Business English is often a necessity in today’s globalised world. English is the international language of commerce, and with so many opportunities to work in multinational companies, start-ups and overseas branches, don’t let your knowledge of English hold you back!
However, learning English at the level required for work and corporate life can be painstaking and frustrating! Sometimes it might seem like a huge time investment, however, we’ve got a few tips that will help you get better at communicating in English quicker!
1) Read as much as possible
In the office, you will be reading a variety of emails, reports, and articles. So reading comprehension is an essential business skill. Make sure you keep it up by reading in your downtime as well. An easy (and cheap) way to do this is to read the newspaper! You can find English-language newspapers in any city, and sometimes even English versions of newspapers in your mother tongue! Go through the business section and look up any terms or expressions you don’t understand. There are also many ‘reader-apps’ available that give you bite-sized pieces of news and allow you to look up words directly. A good example of this is the app ‘Flipboard’.
2) Set manageable goals
Becoming fluent in any language is not a quick process. However, if you set real targets for yourself you will stay motivated and achieve more in less time. Aim for a certain number of words a day (start small- just five words is good enough), decide how many phrases you want to master in a week, and create a project you want to be able to do after a month – for example: giving a presentation in English, or writing the perfect email.
Keep a diary of your progress and make sure you commit new information to memory!
3) Learn words in ‘families’
When learning new words think of it in terms of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and learn the form of each word accordingly. For example the verb ‘to inform’ has a related noun (‘information’) and an adjective (‘informative’), learning words in this way boost your vocabulary bank and helps you remember words much more easily!
4.) Watch English language business programs
A common piece of advice for students is to watch English TV and movies. And you can kick this up a notch when studying business English. Pay attention to business and news channels such as Bloomberg and CNBC, there are also many financial programs on CNN and BBC news. If you want to relax a little watch some business-themed movies like ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ or ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’.
5) Incorporate English into your routine
Try to speak as much English as you can during the day. Narrate your routine in English or try to name as many objects you see on your commute in English. Reserve some time to speak English or work on English activities every day, or schedule lunch dates with English Speaking colleagues. Then, at the end of the day review everything right before you sleep. Our brains process more while we’re sleeping, so if you make it a habit to review just before bed, you’ll remember more every morning!
Try to incorporate as many of these tips as you can into your learning program, and watch how quickly you improve!