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Boost your professional English with these 4 tips!

Have you ever struggled to understand a client’s email, the terms of a contract or a conversation with one of your suppliers in English? Don’t worry, this is normal, even if you have a good level of everyday English. Professional English has little to do with the English you learned at school or that you hear in the media. So, if you’re wondering how to improve your business English, here are some tips to help you!

1. Business English or technical English: find out what you need

First of all, it is important to know “what professional English” you really need. You need to make a distinction between :

  • Business English: this focuses mainly on vocabulary specific to the world of work and business in general;
  • Technical English: specific vocabulary and jargon that you need in your professional sector.

For example, an air traffic controller will need technical English related to aeronautics. Business English, on the other hand, may not be particularly relevant. However, an assistant manager will find business English more useful than IT jargon.

Note, however, that depending on your company’s sector of activity, a minimum level of technical English will be necessary (even if you use more business English in your role).

📚 Further reading: How many words do you need to know to speak a language well?

2. Professional English courses: a must to progress

Once you’ve assessed your needs, we recommend that you consider a good professional English course. You will benefit from the advice of a trainer and the expertise of an educational team who will:

  • develop a training programme tailored to your needs;
  • use course materials related to your field of activity;
  • help you learn the vocabulary you need;
  • propose role plays to place you in a professional context;
  • help you assess your level, your weaknesses, your progress;
  • etc.

Your trainer will be able to help you become more comfortable with professional conversations in English. This way, meetings and get-togethers in the language of Shakespeare will no longer be so intimidating.

💡 You may also be interested in this article: Overcoming your fear of speaking a language: causes and solutions.

3. Online resources: find those that will help you improve your professional English

In addition to the courses, you can also use online resources for professional English.

You will find podcasts and videos on the Internet on a wide range of topics and for various sectors of activity. Some of these resources are dedicated to learning English, such as:

You can also opt for more targeted material, especially if it’s technical English that interests you. Don’t hesitate to search YouTube (or other platforms) for videos related to your sector. Here are some ideas:

👉 Are you in the restaurant business? With Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (British version of Cauchemar en cuisine) you will be exposed to the specific lexicon of cooking, food, room service, etc.

👉 Do you work in education or sport? Go on Netflix to watch the documentary series CHEER. The programme features cheerleading jargon, the world of competition and the American education system.

4. Professional documents in English: read, understand, write

Hi Pierre! I hope this email finds you well. Could you please update this report with our latest KPIs and send it to Lena ASAP? BTW, John is OoO today, so there’s no need to Cc him. Thx! – Mary

Does an email like this give you a headache? And is Google Translate not helping you understand the content?

Professional English is full of specific expressions and abbreviations of all kinds. Fortunately, you can easily find their meaning on the web.

Our advice for familiarising yourself with business writing:

  • list the terms that you find confusing;
  • look up their meaning and write them down;
  • reuse them as much as possible to grasp them quickly! 👇

Hello Lena, Mary told me you needed the updated version of this document ASAP, so here it is! Let me know if there is any question (please Cc Xavier if your questions are related to the financial section of the report). Best Regards – Pierre

⏩ To go further: Knowing how to use polite expressions in English: nothing could be easier!

Boosting your professional English means giving your career another dimension!