How to learn business English – 5 tips!
Are you looking how to learn how to order a beer in a pub in English? Perhaps you want to buy a loaf of bread at a bakery or strike up a simple conversation with a total stranger. Whatever the reason, you’ll find out soon enough that simple English phrases are not hard to learn. Should words fail you, you can often fall back on using your hand and feet to get your point across. However, if you want to want to use English professionally, you’ll soon realise that Business English is a completely different ballgame. To help you out, we’ve put together 5 handy tips!
1. Buddy up!
Learning Business English will be much easier when you have someone else who can help you. That could be someone who is a learner like you or someone who already knows the ropes. You’ll see your skills will improve much faster than when you try to learn it on your own. Just keep bouncing ideas and share learning!
2. Watch work related TV-shows
Nobody has said that learning can’t be fun and relaxing. A great way to pick up the language that English speakers use professionally is by watching tv. You’ll be surprised about how many television shows that are set in offices and places of work. It may sound dry and boring, but comedy shows like The Office and The IT Crowd are very entertaining! Also, they expose you to lots of words and expressions that are used by English speakers professionally.
3. Accuracy is key!
Imagine that you’ve prepared a presentation in English for an international audience. The contents of your slides are great and you’ve got a great story to tell. However, a few basic grammar mistakes slipped into your slideshow. Maybe you won’t have noticed the mistakes, but members of your audience will have. Because of the mistakes, they’ll be likely to take you seriously. Situations like these are easy to prevent, for instance by using spelling and grammar checks. Another great idea is to clue yourself up on the most common spelling and grammar mistakes. And it never hurts to have someone else proofread your writings.
4. Learn what is rude and what isn’t
Business English isn’t just about getting your spelling and grammar right and using some fancy words. It is also very much about how you make yourself come across to others. A good idea is to look up some examples of letters that businesses send to customers online. When you do, you’ll notice that you’ll hardly ever come across “I want” and “you must”. To non-English speakers that may seem odd, but English speakers will find those words rude. Instead, they use polite expressions as “I would like to” and “I would be obliged if you would”.
5. Don’t be afraid
You can do all of the above and more, but that’s not the most important tip of all. That is: don’t be afraid to start using Business English because you’re afraid of making mistakes. Books, websites and courses may teach you a great deal, but the greatest way to learn is just by trying. Maybe you admire a colleague whose Business English seems perfect. If so, always remember: they did not get where they are now without making a few mistakes. Keep at it and you’ll get there too!