Do I have to have a coma here?
by Gisele Méndez edited by Lynne Hand
Amused by the title above? Don’t worry – the spelling mistake “coma” instead of “comma” is intentional, and it highlights an important point: If you’re writing a letter to a friend or relative, it doesn’t really matter if you make a silly mistake, but if you want to be taken seriously in business; errors – comic or not – can hold you back.
Perhaps you find yourself nervously rushing through a presentation, or you forget the pronunciation of an important word during a meeting. When English is your second language, it is all the more important to speak and write clearly and concisely in business to avoid miscommunication. Luckily, there are some simple ways to improve your skills and communicate more effectively.
Brush up on the basics
Build your confidence
You will have heard the phrase, practice makes perfect, it might seem a bit obvious, but it’s true, especially when it comes to learning another language. Speak to everyone you can, about anything you want! If you are corrected, don’t be down-heartened – thank them for helping you learn more efficiently.
If you’re shy, try using a mirror to practise what you have to say in private first, it will help you feel more prepared and in control.
Try enrolling on an English course to make friends and practise with people who are also keen to learn. Using your language skills every day is essential for the learning process and can help you maintain a high standard of business English.
When you’re looking for a course you could consider incorporating your learning experience into a bit of holiday time. Take a week long break and attend an English course in a country where English is the first language, visit the capital city, they can be wonderful places to explore. If you go to England there are lots of English courses in London, but it doesn’t have to be England, it could be New York in America, or Canberra in Australia and even Cape Town in South Africa. There’s a wealth of choice out there.
Make learning fun
It is so important to learn how to communicate clearly in business, especially when English is your second language, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful process. If you enjoy exploring everything the language has to offer, it will come more naturally and you will be much better at it!
Checking your work is one of the most important aspects of learning – like the error in the first line, it’s so easy to avoid.
Try these proofreading tips.