How to improve your Business English skills?
Wikipedia defines Business English as a variant of international English that focuses on vocabulary and topics used in the world of business. Business English comprises of communication skills used in the workplace, and focuses on the language and skills needed for typical business communication such as presentations, negotiations, meetings, small talk, socializing, correspondence, report writing etc.
Many non-native English speakers learn English as a second language (ESL) with the goal of doing business with English-speaking countries, or with companies located outside the English-speaking world but which nonetheless use English as a business language.
To simply put, Business English is important for anyone preparing to enter the job market, be it locally or internationally.
Let’s learn few basic concepts to improve Business English in your everyday life.
Be crisp and clear-
Business English is all about clear and effective communication skills, without the use of lengthy monologues or too many sentence fillers. A simple way to learn this is by leafing through news articles from business newspapers and magazines. A daily habit of investing 10 mins reading business news when you start your day or during your work commute will help you to not only enrich your vocabulary (business lingo) but also keep you well informed on the business front.
Body language is everything-
Along with speaking to the point, one must also be able to speak with confidence and the correct decorum. For example, correct hand gestures during a business presentation, speaking up at a business meeting, communicating with your superiors and team mates, negotiating a deal all involve a correct balance of effective Business English speaking as well as the confidence to present oneself with grace and poise. To inculcate good body language techniques, practice speaking before a mirror or video record your trial business presentation. You can also watch how tele news anchors host discussions, preferably business news or stock market news presenters.
Know the jargons-
English at workplace with your colleagues will be quite different than how you interact with your friends or family. Business English is more formal and though more serious sounding has quite a few fun jargons. Phrases like “Give your 110%” or “Deep dive”, “Learning curve” are common corporate buzzwords that you will hear daily. The trick is to not overuse them to sound cliched but instead use them smartly and only when necessary. A good way to learn these jargons is through LinkedIn feeds and Industry articles.
Understand nuances of spoken versus written English-
A verbal greeting and addressing someone over an email will be quite different in the corporate set-up. Written English is more applicable for work emails, presentation notes as well as business papers. Whereas face-to-face conversations or “networking” with your colleagues or fellow industry professionals is an important forum to discuss ideas, learn industry trends as well as look out for possible job opportunities. Written English will require some practice and smart work. Use ready reference email templates or observe how your colleagues have been composing work emails. Linkedin also is a huge social networking platform for working professionals with thousands of social feeds, work-place tips and learning resources.
Remember your goal –
It may seem overwhelming, but remember the main goal of any language is clear communication and exchange of ideas. Corporate buzzwords, the serious suits, etc. may intimidate you initially. However, consistent practice will help you earn proficiency in fluent English speaking. Stay focused and strive to make incremental improvements each day.
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