#1 Is Business English really different from regular conversational English?
Yes and No! What do I mean? As part of doing business, regular conversational English skills are required. ‘Small talks’ is an essential way to develop a better relationship with your business clients.
Business English Conversation Topics
Examples of ‘small talks’ or ‘ice breakers’ include conversations about the news, weather, traffic, air travel, family and sport. There’s an old rule that to avoid the possibility of offending someone, particularly someone you don’t know well, is to avoid talking about politics, religion and sex. These days, you could probably add quite a few more topics to this list as we seem more sensitive to different points of view.
Prepare everything you want to say
Before, after and during breaks from meetings is when you can engage in these sortes of general English conversations. During meetings is when there is a slight shifting of gears. If you are formally presenting or pitching ideas, you’ll probably want to script your responses, i.e. you’ll have something prepared in advance that communicates the message you want according to the strategy you’ve planned. That’s not to say your small talks topics and exchanges can’t be thought about in advance too!
I think it’s actually a good idea to do this but even with prethought it should come accross as casual and easy going whereas your pitches in a meeting will have a more scripted tone that demonstrates your professionalism and preparation. There’s also a lot more back and forth in a general English conversation compared to the business conversation where you need to back up what you say with clearly presented evidence that develops your point of view.
So do you need to have specific business English lessons? My answer (can you guess?) on the next blog…