Business English Vocabulary

by | Sep 18, 2017 | Business & Professional English, Vocabulary

Business English Vocabulary

Are you a budding entrepreneur with a great business idea you want to make international? Or would you simply like to improve your English for a promotion or a job at a new company? For many jobs these days, having English on your CV is a necessity, particularly for professional jobs within businesses and multinational companies. However, often the type of English that is taught in school or required for University entrance exams is very different from the real-world English used in offices, conferences and at negotiating tables around the globe. Without taking a specific Business English course, it can be difficult to learn the terminology and jargon that is required specifically for your job-related industry. Not all is lost though – it’s very possible to learn business English vocabulary both before and during your job. Here we will go through some advice on how to do that.Business English Vocabulary


Read and Listen to Industry-related Material

The first stop in gathering business English words and expressions is going to be by going directly to the source material published within your chosen area. Look for magazines, journals, online blogs and articles which are related to your specific job. You might also look at the websites of the top companies in your industry to see what kind of language they use to talk about their business.

Use Business English VocabularyRead these texts and articles both for understanding and also as a vocabulary source. This might involve sitting down with a magazine and a highlighter and going through an article that you have read to search for new words or phrases that you find useful or interesting. Or you might have a vocabulary notebook that you use to record new expressions as you are reading an online article. However you do it, the key is to write down the new language within the context of the sentence to help you remember its meaning and use. Have a good English dictionary or the internet on hand to make sure you fully understand the definition, particularly for idiomatic expressions.

If you prefer to learn with videos, there are plenty of business-related talks and presentations on TED Talks, which also include an English transcript. You can choose videos based on topic and theme or length, and follow the same guidelines for searching out new business vocabulary.  

Keep up to date with Business News

Not only do you need to learn advanced business English vocabulary, but you need to know which terminology is current and relevant. English words are constantly changing as new expressions are coined, particularly when related to technology and new marketing trends. This is why keeping up to date with business and technology news is much better than using an outdated Business English textbook, for example. Many blogs and websites have the option of subscribing to their email updates and through these you will often be sent recent news items.



Notice what people use every day

If you are currently working in an English-speaking business environment, there can be no better source of Business English vocabulary than your native English speaking colleagues! In fact, this is where you are most likely to encounter words and phrases related to your specific field as well as commonly-used idiomatic expressions. Chances are that you will hear the most important business english words relevant to your job over and over again, which will help you to learn them quickly through repetition. Once you notice a new expression it will be easier to hear it the next time.

The important thing is to make sure that you are constantly listening and looking out for these words and that you are ready to write them down. As with any new vocabulary, it’s important to notice the context in which the word or phrase is used. Ask yourself, “Is this person using this in a formal or informal situation at work? Are they speaking with an important client, a boss or superior, or casually with a colleague?”

Use the context to understand the meaning of new expressions. Let’s imagine you are attending a short and informal meeting. Your boss starts the meeting by saying “Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we?” You know that in this context he is not stalking about actually rolling a ball, so the situation and what your boss says next all help you to figure out that what he’s saying is that he wants to begin the meeting. The next time you hear the word in this context you will remember it more easily .

Keep a notepad with you at all times so that you are ready to copy down expressions when you encounter them. You shouldn’t be embarrassed about trying to improve your English, but if you are, carrying a small and professional-looking notebook is a very discreet way of keeping track of new vocabulary – after all, many people take down notes when they are in meetings, on the phone or during presentations anyway!



Once you’ve picked up new business vocabulary, it’s necessary to understand where and how to use these words. To achieve this, you have to try and use these words every day at work. Don’t be shy about trying out words and expressions with English-speaking colleagues if you feel comfortable doing so. Apply new vocabulary to different situations and contexts  and ask your colleagues for feedback until you feel comfortable using them freely and correctly. If this is not an option, or you feel it will look unprofessional, an experienced advanced Business English coach will be able to provide you with feedback and guidance in how to improve your business English vocabulary and usage.