The business world can be an exciting place—but also a scary one.
You are trying to impress your boss, attract clients and meet all kinds of industry professionals.
You are trying to make your mark without making mistakes.
It is even scarier if you are trying to learn business English on top of all that.
The best way to overcome your professional fears is to improve your business English skills as quickly as you can. Fortunately, there are several intensive business English courses that will help you meet your goals on your terms. In this post, we will show you a range of options so you can pick the class that best suits you.
We will also show you how to put those new skills to use on the job, with some essential day-to-day intensive business English study strategies.
It will be hard work, but it will be worth it!
On-the-job Strategies for Successful Intensive Business English Study
If you really want to get fluent fast, you can use some extra English practice on top of your intensive language course. Here are key strategies for mastering business English every day on the job.
Establish Your Goals
Before launching an intensive business English study plan, it is important to clarify what exactly you are trying to learn. Goal-setting helps you establish your current skill set, identify areas for improvement, maintain accountability and track your progress.
In order to determine appropriate goals, consider the following questions:
- How many new vocabulary words can you commit to learning each month?
- What aspects of your business English vocabulary require the most work? Do they fall into a certain category or subject?
- What upcoming work events do you need to prepare for?
Whatever your end goal, make sure you craft a step-by-step plan for getting there in a reasonable period of time. Then figure out a way to hold yourself accountable, whether with reminders on your phone or a weekly check-in with a supportive friend or coworker.
Read Your Company’s Publications
Your company’s publications—such as internal memos, mission statements or newsletters to clients—will help you establish the vocabulary and tone that you need to master. This information can help you tailor your goals so you are learning business English skills that are most relevant to your company’s branding.
Even if you are not currently working in an English environment, these publications will let you know what essential words and phrases to translate and memorize in English.
Use Materials Designed for Business English Students
If you are focused on learning business English as quickly as possible, you will need learning materials designed specifically for that goal. Some of these materials will be provided by intensive business English classes like the ones we will cover later in this post. For faster, well-rounded study, you can supplement your learning with additional resources. Here are some to get you started:
- “Market Leader Extra” is a series of business English textbooks designed for intensive study. It was developed in collaboration with the Financial Times, so you will get highly relevant, practical lessons from the business world.
- FluentU is an engaging tool for learning business English through authentic situations.
Unlike traditional language learning sites, FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the English language and culture over time. You’ll learn English as it’s spoken in real life.
FluentU has a variety of engaging content from popular talk shows, nature documentaries and funny commercials, as you can see here:
FluentU makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you'll see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning and recommends examples and videos to you based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
You can start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, by downloading the app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
- “Business one:one” is a three-level, step-by-step written course designed for a student and teacher to work through together. It allows pre-intermediate and intermediate business English students to further enhance their communication skills with personalized instruction.
Follow Industry-related Social Media Groups
Participating in online discussions is a great way to practice your business English writing skills and make professional connections. Even if you do not feel ready to participate, observing relevant professional groups and social media chats can help you identify vocabulary that you still need to learn. It can also help you better understand how other people approach professional communications in English.
To identify these groups, try searching for a specific topic on Facebook or LinkedIn. (For example, if your work entails marketing, you might search for “digital marketing group.”) Or get started by checking out this list of business forums.
Get Support from English-speaking Coworkers
With any luck, you are part of a workplace where you and your coworkers want one another to succeed. If that is the case, consider enlisting some help from friendly English-speaking coworkers to help hold you accountable to your goals and speed up your learning.
For example, you might ask your coworkers to inform you if you are using a word incorrectly or if there is a better way to phrase your question or statement. If you are having trouble with an assignment from a language course, consider asking a trusted coworker for help.
Even if you do not feel comfortable asking your coworkers for help, they can still facilitate your learning. Every time you hear a coworker use a word you do not know, discretely write it down. Then look up that word as soon as possible to add it to your business English vocabulary.
Practice Your Business Writing During the Workday
Without effective business English writing skills, you risk slowing down your career—and the only way to improve these skills is to practice them. To build on what you learn during your intensive business course, look for opportunities during the workday to practice your business English writing. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Regularly engage in email communications with your coworkers.
- If you are developing a presentation with a group, volunteer to take charge of the writing portion of the project.
- Write project updates and other status reports for the projects you are working on—even if these materials are not required. Then ask a trusted friend or coworker to proofread these materials.
- Take notes at meetings even if it is not required.
- Join those industry-related groups and social media chats described above, and actively participate in discussions online.
4 Intensive Business English Courses for Successful Studies
Business English classes can be found both in person and online. If you do not live in or near a major city, it might be more difficult to find in-person classes—but thanks to the internet, it is possible to take an intensive business English class from the comfort of your own home.
The following courses provide you with a range of options in terms of learning approaches and content.
The English Language Center’s Business English Courses
The English Language Center’s Business English courses caters to professionals who are hoping to take their careers to the next level through a better grasp of business English. This school prides itself on the personalized attention that students receive.
The classes meet in person in small groups. Along with general business English learning, you will get special practice in presentations and public speaking skills. Though the study is intensive, scheduling is flexible to meet your personal needs.
The U.S.-based ELC has locations in Boston, Massachusetts as well as Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California.
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s Online Business English Specialization
Not able to travel to an English-speaking country? You can still take intensive business English courses online.
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology offers an intensive business English specialization through Coursera, an online education platform. The curriculum focuses on developing language skills that apply to the everyday workplace, external business interactions and the global workforce.
You will build your vocabulary, reading comprehension and understanding of tone—all in the context of business communication.
This specialization culminates in a “Capstone Project,” in which students pursue independent research on a topic of their choice. This is helpful because it allows you to apply your new business English skills to a project that is directly relevant to your work.
The University of Washington’s Online Business English Communication Skills Specialization
This specialization from the University of Washington is also offered online through Coursera. It is focused on the essentials of business English communication, including building vocabulary, improving writing skills and mastering professional interactions such as negotiations, presentations and telephone conversations.
This specialization involves lots of real-life business English practice. You will be practicing writing emails, setting up meetings, reciting phone numbers and creating promotional flyers, among many other skills.
Like the Hong Kong University course above, this intensive study program also culminates in (works its way up to) a Capstone Project. For this project, you will mix formal English with casual communication to show that you are comfortable communicating in different professional settings.
Kaplan’s Intensive Business English Course
This course is designed specifically for learning business English skills fast. It is a full-time, in-person course, meaning you will be immersed in business English and watching your skills grow rapidly.
The course comprises (includes) 20 business English lessons along with personalized learning sessions. (Scheduling itself is flexible depending on the start date and course length that you need.) Class sizes are small with a maximum of 15 students. The learning material includes business case studies and role plays.
You will also gain practical skills for getting a job in an English-speaking environment.
This Kaplan course is offered in a number of English-speaking regions, such as London in the U.K., New York City in the U.S., Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. Certain locations even offer internship placement alongside the course.
With regular practice, hard work and good teaching, your business English skills will help you make professional connections and advance your career.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.