The Business Blog: What IS Business English?

By Chris

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What IS Business English?

Business English” is often used in a very wide sense to mean the type of English used in a business setting. The problem is each branch of business, company, team and job involve a very particular type of communication. It seems rather silly to assume that someone who works as a Marketing executive for a German car company will need the same “type” of English as someone who works as a toilet seat designer in Taiwan. Each person is likely to have to communicate about different things with different people in different ways.

So where’s the common ground?

The need to do a job by communicating English is something that all “Business English” students share. The teacher’s job is to make sure the language you learn in a course is useful for whatever it is you do or will have to do. The problem is that in order to do this we need YOUR help. Before you come to your course you should think about the WHO, WHY, WHAT, HOW:

WHO do I communicate with (or will I have to communicate with) as part of my job? What countries are they from and what relationship do I have with them?

WHY do I communicate with them? Do I have to get information, persuade them to buy something, find a compromise in negotiation, complain about something?

WHAT do I communicate about? Do I talk about the price and purity of pharmaceutical products, problems with technology, investment opportunities or the marketing strategies for makeup?

HOW do I communicate? Do I communicate by writing or speaking? On the phone or face to face? In large groups or one to one? Do I speak to a group like in a presentation or do I interact with groups?

Preparing your answers to these questions will help your teachers understand exactly what is you want to learn, what you need to learn and how they will help you learn.

Of course, some of the answers to these questions might not be so obvious and your teachers will be ready to help you with them.

If you are already using English in your workplace, try to bring part of your work with you. Powerpoint presentations, emails, reports, letters, whether written in your native language or in English, all provide valuable “raw material” which will help us shape your course. They also give us a direct “window” into your daily working lives.

So – if you are tired of flying economy and eyeing up your boss’s chair without trying it out for size, take your seat in the business lounge and make a case to your company to support your studies at EC. We look forward to welcoming you.