English language training is becoming increasingly specialised as companies and delegates demand that programmes are developed to respond specifically to their needs. As these needs are predominately professional, Business English courses have been developed. What are the benefits of following a Business English course?
Business English coursesfocus on the language a learner needs to be able to carry out professional tasks efficiently. They are therefore the logical choice for anybody who is looking for a job, wanting to perform better at work or changing jobs. As Business English courses have this as their focus, their content covers such essential work-related area as: understanding and writing e-mails, making presentations, negotiating, participating in or running meetings, telephoning and welcoming visitors.
Having sufficient language skills in any of these areas provides enormous benefits to companies who work with other companies located outside their country. In a recent BBC article a Business English trainer commented ‘…. as a business English trainer, I constantly meet business people who have realised the immense advantages they have, being able to sell and negotiate in their potential customers’ own language ‘
The themes or topics included in a General English programme are not as important as those on a Business English course because the ‘general’ objective of the former kind of course is to develop the delegate’s ability in the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Whether this is through studying such themes as the environment or cinema is not so important. In Business English, however, ‘two elements are axiomatic – the sense of purpose and the sense of vocation’, Keith Harding, English for Specific Purposes, Oxford, 2007.
In order to establish what this ‘purpose’ and ‘vocation’ are, each delegate is invited to undergo a diagnostic consultancy with Communicaid in order to define a programme specifically focused on his/her needs. The themes included in this programme are only those chosen by the delegate. The language items included depends only on the themes chosen (the passive voice for describing manufacturing processes or the second conditional for negotiating, for example). As a result, it is more probable that a Business English training course enables the delegate to achieve his/her goals in a more efficient way.
In addition to choosing from some of the main business themes listed above, the delegate also has the opportunity to specialise in an area of business relevant to his/her field of work: marketing, human resources, accounting, logistics, etc. These Business themes will thus have a more specialised language content. For a delegate wishing to train in logistics and telephone skills, for example, a role-play activity might be making a phone call to a forwarder.
Business English delegates are not taught, they are trained. Training is generally considered in the EFL profession as the reserve of the more experienced teachers. This is obviously beneficial to the Business English delegate as the quality of the training courses should be high. It is often the case that the training organisation will guarantee that its Business Trainers have had previous experience in the business world. A marketing manager could therefore be trained by a trainer who has worked in marketing him/herself. This very much depends on the training organisation and should be checked by the delegate or company when looking for a course.
Marketing Director Declan Mulkeen of Culture and Communication Skills Consultancy Communicaid based in London suggests: ‘You will benefit from access to some of Europe’s most experienced and effective Business English trainers, all of whom have considerable training expertise as well as practical experience in international business, law, finance and diplomacy.’