In this article, I will answer the question “What is Business English?” and explain why Business English is more important than you think.
Riding a Bike in Amsterdam Is Like Business Communication
Riding a bike in the Netherlands is different from anywhere else in the world.
Whether you go to work on a rainy morning or you come home late at night.
Rain or shine, summer or winter, day or night – everyone goes everywhere by bike.
I lived in Amsterdam for 6 years and took my bike everywhere.
When my German friends came to visit, they were surprised because people do not wear helmets.
Most cyclists never wear helmets, nor do they respect traffic lights.
Even children do not wear helmets, nor do they have proper bike seats for children.
And on top of that, it is best to ride the simplest, cheapest bike you can find.
But – most of the time – it works. You develop a feeling for the traffic.
Still, I would prefer to ride a bike in Amsterdam over any other place. It works.
This is one of the reasons why I love the Netherlands.
When I was living in the Netherlands, I learned a lot about business.
The Dutch are laid back, informal, and trust each other. People are direct, but they get along quite well. Life just works there.
And so does business.
Amsterdam is a global business hub where Business English is the all-important language of communication.
I found both a thriving, global business community and an English-speaking environment in Amsterdam and spent many years studying and working in this beautiful city.
Like riding a bike in Amsterdam’s traffic, English helps you navigate through business life.
Learning Business English for your Career and Life
Overall, we see that English skills are becoming more important in business and life.
Learning English for business is one of the best things you can do for your career and your life.
If you are learning English, keep going!
I know from experience how valuable Business English skills are. It is my goal to help you find your voice in English because I know you have something important to give to the world.
The possibilities are endless once you play the game.
What is Business English?
Professionals use one common language – Business English – in a global context.
Language skills are crucial in order to reach a global audience.
Business English is for international communication:
- between English native speakers and non-native speakers
- between non-native speakers from different parts of the world
Language is in every aspect of a business. English is the international language.
International Communication Skills
What do we need Business English for?
Overall, you can use Business English to:
Today, most multinational companies are using English as their official language.
But even in smaller firms, you may need English to handle overseas assignments effectively or perform better.
What do you need to be able to do in English?
- write emails
- socialize and network
- participate in meetings
- customer service
- business travel
… and much more.
Therefore, effective international English communication skills are invaluable. These skills bring opportunities in life and in business.
English Is the Most Powerful Language
Our world is becoming more interconnected.
Borders are blurred.
Language learning breaks down barriers and makes companies and employees successful in the global economy.
On an international level, English is the most used language. Especially at work.
Most global companies choose English as the lingua franca.
The power of a language depends on the opportunities presented by it.
According to the World Economic Forum, English is by far the most powerful language in the world and provides the most opportunities.
Knowing English will open many doors for you in business and in life.
“Everyone now piously preaches multilingualism, but it’s not going to happen. About 1.5 billion people are learning English, roughly 10 times more than are learning French, Chinese, Spanish, German, Italian, and Japanese put together, estimates the German linguist Ulrich Ammon. And the more people who speak English, the more useful English becomes.”– Globish doesn’t cut it anymore, by Simon Kuper
English is the most connected language. Therefore, it is a great choice for language learners.
Personally, English communication skills have helped me get jobs in international companies, live and travel abroad, and connect with fascinating people from all over the world, for example, China, Hong Kong, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and the US.
Business English Is Different from the English spoken by native speakers
Business English is the language used for international communication.
English is used as the language of communication between English native speakers and non-native speakers, as well as between non-native speakers of different nationalities.
It is different from the English that native speakers in English-speaking countries speak, such as in Ireland or Australia.
Therefore, you do not have to have a certain accent or know regional expressions.
Recommended reading: Learn Business English Vocabulary
English has the ability to connect people across all languages. Today, it is the #1 language in business, research, and technology.
Still, English is hard. Most people who speak English – native speakers and learners alike – make mistakes.
Isn’t everybody already speaking English?
The short answer is no. In reality, many executives still struggle with effective English communication skills at work.
It is more and more important to know how to use English effectively and confidently at work – not only for professionals from non-English speaking countries.
Even native English speakers lack know-how in English, the language of global business.
Although we understand the importance of learning English for international communication, we still have a so-called skills gap. There is a gap between the skills needed and the skills that employees currently have.
Employers worldwide say that their employees do not have sufficient English skills.
English for Intercultural Communication
We use English to work and communicate across cultures.
Companies not only underestimate but also lack clarity in what needs to be done and how to expand their business globally. So, what does it take to know business culture?
Language skills only will not make you become an effective communicator.
You also need to improve your cultural competence.
What is cultural competence?
Being able to understand and deal with multiple perspectives and different cultures and customs around the world.
Beyond foreign language skills, you need to have cross-cultural skills for networking and international business travel. To lead a team consisting of many nationalities, you need to know how to deal with them effectively to achieve your goals.
Some intercultural factors to consider include:
- work/professional life
- how to deal with authority, hierarchy, and power
In the book The Transnational Solution, researchers found that “a global mindset across the organization requires that employees around the world, regardless of their location, have the shared purpose of balancing global efficiency, responsiveness to local customers, and the transfer of vital knowledge.”
In short, Business English helps you develop a training mindset and teaches you how to work internationally.
So, what is Business English?
The power of language is a tool for businesses and employees. English helps you create opportunities, reach global audiences, and grow internationally.
Whether you want to apply for a job at a multinational company, get a promotion, or expand your business to other countries… English is the #1 language of global business.
For global professionals in today’s world economy, it is now even more important to:
- Learn English, the world’s global language
- Learn global business etiquette
English is the language of global business. If you want to get ahead in your career and business, you must have English communication skills, as well as cross-cultural communication skills.
I believe communicating in English helps you successfully grow your global business and perform various business tasks.
But beyond helping professionals with the success of their business, giving them a “voice” in the global economy also helps them accomplish their dreams in life.
There is no doubt that English language skills are essential for any professional nowadays. My mission is to equip non-native English speakers with effective skills to build successful, profitable businesses and build meaningful connections with people all over the world.
Tell us about your experience
Now, we would like to hear from you: What is your personal motivation to learn Business English? In which situations do you need English skills the most in your work?
- Internet World Users By Language: Top 10 Internet Languages
- The English Empire (The Economist)
- Cambridge English: English At Work
- Managing Across Borders: The Transnational Solution
- These Are the Most Powerful Languages in the World (World Economic Forum)
- Globish Just Doesn’t Cut It Anymore (The Financial Times)
- The World’s Most Influential Languages (World Economic Forum)
- Common English Mistakes Even Native Speakers Make (LingQ Blog)
- Links that speak: The global language network and its association with global fame.
- Learning A New Language Might Improve Your Cultural Intelligence (Inc. Magazine)
- EF English Proficiency Index 2021
- Why Native English Speakers Fail to be Understood in English and Lose Out in Global Business (The Conversation)
- Native English Speakers are the World’s Worst Communicators (BBC)
- Global Business Speaks English (Harvard Business Review)