modalities, such as speaking and writing. On the one hand, Business English writing courses concentrate on composing professional business emails, memos, proposals, and reports. On the other hand, in a Business English speaking class students prepare oral presentations, sales pitches, and hiring interviews, just to name a few.
Once again, Business English students most likely know the theory and rationale behind these acts. Business English students know their business, but they don’t know the appropriate English (yet).
In other words, an English course for business provides professionals the language they need to be successful in performing what they already know.
Why is Business English important?
In the last few years, Business English has become increasingly important.
Business English is the language you need to conduct your business in an English language environment, including many international firms and many growing fields. In fact, both Business English and Academic English expand your opportunities.
To succeed at an international company, employees may need to speak English with people with different English accents and proficiency from around the world. A Business English course gives you the chance to work with a diverse community of potential peers and colleagues. Building relationships is essential in the business world.
In Business English classes, you learn English for professional networking, small talk, meetings, negotiations, and more. Business language is susceptible to culture that you might not be familiar with. By taking Business English lessons, you will feel more confident and your business opportunities will grow.
Since business culture is important, Business English classes teach common customs, behaviors and norms, such as the need for being punctual and having a business card and LinkedIn profile.
How to improve Business English?
The best way to improve Business English is to take a course devoted to the purpose of building English for business communication, including speaking and writing.
Another great way to improve Business English is to join an Intensive English Program that provides daily immersion in English. Before focusing exclusively on Business English, you need a strong foundation in general English proficiency.
General English skills include verb form accuracy, small talk, spelling, punctuation, pronunciation, and listening comprehension, all of which are necessary for Business English.
So, if you’re not already fluent in English, you should consider an Intensive English program that offers communicative grammar, pronunciation practice, and group collaboration.
In Business English courses you use real world materials, business cases, and practice writing. We also suggest reading industry magazines and newspapers such as The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, (WSJ), Forbes, Time and Newsweek. Listen to Business Podcasts. Watch TV shows set in a business environment. Write professional emails based on templates provided by Business English lessons.
Popular Business English idioms and phrases
Here’s a sampler of the idioms you might learn and practice in a Business English class.
To circle back = To return to a previously discussed topic at a later time.
To dovetail = To fit together well.
A bottleneck = When a point in a production process or supply chain gets blocked and slows down or stops due to the congestion.
To be on the same page = To share an understanding or agreement among members of an organization or negotiation.
To think outside the box = To think of new ideas from a different, unconventional perspective.
To go back to the drawing board = To start a project again from the beginning.
To corner the market = To monopolize a good or service in order to dominate and drive up prices.
A bull vs. bear market = A bull market is on the rise, while a bear market is in decline. In other words, in the former, stock values are going up; in the latter, stock values are going down.
Want to practice using idioms like these in a realistic business setting, like during a meeting or in an email? Join a Business English course today and get started communicating professionally in English.
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While you book your Intensive English course or other Academic English or Business English course, improve your language skills by reading our free English articles or watching our free English lesson videos.
- Understand the differences between and the importance of Academic English vs General English.
- Study how to improve English for academic purposes.
- Learn how Business and Academic English lessons can broaden your mind and open up a world of opportunities.
- Learn techniques for brainstorming essay ideas for typical assignments in Academic English lessons or Business English courses.
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- Watch fun and informative videos with English tips useful for work, school, and creative writing. We continuously update our free English playlists of easy-to-understand videos.
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Bringing decades of passion as educators, at ILI Massachusetts we believe in open access to education for language learners around the world, regardless of race, religion, gender identification, physical and mental abilities, economic standing, documentation status, and educational levels.
By Chris Elliott, IEP Academic Coordinator and ESOL Instructor