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How to Learn Business English Effectively

If you need to improve your English but, like most of us, don't have infinite time and money, don't
despair. There are many things you can do to make the most of your experience or, as we
Americans say, get more bang for your buck.

First of all, plan your course wisely, and set realistic goals. Instead of saying you want to be fluent
in English, decide that you want to be comfortable making small talk or giving your sales presentation.
This may also help you decide whether a private or group class is best and how many weeks you
should study. It is tempting to think that an intensive week gives you the same benefit as a more
relaxed month, but usually learning a language takes time and patience. Think about what works
best for you.

Learn how to be an active student. If there is only one thing you can do to prepare yourself, it is
to be comfortable saying, "Could you repeat that?" and "Could you write that down for me?" Think
of your teacher as your personal English language consultant, and never apologize that your
English isn't good enough—helping you is their job! Besides language, ask your teacher about
American customs, idioms and gestures. Most importantly, participate in class. Language classes
are different from other academic classes because they require your interaction. Give more than
just one-word answers, and even if you're not always interested in the topic of conversation,
participate anyway. Give your opinion, tell stories, ask your own questions.

Remember that you can learn a lot outside the classroom too. There's a reason you came to the
U.S. instead of studying in your country. Make new friends, and if that doesn't come naturally for
you, just try saying hello to your classmates, asking them what they do for work, inviting them to lunch. Also, do the things you enjoy doing, but in English. If you like movies or watching sports on TV, go to a movie or watch sports on TV in English. Finally, one of the most important keys to your success is an open mind. Often, the students who see every experience as a learning opportunity are most satisfied with their classes in the end.

Keep in mind that although a good teacher is crucial, there are really two teachers in the classroom: the one standing in front of the class, and you.

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