Business English

Welcome to our business English page.

On this page you will find a growing list of resources regarding business English.

If you would like to contribute with a link or links, please contact us.

Business English – our blog posts

The bottom line on trickle-down
Picture the archetypal hard-nosed businessperson, to whom facts and figures, statistics and sales figures, and profit and loss are the be-all and end-all. Surely businesspeople are not concerned with the niceties and vagaries of imagery and metaphor? Surely all they are concerned with is the bottom line?

The business of gobbledegook
When we communicate in a business environment, obscure jargon is an occupational hazard. Given how specialised are many industries and work environments, it’s natural that people will use a certain amount of terminology that won’t always make much sense to outsiders.

Nails on a blackboard: legalese and management-speak
I have no issue with the use of metaphor in speech. However, within the business industry, usage seems to have spiralled out of control. Some management-speak phrases grate more than others: a friend of mine loathes “singing from the same hymn sheet” whilst I find “speaking with one voice” irritating.

The language of finance
Since we are in Business English month and I do love a good wordle, I thought I might do a favour for armchair academics the world over and try establish the wordle as a viable analytical tool of all things lexical and financial.

When is Business English General English?
There was a time, not so long ago, when Business English (B.E.) and General English (G.E.) were chalk and cheese, at least if EFL publishers were to be believed. … The world has changed, and strangely enough, today Business English has morphed into something increasingly similar to General English.

Critical learnings, going forward
Regular guest blogger Stan Carey presents you with a challenge this week. Below you will find a letter written to staff in ‘business-speak’. Your task is to ‘translate’ it into plain (but still Business) English and add your version as a comment below.

Some thoughts on ELF
So what’s going on in the ELF debate? A lot of confusion, I think. Supporters of ELF usually make two related arguments: a geographical/political one, and a global communication one.

Business English in the digital age
I was delighted to be asked to deliver the opening plenary at the BESIG … I’m still preparing this talk, and have been thinking about how technology has changed the way people communicate in the business world.

Weaselly recognised
It is satisfying to replace officialese and ‘corporatese’ with more direct and meaningful words, to use our creativity – whether mentally or in a more concrete way – to improve vague and inflated guff. But gobbledegook remains all too customary in business and politics …

Business English and likeability
How is business talk different from ordinary conversation? If I had to describe it in just one word, it would be ‘purposeful’. After all, it’s the language folks use to get things done.

Business English tips & techniques – microblogs

Introduction
The tips & techniques come from Paul Emmerson, a writer, teacher, teacher-trainer and presenter. Paul runs this website, which provides material for busy teachers.

Discussion
A great cartoon that will generate a lot of discussion about a topic of interest to everyone: smartphone platforms.

Presentations
The idea of Presentation Karaoke is that students use somebody else’s existing Powerpoint presentation, with the sound turned off (if using the internet), and give an improvised on-the-spot presentation using the slides.

Texts
Coursebook texts have comprehension questions and ready-made discussion points following a text. Authentic texts that you find on the internet or from a print medium don’t. … Here is one, modified from an original idea by Mark Powell that appeared in the Teacher’s Resource Book for the first edition of Business Matters.

Emails
Emails need practising – just writing them once is not enough. So having done all the hard work of preparing content and language for a writing exercise in one class, why not use the same content again in the next class?

Vocabulary
‘Key phrases’ are everywhere in Business English – they are a large part of the language input for communication skills. They need practising, and this is one of many posts to help do that.

Personality types
‘Personality’ is a relevant topic in the Business English classroom: it affects choice of jobs, individual skills and competencies, and general attitude to teamwork/decision-making/planning/etc.

The international language of business
Last week Paul Emmerson suggested you use a cartoon to get discussion going in your Business English classroom. This week, the trigger for lively conversation is a relatively new form of visualisation: an infographic.

Business English – teaching resources

English for specific purposes: aspects of teaching Business English
An article about the different aspects of teaching Business English.

English for specific purposes: how to teach business English using the internet
A discussion on the ways to use the internet for teaching business English.

Top Tips for Business English
A series of articles dealing with Business English teaching matters. In these articles you’ll find useful tips and lesson activities based on the Macmillan English Dictionary for teaching basic business skills for areas such as meetings, presentations, negotiations and socialising.

Teaching Business English
Six key questions with answers about teaching Business English

Business letter format
How to write a business letter

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