What Is Business English - Detailed Explanation (2022)

Today’s blog article is a complete guide to Business English. This article is for those of you who currently study Business English and want to gain more clarity on what it is you’re learning, but it’s also for newbies and novices who have played with the idea of learning Business English, but have yet to take the plunge.

Whichever camp you fall into, this blog should help you understand Business English more, and it should also help you decide the best approach to take when learning it.

Why Should I Learn Business English

English has become the language of the Internet, engineering, medicine, professional training and research. It’s therefore no surprise that here at We-Speak-Business, our Business English Speaking Course is becoming increasingly popular.

As a matter of fact, the global demand for Business English Courses has increased in recent years, with more students and professionals choosing to study Business English than any other English course out there.

We get a lot of enquiries and questions about what Business English really is, why it is needed, and who should study Business English. So, here is our definitive guide to Business English.

How Can I Use Business English on Work

Generally speaking, Business English is a specific form of English suited to international trade, commerce and finance. As such, Business English is the kind of English typically used in, for example:

  • business meetings
  • sales presentations
  • negotiations
  • business correspondence
  • business reports
  • executive summaries

As well as many different settings, we can also use Business English with a diverse range of people, from managers and colleagues to stakeholders and overseas clients. Any situation where we are discussing work-related tasks, activities and projects is a prime opportunity to use and practice Business English.

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Is it Difficult to Learn Business English

The short answer is no, not really - the long answer is, it depends. Various aspects come into play when deciding if something is difficult for us to learn or not. Your experience with using English, the time and effort you put into your learning, as well as your natural inclination to learn a new language or different style of language are all contributing factors in your Business English success.

Learning Business English isn’t that much more difficult than learning general English. You’ll need to have at least a basic understanding of industry-specific language and you’ll need to know the differences between formal and informal registers. Lastly, you’ll need to be able to adapt your language and communication to the business functions you complete at work and types of audiences you will be communicating with.

Like anything in life, having a good mentor or teacher will make the entire learning process much easier. Hundreds of our students at We-Speak-Business flock to us every day telling us how the thought of learning Business English intimidated them at first, but with our help, training and guidance, they were able to conquer their fear and learn something they really need.

What is The Most Difficult Part of Business English

The most difficult part of learning Business English is consistency. Some Business English learners struggle to remain consistent with their training and practice which often leads to them giving up.

However, the main reason why these students can’t stay consistent is simply because they have no-one to guide them. They don’t have someone there pushing them, motivating them, and keeping them accountable every step of the way.

As I mentioned before, having a qualified, professional and experienced teacher/mentor can resolve this problem. If you’re interested in us being your personal Business English coach, send us a message on our website and one of our highly-trained team will be able to draw up a plan for you with one of our professional, native-sepaking Business English teachers.

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How Can I Learn Business English

There are many ways you can learn Business English. Here are some lists of both free and paid methods to learn Business English.

Free

  • Read news articles about your industry - write down any new words from the article that you didn’t understand. Learn them, practice them, and try to use them in your business.
  • Listen to Business (English) podcasts - there are hundreds of great podcasts to listen to on the internet, each focusing on a specific area of business and Business English. My personal favourite is Business English Pod (for language) and The Tim Ferris Show (business in general).
  • Take a self-study course - this method isn’t entirely free per se, but it is a very cheap and affordable way to learn and improve your Business English skills. Some good books that I recommend are Market Leader and Intelligent Business.

Paid

  • Join a Business English course or speaking program - there are lots of Business English programs out there both online and offline. Find a school or program that fits your specific needs, and find a teacher that you like and is knowledgeable. Our Business English speaking program We-Speak-Business Unlimited is the cheapest and best Business English speaking program in the world. Learn more about our course(s) here.
  • Enroll in an intensive course - some brick and mortar language schools offer intensive (but often expensive) courses that are designed to improve your Business English skills in a short space of time. Contact your local language center to see if they offer this type of program.
  • Join a paid community - some teachers and schools offer paid communities where you get access to materials and study schedules. Although these are hard to find, they might be worth looking for as they’re an engaging and exciting way to lean.

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What is the We Speak Business Unlimited Program?

We Speak Business is an English course with live speaking lessons for English learners who want speaking practice with native speakers, professional teachers, and students from around the world.

You have live speaking lessons where you can join and start speaking business English every day. There's a lesson every day and also, you can review all record lessons. There is a lot of conversation practice for each level of English (A2, B1-B2, C1). There is a calendar of scheduled lessons so you can see when lessons are and at what time you can join and start speaking.

