Improving Your English for Business
Nowadays, instant communication around the world is an everyday occurrence and along with this, English has become the language of international businesses. With this change in global economics, it’s becoming more and more important for businesses to invest in learning English.
English Around The World
Over the past 10-20 years, English has become the main language in the word of trade and commerce. For both small and large businesses around the world, English is used as the main medium of communication. With how small the world is becoming, English is also the language for many business partners from different countries.
Let’s look at some data. According to the 2019 Ethnologue, English has the most number of speakers in the world, with over 2 billion people who can speak English. Of that number, it’s estimated that the number of people who speak English as a second language range from at least 470 million to up to 2 billion. In fact, British linguist and researcher David Crystal calculated that, as of 2003, non-native speakers outnumbered native speakers 3 to 1.
The Science Citation Index, which publishes the world’s leading journals on science and technology, reported in 1997 that 95% of its articles were written in English, even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries.
English is currently the most often taught foreign language. It is the official language for aeronautical and maritime communications. It’s almost a requirement for careers as airline pilots and naval officers to have knowledge of English. It’s an official language of the U.N. and many other international organizations, including the International Olympic Committee. It’s also one of the official languages for astronauts on board the International Space Station.
According to Unicode.org, people living in English speaking countries account for around 30% of the world’s GDP. This shows that a lot of business potential and purchasing power can be found within the language and within the countries using it.
With all this, it’s no wonder that English is now often referred to as a “world language.”
Why Business Should Invest in Learning Business English
Knowing English can do much for companies and individuals in business settings. According to Harvard Business Review, it’s also been found that countries with better English have better economies. Having knowledge of business English strengthens career prospects for working professionals and is vital for company growth and business prospects. More and more, knowing English for business is becoming tied in with success.
Every year, more and more people look for classes to improve their Business English in the hopes that they can find better paying jobs or expand their business. With improved English, people can communicate better with international coworkers, deliver presentations and speeches, be qualified for higher level and higher paying positions, and be able to travel for business. Most importantly, people can express themselves and explain themselves in a way that everyone can understand.
For job-seekers, LASC offers English for Job Hunting, where students will spend time writing a CV that is custom-tailored to their specific business field of interest. By collaborating with LASC instructors and classmates, students build progressively on the language and business skills they have practiced by identifying and solving problems that exist in business settings.
It’s not uncommon now for large corporations to have offices all over the world or work with manufacturers, distributors and partners from other countries. With that, online video and phone meetings involving people from all over the world are an everyday occurrence. Those who can’t speak English well can find it hard to keep up with meetings or have a hard time being eligible for higher positions if they can’t communicate effectively.
However, it’s not only meetings that require proficient knowledge of English in the highly competitive corporate world. English can be involved in everyday communication in everything from emails, corporate documents, handbooks, and manuals to sales, marketing, public releases, print and electronic media. Proficiency in English, both written and spoken, is vital in many parts of corporate and business life. It’s necessary for communicating with clients and securing business partnerships all over the world.
How Can I Improve My Business English?
People who are interested in fields such as marketing, finance, accounting, international trade or business can greatly benefit from studying in a Business English program. Nowadays, it is not enough to have general knowledge of English to be successful in business. Rather, particular vocabulary, effective communication skills, a broad knowledge of different areas of business is crucial, and a good program will give you the advantage you need to achieve positive results in the business world.
If you’re a professional looking to improve your business English, consider incorporating these into your learning plan:
Set specific goals
It’s not enough to tell yourself, “I want to improve my English.” Vague wishes often don’t translate to concrete results. What does it mean to improve your English? What time frame will you give yourself? How will you do it? Break it down into actionable steps with targeted goals on a specific timeline. Your goals can be as simple as “I want to learn 10 new vocabulary words a week,” to something more challenging such as, “I want to deliver a 5 minute presentation on department goals, in English and without reading off my notes, by the end of this month.”
Also think about your end-goal. Is it to find a better job, make presentations, or build your business? Each of these has different language targets. LASC has classes to fulfill specific Business English goals, such as English for the Media course and English for Job Hunting. Find out more about these classes here.
Create habits (practice every day or every week)
Practice makes permanent! Set time aside every day or every week to practice reading, listening and speaking English. This can involve reading business articles in English, listening to the news in English, and talking about it in English to someone on your team.
Make it fun
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Most people don’t enjoy drilling and studying! However, there are ways to make English practice fun. If you start getting frustrated or bored, rethink your approach. Be creative: you can read the English translation of your favorite book, watch a movie or TV show in English, listen to English music. You can even look for activities involving English and/or English speakers, like taking an English cooking class, a fitness class in English, and more! Combine your hobbies and your interest with your English practice. Which leads to our next point…
Use authentic English material
Textbooks and practice tests are helpful, but are only part of the equation. To truly express yourself effectively, absorb yourself in authentic material where you can see and hear English used in its native habitat. Language is always changing and pronunciation and inflection is best learned through imitation. To speak English more naturally, look for authentic materials such as TV shows, podcasts, TED talks, and Youtubers and vloggers. When watching or listening to native speakers, imitate their format, structure, language and vocabulary.
This has the added benefit of being more interesting and enjoyable than textbooks and practice tests!
The best learners are those who aren’t afraid of criticism and use it to help them improve. Immediate, clear and frequent feedback has a huge effect on English learning. Make connections with people in your community who can help you, such as teachers, friends, mentors, etc, and let them know you want to be corrected. Practice with them with casual conversation and with important presentations. This will help you improve your English by leaps and bounds.
Find a reliable language school with hands on practice
Look for a school which offers an accredited Business English program, which uses a research-based curriculum for upper-intermediate to advanced students. The aim of the program should be to develop and enhance students’ abilities to communicate in commercial and cross-cultural communication settings involving business. The school should offer Business English courses targeted towards learning vocabulary and grammar usually applied in business and professional settings.
Hands-on experience is also crucial for cementing abstract lessons into practical knowledge, so make sure that it’s also a school that values that. You should get practice in doing business presentations in English and how to negotiate, write for business settings, conduct meetings, give opinions and more.
Many of the courses in LASC’s Business English program give students opportunities to show what they’ve learned through solo or group-based projects and presentations. For example, the English for the Media course has students team up to research and present real case studies of business’s online marketing and advertising efforts. Find out more and reach out to a representative who speaks your native language