7 Steps to Better Business English: Choosing a Business English Training Program

Larry M. Lynch

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His back still a little stiff from the one hour plus flight, Kelly Grant emerged into the maw that is Barcelona’s airport. His Dutch was good, his French fair, his Spanish more than passable, and his American English still rang with a twinge of his fluent German. But this was after all, Spain, bastion of Castellano. He was ready. So what was the language of communication through customs, immigration and for all his day-long business sessions during the month-long series of company negotiations? English. In virtually every country’s business climate, international communications are conducted in English. If your company’s key executives and administrative personnel are not comfortable with and fairly fluent in English, you’ll need to select a business English executive training program. Here are major areas any reputable, certified program will address:

1. Writing correct E-mails and business letters in English

With more than 115 standard business letter forms and formats choosing the correct one for a particular application can be confusing. You should learn the most commonly used forms for your business and get extensive guided practice in their use. From business cards to invoices, basic contracts, agreements and e-mails, understanding key elements of business communications in English is an important area. You’ll need to review the use of formal and informal expressions; grammar and usage for proper business communications by e-mail or more formal correspondence requires facility in these areas:

2. Improvement of speaking fluency

Social conversation and telephone etiquette are paramount to effective business communications. Do you need to talk with clients, customers or personnel from company branch offices abroad in English? Correct and fluent speech and use of idioms and expressions will aid in maintaining good relations with clients and customers outside of your country and in other cultures. It will also aid those who work in company foreign branch offices to better understand each other’s speech. Speaking with more fluency will also give a boost to your executives’ confidence.

3. Correction of pronunciation problems

All too common errors in saying complex numbers, using prepositions and grammar points such as proper use of regular and irregular verbs can be corrected to greatly improve your pronunciation. Can you say, “333,333, 333. 333" correctly, with the right intonation, accent and stress so that others can easily understand you? What’s the difference between pronouncing “contracted", “needed" and “transferred" or “proved". Sessions practicing phonetics and correction of individual pronunciation problems using personalized instruction will allow rapid improvement if effectively administered.

4. Elimination of most outstanding and most common errors

Whether you have problems in grammar use of expressions, prepositions or verbs, you can work individually on your biggest problem areas one-by-one to minimize or eliminate them. Do native English speakers talk “too fast"? Do you have to ask others “to repeat that" frequently? Do you struggle for the “right words" when having a conversation? Do you stammer, stutter or hesitate frequently during conversations? Do you lack confidence in spoken or written communications in English? In speaking, in writing or with poor listening comprehension, guided practice and judicious use of simulations will soon give you noticeable improvement, more confidence and better communicative business English.

5. Improve your vocabulary quickly and easily

Vocabulary or lexis consists of words, phrases and expressions – the very building blocks of language. The more lexis you know the better and more precisely you’ll be able to communicate proposals, ideas or plans to customers and clients. There are a number of easy, simple ways you can increase your vocabulary quickly and effectively for maximum improvement in the shortest possible time. Areas that will substantially aid in building your functional vocabulary as quickly as possible include:

  • Knowledge of affixes (prefixes and suffixes)

  • Identification and use the 12 verb tenses of English

  • Knowing how to change the parts of speech of a word

  • Understanding words with multiple meanings

  • Using true and false cognate vocabulary correctly

    6. Give concise business presentations that promote your company

    If you need to talk to clients and customers about company products or services, make introductions, describe company policy or procedures, then it’s essential that your business English language program provide you with guided, individualized practice in these areas. Learn to make effective comparisons, ask questions and gather information of all types from customers and clients to improve marketing, sales and customer relations. In a good program you will learn to easily and confidently:

  • Introduce yourself and your company

  • Describe your company’s products or services

  • Ask for and gather key information from prospective clients

  • Discuss costs, prices, delivery times and dates

  • Ask and Answer basic question about your company, its products and services

    7. Learn and practice with experienced, certified, professional native speakers

    A business English language program is only as good as the professionals behind it. Experienced, skilled native speakers are indispensable. They should be certified in helping English language learners develop the most from their practice activities in speaking with confidence, developing listening comprehension skills, writing business correspondence and comprehension of business English documents of all types. A generous variety of practice activities and exercise types should be made available to suit the needs, interests and abilities of your executives and staff.

    A business English executive training program that addresses these major areas will allow your executives, administrative or other key personnel to quickly develop fluency and confidence in their English language skills. Careful review of proposed program aspects will help to ensure that the expectations of your company and personnel will be met to their satisfaction. Better business English communications can be a real boon to growing your client base, expanding potential customer contacts and engaging in effective international business communications.

    Prof Larry M. Lynch is a certified English language teacher / trainer, bi-lingual copywriter, expert author and photographer specializing in business and education-related writing in South America. His work has appeared in Transitions Abroad, South American Explorer, Escape From America, Mexico News and Brazil magazines. He teaches at a university in Cali, Colombia. To get original, exclusive articles and content for your newsletter, blog or website contact him at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com . For quotes on English language services for business, personalized business English training or copywriting Email: pentagon_elsb@hotmail.com

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