English has become the language of the Internet, engineering, medicine, professional training and research. It’s therefore no surprise that here at BLC, our Business English Course is becoming an increasingly popular.
In fact, the global demand for Business English Courses has increased in recent years, with more students choosing to study Business English than any other English for Specific Purpose (ESP) course.
We get a lot of enquiries and questions about what Business English really is, why it is needed, and who should study Business English. So, keen to help answer such questions, here is our definitive guide to Business English.
What is Business English?
Business English is English Language especially related to the language used in business and international trade.
"English is the world's most widely used language in newspaper publishing, book publishing, international telecommunications, scientific publishing, international trade, mass entertainment, and diplomacy."*
* Northrup, David (20 March 2013). How English Became the Global Language. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-30306-6.
Business English focuses on the vocabulary and topics used throughout the business world and the communication skills needed in the workplace.
Why Study Business English?
Business English differs from general English, so even if you know how to get by on holiday or could have a reasonably fluent conversation with an English-speaking friend, you will probably still struggle in a business environment.
In an office environment, there is a lot of vocabulary that you will need to learn how to use and understand that you will probably not have come across as a tourist in English speaking countries.
A sound grasp of Business English enables you to more effectively and fluently communicate in English during day to day workplace scenarios such as presentations, negotiations, meetings, small talk, socialising, writing reports and C.V writing.
Studying Business English will also ensure that you are proficient in the use of English for email communications. In many businesses, email is the most common form of written communication and it required a completely different language use.
Having this superior level of English language communication skills is especially helpful if your employer requires you to correspond in English with clients and customers from around the world, or if you are moving to an English speaking country in order to find employment.
Speaking English at this level can also give you the edge in the ever increasing job market and make you more attractive to potential employers worldwide.
What will I learn during a Business English Course
Business English lessons aim to cover a range of skills that are found in everyday work scenarios.
Unlike a general English course, the vocabulary and dialogue will be focused on scenarios such as negotiating deals, coping with communication problems and giving presentations to clients or colleagues.
For those who are seeking employment, there is advice on how to respond to difficult questions during job interviews so that you can feel confident the next time you are in an interview environment.
Business English also looks at cross-cultural communication where both parties are non-native English Speakers.
What standard of English do you need to be able to speak to take a Business English Course?
The complicity of Business English courses and the use of the English language within the courses requires at least an intermediate level of English.
What preparation should I do before starting a Business English Course?
Many companies like their staff to improve their English skills and send them to study at language schools. It may be worth asking your employer if it would pay for your course, while showing that it will have a benefit for the business.
Depending on the industry you work in or plan to work in, a lot of the language you will use all the time will be specific to your industry or company.
To get the most from your Business English Course it is therefore a good idea to tell your tutor in advance which industry you work in and prepare a list of industry specific terms that you will need to use and look up their translation in a dictionary or online. You can take this list to your tutor and get guidance as to how to use them in the correct context.
It may also help to collate real materials from your working life - the things you need to read and understand, or perhaps even create and present. These could be leaflets, emails, PowerPoint presentations or reports. This will help your tutor to understand specific areas you need help with.