If you have been learning business English for a long time, you might still consider yourself a business English learner. But is that really true? Are you are in a Business English group at work? Or have you joined an evening class or are studying ‘off your own bat’ at the VHS? If so, the chances are you have been put into a language level group.

Words in bold are included in the vocabulary at the bottom of the article. There’s a crossword too. (Pen & Paper or a game)

Vocabulary below in English & German

Very often our knowledge exceeds our ‘level’. We become so familiar with the labels given to us of learner or student, don’t we? Yet sometimes our opinion of ourselves is no longer an accurate reflection of who we really are. This is magnified in evening school, because students are grouped according to language level and named according to those bands. This can make it feel more like a life sentence than a transition. 

Are you ready to supercharge your Business English?

Isn’t it time to learn the right English for your career?

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So how do I know that this is true?

Having learned 5 languages without lessons whilst working full time, I know how frustrating learning a language is. I have sat there feeling as if I wasn’t getting anywhere, especially with Finnish. The worst part is that the more mistakes, you make the more gaps in your knowledge you discover! Grrrr! You realise with horror how much more you have to learn. Doing this on your own can be overwhelming because it is difficult to know where to start. What are your biggest mistakes?

The last person to notice progress is the learner themselves. Most of us are humble by nature, we focus on our weaknesses.

Not many people know this, but…

Back in March 1999,  I emigrated from London to Munich. My idea of knowing and appreciating the German culture involved tasting everything. You can imagine the impact on my waistline can’t you? I supercharged immersion – I took tasting things a little bit too seriously. Every Leberkäse Semmel, every sausage, every schnitzel, ice cream and of course cake – made me put on weight. 

Since I had moved to Germany to be with the man of my dreams, we were in luurve. So he might have noticed but he didn’t say anything. To be honest, following an intense long-distance relationship, we were just enjoying each other’s company.

So when my hubby (husband) popped the question, the inevitable considerations like the wedding dress came up. I wished I could just chop off chunks of fat, but apparently it doesn’t work like that. Because believe me, big and white is not a pretty sight. As I stood in front of the mirror in the bridal shop in Rosenheim, all I saw was a mass of pasty white flesh. This was hardly the impression I wanted to make on my wedding day. I wanted to crumble into a heap on the floor. I had officially hit rock bottom.

Certainly, I needed to lose weight FAST. This was an alien concept for me. As a young girl I was one of the skinny, sporty ones. I certainly didn’t want to look like a blancmange or a toilet roll! Like any bride, I wanted to feel amazing. I knew – if I didn’t lose weight for my wedding day, then I was doomed.

This is hardly a story I’m proud of,  but you see, I did lose weight. Despite being a new entrepreneur, I made sure that I would fit into that dress! But here’s the thing – instead of being proud and heading for the teeny tiny dresses again with pride, I didn’t.  In my head, I was still fat, so I’d head for the large section. Not just for a couple of weeks or months, but literally for years.

Have you been going to Business English lessons for ages?

If you are using more Business English at work, you’re improving. If you are reading and writing more English emails, your vocabulary will be increasing. By attending more English language meetings & web conferences, you’ll be learning to use more phrases. From attending industry events where the language is increasingly English, then you will certainly have improved. How can you not get better with practice?

You cannot see the change if you are too close to the person or the passion.

This is why exposure to English is something that I do tend to harp on about. Believe me if by default your understanding, your vocabulary, your grammar and pronunciation are all improving.

Why? Because human beings are inherently good at copying – it’s a survival strategy that works well in today’s society too. The greatest observers actually make the best language learners. If you hear a phrase that you find useful or effective, you use it yourself, don’t you? Ideally, you’ll write it down word for word so that you get it right. 

Language Learning Tip

If you want to double check your grammar, just use Google search. See how often ‘your version’ comes up. Google even offers you a grammatically improved version – because that is what is being used more often. Sorted.

DO Make sure that you get those pesky prepositions right.

If you are already doing business in English, then maybe you don’t actually need Business English training any more. You may have outgrown standard business English. To focus on your personal needs as an expert in your industry, makes more sense. What you need now, as a regular speaker of English, is one to one coaching. This gives you the opportunity to find and fix your unique mistakes and delivery. Often it is just a handful of basic English mistakes that are being made repeatedly. That’s quick and easy to correct, if there are just the two of us.

What impacts your message?

Communication skills and driving are a little bit the same. We all think that we drive well and communicate clearly and effectively. Yet we know that there are times when our driving and communication skills are – a little bit sloppy. To make a good impression, you need to go beyond translation. The transition you need embraces stronger communication skills. Plus you’ll need some smart, tactics to help you to be seen in the right way by the right people. It’s not about being arrogant, it is about being smart.

