English, without a doubt, is the most acceptable language for business world over, and a strong command of the language along with the ability to communicate well and articulate clearly is essential for climbing up the business ladder.
It has been proven time and again that among two people with similar technical skills, soft skills such as empathy, language, and the ability to communicate ideas could be the differentiator. However, just a command of the English language itself might not be enough at times. What matters really is your command over “Business English”.
Business English, though technically a subset of the English language, doesn’t come naturally or with basic schooling. It is a skill best acquired at the workplace itself. By definition, Business English is an umbrella term for language that pertains to business in general, and to terms that are field specific. This means that Business English in the medical field will include technical terms such as ECG, MRI, etc. and will be different from the language used in the fields of tourism or hospitality, which will come with its own set of jargon.
Being an expert in Business English in your own field of work is critical to your success and growth. A study conducted by Global English indicates that 97% of the employees surveyed believed that poor communication because of inadequate business skills can create misunderstanding and wrong perceptions of skill level, thereby being extremely detrimental to an organization’s performance and an individual’s personal growth. Most modern business environments require a lot of teamwork and collaboration, making good communication even more important.
In an environment where accurate communication is like a ladder to higher positions, good Business English is the key. Grasping a language is a time-consuming task so here are 5 tips from betterU that can get you started on the right path.
Read, Read and Read!
Just like with traditional English, reading is one of the best methods of becoming more confident with Business English. However, just reading anything won’t suffice. Since a large part of Business English are jargons, you would need to subscribe to magazines, blogs or websites that are specific to our field and can help you in learning about the newest words and trends in your field. For example, if you are in the business or management field, reading up on The Economic Times, Mint, Financial Express instead of a regular newspaper would be a better practice. Add to this online publications such as Forbes, Gartner, BusinessWeek and more, and you’ll be up to speed in no time! Make it a practice to spend at least half an hour everyday reading up on these websites to improve your Business English.
Ears Wide Open!
It’s often said that the best way to acquire skills is on-the-job, and this also holds true for Business English. All you need to do is keep your ears open! Listening in to conversations in English is one of the most effective ways to build your vocabulary and speaking skills. Make a conscious effort to listen in to conversations and note down words and phrases that you’re not familiar with. A quick web search and a few times of listening to them is all you need to be able to understand their usage and be able to incorporate them into your own vocabulary. It is also important to not be shy and be able to ask your colleagues the meaning of certain phrases when you don’t understand them.
Learn the Meanings of Workplace Idioms
Idioms such as “pick up the slack”, “hustle”, “at the drop of a hat”, etc. are not well documented or taught and at times can be puzzling to non-native English speakers. However, if you’ve been told to hurry up, it’s important you know you’ve been told to hurry up so that you can react in an appropriate fashion! Being able to use idioms and jargon at the workplace also improves your perception in the eyes of your co-workers. The best way to understand these idioms is to keep your ears and eyes open for them. Some websites online, as well as online business English courses could also give you good insights into these idioms.
Have a Plan and Stick to It!
As with everything else, having a plan and sticking to it is essential for you to become an ace at Business English. Set up daily goals for yourself – for example minimizing the use of any other language at work with each passing day, learning a new word every day, etc. It is important to understand that this is not a periodic activity to be taken up in leisure time. This is critical to business success, and hence must be taken up every day as your schedule permits. Listening and reading English is just the beginning, it’s only when you start using it that you start gaining real confidence, so set goals for learning and using new words and vocabulary every day and see the results for yourself!
Invest In Your Learning
Though all the tips mentioned above are useful, none may be as fast as you may need, and hence an investment in Business English is viable, and useful. An English learning course with more students could be cheaper but you will not have the opportunity to speak as much as you can in a one-to-one lesson. Moreover, in a pre-planned course with others in the same group you can never have that tailor-made approach that is the advantage of a private lesson.
betterU understands the importance of good communication skills and especially Business English for success, which is why we offer Business English courses that are self-paced and affordable – for maximum benefit and convenience. Check out our Kickstart and Intermediate Level Business English courses from Udemy at betterU!