Business English is quite different from your typical general English class. Though it’s the same language, it’s a different type of English. Business English involves different types of skills and subtleties that aren’t usually present in other classes.

Teaching Business English takes some finesse. You don’t necessarily have to have a background in business, but it helps to become familiar with certain terminology and formal speak. There are also some other things you can do and consider to become an awesome Business English teacher.

Do a needs analysis of your students. 

Whether you are teaching a one-to-one class or a group of 20, finding out what your students want and implementing those things into your lesson is imperative to success. This is true for any student in any class, but even more so in the business setting. Since English is the international language of communication, students will need to use it in certain aspects of their work. Find out what these are.

Do lots and lots of role-playing.

Business people face real English interactions on a regular basis, and sometimes even daily. Therefore they really benefit from live exchanges in class to practice what they experience in real life. Also, place focus on the feedback stage, so your students can learn from their mistakes and build on their strengths.

Make it personal.

Just like any other English class, it’s important to learn about your students. In this case, we mean learning not only about personal interests and personality type but also about what goes on at work. Use what you learn to decide what’s appropriate and favourable for lesson material. Create situations that are based on the student’s line of work or real life issues.

Get on their level.

You’re dealing with professionals, so you need to be professional yourself, especially if you are travelling to the company itself to give classes. Dress the part, show up on time, etc. You’ll be respected and considered an equal in the business world. After all, you are also offering a service that’s being paid for.

Don’t forget to have fun.

Business English doesn’t have to be all business! Don’t forget you’re dealing with regular people with regular lives outside of work, just like yourself. Everyone likes to have fun so be sure to include some games and fun activities to break from the norm. Learning can take place in many ways! Include some activities that you use in you’re general English classes, and don’t be afraid to show a less serious side. Teaching Business English can be a great experience. You might even find that you are learning just as much as your students are.

About the Author

Yvette Smith is an English teacher and freelance writer living in Vietnam.

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