How to learn Business English more quickly and easily

‘I need English for my job – quickly.’ A familiar sentence, which I’ve heard many times.

And now you’re saying it, too. Well, perhaps it’s because:

  • You have started a new job at an international company where English is common.
  • You have just been for your annual evaluation and the boss has said that your main target is to improve your English.
  • You have just been promoted.

‘Where do I start?’ you ask yourself. Okay, you can speak English quite well (after all, you’re reading this) but you may be frightened by the term ‘Business English’. Isn’t Business English a lot of long words and complicated phrases?

A big difference?

Before you begin to learn Business English, just look at it as being the same as ‘normal’ English, just with different verbs and nouns:

Instead of saying, ‘Can you pass me an apple, please?’ we say, ‘Can you forward me the invoice, please?’. Instead of, ‘Let’s talk about our holidays’ we might say, ‘Let’s discuss the staff bonus policy’.

In a nutshell, there’s no big difference: it’s just budgets instead of bananas; shipments instead of shopping.

How to learn it quickly

In many companies they use the same words and expressions every day, so you should be able to learn the necessary vocabulary quite quickly. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Listen carefully: what are the words your colleagues use most often when they speak English? Make a note of these words and look them up in a dictionary later.
  2. Give yourself a target of learning five words a day – after a month that’s more than 100.
  3. Keep organised: learn words in ‘families’: if you learn the verb suggest, learn its related noun suggestion at the same time. This is easier and faster.

To get you started, we’ve made a list of 100 essential Business English nouns.

And don’t worry, you’ll soon impress the boss.

Stuart is an English teacher and runs the Speakspeak website. He currently lives in Prague and has been teaching for over 20 years. Follow Stuart and contact him by subscribing to his monthly newsletter.

4 Comments

  1. SHIRAN DILUM BANDARA - March 14, 2014, 6:33 am Reply

    ple send me to business englis

  2. Tita - March 15, 2017, 1:28 pm Reply

    Hi Stuart, I like your website. It help me a lot. The more difficult things is work order. Can you do it here. Thanks

    • Stuart Cook - March 18, 2017, 11:55 am Reply

      Hi Tita
      Yes, I plan to do some articles on word order.

      • Tita - March 18, 2017, 10:15 pm Reply

        Thanks. I hope you can start with it soon.

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