Management Material: The Best 6 Ways for Managers to Improve Their English Skills
Want to be a successful business manager?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re currently a manager or just dreaming of becoming a manager someday.
Here’s what you need to do.
To be a successful business manager, it’s important that you’re able to communicate well and be understood by the people you work with—your team, your business partners and other business professionals. You need to be clear, polite, professional and strong when you speak English.
This means you need to master business English for management purposes, which is a very specific type of business English.
English for management purposes, or English for managers, is the type of business English that deals with the specific language—vocabulary, phrases and idioms—most often used by managers to talk about the business areas and activities they administer or control.
Today we’re going to discuss the six most effective ways you can learn English for management purposes, including some great online learning resources. But before that, let’s first look at why you should be fluent in English for managers in the first place.
Why Managers Need to Be Conversant in English for Management Purposes
For most working adults, being proficient in general business English may be good enough.
But as a manager, you need more than that. Your management job may require you to work across many different job areas with people who work in your company and also professionals in other companies from around the whole world.
Yes, you do need to master general English. Having a management job means that you must be able to communicate at a more advanced proficiency level, since your actions really make things happen.
It also means that your English words need to have power and precision. If you’re not communicating as well as you could be, then work might not get done efficiently. Your employees may not work as well as they could. The people you work with might not be happy or productive. Your business might not succeed.
So it’s important that you speak and write excellent English in general. As a manager, however, you’ll also need to know more than general English. You’ll need the perfect vocabulary to understand and speak about a huge range of business activities in diverse departments and parts of the world.
For example, you might need to know vocabulary to discuss the production, assembly, marketing and sale of a single product, so that you can communicate perfectly with the production, marketing and sales teams in your company and ensure that everyone is working together to achieve the same goals.
Let’s look at some more reasons why you’ll need to know a specific type of English as a manager.
1. It’s your current job requirement
Whether you’re newly promoted or currently a manager, your job probably involves being in charge of a group of people, as well as dealing with people from other departments, companies and businesses in your country and all over the world.
On any given day, you may be talking to the Human Resources department in your company, to a project manager from an engineering company across town or to a business partner in Europe. English for management purposes has all the relevant language structures for you to do this.
2. You want to climb the corporate ladder
With English being the lingua franca (common language) in global business, employers are looking to promote potential managers like you who is fluent and can communicate well in English for management purposes.
3. You want to widen your career prospects
To widen your career prospects in the field of management, your English must be better than good. English for management purposes spans across all the areas that a manager is required to oversee, from finance to customer service to international trade.
The more proficient your management language skills are, the better your chances for climbing the corporate ladder. So let’s now look at how you can master English for managers in the shortest time possible.
6 Manageable Ways to Learn Business English for Management Jobs
1. Sign up for a free, online business English course
Signing up for an online course is obviously the best way to learn and get help with your business English, and even better if it’s free!
EdX is an online learning resource that offers business English courses to business executives doing business in Asia. These courses, developed by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, are designed to help you become a better business English speaker and writer—especially when it comes to dealing with Asian businesses.
English For Doing Business In Asia – Speaking: Focuses on spoken English and communication skills you’ll need for doing business globally, with a focus on English communications in Asia.
English For Doing Business In Asia – Writing: Focuses on developing your ability to write clear and concise business English and sharpen your communication skills for doing business in Asia.
Sign up for a free account now to see what courses they’re currently offering!
Alison Business English Course Online
Alison offers a free online English language course that focuses on business English communication skills via conversations, phone calls, interviews and dialogues. This course is suitable for all business professionals, including managers, in daily business and business travel.
Talk English has a free Business English Lesson section targeted at business professionals in general. The section features many common areas of office interactions that business professionals are involved in. Their audios and multiple example sentences offer ample opportunity for practice.
2. Take a paid online Business English course
Coursera Learning English Courses
Coursera is an excellent online learning resource taught by top instructors from the world’s leading universities and educational institutions. When you sign up for a course, you’ll have access to recorded video lectures, assignments reviewed by your peers and discussion forums whefeedback from business professionals all over the world. Upon completing your course, you’ll receive an electronic course certificate.
Coursera offers a range of business English courses tailored to the specific roles of managers. As a manager, you’re often required to handle many different areas of business, from managing human resources and negotiating deals to handling financial matters and giving presentations.
