Business English Vs. General English

Business English is the English that is used to conduct businesses in a professional and formal manner. It allows you to have the skills necessary for writing e-mails, making reports, making presentations, working out with clients, participating in conferences and meetings, writing letters and handling clients on telephonic conferences. Business English basically focuses on the communication that is made in business related scenarios.


What are the differences between business English and General English?

The skills required to learn business English are different

Business communication skills like negotiating a deal and delivering presentations might be necessary to effectively learn this kind of English. This scenario however is changing as general English classes are putting more and more emphasis on teaching skills that can be used in professional scenarios.

The content is different

Almost all of the topics of business English will be focused on work related scenarios. Therefore, instead of casual conversations, a business English course will focus on subjects like global business scenarios or handling economic challenges.

Business English is more popular than General English

There exists a growing demand for business English because learners tend to be clearer about what they want to use their English for; in addition to that most of the non-natives that start learning English prefer business English over its casual counterpart as the former can easily be brought to use in professional situations.

In today’s economy, learners don’t just want to learn English, but they want to tune in and talk English in a professional manner so that their foreign counterparts respect them. This is necessary because most businesses now have relationships with other businesses that are based in some different country.

Students that learn business English belong to a different background

The students learning business English are certainly different from those that learn casual English. Normally, they are working somewhere or pursuing a business related course. Some of them study business English with a hope that it will provide their career a good start while there are others that already hold high positions in private or government firms and learn English for better career prospects.

Business English classes have different timings

Generally, business English classes are held at a time that is suitable for working people. This also depends upon the place classes are held and the attitude of both the participants and the companies sponsoring the classes. The place where I work, business English classes are held between 7 and 9 am and between 7 and 9 pm.

The teaching methods used are different

The way lectures are delivered and the approach used in teaching probably differs from what you find in a general English class. For instance, instead of group work, students learn better through case studies, simulation exercises and role-play. The educator is supposed to play different roles. For example, he is a mediator when teaching negotiation skills and a facilitator when teaching meeting skills.

Many big businesses spend most of their training budgets on teaching business focused English to their employees. This makes it even more necessary for organizations teaching business English to fine tune their services and be in a position from where they can meet this ever-increasing demand.

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John Smith is an English teacher and business writer from Newcastle, England. Since 1999 he has been living and teaching English in Bangkok, Thailand.

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