(Eng. ) TEACHING EAP (BUSINESS) COMMUNICATION SKILLS: importance & recommended resources

I have some information, some news I’d like to share with you. I start talking to you. You start listening to me because you’re interested (ideally speaking) in what I want to tell you. Next, you answer, add some other information, some more news. And our conversation continues. In short, I’ve just presented the basis of communication in as simple way as possible. Of course, when you study linguistics, when you’re into the metalanguage of the process, you can immediately change the register from it being so colloquial (and banal) to it being jargon-packed; in the description above, there’s a communication channel with interlocutors involved, one of them being the encoder and the other – the decoder; there’s an information-gap context in a face-to-face verbal exchange.

This blog post takes us to COMMUNICATION, to communication skills, to be much more precise. And to be as precise as I can get, to BUSINESS COMMUNICATION SKILLS as part of the EAP language training. I’d like to share some thoughts with you; my thoughts are directly linked to part of my teaching I’m into, as I’m into various faces of teaching and training. So, why not share some thoughts on this module this time?!

Professionals, business executives, event managers, PR sector, hospitality field: all these people function in a world where sooner or later (rather sooner than later) English is required for their communication. For this reason, when going through their strenuous professional training or when studying hard to earn their degree, business people are constantly equipped with communication skills, business jargon combined with their field competencies. The package, when well approached and appropriately staged, results in conceiving truly efficient managers. You, as teachers and lecturers, should undoubtedly bear in mind the vital role of communication in such training, knowing that, “Intelligence, knowledge or experience are important and might get you a job, but strong communication skills are what will get you promoted” (Mireille Guilliano).

To facilitate the process of boosting their skills in as integrated manner as possible, verbal, non-verbal as well as written communication aspects should be skillfully built into any curriculum at any college or at university of applied sciences. Then a wide spectrum of communication-bound elements becomes part of particular theme- and competence-based syllabi (or: syllabuses).

Therefore, when training and teaching a Bernard Arnault, an Anita Roddick, a Charles Saatchi, or a Carly Fiorina of the upcoming business era, I very often resort to a multitude of comprehensive resources. I bear in mind that future entrepreneurs are bound to represent the following characteristics:

  • They need to exercise excellent communication skills in contact with their business partners and colleagues following the words of Gerald Chertavian: “The ABC’s are attitude, behaviour and communication skills”;
  • They need to demonstrate communication skills in order to try hard and to consequently build their image and their way to the top of the business world they’re part of;
  • They need to excel at communication skills to finally arrive at understanding and to hopefully reach their desired goals;
  • They need to be exposed to multiple verbal communication aspects for them to feel at ease in any professional environment. Such aspects include: face-to-face, telephone, radio, TV or internet social media skills;
  • They need to be familiar with and wholeheartedly open to (though in business there’s no place for sentiments) various non-verbal communication features: body language, cross-cultural differences, facial expression, and gestures or dress code across cultures, etc.;
  • They need to be proficient in written communication skills to be then perceived as excellent professionals in their fields. Some essential competencies here may include: writing letters (and emails), working on reports, taking minutes, reviewing and critical scanning of books and of professional press articles, attempting at paraphrasing and at natural use of quotations from the press (both paper and digital), and staying selective and strong-minded;
  • They need to boost their self-confidence, not acting as if they were as proud as peacocks, of course,  but maintaining a set of impeccable good manners. Their professional conduct accompanied by their refinement and sophistication help in workshop and conference scenarios. Their grasp of maps, logos, diagrams or their creating audience-friendly presentations guarantee positive reception of the findings they show.

Because of the challenges future entrepreneurs face up to, their instructors / teachers / lecturers should first continuously cater for their students’ systematic and gradual development, including their language training. As I’ve entered here a world of the EAP instruction, the resources I recommend for such classes are fairly generic and can be easily adapted to any other ambition-driven teaching environment.

COURSEBOOKS AND GRAMMAR COMPANIONS:

  • Advanced Language Practice;
  • BEC Masterclass;
  • Common Mistakes at IELTS;
  • Communicating Across Cultures;
  • English for Business Communication;
  • Handshake;
  • How to Plan and Write Responses for Graphs, Tables and Diagrams;
  • IELTS Language Practice;
  • Language Leader;
  • Macmillan English Grammar in Context (CLIL)
  • Successful Presentations.

 

INTERNET RESOURCES: LINKS, LANGUAGE WEBSITES, PARALLEL-TRANSLATION SITES:

  • Business dictionary:

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/bond.html

  • The Economist:

http://www.economist.com

  • English tutoring for the workplace:

http://englishlessons-houston.com/category/esl-teachers/eslefl-teaching-materials/

  • Euronews:

http://www.euronews.com/

  • Essential skills for career:

http://www.mindtools.com/

  • European Commission – press release data base /corpora multilingui/

http://europa.eu/rapid/about.htm

  • Presentations from experts in their fields – Ideas Worth Spreading:

https://www.ted.com/

 

METHODOLOGY (EAP, ESP, CLIL):

  • Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) for EFL/ESL Teachers: With Practical Exercises Paperback, Zafar Iqbal Mohsin, LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing (2011)
  • In your Hands - NLP in ELT, Jane Revell & Susan Norman Saffire, Press (1997)
  • Uncovering CLIL, Peeter Mehisto, Maria-Jesus Frigols and David Marsh, Macmillan (2008)
  • Multiple Intelligences in EFL: Exercises for Secondary and Adult Students, Herbert PuchtaMario Rinvolucri, CUP (2007)

 

And so on and so forth…… As many resources as teachers’ ideas (or… as many of them as students’ needs there are to meet). You may always adapt, modify, extend, shorten, etc. Your students and you should never forget one clever thought (or any other clever thoughts), namely: “Take advantage of every opportunity to practise your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people” (Jim Rohn). I hope the occasions give rise to positive emotions only.