Business English students are typically seeking to develop their English skills for promotions, to gain more business, to survive in the global market, to entertain clients, to interact with customers or colleagues, or to connect with new markets, customers, or other business ventures. With those purposes in mind, we may want to conduct classes that meet their needs rather than simply entertain or teach them about the language.
Business English learners can be critical and have high expectations of their teachers. In addition, they can be sometimes hurried because of deadlines or meetings. They’ll likely expect professionalism from their teachers–and why not: they’re professionals. They may want to take charge of or give input into their learning though not intending to be rude. They will probably expect noticeable improvements since they operate with the same expectations. Business English students may not always be up-to-date on pop or modern culture.
Tips for Teaching Business English Lessons
1. Be Professional
Treat business English learners with respect and courtesy–model it. You’ll also want to teach them as adults with purposes as if their goals are your goals for them. Be professional, and everything else will fall in line.
2. Be Focused
Focus lessons on one point of the language, on the language they need, on the environments they encounter, and on helping them improve weak areas.
3. Have a Purpose
Find out what your business English students need and give it to them. Assess them and make suggestions. Ask them what they want from their classes and deliver it. Observe them and offer feedback.
4. Keep Things Interesting and Relevant
They may not care about the latest TV show or pop songs. But they’ll likely be interested in talking about the latest trends in their business field. They may also be uninterested in talking about home life though personal interests may come up. Discover how to keep things real for them and use it toward their goals
You’ll want to bring them into the situation they encounter. Begin with a general sample of a setting they may be exposed to that includes fixed content and dialogue. For business or marketplace English clients that could be anything like job interviews, meetings, presentations, socializing, negotiating, and the like. The idea here is to warm them up to the language they’ll be using.
5. Help Them See Their Improvements
Business people are used to seeing results, so they look for results. They need to measure progress and know their investments are paying off. If they can see their improvements, you will likely make long-term and or satisfied customers. Simply telling them what they used to do and how it’s better now is a good place to start.
Remember, with business people, understanding them is the key to teaching them. If you know more about them, your lessons will be focused; they’ll have a purpose. Your lessons will be relevant and match them. Your speech will be courteous and model appropriate business language. Plus, your class members will feel as if they learned something. In the end, you’ll have satisfied clients.