5 reasons why Business English is hard!

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Business English is hard when you are a non-native speaker. Even the most advanced English learners can struggle with communication in a professional setting. Some of it comes from not having the right words or mispronouncing them, but much of that struggle can be from a lack of confidence or fluency (being able to speak without hesitation).

 

Here is a short list of concerns our Lingoloop students have expressed about using English for business.

 

#1 “I don’t want to seem impolite.”

A recent student who works in a corporate job wanted to learn how to say “I can’t right now, but I’ll finish it by the end of the week.”  She feels when she says anything other than “yes,” it might come across as impolite. Of course there are many polite ways to say “No” in English. But it can be difficult to think of them on the spot! 

 

#2 “I feel like people stop listening to me.”

Another common comment we get from people in management positions is that they feel that their team members stop listening to them after a few sentences because the listeners are distracted by the speaker’s limited vocabulary, pronunciation, etc. 

It can be frustrating when people don’t listen to you! It becomes distracting and can lead to the next thing on our list.

 

#3 “I lose my train of thought.”

It can happen to the best of us, but it happens a little too often to non-native speakers. Because many of our students are stressed about having to speak English, little things can derail their thoughts. All of a sudden, you forget what you were going to say! Lingoloop group classes are a great way to practice speaking in front of others and improve your focus. Many students claim feeling more confidence after just a few classes!

 

#4 “I feel insecure when I’m on a conference call.”

There is something unnatural about speaking on a conference call. Only one person can speak at a time! There are awkward pauses and moments where people can’t hear. Even worse, now with video calls with Zoom and Skype, there is the added pressure of worrying about what you look like. If you have Zoom anxiety check out our recent blog post about this topic! 

 

#5 “Small talk is difficult for me.”

Some of our learners have little problem with speaking English in a technical setting, but when it comes to making “small talk” with co-workers, they don’t know what to say (or maybe they don’t know what others are saying). Some of it is cultural and some of it has to do with idiomatic expression. There are so many colorful ways to say things in English! It can be hard for non-native speakers to understand. 

Is Business English hard?

So what do you think? Do any of these reasons sound like something you would say? If so, come sign up for a Lingoloop Free trial class. Our expert tutors are ready to help you feel good speaking English at work. Try it today!

 

Who’s the Boss? – Business English Quiz

business english

Some say the International language of business is English. However, sometimes Business English can seem like its own language. There is so much jargon and technical words that make it difficult for English learners to understand.

Are you the boss of Business English? Let’s see if you can score 10/10 on our quiz!

Relax, it’s just business!

I hope you enjoyed our quiz. Feel free to share it with friends!

Many of our students use Lingoloop to improve their English for business – to help them feel good speaking English at work. If you feel like you could use a boost, sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class today!

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Internet Slang Quiz

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Slang on the Internet?

There are so many acronyms and slang people use to communicate on the Internet. Initially these were abbreviations for longer phrases, but people nearly treat them like they are actual words! Take our Lingoloop Internet slang quiz below and test how well you speak Internet:)

 

I hope you enjoyed our quiz. If you want to brush up on your slang and learn to speak like a native speaker, sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class. Practicing real English conversations with our expert tutors over video chat will improve your skills and boost your confidence quickly!

 

Nervous About Video Conference Calls?: 9 Tips For Zoom Anxiety

Zoom meetings be like... : Zoom

The world is changing quickly and video conference calls (Zoom, Skype etc.) are becoming a big part of our everyday life. Do you feel nervous about using Zoom? Don’t worry you are not alone! As a company that has been teaching English through video chat for many years, we have some good ideas about how to make video conference calls a less stressful experience.

 

Let’s face it, video conference calls are weird

I’ll say it again, video conference calls are weird. Here are a few reasons why:

Technology gets in the way: We are connecting with people that have different skill sets, comfort levels with technology and devices. How many times have you said “Can you hear me? I can see you… can you see me?” It is rare that a video conference call is a completely smooth experience. Especially when you are calling someone for the first time. This raises the stress about the whole experience. 

It is weird to see yourself talking: It is weird enough to talk on the telephone, but most of us are used to it. In the old days (hahaha) you could just focus on your thoughts and speak. Now with Zoom, we have the added stress of having to look at ourselves and worrying about what other people see when we are talking. It is harder to focus.

It is hard to listen when you constantly see yourself: Not only is it weird to talk, it is weird to listen on a video conference call. We are distracted. We are distracted by having to look at someone else, and also distracted by the image of ourselves on screen. 

Eventually as a society we will all get better at this:) However, in the meantime you may be asking yourself “How do I reduce Zoom anxiety?” or “How can I stop feeling nervous on video calls?” The simple answer, is to plan ahead. Think of the specific things that are causing you stress and work to minimize their effect on your call. See some of our specific suggestions below: 

 

9 tips to help you feel good about video conference calls

1) Speak slowly: With all of the added distractions and issues with technology that we identified, it is important to speak slowly… maybe even slower than you think you should if English is your second language. It will be easier for you to express yourself, and easier for others to understand.

2) Use screen share: If you have to present ideas, take advantage of screen sharing tools. Prepare a short presentation ahead of time to make sure your audience understands your main points. Your thoughts will seem more organized (because they are!) and it will take the focus off of you.

3) Good lighting: Video conference calls are a performance. You can now use your face to express yourself. Your gestures are just as important as the words you choose. Good lighting will allow people to read your facial cues and make you look better on screen!

