Chinese may be the most spoken language in the world, but this is due to the sheer number of the Chinese population. English, however, is the international language of business and is a skill ever increasingly sought after by employers. If you’re working in the UK, America, Australia, or any other English-speaking country, then learning business English is an absolute must. However, even if you are working in another country, chances are that you will still need to learn some English, particularly if you work for a multinational company or within international trade. It may even be that English is the shared common language between you and another non-native speaker from a different country and is the only way you can communicate… so the importance of learning business English is already clear to see.
What’s the difference between business English and general 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 may still struggle in a business 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 in a non-business environment. According to Englishexplorer.com, general English and business English serve different purposes.
“General English focuses more on the day-to-day conversation and involves the use of basic vocabulary and grammar. It leans more on a casual tone. On the other hand, business English is more extensive and specific. It is mainly used as a language tool for business, as it is applied in a more professional context”. Learning business English can be empowering for individuals who are aiming to boost their professional growth and it also helps in enriching your personal development, which may lead to opening doors for new career opportunities.
Better communication with your colleagues
Working in an office often means teamwork and collaboration. Even if you are an introvert like me, you will have to interact with your colleagues. And that will be difficult if you don’t know the language they speak. In a worst-case scenario, it may even lead to misunderstandings that might put your job or reputation at risk.
Similarly, you need to know the right people to get the best job or a promotion at work. For that, you need excellent networking skills. Learning business English helps you to develop both your language, interpersonal and communication skills.
Ultimately, it will help you to adequately express and represent yourself in front of other people. And we all know that the best way to learn better English communication is to speak the language as often as we possibly can.
Ability to express yourself in the ‘lingua franca’ (Common language)
Being fluent in English is a survival strategy in today’s competitive world. It automatically improves your chances of climbing the corporate ladder and opening more doors for you in your career.
The way you speak and communicate is also linked to your interpersonal skills and leadership qualities. So, mastering the language will also help you get to grips with all the “soft skills” and “life skills” you need to succeed in the workplace.
Good pronunciation is key in business English success
Speaking and writing business English are two very different skills. Yes, you can write well and complete the perfect handover for your colleagues, but unless you can speak clearly and fluently, it will be much more difficult for you make an impact in the workplace. The type of English that is spoken also differs from place to place. Australian English isn’t the same as British English. There are in fact notable differences in accents and pronunciation.
The best way to improve your pronunciation is, of course, to listen to good pronunciation. This short Instagram video from our new business English video library, Kudos, gives an insight into how pronunciation can affect your delivery.
Here at Dialogue, we have recently launched a new product called Kudos, which is an online library of premium video packages for professional English language learning – commercially-focused, interactive, and specific needs-oriented.
Kudos is much more than language training – and in fact, much more than linguistics too – here at Kudos, we are business communication facilitators. Our library aims to take your present level of English (B1 minimum starting level) and build upon it, enabling you to integrate your existing skill into your professional career, by adopting a natural, authentic way of using English in a business environment.
For more information on Rob, our English language expert, and the brains behind Kudos, check out the ‘Meet Rob’ video here.
To improve your business English, your best option is to sign up for professional business English modules, like the ones we offer at Dialogue through Kudos, depending upon your needs.
And finally, don’t be afraid to interact with your peers and friends in business English and ask for feedback. People are usually more than happy to help (Rob can help too!)
Don’t shy away from making mistakes. Learn from them and continue to believe in yourself every day as you continue to develop your skills.