As an instructor of English as a Second Language for over two decades, I’ve experimented with just about every type of class structure possible and keep coming back to the same basic principle: Keep it FUN!
What exactly is business English anyway?
Aside from a few basic formalities, by and large it’s nothing more than good old-fashioned human relations. The more relaxed and comfortable one feels in a business meeting, the more productive it will be and the better chance you have of everyone being on the same page.
So it’s really about getting more comfortable with everyday English. Other than knowing the jargon for a particular field, memorizing a lot of ‘business’ phrases will most likely come off stiff and awkward.
I like to use word games in my lessons to help students loosen up and not worry so much about blowing it. I also use interesting DVDs to make listening practice engaging and enjoyable. But my hands down favorite is scanning that day’s newspaper and figuring out what the headlines mean.
And last but not least we have idioms, idioms and more idioms. Every day the English language veers further away from the textbook English we were all taught in school and moves closer to an idiomatic puzzle. Can you pick out all the idioms I used in this essay?
The Learning Curve
Idioms used in this post.
By and large – Generally Speaking.
Be on the same page – Having a common understanding of something OR being in agreement.
Come off – to produce a certain result OR appear to be.
Blow it – make a mistake OR fail.
Hands down – Easily OR without question (usually used as ‘hands down favorite’ or ‘hands down winner’).
Figure out –to solve a problem, puzzle or mystery.
Last but not least – mentioned last, but not the least important.
Stay tuned for more lessons. The Learning Curve will soon be launched as a new feature of Japan-US Business News. _______________________________________________________________________________________
Laura Jackson, English Instructor to many Japanese business men & PR Maven of Wasabi PR, a socially and environmentally conscious publicity company in New York City.