4) Smile: Don’t forget to smile. Smile a lot! There is something funny about smiling – it is contagious. When you smile, people smile back. Make the video conference call a happy place. You may have noticed it is easier to talk to someone who is smiling. 

5) Wear pants: Yes, you are at home, but don’t use that as an excuse to look unprofessional during a work call. You’ll find that if you dress for work, it will make you feel more professional. If you feel better about your appearance, you won’t worry as much about how you look. 

6) Find a quiet space: Try to find a private or quiet space for your call in order to reduce background noise. The last thing we want to worry about during a video call is being interrupted by sirens or a loud barking dog. Do your best to control your environment to reduce potential stressors. 

7) Wear headphones with a mic: Wearing headphones with a mic makes it easier for others to hear you and for you to hear others. This is especially important if you are on a call with multiple parties. 

8) Break the ice: It is hard to jump straight into the meeting agenda if you are nervous about a Zoom call. Try your best to participate early when people are exchanging pleasantries. Hearing your own voice on the call, even with a quick “Hello… how are you?” will make you feel less anxious about speaking later.

9) Don’t look at yourself: If watching yourself while you talk is causing you anxiety, don’t do it. Focus your eyes on the camera. You can also minimize the Zoom window so that you don’t see yourself (or others). 

I hope you found these tips useful. If you reduce the risk of distractions and unexpected interruptions, all of these things can minimize your anxiety about video conference calls. 

While these are issues that everyone faces, if English is your second language, the problems become amplified. If you are anxious about your English speaking, sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class. Practicing real English conversations with our expert tutors over Zoom will improve your skills and boost your confidence quickly!

 

10 everyday business acronyms, what they mean and how to use them

 

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Short and sweet… let’s use some acronyms 

In today’s fast-paced world, acronyms and abbreviations are heavily used… especially in Business English. Just like investors want to invest as little money as possible to make a profit, people want to use as few characters (or words) as possible to express their meaning, especially when typing an email or a text message. 

Whether you are learning English for business or just for fun, knowing these 10 everyday business acronyms, what they mean and how to use them will help you communicate with native English speakers.

FYI

 

“For your information” or FYI is one of the most common acronyms used in business and communication in general. You may get a forwarded email from a co-worker with these 3 letters and nothing else! Usually what this means is that the sender of the message simply wanted to “keep you in the loop” and let you know that something happened. 

Or someone may start a sentence with “FYI” so that they don’t have to say “for your information” to save time (and breath).

“FYI your boss left you a voicemail. She was looking for you earlier.”

‘FYI Lingoloop offers online English classes, not in-person classes.”

 

BTW

 

Like FYI, “By the way” or BTW is an acronym used to inform someone of something as well.

“BTW, the memos were sent out at the end of last week.”

“BTW, I checked my notes and I don’t have her phone number.”

 

IMHO

 

“In my humble opinion” is used when you want to signal to someone that you are voicing your own perspective. For example: 

“IMHO, brunch is overrated.”

“We should have fired him years ago IMHO.”

While the word “humble” means to be respectful or deferential, sometimes IMHO can be used in a proud (not so humble) or snide way… So make sure you understand the context!

 

ASAP

 

“As soon as possible” or ASAP is a classic acronym that is used in all walks of life. When you want something ASAP, you want it right away!

“Sorry sir, we will get you a room ASAP!”

“I’m hoping we will know the test results ASAP.”

 

IOU

 

IOU is short for “I owe you.” It is often used as a noun to express a debt. AN IOU can be have a monetary value (like if you borrow $5 from someone). It can also have a non-monetary value, like if a friend helps you with a task, you may repay them in kind by offering to help them on their next project. 

“Thanks for covering for me, I’ll give you an IOU.”

“Hey Jimmy this is the last time. Next time you’ll have to start paying back these IOUs.”

 

TBD

 

If something is TBD or “to be determined” it has not yet been decided. Sometimes you will see TBD on a schedule. Let’s say you are looking at a calendar of events. The date and/or time may be printed, but perhaps the location is TBD. 

 

ETA

 

ETA or “estimated time of arrival” is a popular acronym used when you want to know when something will be finished or when someone will arrive.

“Mom, I’ll wait for you outside in the parking lot. What’s your ETA?”

“Do you have an ETA for when that report will be finished?” 

 

EOD

 

EOD or “end of day” is another acronym related to time. It’s usually used to express a deadline.

“I’ll have that report to you by EOD Friday.”

“I see that the package will be delivered by EOD.”

 

FTR

 

You don’t see FTR or “for the record” that often, but it does appear from time to time. Sometimes when someone is trying to argue, or defend a position, they will say “for the record” to express a fact that supports their opinion. 

“I know you think it’s my fault, but FTR I sent the invoice yesterday, before the deadline.”

“FTR I told HR (Human Resources) about this problem two months ago.”

 

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KISS

 

“Keep it simple stupid” or KISS is a principle that means sometimes simplicity is best. Systems that are overly complicated in design have a greater risk of failure. It’s very much related to the expression “too many moving parts” which was covered in our last blog post. The KISS acronym is not used as an abbreviated phrase to shorten a sentence like some of the other examples. We included it because it’s an important concept and phrase that’s useful in business and life in general.

To review, people use these business acronyms to simplify their writing – to get their point across in as few words as possible. So, keep it simple stupid, IMHO if you want to improve your English quickly, practice real conversations with our expert tutors at Lingoloop. FYI we have a 5-star google rating🙂