10 essential English skills for business

10 essential English skills for business

The ability to be able to communicate in English is a great competitive advantage for people in the business.  Business people should not rely on translators any time they have to deal with the situation that happens or should happen in an English speaking environment. The business world now requires not only the ability to communicate orally in English but also a good command of written English that may impress your partners while writing emails or reports.  So, business people may need to know what English skills they should learn to perform better in the global Business world. So, let’s see what English skills business world needs nowadays.

Presenting in English

Alex (CEO of a company): Why?

English teacher: You will sooner or later need to use English to communicate your message in an international environment. Being able to present your idea in English will put you head and shoulders ahead of others.

Alex: What exactly should I learn?

English teacher: Firstly, You will need to learn how to use linguistic devices to make your speech even more coherent. Secondly, you should know how to use formal language in presentations. Thirdly, you need to learn how to manage the questions, asking the questions back and reinforcing the idea you think is important.

Negotiating in English

Anton (Sales manager): Why should I learn how to negotiate in English?

English teacher: Negotiation has always been an important part of business activity; you usually negotiate with clients, partners and even your colleagues, don’t you?

Anton: What should I learn? 

English teacher: First, you need to learn the phrases to use if you agree, polite phrases to use if you disagree. Secondly, you should know how to ask questions and discuss the details. Finally, you need to know how to close the deal.

Telephoning in English

Marina (operation manager): Why should I learn how to make calls in English?

English teacher: Being able to speak English with peers or partners in English on the phone adds value to the quality of your communication in business. It saves a lot of time and moves the deals faster.

Marina: What should I learn specifically?

English teacher: You need to be able to introduce yourself on the phone, to be able to state the aim of your call. Moreover, you should be able to leave messages. Finally, you should learn how to answer the call and close the conversation. There can be more specific situations, you may learn to deal but it will be more job-specific need.

Emailing in English

Pavel (a businessman): Why should I learn email writing in English?

English teacher: Emailing is an important communication means in business. If you intend to communicate with global partners or get into the international market, you should be able to communicate via email.

Pavel: What should I learn?

English teacher: You should know how to write formal, semi-formal and informal emails, how to start and finish the emails.  You will learn how to organize your emails and finally, what email etiquette is.

Small talks in English

Svetlana (customer service specialist): Why should I learn this?

English teacher: Small talks are casual “ice breakers” that are needed to fill an awkward silence between people.

Svetlana: What exactly should I learn?

English teacher: You will need to learn how to socialize in different situations, start conversations and sound interesting to converse to. You will also know the list of small talk topics that are safe to talk about in social situations.

Requesting information/data/details in English

Maxim (Marketing specialist): Why should I know how to request something in English?

English teacher: In the business world, the polite and formal way of requesting information, data or any service is essential. 

Max: What exactly should I learn?

English teacher: You should learn how to politely ask for information and more details.  You will need to learn more phrases expressing requests, needs, and requirements.

Making arrangements

Olga (receptionist):  Why should I learn this?

English teacher:  You will need to know how to make arrangements as the business world operates through meetings and arrangements. 

Olga: What exactly should I learn?

English teacher: You will need to learn how to make arrangements, how to postpone or cancel them, how to make last minute changes.

Clarifying and summarizing information

Katerina (Accountant): Why should I study this in English?

English teacher: The business world is fast and very hectic. Quite often we need to clarify or ask for some more specific information, further explanation or instructions. 

Katerina: So what should I learn?

English teacher: You will need to ask for clarification in English, learn the phrases or collocations for summing up and restarting, what has been agreed or arranged. You should know how to recap and paraphrase the information, to make sure you all are in the same wavelength.

Making bookings in English

Vlad (Project manager): Is that so important?

English teacher: Yes it is, as booking hotels, restaurants, business centres is usually a part of business activities.

Vlad: So what should I learn?

English teacher: I will need to learn how to make bookings, give more details, ask for more information, negotiate the time and date, agree on the conditions.

Business English writing

Oksana (assistant to CEO): Do you think people in business need to learn this?

English teacher: Yes, I do, business people should know how to write e-mail,s reports, memos, etc.

Oksana: What exactly should I learn?

English teacher: You should know how to write business context which is different from writing in general or social content. Business people do now have much time to read long texts, so business writing is specific in tone, style, exactness and directness.

If you are aware of what your students need, you can implement necessary activities, so that during the English lesson, your students can gain the skills they will need in the business world.



Lusine Stepanyan

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