Advanced Business English

What is Advanced business English?

Advanced business English is a combination of listening comprehension ability, polite formulation of sentences and knowledge of industry vocabulary.

Let’s break down each one of the three pillars of advanced business english.

Firstly, if you want to achieve and advanced level of business English, let’s call it fluency, you need to understand what the person or persons you have in front of you are saying. Any of you who have moved to a different country of started to work in international environments all of a sudden know what I am talking about.

Sometimes it’s is very hard to understand what people are saying to each other or what are saying to you. That can make you feel really uncomfortable and unable to perform your job. So we need to address this barrier first. The barrier between you and understanding your interlocutor.

First thing that you need to know is that it is normal in English language work environments not to understand each other, I have been in meetings with native English speakers around the table where a speaker from Australia couldn’t understand a speaker from the US, and they were both native English speakers.

This is because the accents and the vocabulary can be different from one English speaking country to another. The accents make the spoken language very difficult to understand, therefore you will need some time to let your ears get used to the accents. It could be that for the first 10 minutes of the conversation you won’t understand much, but after some time your hearing and understanding will improve.

How can we achieve an advanced level of English?

When you don’t understand, a part from the first ten minutes, you are supposed to ask for clarifications about what has been said. You can ask for clarifications and still look smart and professional by using the strategies and techniques for asking for clarifications that are explained in detail in these articles.

On another level, it could be that the listening comprehension is not your strength. In this case you need to work on your spoken English comprehension skills, by doing practice and attending a specific course on this topic that you can find on

Look smart by speaking polite and professional English

Great business English derives from good general English knowledge. It is a known fact that English speakers from the United Kingdom are particularly polite in their expressions. They tend to minimize the explicit diversity of opinions by using very polite and subtle English expressions to disagree, e.g. “I do see your point, however may I suggest as well to consider this other”.

Once you know are you are able to master the correct forms of expressions of disagreement, negotiations, stating opinions, proposing solutions and so on, you are on the right road to make a good impression in a work environment.

Another element of advanced business English it’s the “small talk” at the beginning of meetings. The small talk it’s an ‘ice breaking’ short conversation around general interest topics that range from the weather to sport to politics. It is supposed to be light and warming. It has the purpose to start the meeting in an easy way.

Industry specific vocabulary

When you work in an industry that uses a specific jargon, you need to learn it. Sometimes the vocabulary of one company can be specific and different from other companies in the same sector however, businesses in the same sector or industry will generally have a similar vocabulary. It is worth learning the specific vocabulary, by reading documents and studying them.

What’s next?

Check out this free lesson from English Digital Academy about what to do when you don’t understand

Find some documents related to your industry and study them.

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