In We Speak Business program, you have 24/7 support and also you have student chat where you can speak with other students from all around the world. Before you join our program and start speaking business English, we strongly recommend you sign up for our free seminar with Andrew Smith, where you can learn:

  • What goals you need to have to get better results
  • How to master business English quickly
  • What are the strategies that will help you advance to a higher level
  • How you can speak business English more fluently and confidently
  • Free resources to help you learn business English
  • Exclusive resource to improve your speech

What Are The Differences Between General English And Business English?

General English

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. General English is essentially the English we learned at school. We use it to travel, meet new people, order food at a restaurant, and chat with friends or pen pals.

Business English

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 aim for their professional growth, it also helps in enriching one’s personal development which may lead to opening doors for new opportunities. This is the English we use to communicate at work with our global clients, colleagues and business partners.

What Business English Isn’t

Most people believe that work is this serious place, where everyone is walking around being all formal (like a cast member from Suits!) Therefore, they think that they need to always use complex, technical vocabulary to explain or express their thoughts and ideas.

English speaking countries and companies generally prefer shorter, more simple communication as opposed to longer, more complex communication. We want to get our message across in the shortest and simplest way possible.

English is a more direct language as opposed to other languages which tend to be more indirect, for example Thai or Japanese.

People also tend to believe that business English needs to use long, complicated grammar forms and structures. Good English however prefers simple yet effective grammar. It tilts more towards simple tenses (present, past, future, as well as the present perfect), and words like “first” and “then” show the order of actions instead of complicated grammatical structures.

Remember our main goal when communicating in a global business setting is to get our message across in the shortest and simplest way possible!

How Can I Spot Business English?

Imagine a German company negotiating a contract with their suppliers in Vietnam, or a Japanese sales manager pitching his company’s new line of products to a group of American investors. These are the kinds of situations where you will likely spot perfect examples of business English.

It is professional English that is mostly used among business professionals from different countries and of different cultural backgrounds.

When working internationally, we won’t be talking about our pets or families or what we like to eat for breakfast on a Sunday morning, we’ll be discussing business-related matters, and we’ll be using a set of particular channels of communication to get our message across. It is these channels that often contain business terminology, technical terms, and more formal language.

When you learned English at school you learned the foundations of communicating in English. Business English is something we build on top of those foundations, so we can express ourselves in business settings as well as casual ones.

Where We Use Business English?

Business English is used everywhere and anywhere business is being discussed. It doesn’t always have to be in an office building or a boardroom. It can be a group of friends having a coffee on a Saturday morning discussing the stock market with each other.

Generally speaking, Business English is mostly used in the workplace. You’ll find and hear it being used in any office, boardroom or even a Zoom meeting room - anywhere where business is being discussed.

There are of course more common and obvious places where it can be found. Here are three which you already know of, but feel free to comment below this blog and tell us more ideas of your own!

Business Meetings

Whether you are discussing an upcoming project, negotiating a contract or discussing the new annual budget, business English is the means of communication we use to express ourselves about these business meeting topics.

We may also opt for a more polite and diplomatic style of communication, especially when meeting with new people or people we deem to be very important.

Be careful as some business meetings like team meetings might be more casual than you initially thought. The register of the language will largely depend on the audience and context.

Business Presentations

Presentations are another great example of where we use business English and communication.

In presentations we often have to talk about figures and trends, pitch a product, or show and explain how a new product works. One of the best things about presentations is that they’re so versatile when it comes to communicating messages. There are so many different ways we express ourselves when giving a presentation.

Business Sales

Have you ever heard the business idiom, “the almighty dollar”? It means money rules all, basically. Sales is packed full with common business functions, such as negotiating, persuading, questioning, and active listening. We complete all of these tasks in English when we are selling or purchasing from other businesses or companies in different parts of the world.

Sales often requires a very specific set of skills, so you will need to be very confident in your general English skills before you jump into selling in English. The best place to start is to really work on your listening skills and get better at asking good questions.

At Work

Business English can be found in any and every workplace that uses English as a second language. Think of companies like Siemens, Google or Microsoft - all of these big multinational companies have one thing in common - their working language is English.

However, not only do big companies and corporations use Business English, but smaller companies who occasionally use English with their employees or clients will use Business English.

This style of English is both versatile and multifunctional - it can really appear anywhere and everywhere.

What is Business English? PDF 1

What is Business English? PDF 2

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