Advanced business English tips: how to improve your presentation skills in English
Making the right impression in front of colleagues and clients matters. Here are some vocabulary gems to boost your presentations.
If you can read this article and understand all of it then potentially you’re ready for an advanced Business English Course!
There is a lot of talk in the world of work about being able to “speak business English”, but the English courses available are all very different. In this article, we look at some of the definitions of business English and advanced business English. We also take a look at what is available in English language schools, using the example of a school in Brighton, a city in Sussex, UK, to help you decide what’s right for you.
A lot of the English you use in a work context may be described as business English, even though the contents of what you say will quite often be not particularly business-like. So before we get to describing advanced business English, it might be worth working out what Business English is.
If you pick up a Business English coursebook in a language school, you’ll often find chapter headings such as: greetings, introductions to new people, face-to-face meetings, virtual meetings, giving presentations, preparing reports, negotiating and describing statistics. In many cases, you could argue that the language you are using is actually quite general English. That’s true, so in fact, Business English is largely about the context – you won’t be talking about ordering fruit at a market, or visiting tourist sites, instead, you’ll possibly be looking at case studies and stories about things like the success and failure of companies, and general themes such as marketing, human resource management, organisational design, etc.
When you start working in an English-speaking business environment, one of the first things you notice is that much of the conversation is very specific to the company. So even a native English speaker would most probably have difficulties in understanding what is being said – that could be because of particular abbreviations being used, or maybe because people are referring to colleagues, departments, past successes or failures, product lines, IT systems, etc. that you know nothing about.
### So what can you learn on an Advanced Business English course?
So, if you can’t really learn the terminology of a specific company in advance, what can you do to prepare, and what would an advanced business English course teach you?
Fluency is a big part of everyday communication. Fluency in English is going to do two very important things. First, it will enable you to create a good impression with others by inspiring confidence and ensuring that people listen to your message. Secondly, it will allow you to keep up with other native English speakers, to follow their conversations, respond quickly and interject with appropriate language.
Being able to speak fluently is closely connected with excellent listening skills. Certain situations call for an outstanding ability to listen and understand, such as Skype calls and other conference calls where the connection may be poor, work phone calls on a mobile when you’re out in a noisy street, meetings where you might get a number of people talking at once, social events in a busy bar or where there is significant background music.
Whilst you might not be able to learn the very specific language of one company, an advanced business English course can focus on quite effectively on other pockets of vocabulary. One way to do this is at the industry sector level, where you spend your time developing your English skills whilst only looking at your industry. Alternatively, if you are concerned with one particular function at work, an advanced business English course can look at that too, whether that’s something like leadership and management, operations management, finance and accounting, sales and marketing… Then at a more granular level, it will be possible to focus in on the aspects of your own work that you need to communicate more fluently with others.
So a good, professional advanced business English course will help you to develop more resilience to deal with the most challenging, difficult communicative situations, and the right teacher will be able to adapt the content from course books, the internet, newspapers, company literature and other inputs, to fit with your own learning pathway and your objectives.
These courses are for you if you already have quite extensive experience in the world of work, and it helps a lot to have some clear goals and objectives around what it is you’re trying to achieve. It may also help, but not be strictly necessary, for you to be in a clearly defined functional role, with clear responsibilities, or within a specific industry sector, so we can dive deep into quite a narrow niche, rather just staying on the surface, with more of a general business English course.
These courses also work really well if you are already working in an international environment where English is the main language being spoken at work. That’s because as soon as you finish your course, you’re going to want to start practising your new-found skills.
### English Courses In Brighton: From Business English To Advanced Business English Courses
One of the world’s leading authors of Business English and Advanced Business English books is Paul Emmerson. He is based in Sussex in the south of England, and delivers a range of Business English programmes at The English Language Centre.
The English Language Centre makes a distinction between entry-level Business English courses which are aimed more at students who have not yet joined the world of work and Advanced Business English courses which are for executives and professionals who need English in their jobs and are delivered in the Brighton language school’s dedicated Business Centre.
An example of the entry-level programme is called Introduction to Business English. This is a good example of a general business English course which will take learners through a range of general business situations, and look at the kind of language used in general business encounters, such as meetings, discussions, giving presentations and writing reports.
An equally popular option also available in the Brighton school is aimed at professionals and executives and is a combination of General and Business English. The benefit of this formula is that it allows trainees to develop their general fluency as well as having sessions which are contextualised in the world of work.
At the more advanced end, you’ll find courses which take place in mini-groups, and are designated for executives. This is a good signal that the course will be able to specialise more, and look deeper at some of the bigger communicative challenges we’ve discussed in this article.
Finally, you find courses which are somewhere between Advanced Business English and ESP, English for Specific Purposes, such as English for Medical purposes, or English for Engineers or English for PAs and Secretaries. This is where the focus shifts over to a specific industry, rather than working around specific business functions (e.g. leadership, finance), or specific communicative tasks (negotiating, keynote speeches).
For more information about our business courses please contact us via email at email@example.com.