28 Apr 2013

Improve Your Global Business English

The Fabulous Functionall Resource Review #3
One of the goals of this blog is to help you sort through the overwhelming number of language resources available to choose the materials that are right for your language learning or teaching journey. Not only is there a plethora of resources, they don't come cheap. Let this old hat do the research and save you time and money. Lord knows, we teachers need more of both! - Fiona 

for more information about my reviewing approach click here

   About 15 years ago, at one of my first teaching jobs, I was given the assignment of teaching a Brazilian businessman "Business English". I'm not sure why I was asked or what his ultimate impressions were but let's just say it was a learning experience all around. I had no business background. I was a geeky linguistics graduate. The small school where I was teaching had few "Business English" resources, all of which were outdated or extremely basic or both. At that time, there was also very little available online. My student and I cobbled our lessons together, based on his particular needs and what was essentially my ability to fake it. 

Fast forward to Improve Your Global Business English this resource would have saved my skin 15 years ago. 

Book for Review: 

Improve Your 
Global Business English


Fiona Talbot 

Sudakshina Bhattacharjee

In Depth Resource Review:

Author Fiona Talbot has referred to Improve Your Global Business English as an "office guide" used for "self-development". This is a good description. It is certainly well-suited to independent study and reference but this doesn't exclude it from being a great classroom resource as well. It is smart, thoughtful, practical and relevant. My four favourite things!


The Introduction does a nice job of explaining a) who the book is for b) how to use it and c) the book's terminology and spelling (Mid-Atlantic!) philosophy. It also makes it obvious that only advanced English language learners or native speakers will be able to negotiate the book's meaning and fully engage with its content. 


The book addresses important themes including:

  • defining global business English within your organization
  • understanding cultures, subcultures and approaches to businesses and workplaces
  • the changing face of writing in the digital age
  • common challenges in business English
  • using email efficiently
  • writing for impact
  • writing agendas, notes, and minutes of meetings
  • how to write for Twitter
  • offering or requesting support
  • using the right words to motivate

If some of this doesn't sound like a language learning resource, you're right. It is as much a business resource for native speakers as it is a language guide for business English learners and it strikes a nice balance between the two. I think this is what makes Improve Your Global Business English so relevant and useful. It doesn't look at language in a vacuum but in the context of its purpose. 


And rest assured, the content is well-supported with activities and review exercises that would be very adaptable to an ESL/EFL environment:
Of course, no resource is perfect - there is a great deal of content crammed into what could have been spread over two or three volumes (which I guess also means you get your money's worth!). I sometimes found the organization odd and confusing (for example, "The purpose of this book" passage really belongs in the introduction, not in Chapter One). 

You know how I love my visual cues and I'm always all about less talk, more action, so I do feel Improve Your Global Business English is text-heavy and that may intimidate some learners and educators. I'd like to see more "check-ins", exercises, images, perhaps even some field activities (a.k.a. 'homework') for self-assessment and practice. 

Despite these weaknesses, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend  Improve Your Global Business English to any Business English educator or learner as there is much here to draw upon and expand upon - it's a reference and guide that will be dog-eared in no time! 


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  2. Good information about Business English it is very useful for students

    Business English