Archive for May, 2010

Effective business English communication

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Communication is everything in business.  Don’t worry about having an accent or making grammatical errors.  You will get better over time and that isn’t too important anyway.  Communication is all about getting your point across and making sure that both people understand each other.  If your point makes sense and you have a good cultural and psychological understanding of who you are speaking with, you are set.

It is a good idea to read a lot and know what is going on in the world.  Be able to talk a bit about sports, dating, and whatever else people want to talk about.  There will be cultural differences and you don’t have to agree with the “western” perspective, but you need to understand it and be able to play the game a little.  Try to understand what the other person is really saying and don’t always try to be right.  It’s a good idea to make some light jokes about yourself and talk about some weaknesses in your own culture.  International business communication can often end up in a big argument and major misunderstanding.  This is not what you want.  Try to focus on what you and the other person have in common and focus on that instead of your differences.  It’s ok to disagree with something, just don’t make a big deal about it.  Every country does things a little differently.  It’s a fact of the world.  Who cares who is right?  Everyone has a slightly different view of the world and in order to communicate effectively you have to be prepared to accept this fact.  The people who are more flexible and less stuck inside their own culture do much better in business.  Try to joke around about how funny the world is to avoid weird and uncomfortable situations.  You might find the other person you are talking to is wrong about something, but try to forget about it if it doesn’t really matter with the business you are trying to do.  Just keep that thought to yourself or gently express your point of view without being too aggressive.  People love to feel they are understood.  Get in the habit of giving them this feeling and they will want to work with you or give you the job.

Writing business English emails

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Business people are super busy and they have a lot of respect for their time.  They get a lot of emails and probably don’t read most of them.  It’s essential to know how to write a proper business English email that people will read and respond to.

1.  It is important to keep them short and to the point.  People are too busy to read long emails.  Don’t add in a bunch of extra words for no reason.

2.   If you already know the person, write to him or her as if it were your friend.  Don’t make the email seem like it was written by a machine.  Make it a bit personal.  Use a bit of humor.  Work is often boring and it’s much more fun to read something that seems like it is from a friend.  In today’s world, you can often start an business email with something like,

“Hey John, How’s it going?  I just wanted to let you know about….

Talk soon.

P.s.  Hope your kids are doing well.”

That kind of style is much friendlier than something like,

“Dear Mr. Jones,

Our company has a new product we think you would be interested in. bla bla bla

Sincerely,

Name”

3.   Write mostly about how they will benefit by whatever you are writing about.  Be sincere.  Most people are smart enough to know what is fake and when people are just trying to sell you something.  Think about how you react to those emails.  You probably are like most people and just mark them as corporate junk mail.

How to be awesome in business meetings

Friday, May 7th, 2010

It is important to understand the people you are working with.  There are many different kinds of successful business personalities.  Some people are really conservative and like to keep it that way.  Other people like to joke around a lot and have really informal business meetings.

A good idea is to start off by being pretty conservative at first and do a lot of listening.  Try to get a good feeling for who the other person is.  Are they married with kids?  Are they religious?  How old are they?  How do they dress?  What do they hate?  What kind of people do they respect?  What do they do for fun?

You never want to be fake, but you want to make sure that you are acting in a way that makes the other person comfortable.  If they tell a lot of dirty jokes and have fun while doing business, you should do the same.

If you can understand their personality, what they like and dislike, what they are afraid of, etc, you stand a much better chance to be do business with that person.  It’s just a fact of human nature.  There is no “one size fits all” approach to business meetings.  People are different and they react differently to different kinds of people.

Learning business English online

Friday, May 7th, 2010

In today’s world, I can’t think of any reason why someone would try to learn business English in a language school.  Business English schools came out well before the Ipod and the internet.  Most people are slow to change so there are still a lot of people who think in this old way.  It makes no logical sense but that is what most people do.  Don’t make the mistake most people make.

Now you can take advantage of technology and get a cheaper, more convenient, and better business English education online and listen and learn anytime and any place.

If you listen to some awesome mp3 business English lessons and compare that with a business English language school, you’ll be amazed at how much more relevant and useful the online learning style can be.  Of course, an online course doesn’t mean that it’s good just because it is online, but it at least makes more sense.  You have to choose carefully and stick with the program, but if you do it could be the best investment you’ve ever made.