You’re looking the part at your new job—shiny business shoes, stylish corporate clothes and a professional attitude to match.
There’s only one problem: You can walk the walk, but you can’t talk the talk.
Learning corporate English for the workplace can seem difficult and daunting.
It can also feel incredibly frustrating because you want to show your boss and colleagues that you’re a professional employee and a valuable member of the team.
Although you may indeed be a professional employee, you may feel you don’t sound like one.
That’s where we can help!
We have a list of helpful YouTube channels that will teach you all you need to know about corporate English. These channels will give you the confidence to engage in business conversations and help you impress your boss with language that matches your professional attitude (and appearance)!
Skills You’ll Need to Be Successful in the Corporate World
Distinguish formal and informal language and behavior
When it comes to the things you should and shouldn’t do in the workplace, most are pretty obvious.
Turning up late, wearing your casual clothes and giving your boss a high five is a big no no. Why? It’s simply not good business etiquette.
This behavior is something you might do on the weekend when meeting friends. A corporate workplace requires more formal behavior, and this also applies to the language you use.
Adjusting your choice of English words and phrases can help make your conversations more formal. Saying “in my opinion” is more professional than “I think.” You can “inform” someone instead of “telling” them. You can replace the word “fix” with “solve” and find a “solution” as opposed to an “answer.” These changes express a much more formal message that’s well-suited to the professional nature of the workplace.
Corporate idioms and expressions
Has anyone ever told you to “get the ball rolling” or asked you to “raise the bar” while at work? Or maybe you’ve been told to keep someone “in the loop” lately? Did you look at them and ask where you could find this “ball,” “bar” or “loop?”
Yep. Just like any field, the corporate world has its own lingo. It’s full of idioms and expressions that are commonly used in day to day business. These phrases can be hard to understand since they mean something completely different than their literal definition.
For example, when your boss asks you to “go back to square one,” they’re not asking you to go and find a square labeled with the number one. They’re simply asking you to stop a task you’re doing and to start it again from the beginning.
Although some expressions may seem completely unrelated to your job (yes, even in the office you can “hit the nail on the head”), they’re often very effective ways of providing feedback, communicating expectations or telling someone they have done a great job.
Professional-level speaking and writing skills
Along with your speaking skills, improving your writing skills is an important component of enhancing your level of professionalism at the workplace.
Many corporate jobs require letters or emails to be written to colleagues or employees from other companies. These letters and emails need to be structured in a specific way and written with corporate English to communicate a more formal message.
From professional vocabulary to common American idioms and improving your business writing skills, the following list of YouTube channels cover all these things and more.
These video lessons and resources will help you improve your corporate language skills, which can go on to provide you with greater opportunities to advance in the workplace.
From Casual to Corporate: YouTube Channels to Boost Your Business English
Learn English with Rebecca
Best for: Learning specific words and grammar used in the workplace.
With her clear voice and simple explanations, Rebecca is a great online tutor. Her videos are interactive and encourage you to engage in the activities. She asks lots of questions and provides thinking time during the videos so you can write down your answers and look over your notes.
Rebecca has created an entire playlist dedicated to business English. Her lessons mostly focus on grammar, but she also has informative videos on how to develop your corporate manners, give a business presentation, provide professional advice and make a formal complaint. You’ll learn about common idioms you’ll likely hear in the workplace and how to use them correctly.
Where to begin: How to change basic English into Business English
In this video, Rebecca teaches you how to replace your everyday, casual words with business words to make your conversations more professional. She provides clear explanations and shows you how to use each word in a variety of sentences.
Level: Beginner, intermediate and advanced
Best for: People looking for specific vocabulary in a variety of industries including tourism, hospitality, management and more.
FluentU makes it easy to learn corporate English.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.Their YouTube channel provides videos for learner of all levels; from people wishing to improve their knowledge to those wanting to practice their business language skills.
Their video series allows you to listen, learn and repeat language used in real situations. Each video highlights words, phrases and sentences that employees who work in these types of jobs can use everyday in the workplace.
You’ll learn business English words and phrases you can use with colleagues, as well as customers. As you advance through the video series, new words and phrases are added so you can learn a variety of ways to communicate the same message in a professional way.
With each video, you’ll become more confident about interacting with customers and be better prepared for the various questions they may ask.
Do you hear others speaking in the workplace and wish you could express yourself like they do? Maybe they have a way of sounding extremely courteous, even when they’re disagreeing with someone. FluentU’s YouTube channel focuses not only on what to say, but how to say it. This is a skill that you won’t find in most textbooks!
From speaking on the phone and helping customers to introducing yourself and solving problems professionally, FluentU’s YouTube channel has you covered.
Where to begin: English: Phone Calls
In many corporate jobs, dealing with new customers doesn’t usually happen face to face. This particular video is the first in a series that teaches you how to use corporate English when speaking with customers on the phone.
Learn English with Steve Ford
Level: Intermediate to advanced
Best for: Getting motivated! Steve Ford is a very enthusiastic tutor who makes learning corporate English fun!
What’s the key to successful learning? Being engaged and interested in what you’re learning about! Steve’s educational videos easily capture your interest. His videos use great music, imagery and acting that’s designed to make you laugh. The videos show great examples of conversations in the workplace, helping you to learn by watching and listening to corporate English being used in social situations.
