Learning Business English

Learning Business English is about more than a collection of new words.

With a total of 160 lessons across 40 thematic units, the Off2Class Business English Curriculum is designed to take students all the way from CEFR B1 to C1, developing the full range of language, knowledge, and skills necessary for them to thrive in any business-related setting.

Last month, we launched twenty lessons from our Business English Curriculum. This month, we are pleased to announce the release of Units 6 to 10 of our Business English Curriculum, five units in which fostering an understanding of cultural issues are placed front and center.

More than Collecting New Words

Imagine the scene. You are overseas on business trying to conclude a potentially lucrative deal that could make or break your company. Negotiations have, so far, gone well and you are hopeful that a contract can soon be signed.

A representative from the other company glances up from some paperwork and asks noncommittally, “Does this mean that you’re looking for 5,000 units each month at a cost of $49 per unit?”

The room falls silent and everyone looks to see what your response will be. You pause. It seems a simple enough question. But is the representative really just asking for clarification from you? Or is she indicating that she is not satisfied with the proposal? Should you perhaps make a new offer? Or would it be better to wait and see how she will continue? Then again, could silence on your part be construed as hostility? You really cannot afford for this deal to fall through.

Such situations are difficult enough to navigate when you are talking to people with whom you share a first language. However, they become ever more complicated when differences of language and culture are thrown into the mix. Learning Business English therefore means far more than just acquiring new words and phrases. It necessarily involves developing an understanding of differences in communication norms and how what we say may be construed differently.

Learning Business English: The Units

Here’s what you can look forward to with the new Business English units:

Business Networking

U6: Business Networking: It is important to develop close relationships with others in order for a business to thrive, but what topics are appropriate for friendly discussion? And how can we ensure that our interactions with others are positive? Vital skills for successful networking are developed in this unit.

U7: Cultural Awareness: How do cultural norms differ around the world? What misunderstandings might occur? And most importantly, how can we resolve any problems that may occur due to these misunderstandings in as smooth a way as possible? By the end of Unit 7, students will have a firm understanding of these issues and more

U8: Customer Service: The customer is always right… but what exactly does the customer expect? And when the customer is dissatisfied, how can appropriate apologies be made? Unit 8 will ensure that students are able to leave customers satisfied, no matter where they may be from.

U9: Negotiations: People rarely say exactly what they mean, and misunderstandings due to cultural differences can be all too common during negotiations. Making proposals, clarifying understanding, seeking compromise, and refusing politely are some of the useful skills developed in Unit 9

U10: Workplace Problems: Why might disagreements occur in the workplace? And how can tense situations be defused when problems arise? Language for describing causes and effects, asking for advice, and making polite suggestions will help students deal with difficult workplace situations whenever they may occur

Over to You

Units 6-10 of the Business English Curriculum are now available from the Off2Class Lesson Library. We hope that you will use them with your students and enjoy doing so.

What advice would you give someone who is doing business internationally? What other topics do you think would be useful for developing an awareness of cultural differences? As ever, if you have any suggestions to help us make our content even more useful, please let us know.


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