Working in a business environment will expose you to a whirlwind of new words that aren’t usually taught in your standard English courses. While you may know a huge number of vocabulary words but there are some terms that are used specifically in certain areas or fields. 

Being fluent in Business English means knowing a lot of vocabulary words and technical terms that would sharpen and hone your communication skills. Unfortunately, unless you majored in Business in university, most people aren’t familiar with business terms and concepts. 

So, how do we improve our vocabulary in Business English? What are some vocabulary words and technical terms that we should equip ourselves to survive and thrive in the business world? 

This article explores basic business English vocabulary words that you should be familiar with.

Business English Essential Vocabulary

Simple Ways to Improve Your Business English. Source: Pexels

There are a number of ways on how to improve your English skills in general. Aside from using the language by talking to people in English, you can also learn new vocabulary through reading widely and diving into nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in the dictionary. 

However, if you want to improve and build a specific portion of your vocabulary like Business English, you will have to find the best outlets wherein you can learn specific vocabulary words and be able to use them in any practical situation. 

Read and Watch Business News

Improving your vocabulary in Business English doesn’t only mean literally learning new words. You should find out not only the meaning of these terms but how they are used in different situations. Reading the business section of your newspaper and watching the business portion of the news are two avenues that would greatly help you hear and know how the business English words that you’re learning are used. 

Attend Business English Courses

One of the most effective ways to learn Business English is through online English courses. There are a lot of sites that would be able to cater as to what area of Business English you want to improve. Online courses would also help you hone and sharpen your presentation skills, negotiation skills, and even public speaking. 

Not only will you be able to improve certain specific skills in Business English but also widen your vocabulary in these Business English courses. Plus practical application of the things you have learned in the course is another plus that would help you hone your craft more.

Study Your New Vocabulary and Use Them

Part of learning new vocabulary words in Business English means that you have to memorize them and learn how to use them. Yes, you have to go through the grueling process of memorizing and repeating the word and its meaning.Even if it means reading and repeating them out loud. Not only do you have to memorize a huge number of vocabulary words and phrases but you will also have to learn how to use them in appropriate and different situations.

Key Terms in Business English

Basic Business English terms and concepts. Source: Pexels

Now, as you’re busy immersing yourself into different business English courses to further improve and hone your skills, let’s breeze through some of the most common business vocabulary that are essential if you really want to make it through the business world.

Basic Business Vocabulary

In the business environment there will always be some terms that are vital for you to know. 

Business Plan

This is the core of most businesses. A business plan sets out your company’s objectives and the strategy it’s going to follow to complete it. 

Brand

A company’s brand is the way it appears to the public eye. Brand will be the way the company will be recognized, the values for which it is known, as well as the products associated with it.

Invoice 

Invoice or invoices are bits of paper that ask for payment or vice versa. Usually invoices are used when you are dealing with suppliers, stockists, contractors, or freelancers.

Payroll

This term refers to the list of people (employees) who are being paid by the company including everything that is associated with those payments.

Start-up 

As the name says, it’s when you’re starting your business. They are small businesses who are just starting and are seeking to make a difference in the business world.

Turnover

Turnover means two things, the speed at which employees are replaced in a company and the amount of money that a company generates in a given period.

Forecast

A business forecast predicts various aspects of a business’ future movement based on its current situation, external factors, new products, plans for marketing and the like. The timeframe of a business forecast usually spans for three to five years. Some types of business forecasts include sales, profit and loss, and cashflow.

Office Jargon

There is a particular category of business-related vocabulary in English as “office jargon”. Another popular term for this is “management speak.” These are self-aggrandising terms that people in the business world use in order to sound clever or smart. Here some examples: 

Going Forward

This simply means “from now on”.

Thinking Outside the Box

One of the most common office jargons used! It just means creatively or doing something different out of the ordinary.

Leverage

This word is used as a verb in the business world. You would usually use this word when you’re utilizing something to gain business advantage over someone. 

Best Practice

Relatively means, the best way of doing things that would deliver optimum results. 

Low-hanging Fruit

Picture yourself picking a fruit from a tree, you would always go for the easiest ones to pick which are the ones that are hanging the lowest. In the business world, low-hanging fruit means tasks or work that are easiest to accomplish so that’s why they should be done first.

Drill Down

Drill down simply means to dive in or to elaborate more for finer details.

Cut Corners

This is to complete tasks in a fast and careless manner. Meaning doing something without paying attention to details. Your main objective is just to accomplish the task, rather than doing well in it.

Back to the Drawing Board

Sadly means to start again from the very beginning with a totally new and fresh idea. This is something that you don’t want to hear especially If you have already put in a lot of effort and work in a certain project or task. This term is usually used when an idea or project is rejected or scrapped.

Keep Me on the Loop

This means to keep someone informed and updated about the progress or development of a task or project. This term originated in the emails chain wherein you “cc” a person including them in the email.

Call it a Day

This may refer to taking a break on a project or task that you’ve been working on all day because you’re already reached a good point so you can rest, stop, or call it a day. This term can be either used negatively or positively depending on the context.

Some Acronyms and Abbreviations

Brushing up on Basic Business English Concepts. Source: Pexels

These are shorthand terms that are used in a lot of business contexts.

AOB (Any Other Business) 

This is usually the last agenda of the meeting. You would probably hear this towards the end of a meeting when all the important points have been discussed. This is usually the point wherein you can ask questions or bring up different issues.

ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)

As the name states, it usually pertains to transportation. In the business world it could be one of two things: the time someone will arrive or when a document or a file would be submitted.

HR (Human Resources)

The department of the company that deals with managing the employees. They usually work to keep employees happy, reduce attrition and staff turnover, manage staff training, and payroll.

Ltd. (limited)

This is usually seen at the end of the names of companies It simply means limited company. A type of company in which the director is not responsible for the business’ debts.

ROI (Return of Investment) 

This is when you are calculating how much money you could get out of something relative to how much you put in.

USP (Unique Selling point)

This term usually arises when you’re designing a new product, service or if you are formulating or building a new brand. This essentially means what does your product have that no one else has?

There are a vast number of vocabulary words in Business English that you can learn. Be it words, phrases, abbreviations, and even jargons, these terms can help you thrive in the business sector. Learning this form of the English language can help you secure that promotion or close that deal.  

Truth be told, all these things can’t be learned overnight.  It is important to put in the work so it would come natural for you to use these terms in conversation. Learning vocabulary words and understanding how to use them will bring you a step closer to being fluent in Business English. 

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Mike is a freelance writer with a passion for continuous learning, self-improvement, and helping others through education.