Business English differs from general English in that the syllabus tends to be aimed specifically at the students’ workplace needs while General English courses draw their material from the everyday world, Prior to the start of a Business English course, the trainer will give the student an interview in which he/she will establish two things: firstly the proficiency level of the student, and secondly which business functions the student needs English for (a needs analysis). A specific custom designed course will be created based on the results of both the needs analysis and the student’s proficiency level.
If the student is preparing to enter the business world, but does not yet have a job, we can offer a General Business English course that covers major areas of relevance to people in the corporate environment without a specific target area.
1. The custom designed course
Depending on the results of the Needs Analysis, our course can include any of the following topics:
- Meetings – writing an agenda, keeping minutes, chairing the meeting, presenting ideas, disagreeing politely, the politics of turn taking.
- Negotiations – making offers and counter-offers, reaching compromises, recapping on the agreement.
- E-mailing – opening and closing conventions, using appropriate tone, being concise and objective
- Telephoning – mastering standard regular phrases for telephonic exchanges, using intonation to reinforce message, interpreting the caller’s tone, paraphrasing the message for confirmation.
- Presentations –making proposals, using visual aids to support ideas, using the voice effectively, presenting facts and figures in a clear and interesting manner.
- Report Writing – organizing material to substantiate claims or explain events.
b. Core language skills.
In order to use English successfully in the business world, students need to strengthen the core language skills, i.e. speaking, reading, listening and writing.
Within the context of the given topic, the trainer will guide the students with
- pronunciation, clarity and coherence in speech
- comprehension in reading
- organization, task achievement and coherence in writing
- separating the gist from detail in a listening task
Using the topic as a guideline, the Trainer will introduce vocabulary and functional language which will be presented in a realistic context and continually reviewed until it becomes a natural part of the students’ speech.
2. General Business English course
This course is an introduction to business topics that are general but topical They may include any of the following:
- Managing People
- Advertising, Marketing and Branding
- Corporate Culture
- The Internet
- Stress in the Workplace
This course will also cover the four core language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
The Customised Business English course will use a combination of commercial coursebooks; trainer generated case-studies and tasks, and authentic material that the students bring in from their workplace, i.e. e-mails, reports and presentations. The General Business English course will be based on a prescribed coursebook, but the Trainer will adapt the materials to suit the students’ interests.
The General Business English course is 24 hours which can be extended should the student wish to broaden his/her knowledge of business English. The Customised Business English course is personalized and can be as long as the student requires, but we recommend a commitment of at least 24 hours to begin with. It is difficult to make much progress in less than 24 hours. In Business English, as in all language learning, the more time the student is prepared to invest, the more progress he/she will ultimately make.