Why Learn Business English after Brexit?

 In Brexit, Business English

Why Business English Is Still Important After Brexit?

There is talk in Brussels that business English is falling out of fashion in Europe.

To goad Whitehall officials in London during Brexit negotiations, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, declared: “Slowly but surely, English is losing importance in Europe.”

Juncker’s comment has been extracted from recent industry statistics that show a decline in Europeans learning English independently. However, his opinion does not fit the facts.

Of the 24 languages in the EU, English is by far the most widely spoken. Statistics reveal that more than half the population in 30 European countries are proficient in business English. Only two – Turkey and Azerbaijan – fall below 50%.

Although long-term industry trends suggest Chinese will be the most popular language to learn for business purposes, the vast majority of international companies – together with internet users – are English language speakers.

From a career point of view, professional business English still carries a lot of weight.

Business English Is Spoken Globally

English is the most spoken language in the world. Statistics show that 1.25 billion people are fluent in English. Only 360 million are native English speakers.

In comparison, of the 1.12 billion Chinese speakers, 873 million are native speakers. So not many people are learning Chinese then.

The fact of the matter is that the English language is embedded in business, social and diplomatic interactions all over the world. A call for its everyday use is not going to change any time soon.

English is also the lingua franca of academia. People learn business English because every country adopts the English language for business use.

In 2017, the BBC reported that a “growing number of global firms use English as their main language.” Because business English is so influential worldwide, mastery of the language – for both native and non-native English speakers – is a necessity to land top-tier roles with leading companies.

A report published by the British Council reads:

“According to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, nearly 70 per cent of executives said their workforce will need to master English to realise corporate expansion plans, and a quarter said that more than 50 per cent of their total workforce will need English ability.”

Improving your professional business vocabulary will open up new career opportunities. If you have aspirations to work for an international business in Vienna, investing in professional English with a native English speaker will help you climb the career ladder.

Will Brexit Impact Business with the English?

There is no doubt that Brexit has soured business transactions between Europe and Britain. Moving forward, businesses on both sides of the water may look for opportunities further afield.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, trade between the UK and EU involves barriers which come at a cost to hurdle. There is more paperwork, customs and excise fees and a rise in the cost of transporting goods.

Inflated prices will be passed on to the consumer. This could be damaging for EU companies whose biggest market is the UK. European brands that compete against British-made goods will likely see a reduction in orders because consumers prefer to pay the lower cost of British brands.

The price hikes for cross-channel trading will largely depend on decisions made by the UK government. The simple option is dynamic alignment. Here the UK would automatically make the same changes in order to keep up with EU regulations and continue fair trading.

This would clearly be the easiest and most sensible solution to avoid complications with general markets. This concept is often referred to as a “level playing field”.

The alternative is a “Hard Brexit” which will skew trade agreements and invite extensive regulations. The result will be an increase in costs and less availability of goods. A no-deal effectively hands competitive advantage to larger companies.

Rumbles from the Whitehall jungle suggest the UK government will not take the best option for everybody. According to the foreign secretary Dominic Raab, Britain will “not be aligning with EU rules”.

The cost of living in the UK will go up – again! That’s not good news for Austrians hoping to live and work in England to improve your business English. It will also leave European countries looking for better trade deals in other parts of the world.

Should You Still Learn Business English After Brexit?

English has not always been the most predominant business language. French and German were the most popular working languages in many international bodies throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries.

English was only added as a third language in 1973 when the UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC). You may be surprised to learn that global companies only switched to business English as recently as 2004 when countries from the Eastern bloc joined the EEC.

Today, English is the official language of 53 countries globally and widely accepted as the language of international business. If Brexit erects barriers between European and UK trade deals, businesses will look for more attractive opportunities elsewhere.

So will people still need business English or should you learn a different language? According to Dr Marko Modiano, of Gavle University in Sweden, the neutrality of the English language makes it the most sensible choice for Europeans.

In his article, English in a Post-Brexit European Union, Modiano states:

“English is presenting itself as a unique bedfellow. When using English, EU citizens will all be on the same footing, that is to say, they will be communicating in [a second language] and, as such, only a relatively small number of people will have an unfair advantage.”

The same article also addresses the call to accept “Third World varieties” of English that are spoken across Asia and Africa. Given the most attractive markets are emerging in Asia and Africa, business English opens the most doorways.

Brexit may have altered the dynamic between Europe and the UK, but English is still a skill that is expected from a professional workforce.

Although studying business English in England will be more expensive for EU members, the alternative is to invest in a native English teacher in your home town.

As a native English teacher living in Austria for more than 20 years, I continue to see a demand for business and legal English in Vienna. If you want to learn professional English with a native English speaker, get in touch today.

Why Learn Business English?

Business English is well established as the global language in business, social and political environments. Whether you intend to trade with business in the UK post-Brexit or look for opportunities in other countries, the common business language is typically English.

Fun fact: 75% of all business communication worldwide is between non-native English speakers.

Communication skills in the workplace have a particular focus on presentation, negotiation, meetings, small talk, socialising, correspondence, report writing, and executive summaries. These are the core principles behind accounting, finance, and economics that drive business decisions.

An English language course that focuses on business English addresses specific purposes non-native English speakers will need to understand to communicate with professionals all over the world.