The Business English: Management and Leadership course, created by Arizona State University, offers language activities where you can practice the styles of communication needed in a manager’s job scope. These areas include recruiting and motivating a team, managing and participating in meetings, and writing effective and professional emails.
Coursera offers other courses suitable for business executives where you can learn the language associated with general business functions such as:
- Business English: Planning and Negotiating created by University of Washington
- Business English: Finance and Economics and Business English: Marketing and Sales created by Arizona State University
- English for Effective Business Speaking and English for Effective Business Writing created by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
While the above courses aren’t specifically targeted for managers, they offer a good background to the language you’ll need to manage these business functions.
Business English Pod Learn Business English
Business English Pod offers over 400 lessons covering in general business English as well as for management purposes. For managers, you’ll find useful lessons in the areas of presentations, meetings, job interviews and negotiations focusing on management topics like:
- implementing a plan
- discussing business strategy
- decision making meetings
- conducting a job interview
- strategic negotiations
Kaplan International English Business English Courses
Kaplan International offers accredited business English courses in many different countries including Canada and the US. With flexible start dates and course lengths, you can also work with an advisor to tailor the course to your requirements.
3. Work with a private tutor on your Management English goals
As a manager, you may not have as much time to spend on studying English as you’d like. So you may want to consider working with a private tutor. The advantage of working with a private tutor is that they can tailor your lessons based on your personal goals for learning English.
For instance, if your role as manager requires you to give presentations frequently, your priority will then be to work on your presentation skills. Your tutor can then create lesson plans around this area and spend more time helping you develop these specific skills.
Finding and working with a private tutor has never been easier, thanks to modern technology. Verbling can help you search for the perfect online tutor. You can choose your tutor based on their schedule, their prices and their background experience or specialization. You might even find a tutor who has experience in teaching English to managers or corporate executives! Once you have found the right tutor, connecting for tutoring sessions is extremely easy—you do not even need Skype for tutoring, you can connect directly on the Verbling website.
Perhaps you prefer to learn with a teacher sitting next to you, guiding you through the lessons in person. In this case, you can look for a tutor in the United States on Wyzant. Then you can arrange to meet at a coffee shop, library meeting space or even at your house. Wyzant is particularly helpful for English students, because they have tutors specifically for teaching English writing and English grammar.
4. Set a flexible target to work on your Management English
I’m sure you’ll agree that managers are busy people. There are times when you’re so busy you don’t even have time to think about the language targets you’ve set yourself, and that’s okay. The responsibilities of your job come first.
That’s why I’m suggesting you set a flexible target. Let’s say, you aim to master 40 management phrases or vocabulary by the end of the month. Make a list and set yourself a target to work on 10 items this week. If you don’t complete the list this week, don’t feel bad.
Just go back to your list next week, pick up from where you stopped and continue working on your list. Adjust your target to what works best for you. Even if you manage to learn only one new word or phrase a day, good job! Give yourself a pat on the back.
5. Use new Management English you’ve learned in your daily work
There are so many ways you can pick up new language in your daily work as a manager—from talking to other business people and reading emails to attending meetings and receiving teleconference calls.
Note any new phrases or vocabulary that you think might be useful to you. Make a list and check out their meanings if you’re unsure. Then, as you go about your daily work, look for opportunities to put this new language to “real-life” use.
6. Make time for business news relevant to managers
You probably won’t have much time during your work day to be reading, watching or listening to business news. But this is something you can do during your down time such as on your lunch break, on the train or while waiting for someone.
One easy way to commit to reading every day is to subscribe to a high-quality news magazine or newspaper. You can do this for not too much money on Magazine Line, which offers plenty of business news magazine subscriptions at discounted prices. They even have a “Professional & Trade” section that you can use to find magazines that will be helpful for your particular business field, such as those related to technology, education or science.
For a good general source of business news, you can subscribe to The New York Times and follow their Business Day section, which includes breaking news on all kinds of subjects, from international business matters, to Wall Street, to the latest products and advertising campaigns.
You’ll be surprised that even if you read, watch or listen to only one article of business news a day, you’ll be sure to learn some new language. So try to make some time out of your busy day for this!
So now that you’ve learned six ways to fast track your English for management purposes, make them work for you and I promise you’ll be seeing progress very soon. Remember that fluency and success comes with practice and “real-life” use. Good luck!