English has become almost the universal language of business over the years and if you’re going to succeed then you’ll need a good level of English in order to communicate at work. It’s not easy to learn a new language, whilst trying to work and spend time with family, so if you’re going to improve your business English, you’ll have to spend your time very wisely. It’s a sensible time investment, since improving your English could easily lead to greater opportunities in business. A regular pattern of learning will be key to your success, but also there are many things that you can do to improve without taking any extra time at all, simply by substituting a few of your regular activities.
Read in English
Whatever you read, whenever you read it – do it in English! Even if you’re not an avid reader, you certainly spend a good portion of your day reading if you think about it. While you’re eating breakfast, or on your way into the office, even relaxing in the evening – you’re probably scrolling on your phone. Whether it’s the news, an interesting article, a novel or even your social media posts – change all your settings to English and you’ll be amazed by how much you understand and how quickly you improve.
Watch Television in English
You can watch any English films or programmes to develop your language skills. It’s great for listening and improving your knowledge of English expressions and vocabulary. If you need some down time then any style of English TV will help you. But if you really want to focus on developing your business terminology, try watching business reports and programmes to really get to where you need to be. Business language is often more formal than what you might find on regular television. There’s also a lot of business terminology that you won’t commonly find on most shows.
Read Articles Specifically Targeted to Your Profession
It’s important to keep up-to-date with the latest concepts and ideas in any profession. There are articles and magazines designed for most industries, which give reports about business trends, innovations and the competition. You guessed it! Get yours in English!
Use Social Networking Platforms to Immerse Yourself in the Business Community
If you’re in business then you probably already use LinkedIn? You can view the profiles of other professionals in your industry and read the articles they have posted – and you can do it all in English. You can also post comments, share articles and join groups. This is a fantastic way to network and nothing improves your language skills more than communicating with others. The best way to improve your business English is to use it as much as you can!
Use Self-Study Materials
There is a wide selection of study materials available for learning English. Many are specifically designed for self-study and also focus on developing English skills for business situations. You can study these materials independently, or alongside an English language course. You’ll need to be dedicated for this. Decide how many hours you can afford to dedicate to study each week and stick to it.
Take Business English Courses
If you really want to be committed (and you have the time) then an Business English Course that focuses on Business English is the most efficient way to develop your communication skills. Good quality English courses with a qualified English teachers have a number of benefits over self-study. These can include setting personalised targets with a teaching professional, the opportunity to practise with a native-level speaker and getting regular correction and feedback. If your course is face to face and in a group then you’ll even get the opportunity to practise with your peers in an environment where you don’t have to be concerned about getting it wrong.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
There are so many ways to improve your English, including reading, watching, listening, speaking and writing. You need to practice all these forms as often as you can and try to do so in a business context. Write e-mails and short articles. If you have a teacher, have them assessed. If not, change the settings on your computer to English and it will give you corrections and suggestions in Word. Speak to people in English as much as you can. This is daunting at first but gets much easier with practice. If somebody is speaking too quickly for you, ask them politely to slow down and remind them that English is not your first language. Most native English speakers would prefer to slow down than to try to communicate in your language!
There are many ways to improve your business English as you can see. We don’t want to overwhelm you will all the suggestions in this article, but we want to offer you choices. You’ll find some of these suggestions easier than others and it’s important to find what works for you. Enjoy the journey!