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Business English: Do’s and Don’ts

Business English: Do’s and Don’ts | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Here we consider some of the things you should do and some you should not do within the Business English setting.

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Here's what we recommend when teaching Business English classes.


Firstly you are not going to know everything about their particular business and you could actually use your ignorance of that to your advantage. For example if you're teaching a group of banking employees you may not know about some vocabulary of their particular areas of work. When they're using terms that are used within the banking system then you can say, “I'm sorry I don't understand, can you explain that to me?”, so they're actually getting more language practice using the terms within their role.

Secondly it's very useful to find out what they actually do in their jobs, so perhaps ask the employer if you can work shadow your clients and go around and see what they actually do. If you know exactly what their job involves then you're going to know how to tailor their English language learning to that particular job.Next, it is very important within the business English setting that you be professional at all times and until you know otherwise, that should be in terms of both how you dress and in your demeanor and attitude towards your clients. Start off conservatively and if it appears a more relaxed style is acceptable you can move toward that.

It is also very important within a business English setting that you keep records. Very often employers will want to know about their individual workers progress and you should therefore be able to have a meeting with them and tell them how each of their workers are doing from the records that you have kept.


Some of the things to be aware of and that you need to try and avoid within the business English area include;Firstly do not talk about people within the company. If there is any internal discussion about people within the company, you should not join in. Keep your personal opinions to yourself and this would also include opinions about political issues.

The second thing we would recommend that you don't do is similar to that of teaching young learners; don't expect them to bring everything that they may need for the class. There a number of reasons why they might not bring what they need. They will often be tired first of all, because they are probably learning before work, or have been working all day and secondly their motivation may be such that they're hoping that they can get out of things. So bring all the materials that you're going to need.

Finally and as with young learners, don't use their native language if at all possible. Once they know you can converse in their first language they will naturally use that as the default. Whilst this is ok every now again, to let them explain to each other in their own language points they are having difficulty with, you as the teacher should avoid it.

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