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Top Tips for Working With Business English Students

Top Tips for Working With Business English Students | ITTT | TEFL Blog

“Language is any form of sound or sign a living being can produce to convey some form of meaning to another living being”, that being said Business Language can be defined or explained differently. “Business Language is the commodity that is being bought and sold in our daily lives, the exchange of goods and currency takes place to just add weight to said Business Language” and as English is the most spoken language in the world, it also makes English the universal Business Language.

Language Skills for Business Purposes

As any language Business English also consists of four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. ESA grouped listening and reading skills as receptive skills; and speaking and writing as productive skill, however Business English has to group the skills based on verbal (i.e. listening and speaking) and textual (i.e. reading and writing) because of the similarities in requirements.

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Basic English and Business English

Knowledge of Basic English is sufficient for conversing in a business environment however additional information about business jargon, abbreviations, subject knowledge, formal/ informal tone have to be acquired for fruitful communication. Jargon, abbreviations and subject knowledge are interconnected as for a person to successfully implement Business English they have to some basic knowledge on subjects used in business like accounting/ finance, Economics and Commerce/ Banking. This will assist an aspiring business professional to understand and convey terms like inflation, debit, credit, liquidity, core competency, accruals, bad debts, Balance sheet, Bank reconciliation, etc. Similarly, abbreviations are often used to convey large amounts of information in a short time in and terms like ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival), ETD (Estimated Time of Delivery), MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), TDS (Technical Data Sheet), PLC (Public Limited Company), TM (trademark), etc. The jargon, abbreviation and subject knowledge apply to the textual skills as well but one can always look up the terms performing textual skills, unlike verbal skills. It is always better to use a formal tone during business communications, however after a little familiarity informal tone of communication can be more preferable as it helps convince, befriend and coax your business partners better. Another way how verbal skills in Business English may differ from regular English verbal skills are, Business English has to be critically used as even simple communication has monetary implications. Business communication has to be carefully heard and replied to because even verbal contracts can be considered binding and breaching said contract may have bad repercussions or at the least deteriorate business relations with trade partners, colleagues, coworkers, etc.

business woman

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Writing Skills in English

Textual skills for Business skills are similar to regular writing and reading skill except for the following points. For reading skill one has to heavily develop the skimming skill (to go through a large number of documents quickly only focusing on the important parts) while also developing critical scan skills (noticing mistakes and abnormalities in business documents even when speed reading). The bulk of written skills relies on the format. Documents like letters, notice, C.V (Curriculum Vitae), questionnaires, reports, applications and presentations all have their own and have to be meticulously followed. The written skill of the Business English skills is the most critically checked skill as the documents produced are a matter of record, sometimes legally binding and accuracy is a must. There are university courses in the bachelor's degree specifically designed to teach the various written document formats.

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