Why teach business English?

Why teach business English?

English is the international language of business.  So if a business person in Spain is speaking to someone in China, Brazil or Germany, they are most likely to be using English as their language of communication. It's crucial for these business people that their English does not disappoint. That's where a good business English trainer can make all the difference.

Read on to find out what teaching business English looks like and how you can get started in this important English language teaching sector.  

What do business English learners need?
A business person might need to practise and improve their English for negotiation, meetings, making presentations, dealing with phone calls and emails from suppliers & customers, or simply socialising with contacts and business partners. 

What about general English, grammar etc.?
The business English learner may still need to know why "I’ve been to Germany in 1998." is wrong but the key elements of English, such as grammar, writing, speaking, reading and listening will be tailored around business rather than general English themes.


How to teach business English – three top tips
A good TESOL/TEFL course is key – you still need to know how to teach the core elements I mentioned above.  Beyond that, the typical business learner requires bespoke lessons, tailor-made to their English business functions.  I've outlined 3 tips for teaching business English lessons successfully here and in the video below, to give you a flavour of what to expect:

1. Always start with a Needs Analysis to identify their aims and what they need to do in English.  This should be thorough. Never leave a first lesson without a few ideas on what to cover in future lessons. Be prepared to drill down, so for example, if they say they need English to speak English to customers on the phone, you should ask questions like:

"What do you speak about in English? Can you give me some typical topics of conversation?"
"What do you find difficult about speaking English by phone?"
"Is practising to perfect your English by phone a priority?"

2. Invest in some good materials but be prepared to adapt them; no two business learners are the same. The best material comes from your student; their experiences, company publicity, documents and dialogues.

3. Regularly check what your business learners’ priorities are. These may change if, for example they have a sudden business conference or meeting. Being able to adapt to their on-going needs is important.


Why teach business English?
Teaching business English is fantastic if you like teaching motivated adults for a specific purpose. This form of teaching usually pays better and since business people often learn 1-1, there are opportunities for building up your own freelance business.

Where is business English popular?
All over the world but in particular in France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and the UAE.

Next step
Consider adding our 30-hour Teaching Business English course to your TESOL course. You will find lots on great information on teaching business English, including how to conduct a needs analysis and prepare a course of lessons tailored to your individual students. It will help your qualification stand out from the generic TEFL or CELTA courses, which don't provide this type of training. You’ll also learn how to create lessons that are highly focussed on student needs, encouraging even your most demanding business student to keep coming back for more.


You might also like...

  • I teach English in Germany - an interview with business English trainer Nick Ponter.
  • Teaching business English in Rome, Italy - Natalie Vassilaka shares her experiences.
  • Our friendly Facebook group where you can join the discussion and ask questions about our courses and working around the world. 
  • Watch my short video below to see my top tips on Teaching Business English. 

Louisa Walsh, Course Director, Global English TESOL

  • Author: Louisa Walsh
  • Date: Friday 1st April 2016


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Why teach business English?