Translation >>> Transition

The purpose of communication is to inform and change the way that people act or think. That’s what ultimately affects their behaviour and results.

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It’s time to claim your spot as the industry expert, either at your existing company or a new one. Once you have business English under your belt it is time to start focusing on your personal brand. That might sound fancy, right? Actually, it can start with something as simple as writing opinion pieces in English and publishing it via Linkedin.

 Let people know that you are the English speaking expert –  How else are they supposed to find out? 

Get yourself noticed, discretely

There is no need to be arrogant about it, just …

  • Ask thought provoking questions,
  • Invite opinions,
  • Ask how people succeeded
  • Share your mistakes & lessons learned, opinions and ideas.
  • Provide feedback,
  • Offer alternatives
  • Give people an opportunity to see things from your perspective. 

If that feels awkward and self centred then think about it from their point of view. Perhaps you are exactly the right person to take them to the next level in their department, business or industry.

You don’t need to be an expert on everything in your industry. Find your niche and nail it.

If I were to say “Make yourself available for English speaking podcasts or keynotes”, you would probably flinch and resist. In the past my VIP clients have said “but Corinne, I’m not ready for that yet”. But you are – or you can be – all you need is a little preparation beforehand. You already know your stuff and now it is time to open yourself up to more opportunities. After all, as your Business English Coach, I’ll be right there via your screen or smartphone. Just a click away! Together we’ll get you ready for every English language performance – starting with the mini ones. We can practice what to say in conversations at work, whether at the water cooler or in a meeting. Soon you’ll be feeling braver because you have everything you need.

So whether your stage is in front of your production team, developers, clients or delegates, I’ve got you covered. This is a team effort, I’ll make sure that you make the right impression for literally any English speaking challenge. It’s just you and me, no compromises. VIP coaching starts and ends with you. 

We move beyond knowing what to say to how you need to communicate. Not just the superficial surface level communication skills training, but we dig deeper. Let’s find an effective yet authentic way for you to make the right impression. You define your goals and I provide you with options. You try them on for size and try them out. Feel your confidence increase as your impact on other people improves. Less stress, so you can be your best.

And actually confidence is the key here. If a colleague of yours enjoys speaking English but makes lots of mistakes, his confidence will open doors. The key is not to change your personality, but to boost your confidence. It’s a game changer.

In VIP coaching, which incidentally is not exclusively for CEOs or CSuite level directors and managers, your goals come first.

I want people to think that I am …

How would you like people to speak about you when you are not in the room? 

Let’s make sure that your communication is in line with that goal. It’s not just the words of course.

So let’s start creating your personal brand. That is when your career booster button becomes an irresistible option for those in the know.  Totally transferable to any job!

Help a colleague to progress

So who do you know, who is brilliant but doesn’t really put themselves out there yet? If they don’t believe that their Business English is good enough, then prove it to them. Perhaps they are putting it off? Perhaps they could be using their commute time to do coaching instead? If they would benefit from a coach, send them a link to this article.

However, if you feel that is YOUR turn to get the recognition that you deserve, even better!

Let’s meet for a virtual coffee break to chat about the best approach for you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You’ll even get some personal language feedback if you are brave enough to speak to me in English. Otherwise German is fine.

Business Terms You Should Know

Vocabulary Key

IDIOM Off your own bat https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/off+your+own+bat

life sentence https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/life%20sentence

Gaps in your knowledge – Wissenslücken (things you still need to learn)

Put on weight – zunehmen (gain weight, get fatter)

we were in luurve (love) – wir waren verliebt

Noticed – Bemerkt (saw, realised)
To be honest –
Um ehrlich zu sein. (we say this to prepare someone for an honest opinion)

Popped the question – Antrag gemacht (asked me to marry him, proposed)

Apparently – anscheinend

Impression – Eindruck (impact, positioning)

Alien – Außerirdischer (strange, new, weird, baffling)

Doomed – Zum scheitern verurteilt (without hope, certain to fail)

Proud – Stolz

Hardly – kaum

Instead – Statt

Certainly – bestimmt, for sure, without doubt

One to One Coaching – Einzelcoaching
(personal coaching, just you and the coach)

Translating Business English into German – just to get the gist

Time to Check Your Knowledge of some Business English Vocabulary

Either print out and do with good old fashioned pen and paper or play it as a game online. (You get to see your mistakes straight away – less frustrating!)

Play Online

Play a Business Vocabulary Game to get an opportunity to use the words

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