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How can I improve my English communication skills in business?

Improving your business communication skills is an integral part of making huge strides in your corporate career. Sure, you may have a large trove of knowledge and experience in your trade, but it can never fully be harnessed if you cannot get your ideas across.
Photo by Ivan Shilov on Unsplash
Photo by Ivan Shilov on Unsplash

Contrary to what most people might believe, however, learning English for business communication is fairly easy. Yet one’s success is largely determined by the amount of time and effort they put into it. Dedication and patience are, after all, important virtues in learning.

Apart from that, the ways in which business language skills are learned are crucial, too. It might sound a bit preposterous at first, but along the way, you will realize that some techniques are rather inefficient and counterproductive. Simply put, you cannot go about it without much thought; you need to take it seriously.

To get you started, here are a few tried and tested tips to develop your business language capabilities the right way and become successful in your current job.

1. Expand your vocabulary.

Unfortunately, vocabulary is something that even native English speakers tend to gloss over. As a consequence, they often give the wrong impression and get misinterpreted by others. In business, this is quite unacceptable. Many aspects of business require so much clarity and precision, especially now that the stakes are getting higher by the day.

Take negotiations for example. One mistake in wording can already alter the meaning of an entire clause in a contract, thereby changing the initial path that a company is planning to go for.

This only goes to show that you cannot just go around using words you barely know. Take the time to learn words commonly used in business settings. Read the dictionary whenever you encounter them to know exactly how and when you are supposed to use them.

2. Learn how to construct sentences.

Once you have gotten familiar with words, the next logical step is to know how to string words together. It does not make sense to just memorize words and stop there. It’s not enough. You need to learn how to use them in proper contexts and structures.

Let us give you a clearer idea of what we mean by using the word ‘consensus’. The term means a general agreement among a group of individuals. Typically, it appears in meeting minutes.

Here are a few examples:
  • After an hour and a half of discussion, the board members arrived at a consensus that the budget for marketing should be increased.
  • The consensus among the employees is that the company should give them a raise.
  • The committee was not able to arrive at a reasoned consensus because James Zachary was not in attendance.

Now, take a closer look at the sentences above and you will notice that certain words come along with the word ‘consensus’. Acquaint yourself with them and over time, you will be able to use it in different situations.

3. Know the rules of grammar.

No, you need not be a master of grammar. It’s perfectly fine to commit grammatical mistakes here and there. Still, it really pays to have a strong foundation of English grammar. This is actually in relation to the previous one. 

If you already know how to construct simple sentences and phrases, it’s time to be aware of the basic rules. Following the rules does not only make you sound smart and formal, but they also make your utterances or written reports intelligible and meaningful at the very least.

4. Enroll in English language training for employees.

Honing one’s English communication skills in business is undeniably a herculean feat. This is why there is an abundance of platforms committed to providing English communication skills training to students of all ages.

If you find it difficult to learn English on your own, it does not hurt to ask the help of those who are experts in it. Take advantage of this opportunity to broaden your horizon!

5. Practice.

There is really no one-size-fits-all approach to being fluent in a language. Although, one thing is for sure: Practice makes perfect. It’s a cliche, yes, but there are no truer words than that. Keep putting into practice everything you have learned so far and soon enough, there will be a noticeable improvement in your skills. Think, write, and speak in the language as much as possible, especially in the workplace.

Remember that practicing also means that you do not cease in learning new things. Do not be too complacent because overconfidence just gets in the way of you making your learning curve steep. One way to discover more about Business English is through exposure. Watch TV series, listen to podcasts, and interact with colleagues using the language.

6. Just enjoy the process.

Relax. Do not be so hard on yourself if it is taking you a long time to wrap your head around a concept. As we said, having corporate English training is no way a walk in the park--it can wring out a lot of energy out of you and it would not be beneficial to put yourself down even more. Keep in mind that the fact that you are doing it is an achievement in itself. Take it as a sign that you are just a few steps away from living your own dreams!

Besides, what’s important is that you stay motivated in learning. It is sheer determination and perseverance that would keep pushing you forward. That being said, try also to find ways you can infuse a positive outlook into your endeavor. Do not forget that a steady mind is essential in absorbing new information.
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