One of my first courses was at a company in Berlin who wanted to learn business English. The manager grew up in East Berlin, but now has a very successful business trading the USA – all from a headquarters in Berlin. He learnt from a young age that learning English was important if he wanted to be successful in life. I taught his parents English for a while, and I remember them telling me that their son (the manager) used to get up an hour earlier every day to learn English. As he became older, he began to learn business English too. So, why did this successful manager decide to improve his business English? If you learn business English, how will it benefit you?
Keep reading to find out why you should start learning business English.
The lingua franca of business
One: English is the ‘lingua franca’ of business. It’s the language that professionals from different countries use to communicate with each other – even if English isn’t their first language. If you understand and can use business English well, then you can communicate with a wide range of people – and also be an important part of the success of your company.
Two: I’m sure you’ve noticed that if you want to use any new technology, the user guide is often in English. If you look at the internet, social media, and even the IT start-ups in Berlin, you’ll see that the language of www is English. A website with a high quality of English reaches even more customers – something every professional in Berlin should have.
Three: many shops and bars in Berlin are managed by people whose method of communication is English. If you want to stay competitive in Berlin, and your customers are tourists and international businesspeople, you need to make sure your services are available in English. Are you missing out on extra business because your business English isn’t good enough?
Can you negotiate in English?
Four: In the meeting room, or in videoconferencing or teleconferencing, the language used is often English. Do you have an important point to make, or have an issue that urgently needs to be agreed? English is often the most popular language for this. Is your business English good enough to successfully meet your goals in a meeting? the quality of your business English can be difference between winning and losing an important business deal. Negotiation tactics are important, but what if something you mean to say is interpreted wrongly?
Five: Many professionals in Berlin travel on business across Germany and internationally. English is often needed to negotiate basic travel arrangements – to get from A and B. Is your boss is travelling across Europe, to the UK/Ireland, or even to America? Then you will need English to book a plane or train, to make a reservation, or manage the problems that come with cancelling a reservation. Travelling isn’t always smooth!
Six: a well-written, culturally sensitive e-mail can make the difference when getting in contact with the client or business you’ve always wanted to work with. I had a client who was not getting a response from a company in London he really wanted to work with. I helped him change the tone of his e-mail and told him to include some small talk at the beginning and end of the e-mail. He sent the e-mail after the lesson and got a friendly response back from his potential client only a few hours later. Could better English e-mails mean a better business?
Create a good atmosphere with customers and clients
Seven: particularly in business, face-to-face relationships are important. The way to have to a good relationship is to establish a rapport – to build a good atmosphere between your customers and clients. Making small talk – asking about the weather, families, sport – showing interest and being likeable is an important part of winning the confidence of your clients. The sentences you create in business English are key to making this work. How good is your small talk and your social English?
Eight: business English is an essential part of some industries. Some businesses cannot function without the use of English. For example, law, high-end hospitality, translation and healthcare jobs in Berlin all need a high level of written and spoken of business English.
Improving your English can help you get a better job
Nine: Are you applying for a job in Berlin? Do you want to get ahead of the other candidates? Improve your level of English! Many interviews for jobs in Berlin today test your use of English as part of the interview. Are you prepared for that? Are you confident that you have good pronunciation and that you can express yourself clearly?
Ten: do you want to conquer the world with your international plans for business? Then your mastery of English needs to be core part of your plan. Remember that so much of the news, entertainment, politics and popular culture is in English. Companies give priority to candidates who have a knowledge of these issues – and if you can easily talk about them in English, you’re closer to achieving your professional goals than you think.
You can see that business English can not only get you a job, but also a better job, and more profit and more success for your company in Berlin.
So, how do you start improving your business English?
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