A business English course with a native English teacher will focus on vocabulary that is commonly used in international business settings and the function of the language that enables you to communicate effectively in meetings and business negotiations.

Business English Vocabulary:

Many English words used in business are extensive and specific. I can tell you from experience that some of the terminology used in international business is not known by some native English speakers.

Yet the terminology used in business English is specifically used for legal purposes. The terms of business contracts have to be presented in a professional manner, otherwise it does not reflect kindly on your company or your intentions.

Legal English terms also differ between industries. It is, therefore, important to understand business terminology commonly used in banking and finance versus manufacturing, import-export, etc.

A proficient understanding of business English across various industry sectors puts you in a stronger position to successfully negotiate with foreign businesses.

Functional Business English

Practising language skills and learning how to lead a meeting, negotiate or make a presentation in English is another important facet to have in your locker when trying to win business contracts with overseas companies.

The ability to master a language and communicate precisely gives you more power of persuasion. In the business world, using the right terminology is convincing. It is not unheard of for native English speakers to partake in Business English courses for this very reason.

Business English Letter Writing

A business English course places emphasis on the proficiency of written communications and business correspondence. In today’s world, email is the most common form of written communication. There are unique differences in writing business English compared to verbal communications.

Having a superior level of English writing skills is extremely helpful if your employer requires you to correspond with important clients and customers from around the world.

Moreover, it’s essential if you’re planning to move to an English-speaking country to find employment or work for a foreign country where the common language is English.

Mastery of business English skills, both written and verbal, will give you the edge in the job market and make you more attractive to potential employers worldwide.

Business English also covers cross-cultural communication where both parties are non-native English Speakers.

The Focus of Business English Courses

Business English courses aim to cover a range of skills that are found in everyday scenarios in a work environment. The vocabulary and dialogue will be focused on negotiating deals, participating in meetings, making a positive impression in interviews and giving presentations to clients or colleagues.

According to the seven Cs, communication needs to be:

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Concrete
  • Correct
  • Coherent
  • Complete
  • Courteous

Studying business English allows you to develop English language skills that are useful in an office or other business environments. By understanding the communication skills needed in the workplace, you can gain the confidence to build strong relationships with your colleagues, clients and friends.

10 Tips for Learning Business English Efficiently

  1. Watch English language TV shows and movies
  2. Read English language newspapers and business websites
  3. Expand Your Vocabulary with Business News Media
  4. Set targets
  5. Read or listen to English before bedtime
  6. Read aloud to hear how the words sound
  7. Put yourself in ‚real-life‘ situations with English speakers
  8. Learn sentences you will use often
  9. Don’t only answer questions — ask questions!
  10. Plan your communication ahead of time whenever possible

What Level of English Is Needed for a Business English Course?

International companies look to improve the English skills of their employees. It is not unusual for them to send personnel to study at English language schools, but these can be overly expensive because they have more overheads to pay which is passed on to the client.

The cost-effective option is to learn business English with an independent native English teacher. At least an intermediate level of general English is a prerequisite before attempting a Business English course.

Depending on the industry you work, or plan to work in, much of the language you use will be specific to your industry or company. Therefore, to get the most from your Business English Course, notify your tutor in advance which industry you work in and prepare a list of industry-specific terms you want to know beforehand.
As a native English teacher living in Vienna for more than 20 years, I have a wealth of experience in helping non-native English speakers improve their pronunciation, grammar and business English writing skills.

I can also provide guidance on how to use relevant sentences and expressions in the right context.

A useful way to learn is for you to bring work-related materials to the class with you. We can work through them together so that you have a working knowledge of real-life scenarios you encounter.

For example, if you have operational instructions that will help you perform your job better, I can help you to understand the document. Or you may have a presentation you need to give in English and want to practice your diction and check your spelling.

Regardless of Brexit, business English is still as relevant today as it was pre-Brexit. In my view, it will continue to be so in the future as well.

The business English courses in Vienna involve working one-on-one with a native English speaker and can be tailored to meet your specific needs. If you would like to improve your business English, get in touch today.


Glossary of terms:

To goad Whitehall – motivate, urge, spur, impulse someone to do something

The English language is embedded in business – ingrained, installed, deep-seated

English is also the lingua franca of academia – communication

English is a necessity to land top-tier roles – level, layer, rank

Master English to realise corporate expansion plans – carry out, perform

Brexit has soured business transactions – exacerbated, exasperated, spoiled

Trade between the UK and EU involves barriers which come at a cost to hurdle – overcome, leap over, jump over

Hard Brexit” which will skew trade agreements – alter, throw off balance, warp, bias, misrepresent

Rumbles from the Whitehall jungle – whispers, noises

English is presenting itself as a unique bedfellow – friend, mate

Negotiating or making a presentation in English is another important facet to have – feature, tool

Native English speakers partake in Business English courses – participate, attend

Business English skills, both written and verbal, will give you the edge – advantage

Communication needs to be concise – short, succinct, to the point, in a nutshell

Communication needs to be coherent – comprehensible, intelligible

Communication needs to be concrete – specific, definite, vivid

General English is a prerequisite – requirement, necessity

Improve your business English, get in touch today – get in contact, call us


If you would like to improve your business English, especially concerning Brexit-related matters, call us now. We are the specialists in British business English.

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