How to improve your English at work
27 JULY, 2016 LANGUAGES ERIN O'NEILL
Being able to communicate effectively at work is essential, and in today’s competitive job market it is increasingly important to have a good grasp on specific business vocabulary and jargon. Employees need to be able to convey their ideas and understand others effectively, and this often means being able to use a variety of business English terms. Some industries use very specific language; the legal and financial sectors are two examples that often require knowledge about specific terminology.
There are many ways that you can increase your skills in business English, and many of them that you can start practicing today. This article will help you to boost your employability by getting to grips with business English, whilst learning how to avoid some common mistakes. Read on to see our top tips for improving your business English at work.
AVOID SLANG AND ABBREVIATIONS IN YOUR BUSINESS ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATIONS
Before we get onto what you should do to improve your business English skills, you should learn what to avoid whilst communicating professionally. Whether it is via email, face-to-face with a client, or on paper, you should never use slang words or abbreviations whilst at work. Not only will this come across as unprofessional, but it could also make your colleagues and employers question your abilities. Whilst it might sometimes be tempting, you should avoid using things like emojis and smiley faces too; these are not meant to be used in a professional context, and can make people take you less seriously.
ASK FOR HELP FROM COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS
You might know someone, either at work or on a social level, that is a better English speaker than you might be. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it is better that someone corrects you straight away than to allow yourself to fall into bad lexical habits. If you ever hear an unfamiliar word or phrase, write it down and ask someone what it means later on, this is a good way to ensure that you don’t keep making the same mistakes. If you have to do any projects or presentations for work, enlist the help of a colleague or friend to go through them with you. This way they will be able to correct your grammar and offer you tips on how to improve.
WATCH AND LISTEN TO BUSINESS-RELATED MATERIAL
You can learn a lot about business and business jargon by simply watching a certain type of TV show. Many programmes available to watch use business-related terms, and can teach you a lot about business itself. Some TV shows you might want to check out include The Apprentice, Dragon’s Den and Undercover Boss, but there are many more to be found if you search for them. When watching these shows, you can turn English subtitles on to help, and be sure to pause and rewind the programme if you hear a word or phrase that you don’t recognise. As well as TV, there are many books that will help with your understanding of business terms, try browsing the ‘Business’ section in a local library or bookshop.
MAKE THE TIME TO PRACTICE
It can be difficult to find the time to learn a new skill on top of a full-time job and a social life. You can get around this by giving yourself structure and scheduling times throughout the day to practice. Use your commute to listen to a business podcast for example, or look through business-related news on your phone. This is an easy way to ensure you get a little bit of study time in each day. Some studies have shown that taking in information just before you go to sleep helps it to internalise, making it easier to remember; try practicing your business English just before you fall asleep and see if it works.
TAKE A BUSINESS WRITING COURSE
Taking a business English course is a sure-fire way to gain the correct business vocabulary and skills, as well as the confidence needed to put them into practice. Courses come in all different forms, from full-time universities to evening classes. This means you will be able to fit whichever programme you choose into your existing schedule, and manage the cost effectively. The structure of a class, and the expert guidance from tutors, will give you the helping hand you need to perfect your business English skills.
If you are interested in improving your English for business communication, The Language Gallery offers business English classes at their London, Manchester and Toronto schools. Become an expert at job interviews, meetings, reports and proposals by signing up to a business English class today. Find out more about the BENEFITS OF STUDYING ENGLISH FOR WORK.