We live in the world where English is omnipresent, the majority of us have learnt it at school so we might say that everybody can use it to some extend. But still, everyday I encounter people who say they have a good passive command of the language, they understand written texts, simple conversations and can make a proper effort writing an email with the support of a translator of course.
So what’s the problem?
Real life conversation, obviously. People get paralysed when forced to speak, they refuse to take part in projects with foreign clients or their teams. As a result, employees lose face and good reputation and what’s even more important they lose confidence and their self-esteem. What tutors often hear is that in business communication is tougher or more challenging, and it may be true but there are certainly ways to overcome the problem.
So today we provide some useful tips for you – how to learn Business English by yourself or during your classes.
TIP 1 – Build mind maps
It’ useful to create vocabulary families – associations of words that are connected with a given topic. You can use texts, articles on a given topic because it obviously includes proper vocabulary. For example, reading about ‘teamwork’ you will definitely come across words like: teamplayer, cooperate, collaborative, contribute to sth etc. Don’t forget to take notes, prepare visualisations as they will be memorable to you and will facilitate learning process.
TIP 2 – Learn collocations and use a collocation dictionary
People seem to be unaware of collocations dictionaries – I know it sounds difficult, school-like, we don’t always like the word DICTIONARY – but this one in fact, is just a great and easy support to aquire vocabulary.
For instance, if you type the word „change” in this dictionary, the results will be synonymous adjectives describing change e.g big / great/ huge/ considerable / fundamental/ important/ significant / major minor small/ subtle cosmetic – wow ! So many options, just in one place, i personally love it, remember it way better and easier than from other sources, and you know what I also like about it? It’s not only about adjectives that go together with that word but also verbs , e.g bring about / cause / make/ produce /generate a change, undergo a change, introduce / implement a change, adapt / accept /refuse a change.
Again I’m totally satisfied with these word combinations, it’s a ready set for me to have an interesting conversation, avoiding repetition. I also feel that after such learning I’ve expanded my vocabulary significantly.
If you’re interested in checking out a collocation dictionary, there is a reccomendation from us here:
TIP 3 – Take advantage of Youtube
Who doesn’t listen to Youtube these days?
Not many people probably. But why not use it for educational purposes. It’s always more profitable to listen to something useful rather than just an extra portion of stressful radio news. So if you’re interested in expanding your busienss english type into a youtube browser things like: successful business, teamwork, how to increase motivation, a good leader or teamplayer etc. You will get hundreds of hits, you have a great variety of speakers, not only can you choose the accents but also people you will like and the ones whose rethorics will match your style.
They can be some important business figures, coaches or people like you who want to share their knowledge, ideas and experience.
TIP 4 – Remember about subtitles
Whatever you watch, don’t get discouraged if the content seems to be difficult at the beginning. Listening and/or watching might also be a process, you might first watch something without subtitles to check how difficult for you it is and how much you’re able to understand without any support, then you might watch witch subtitles to understand more details or even print the whole transcript (especially from TedTalks) in order to work on vocabulary in more details, to prepare a mindmap or find useful collocations.
TIP 5 – TALK!
Try to experiment with what you learn, use it during the meetings, your classes, practice with it, it will stay with you for a longer time. Remember: practice makes perfect!
Talk to people but also talk to yourself! Have I lost my mind? Not at all! Making speeches even if we are the only listeners is still practise, recording yourself is a great exercise to check your pronunciation, spot mistakes and realize what is worth focusing on.
I hope you will try to incorporate these tips into your learning process. Let me know what you think of them and which ones you like the most!