Using Business English

Using Business English to Communicate Effectively

The Right Voice For Your Audience

After investing a great deal of time and energy into learning a new skill, there’s a tempation to make use of that skill whenever possible. Your knowledge of English may be one of those things.

Using business English effectively is often about knowing what not to say, rather than being absolutely grammatically correct. Does correct English matter? Absolutely! Is it more important than accurately communicating to your audience so that they understand precisely what you are saying? No, it is not!

Using Business English To Be Effective

Your communications need to be appropriate for your audience. Who are you talking to, what are you trying to convey? How you communicate to one group of people may be very different than the tone of voice, vocubularly that you would use for another.

Effective communication depends on two primary things, (i) Knowing precisely what it is you want to communicate (ii) Communicating clearly and appropriately for your audience. It doesn’t matter wheter you are planning a presentation for your management team, speaking to a supplier, composing an eMail or drafting the copy for your website.


It is important for you to plan your communications. Begin with the ‘why’. What’s the reason for this communication? Is it necessary? Assuming it is necessary then your starting point needs to be clarity of purpose. The purpose should form the root of the communication. What are the ideas you are trying to convey?

Clarity of message is critical. If there is more than one primary message you are trying to communicate then you should carefully consider whether this can be done effectively in one communication. The best communications have a simplicity or purpose with a defined message for people to take away. This does not mean that it needs to be simple, written in the simplest language.

Your Communication Voice

When the purpose of your communication is clear you need to think about who you are communicating to. Who you are speaking to informs the voice and language you will use in the communication. If you are speaking or writing to a senior management group your choice of English will be different than if you are communicating to a peer group in a more casual format.

Choosing your words and sentence structure carefully and appropriately for your audience will result in a higher level of engagement by your audience.

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