When Business Means ‘Business English’

Today, there are an increasing number of non-native speakers working in national and international companies in the competitive commercial world of business where English is the main form of communication. And given the current global economic crisis, it is not surprising that competitive companies in a tough economic climate may continue to place high and unrealistic demands and expectations on their staff so as to communicate clearly the message that ‘we are the best’.

As we all know, English is a universal language and is the common language of the business arena, but is it enough just to learn English and to have adequate English pronunciation in order to survive in a marketplace where people looking for a job are more than two a penny?

Learning English today hasn’t been easier with endless training programmes available from Learn English Online to face-to-face Courses in London. But do these learning programmes fully equipthe learner with the hidden skills and competences common to Business English and which are essential to effectively communicate with confidence in the competitive world of commerce?

You may think that there is no or very little difference between the use of general English and Business English. Indeed, you will be forgiven in this misunderstanding. Business English may be regarded as the epitome of English, similar to that of poetry, in the use of its content, theme, tone, language and structure. Further, it demands a greater understanding of not only specialised terminology and jargon according to the commercial sector, but also a thorough understanding of Englishness with its English etiquette, protocol and formality which may not be wholly satisfied by many courses on offer today. Non-verbal communication and cross-cultural communication are significant and influential factors in business negotiation and company presentations, but they may not be generally found within the course description of many learning English or Business English programmes.

The legal sector is a highly profitable industry which demands from its paying clients high levels of fees for the work it provides, but what sets the legal sector apart from all other business sectors is its stalwart commitment to the practice and protocol of traditional English and Englishness. It is a moot point, but can the hierarchy of such English etiquette, custom and communication which has existed within the legal sector since time immemorial really be acquired by today’s learner following a learning English or Business English training programme? Without doubt, a learner nurturing a BBC English or Received Pronunciation accent in an effort to fine-tune his or her English pronunciation may go some way in complying with the archaic demands of the legal profession, but it may not wholly compensate for the intangibleness of the use and understanding of Business English, or should I say legal English, within the legal field.

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