The Ultimate Guide to Business English

The majority of business connection all over the world takes place in English, although up to 40% of those involved struggle to communicate or even understand the language. Business English is a variant of the language, devised to unify traders from around the globe and enable better clarity during connection.
As the majority of general language courses miss out vocabulary required for use in trade, finance, and international relations, many non-natives find themselves studying the subject in order to reach a standard suitable for employment. They will typically learn how to communicate to others in English in all of the outlets required for business, such as presentations, negotiations, meetings, correspondence, and report writing.
With the importance of high levels of speaking and writing skills in the international workplace due to the digital age, it has never been a better time to brush up on your language skills. Implement these main rules into your working life, whether a native speaker or not, to raise your standard of business interaction.

Keep things short and concise

There is no need to be overly nice and overdo it on the chitchat. Get straight to the point..whether it be an email or a presentation. People will switch off if you ramble on and are more likely to answer your question if you present it to them up front. Same goes for the wording, don’t try too hard to use impressive, long words when short, declarative ones will suffice. Dropping the use of cliché phrases such as “let’s ballpark this”, is also a good idea. Not everyone will interpret those in the same way and when time means money you don’t want any ambiguity.

Use active verbs over passive verbs

Active verbs give your writing a more professional, decisive tone, which may make the difference between closing a deal or not. Instead of phrasing the sentence as “the presentation was led by John”, write “John led the seminar”. Again you are cutting to the chase in a concise manner which others will respond to in a more positive way.

Check and edit

All documents, presentations, emails etc for vocational purposes should be proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes. If need be, rework your sentences to make sure the point is being conveyed clearly. After writing your content take a break or move onto something else to refresh your mind before coming back to it. Read the text aloud, paying attention to any parts that don’t flow or sound long winded. Another easy way to edit your content is to sign up for eAngel, an affordable service that uses professional proofreaders to check and correct your text in minimal time.

The 5 W’s: Who? Where? Why? What? When?

Important point for non-native speakers. When writing a proposal or email, make sure that all of these W’s are covered. That way, you won’t leave anyone confused on the other side because you missed out a main point. Adding a “how” to the end of the text will give a ‘call to action’ to the recipient, asking them to participate and reassuring them that you are on board with the issue.

Don’t get too friendly

Of course a good rapport with clients or collaborators is extremely important but let it get too colloquial and they will view you as less professional. Even if you feel a friendly atmosphere when around them don’t get carried away and over punctuate with exclamation marks or finish your emails with a smiley face :) Coming across as over enthusiastic looks unprofessional and even immature.

So where in the world are the best non-native business English speakers? Unexpectedly, Madagascar, Bulgaria and Romania came up top in a poll. They even managed to beat countries such as Denmark and Switzerland which are renowned for their high capability in literary English.

Follow this guide to increase professionalism in your everyday business interactions, no matter which country you reside in.

Have a look at our next article about writing a professional email.

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