One cannot travel anywhere these days without being reminded of a simple fact: English is everywhere. From China to South Africa, English is always present, whether in conversations on the street, classrooms, or work environments.
It is widely referred to as the global language because it is the common means for communication between different countries and cultures.
With over 400 million native speakers and 950 million second-language speakers, there is no way to deny its influence. But there is always a way to emphasize it even more!
English is a primary language for internet access, the most commonly used language in the sciences, and, in many fields of knowledge, it is the official language of research and publication. While other languages continue to be vital, English has become the global lingua franca, absolutely indispensable to survive and prosper in a globalized world like ours.
The importance of good English in business
In the present economic climate, communicating in English is vital. As this language keeps playing a major role in most sectors (including medicine, engineering, education, technology, banking, computing, and tourism), not being able to communicate in it efficiently is a serious handicap to any aspiring professional.
Having a good English level is extremely necessary for dealing with everyday business activities, including presentations, meetings, writing emails, or reports. Furthermore, it is also an essential socializing tool, especially in environments that require entertaining clients, managing international meetings and conferences, or simply making small talk with industry peers. Employees with English as a second language might have a good command of the language for day to day needs but they may need to focus on improving specific skills to eliminate barriers linked to effective communication in their workplace.
Few skills are more powerful in the business world than communicative competence. No matter the goal (establishing new partnerships, finding more clients, getting in touch with industry peers, etc.), being able to communicate effectively in English is key in every sector and every country. Even in Canada, a country with two official languages, a study¹ found that 62.9 percent of Montreal businesses want their employees to have good English skills.
In short, if you want to feel confident, self-sufficient, and, most importantly, able to communicate effectively with practically the whole world, improving your English level is a must. And for business communication? Probably even more essential!
Tips to improve your business English skills
You decided that it is time to improve your business English skills, and now you are wondering where to start? Don’t worry: the journey may be long, but, with persistence, motivation, and diligence, everything can be achieved. As you know, all communication skills matter in the world of business (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Regardless of your job position or industry, being able to communicate in English is vital, mostly if you deal with international customers, partners, or operations. Therefore, if you feel that you need to improve your language abilities fast, these are the main tips you should put into practice:
Set (realistic) goals
In the 1981 November’s issue of Management Review, there was a paper by George T. Doran called There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives. In that paper, the acronym S.M.A.R.T. appeared for the first time, indicating that every person’s goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed.
If you are now initiating your language learning journey, you should definitely start by setting your goals in the smartest way possible – and trust us, it is way easier than it seems. Just think about these questions:
– What exactly do you want to achieve?
– What are the skills that you want to improve?
– How much time can you dedicate to this journey?
Answering these questions with honesty and accuracy will put you on the right track towards success, as they will determine how much commitment you need to accomplish your goals.
Immerse yourself in the language
Immersion is recognized as a more natural way of learning a language, especially if you are getting familiar with it for the first time. You certainly have been exposed to the English language endless times already (in movies, songs, T.V. programs, social media, etc.), but have you ever taken the time to pay attention to the content? Or to focus on the business side of it? Immersing yourself in a language is basically that: surrounding yourself with shows, movies, business English podcasts, articles, and all types of resources that can help you get familiar with it while being attentive and curious. Needless to say, meeting native speakers and making conversation in English is also a great way of being exposed, especially if your goal is to improve your speaking and listening skills.
Sign up for classes
As Watson wrote, “at its heart, business English is no different to standard English. The purpose of both is the same: clear and efficient communication. Business English, however, has some distinct differences to the English used at home or general conversations at work”.
Now the big question is: could you recognize and apply those differences? Understand how, for example, business English writing differs from informal writing? Probably not. As such, if you have the opportunity, signing up for an English language course that focuses on Business English is the best way to develop your communication skills. Having an expert tutor guiding you through this journey is the most effective option to guarantee that your specific needs are assessed. Besides, it is also the easiest way to create a routine and effective learning habits.
Practice, practice, practice
The most successful way to develop your English communication skills is to practice. If you are struggling with reading, buy some English books (children’s books are great for beginners) and dedicate a couple of hours a day to read them. If your problem is writing, start a journal in English or try to take your notes in the language, as a way of enhancing your vocabulary. These activities will help you create a learning routine and, little by little, make you feel more comfortable with expressing yourself in English.
Enjoy the process!
The ultimate secret of learning and retaining new information is quite simple: you must enjoy the process! It is proven that people with more positive attitudes toward language learning make more of an effort and, as a result, improve their skills faster. So stay motivated, believe in your own self-efficacy, and, whenever possible, try to engage with content and activities that truly make you happy. From TedTalk videos to an English business writing course, everything that motivates you is valid!
How Language Advantage can help you achieve your goals
At Language Advantage, our primary goal is to make our clients thrive. That is why we focus, above everything else, in creating loyal and committed relationships with every individual that joins our programs. To do so, we start by assessing your specific needs and goals. This evaluation will help us understand the type of content, teaching strategies, and material you need. Since our expert teachers cover all levels, from beginner to advanced, they will quickly know how to focus on the skills you mostly need to improve.
Although our method is personalized for each student or group, it mainly includes exercises that will prepare you for real-life situations, enhance your confidence, and make you enjoy the learning process – even if you choose to learn business English online! As such, beyond grammar and vocabulary exercises, we strongly focus on one-on-one and group discussions, problem-solving activities, and role-playing.
If this sounds like something you would like to try, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our team of instructors will be delighted to walk you through our course options and help you find the ideal program for your needs!
Learn more about our Business English courses.
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Language Learning for Adults: 5 Strategies to Make It Easier