This is the truth:
I wouldn’t be able to speak and write good English if it weren’t for my amazing English teachers.
They were very patient, correcting me whenever I made a mistake.
They taught me that stories are more than just texts to be interpreted.
They made me realize that essay writing is an art.
They helped me overcome my stage fright and ace presentations.
In short, they taught me everything about the language that I couldn’t have learnt from a book.
No matter how many online classes you sign up for or how many self-help books you read, you won’t be 100% proficient at business English until you learn from an expert.
However, the good news is that an expert is easy to find online these days. With video call technology, you can even take your business English lessons online!
This is great, because having a business English mentor will give you a big advantage.
You need to work on your speaking, listening and writing skills as well as on your overall personality. You need to learn the right words and also how to deliver them.
And once you’ve truly mastered the language of business English, you’ll find that the world has opened itself up for you.
Why You Need a Business English Tutor
A personal business English tutor will help you succeed in ways no other resource or form of learning can. If you’re still not convinced, read these following reasons.
- You get private one-on-one lessons: This means you can be more upfront about your learning difficulties. You’ll have a mentor who will coach you in all the parts of business English you need help in.
- You’ll get immediate feedback: Let’s say you have to write a memo and you have no idea how to do it. Your private teacher will guide you through the process, proofread your draft and even point out errors, thereby helping you to improve.
- There’s greater engagement: Your teacher is committed to you alone, and will give you their full time and attention. Hence you will learn faster. You’ll also get firsthand tips and advice for real situations, for example, for an interview the next day.
- The lessons will be personalized according to your needs: Most online and offline courses are designed with set learning material, and you may find yourself learning nothing new. But a private business English coach will tailor a lesson to your requirements. You may write great cover letters but struggle with delivering the perfect Elevator Pitch. In this case, your tutor will focus more on your pitch skills.
- You have control over the schedule and timing: Every lesson will take place at your convenience. It can even take place in the comfort of your own home. If you have a sudden emergency, you can simply reschedule your lesson to a later date.
- You can choose to learn from native English speakers: Of course, nowadays, you get qualified English teachers from all over the globe—and it would be wrong, if not outright racist, to assume that an English tutor from the UK would be automatically better than a teacher from, say, Bangladesh. But if you’re planning to move to a specific country, or you want to pick up the local accent and culture, you can always choose a teacher who happens to be from that country for some added benefits.
No matter where your teacher is from or what you’re learning from them, FluentU can help you learn business English along with your private sessions. FluentU takes real-world videos—like movie trailers, presentations, news, interviews and more—and turns them into personalized lessons. It can help you organize your learning around the subjects that are important to you and test your knowledge, so you have a better idea of what questions to ask your tutor.
Where to Find Your Business English Mentor: 7 Top Tutor Sites
But of course, finding a good business English tutor is easier said than done. You need someone within your budget, who can teach you as per your needs. Below are some resources to help you in your search.
Verbling is a wonderful website to find teachers suited to your learning needs. They have a huge database of teacher profiles and bios, and you can sort them by language, gender, prices, country, skills and so on.
So for instance, if you’re trying to get the hang of American business English, you can opt for a teacher from the US who specializes in business English. Or if you’re trying to pass a certain exam, say, the SAT or ESOL, you can choose a teacher specializing in it. The ratings, too, give an indication of how popular and successful a teacher is.
After choosing a teacher who fits your budget, schedule and learning goals, you can book a lesson with them and start talking via Verbling Video. Yes, it’s that easy.
Similar to Verbling, Preply has an enormous database of online tutors. Except here, the lessons are held over Skype, and there’s a special category for business English classes. Here, too, you can sort by country as well as the time of day they’re available.
This is particularly useful for those who are already working and don’t have the time or energy to go to a physical class after work. You can simply book a teacher whose times are convenient for you. The lessons are charged hourly, and you have a variety of rates.
What sets TeacherOn apart from the above two platforms is that they don’t just have a database of online teachers, but home teachers as well. Most of the profiles come with a detailed bio that states areas of expertise, years of teaching experience (both online and offline) and hourly rates.
Most of the tutors are qualified professors and corporate trainers, and the site admins do a lot of fact checking to minimize frauds. So if you’re looking for someone with industry experience who’s willing to teach at a physical location near you, you’re likely to find someone suited to your needs.
Once you log in, you’ll be given enough “coins” to contact three teachers, but teachers can also contact you first (at no cost to you). Once a teacher contacts you, you can privately discuss payment, schedule and other details.
Cambly is a learning app with its own team of native English teachers. You can simply download the app, be connected to a tutor and have a conversation with that person. They also have some interesting learning plans.
For instance, you can book a teacher who specializes in business English and have a private one-on-one session with that person. You can record the session and re-watch it later for clarification. You can reserve classes with your favorite tutors. You can even opt to “share” your tutor with two other students and have a group learning experience. (This may help you develop better teamwork and collaboration skills at the office.)
This app even has a translation service: If you’re confused, you can type in your native language while chatting, and the app will automatically translate it for you. So if you find it difficult to communicate with your co-workers, you can type out your doubts and difficulties in your native language and get immediate feedback on how to improve.
Verbal Planet provides online English classes via Skype. Most of the teachers offer a free trial. So if you feel unsure about booking a class with a stranger, you can attend a free lesson and decide later if that teacher is right for you.
Your tutor will customize a lesson plan per your skills and needs, and then provide immediate feedback, online progress tracking and other analytics. Whether you’re worried about a conference call or using the right turns of phrase at a networking event, your tutor will address all your doubts and guide you to the best course of action.
This website has a unique teaching approach. They promise you that you’ll learn English the “natural” way without going over boring theory. The lessons are conversational, which means your public speaking skills automatically get a boost. The award-winning teachers are all native speakers from the US and the UK.
As business English almost always is based on workplace communication, this website is ideal for developing your conversation skills to talk to your boss or negotiate a deal with your clients.
You can buy a certain number of lessons in a pack—anywhere between 20 to 100—and pick your own schedule, after which your tutor will contact you via Skype. Each lesson is 30 minutes long, and you’re advised to take three lessons per week.
OTUK is similar to the service above. They offer Skype lessons from teachers from the UK, and they offer a trial version, too.
Again, the teachers design the course keeping your needs and goals in mind. They use a number of web resources to make learning fun and easy. Each lesson is 45 minutes long, and you can opt for a double lesson of 90 minutes if you wish.
You’ll be interacting with your teachers in English, so you can learn from your mistakes and not repeat them later when you’re communicating with your co-workers. In short, you can become a great business English speaker before you even join the workplace!
To make the most of your tutoring experience, I’d recommend you spend some time looking over the above websites and the teacher profiles on them.
Compare the ratings, prices, years of experience and do some background research on your own. What do the reviews by past students have to say about a tutor?
Once you’ve chosen, it’s important to be honest about your needs and goals. Don’t be afraid to tell your tutor about your weaknesses, insecurities and the areas you need help in.
The more information you provide, the easier it’ll be for them to help you.
And remember, learning from a teacher is a two-way process.
So give your very best, and you’re bound to succeed.
Archita Mittra is a freelance writer, artist, educator and a self-taught Italian speaker. Feel free to check out her blog or contact her for freelancing inquiries.
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