The demand for business English classes has increased exponentially in recent years, with students around the world keen to gain a deeper understanding of the terminology and language used in business and international trade.
Business English differs from standard English – the terms and phrases you’ll encounter in a business environment aren’t what you’ll encounter when travelling to an English-speaking country or when conversing with an English-speaking person.
In a business setting, there’s vocabulary you’ll need to understand in order to communicate effectively with your colleagues and clients, from delivering presentations and negotiating to socialising and writing reports.
Tips for Improving Your Knowledge of Business English
There are several ways to improve your business English knowledge while you’re learning, to make the process of retaining information easier. Here are a few tips and suggestions.
Read or Watch the News
Reading or listening to business English in use is a great way to get to grips with the terminology and how people use different phrases. Subscribe to business magazines, read articles online and watch news segments on TV or on YouTube – aim for eat least one of these per day to keep your learning going.
Create Daily Habits
Immersing yourself in business English can help you build up your vocabulary faster, so set a target to learn as many new words as you can. Aim to learn a few new words each day – you can write them down on flashcards, which you can then use to refresh your memory when you’re practising. Building a daily habit to practice will keep your knowledge fresh in your mind and helps you to build momentum.
Use What You’ve Learned
You need to be able to put your learning into practice in conversation or written communication. Social media groups are a great place for this, as you’ll be having conversations with people who are talking about business-related topics. Or you can join informal business meetups where people won’t mind if you’re using certain words or phrases incorrectly.
Key Business English Terms
Graph – noun – a visual way to present mathematical information and data. Graphs are one type of chart, but they are not the only type.
Chart – noun – charts present information in the form of graphs, tables or diagrams. They are a method to present information.
Strategy – noun – a plan that has been developed to achieve a certain goal for the business, such as a marketing strategy which has been put together to reach a specific type of audience.
Plan and Planning – noun – a collection of actions that are put together in order to achieve a specific aim for the business.
Goals – noun – a purpose or something that the business is trying to achieve.
Success – noun – achieving positive results or something the business was striving for. Success can be commercial, business or economic.
Analyse-(z) – verb – to study something in great detail or to research it to discover more about it. In business, this is usually data or statistics, or analysing a problem or issue the business is facing.
Growth – noun – the increase in revenue or demand for the business’s products or services.
Advertising – noun – a way of promoting the business, its products or its services to persuade customers to buy them or learn more about them.
Company – noun – an organisation or business that sells products or services to make money.
Structure – noun – how parts of the business are arranged or organised, such as pricing systems or pay for staff.
Hierarchy – noun – a system that organises the people in a company into different levels depending on their role and how much authority they have.
Contract – noun – a legal document between two people or companies that outlines the details of an agreement.
Clause – noun – in business law, a clause refers to a term or statement in a contract.
Correspondence – noun – written communication, like an email or letter.
Employment – noun – the work someone is hired by a company to do for them in return for a salary.
Employee – noun – someone who is paid by a company or business owner to work for them.
Employer – noun – a person or organisation that employs people.
Meeting – noun – an occasion where people meet to discuss a topic.
Zoom – noun – computer software that enables people to host virtual meetings.
Conference Call – noun – a phone call where three or more people are involved.
Presentation – noun – a talk given to a group of people to explain a new product, service or plan.
Pitch – noun – a speech given by someone, typically a marketer or salesperson, to persuade a person or company to buy, use or do something.
Deck – noun – refers to a set of slides in a presentation.
Publishing – noun – the activity of publishing magazines, books or software.
CV – noun – a written document used when applying for a job that outlines your work experience, education and qualifications.
Sales – noun – the number of products or services sold. May also refer to the department responsible for selling in a company.
Target – noun – the result, level or situation that the business is hoping to achieve or reach, such as a certain number of sales.
Development – noun – the changes or growth that the business needs to make to advance or expand.
Expand – verb – to increase in some way, such as in size or importance in the industry.
Void – adjective – a legal term meaning that there is no legal force. For example, a contract is determined void if it’s not legally binding.
Competitor/Competition – noun – a person or company that works in the same industry or market or sells similar products.
Invoice – noun – a document that describes the work provided by a company or person and how much it costs, which requires payment.
Negotiate – verb – a formal discussion to reach a final agreement, such as a financial agreement or to determine the cost of a product or service.
Media – noun – a collective term for newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and the internet. For example, ‘The issue has been talked about in the media’.
PR – noun – an abbreviation of Public Relations, which involves providing the public with information about the business or the products the company sells to promote it and encourage a positive reputation.
Agenda – noun – a list of things to discuss or achieved in a meeting or business conference. An agenda is usually created before these events and given to attendees so that everyone knows what will be discussed.
Quote – verb – a statement telling a customer or client how much a product or service will cost.
Branch – noun – one of the offices of a larger business, which is open to the public. For example, a national bank will have several branches around the country.
Office – noun – a room or a building where people work as part of a business or organisation.
Dress code – noun – the accepted way of dressing for a certain event, situation or company.
Penalty – noun – an official punishment for breaking the terms of a contract. The punishment is usually financial, such as a fine.
Authorisation-(z) – noun – to give someone the official or legal approval to do something. This is usually a senior member of the team, such as a manager.
Commercial – adjective – used to describe a product or service which can be purchased by the public or related to the business’ activities. As a noun, a commercial refers to a paid advertisement.
Head Office – noun – the most important office of an organisation.
Headquarters – noun – headquarters refers to the head office where a business is managed from.
Report – noun – a spoken or written description of an event or situation. In business, reports are often written to describe activity or performance in the company, such as an annual financial report.
Audit – noun – an official examination of the financial accounts of the company. Audits are normally carried out by professionals unrelated to the business.
Results – noun – the amount of profit or loss that the business makes during a set period of time. Results may also refer to the outcome of a business campaign, such as how a product or service performed.