Steve’s loud, clear voice makes it easy to learn correct pronunciation. His explanations are detailed, and he repeats information to help you remember new words and phrases.
The video lessons on this channel focus specifically on American corporate English. You’ll learn how to use appropriate vocabulary in business letters and emails, as well as how to speak professionally in interviews and when making important phone calls.
The best part about Steve’s YouTube channel? He creates videos in response to questions his viewers ask him in letters and emails. Steve creates lessons to help his viewers solve real life work problems using corporate English. So if you’re having trouble in the workplace and your language skills are holding you back, maybe Steve could create a video to help you!
Where to begin: Speaking English for Business
Steve demonstrates how to improve your work presentations. He provides general tips you can apply to any task at work where you need to speak formally in front of others. Steve walks you through each step and teaches you how to impress your audience with corporate language as well how to be creative with your presentations to keep your listeners interested.
Business English Pod
Best for: Managers and people in high-level corporate roles.
Business English Pod is a large YouTube channel completely dedicated to business English. With lessons specifically designed for financial planners, accountants and lawyers, it’s a great resource for employees wanting to understand more technical and advanced business English.
This channel contains numerous videos related to different corporate industries and well-known management systems. There are playlists for conversations and vocabulary, finance and accounting, legal terminology, writing lessons, advanced English grammar and a short business English course with 15 videos.
When watching videos from Business English Pod, you apply the “read, listen and repeat method.” While most of the information is written in text, the instructions and information is read slowly to give you time to think, practice speaking out loud and take notes.
Where to begin: Lesson 1: Giving Opinions in English
Many high level corporate positions require you to argue your point of view. This video is the first of the business English short course series and it teaches you how to give your professional opinion. It does a great job of comparing formal and informal ways of expressing your opinions, leaving you with a clear understanding of how to speak without sounding rude or bossy.
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Best for: People preparing for an interview.
Rachel’s videos are very informative and helpful. They show short scenes that demonstrate real situations that happen in the workplace. There are pauses at certain points during the scenes where Rachel explains what’s happening and talks about the corporate language being used. When the scene resumes, it often repeats the parts you’ve already seen before so that you can watch it again with a better understanding.
This process makes for very effective learning. It’s easy to follow, and Rachel’s slow voice is clear and easy to understand. At the end of each video, she has as in-depth discussion about the corporate language being used, including how you can add in specific words and phrases into conversations you have at your own job.
The lessons and video series on Rachel’s YouTube channel are very well organized. Throughout each video Rachel gives you activity ideas to practice throughout your day and also outlines what’s coming up in the next video so you can be prepared.
Where to begin: How to Interview for a Job in American English
Feeling nervous about that job interview coming up? Rachel’s series on how to interview for a job will help settle your nerves. She teaches you about questions you can expect and provides you with information on how to prepare your answers. Rachel also gives you tips on how to boost your confidence to provide you with the best chance of successfully landing the job!
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Best for: People who need to write and send business emails.
Jennifer’s video lessons are very clever. She creatively teaches you how to use corporate English in your writing by writing emails herself! Her demonstrations are a great way for you to quickly learn the correct format and language needed. Jennifer does a great job at explaining what’s happening as she writes each email and offers a variety of phrases that you could use in your own written correspondences.
As well as teaching about all the different parts that make up a professional email, Jennifer’s video series helps you decide whether a formal or informal reply email is needed. You learn about including pleasantries, tips on creating appropriate replies and how to use corporate English to reference things like attachments or scheduled meetings.
Each video outlines the new content you’ll learn, goes over skills taught in previous lessons and gives you plenty of different examples you can use in your own emails. At the end of the series, you’ll have the skills and knowledge to prepare, send and reply to all types of emails you’ll encounter at work.
Where to begin: Talking About Email — New Series
This is the first video in Jennifer’s series on business emails. It’s a great place to start as you learn about the language used when talking about emails and email addresses as well as sending, receiving and requesting emails. With this basic knowledge, you can move through the series to build on your written and spoken corporate English skills.
Learn English with Let’s Talk
Best for: People who find themselves in awkward or unusual situations in the workplace.
This YouTube channel is a little bit different than the others on our list. Along with lessons focused on grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and accent training, Learn English with Let’s Talk offers videos that teach you how to speak professionally in interesting, unexpected or even uncomfortable situations.
You’ll learn all about using corporate English when speaking with arrogant colleagues, negotiating salary, responding to unwanted questions or requests, dealing with an angry boss, providing excuses for being late and how to quit in a professional manner.
Although these situations may not occur all the time, this YouTube channel will help you be prepared. The lessons provide detailed information, explaining what’s happening in each scenario, what you can expect and how you can respond professionally.
When watching these videos, you’ll notice the tutors’ soft Indian accents. They still speak very clear English, however, it’s good to keep in mind that the accents may change the sound of some words. They do provide specific lessons on learning different pronunciations (within their impressive 90 video collection!), which is helpful to understand corporate English spoken with a American and British accent.
Where to begin: 10 Common Expressions Used in Business English
Never feel confused again when speaking with your colleague or boss! This video explains the most common ways people speak in the workplace, and what they’re actually trying to tell you! This video will help you interpret common phrases and teach you how to use them appropriately.
So what are you waiting for! It’s time to impress your boss with your new corporate English skills and speak like the professional employee that you are.
Grab some headphones, jump online and visit these YouTube channels and start learning!
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website 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 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? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.