Learn Beginner Business English Vocabulary Skills

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Importance of Vocabulary Skills in Business Communication

Nowadays, many companies are going global. So English has become the universal language of business. To succeed in any job, vocabulary skills in Business English are important to have. A wide and strong vocabulary will help you reach your goals. It will help you gain confidence in other parts of the English language such as speaking and writing. Whatever field you’re working in, the ability to use the right words is valuable. Business Vocabulary Development and Knowing how to communicate well can open doors that can expand your career.

9 Self-study Methods to Improve Business Vocabulary Skills

Attending English classes isn’t enough to make a huge improvement in language skills. You also need to study and practice on your own. For many English language learners, using English in real-life situations isn’t always available.

This is a little different from Business English. Work gives the advantage of regular language use. You can apply what you’ve learned in a more practical way. However, if you want to see bigger progress in your skills, you must also make an effort to learn more.

There are many ways to accomplish this during your free time. You can listen to podcasts, watch business channels or business-related TV shows, watch online videos that show business conversations, or use learning programs that use real-world English with interactive features. This can also improve listening and pronunciation skills.

1. Keep a vocabulary notebook

Collect words, phrases, and sentences from your classes and self-study time. Separate them into categories in your notebook. Create a separate page for a table of contents and assign a few pages to each category. This way it will be easy to add new words and find them. Spending all that time writing words allows you to remember them better. There are many self-study exercises that you can do with a personalized vocabulary notebook.
You can pick any number of words for review or writing exercises.

2. Get into the habit of reading

Books aren’t the only source: magazine and newspaper articles, blog posts, interactive learning software, brochures, advertisements, etc. You will be introduced to unfamiliar words. More than that, you will see vocabulary appear or be used in context. This is so much better than studying vocabulary lists. Also, reading builds real-world knowledge, which can be important in a business environment.

3. Use the dictionary and thesaurus.

Many words have synonyms that can be better in any situation you’re talking or writing about. The words “demanding” and “pleading”, for example, are synonyms of the word “request”. But “demanding” has a stronger meaning, while “pleading” is more emotional. Dictionaries and thesauruses initiate a deep dive into English vocabulary. Use them properly without overwhelming yourself. You can learn about synonyms, antonyms, root words, pronunciation, and other related phrases or expressions.

4. Prepare for potential situations at work

You can utilize your vocabulary notebook for this. Study and review vocabulary for specific business functions. For instance, you’re expecting to have a meeting about a contract. You can get ready for it by learning important things such as:

  • Article: A statement or clause in a contract.
  • On behalf of: for a person, group, etc.
  • Liable: Responsible for causing damage according to law.
  • Null and void: invalid.

5. Create a box of words

Write a word on a piece of paper or an index card and put it in a box. In time, you’ll have a huge collection of words. When you’re on the go, waiting for someone, or passing the time, you can pick a word from the box and say its meaning aloud. Obviously, you can challenge yourself by picking more than one word. Make a sentence using your selection. Or you can use it in a sentence. What’s great is you can share it with a group of friends or other English language learners.

6. Subscribe to online English learning feeds.

Subscriptions on English learning websites, emails, and apps often come with daily exercises or vocabulary. Take advantage of their free offerings. You can also add these words to your vocabulary notebook.

7. Play word games.

Crossword puzzles, Scrabble, and Word Factory can be fun ways to expand your vocabulary and improve your skills. You can play alone or with others. Try to take notes if you learn new words and put them in your vocabulary notebook to review every now and then.

8. Use flashcards.

There are numerous apps that have developed a convenient and organized way to use flashcards. Aim for one or a few words each day. Be mindful of your capability so you don’t overwhelm yourself with too many words. Some apps are designed for Business English. This is a useful method to enhance your vocabulary skills little by little.

9. Talk to someone.

A more important skill than learning new words is knowing how to use them. The best way to develop this is to talk to people. You have a customized vocabulary notebook that you can use. Create a habit of including the words in conversation. Mistakes are a part of learning so make a lot and learn from them.

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Strategies Business English Beginners Should Follow

Like regular English, vocabulary is the foundation of Business English. You will learn business-specific things. Also, you will develop skills in using that function of the language in work settings. Business English vocabulary focuses on the language you will encounter at the office. This comprises business words, phrases, sentence structures, and topics. You can improve your vocabulary skills by watching business-related media. You can also enroll in a Business English program. Or study on your own by using reference books, finding the right English learning software, playing vocabulary games, and many others.

There are tested and proven strategies you can use to improve your Business English vocabulary skills. Since vocabulary types are connected to other language skills, some of these methods involve using those as well.

Improve Skills in Conversation

At your job, conversation means talking with business contacts, associates, customers, and superiors. It’s not only about talking. It’s about communicating effectively. Someone who is skillful in Business English vocabulary would know more than which words to use. They would know how to use those words properly to have an impact on the discussion.

First of all, many English language learners are anxious about expressing their thoughts in perfect English. To avoid mistakes, they have a tendency to think about how to respond before their conversation partner is done talking. This isn’t a good habit, especially for beginners. While you’re too busy thinking about your response, you might miss important information during the interaction. Instead, listen carefully to the speaker and wait until they finish. You can answer better if you fully understand their message.

The person you’re talking to knows you’re a non-native English speaker. Don’t be afraid to ask them to clear up some points if you don’t understand anything. When it’s your turn to talk, take your time to get the message across. Try including new vocabulary that you’ve learned recently. Don’t be afraid to ask the listener to correct you when you make a mistake.

Practice other English skills like reading and writing

Don’t forget that Business English is more than just conversations at work. In fact, a big percentage of office tasks require reading and writing office documents. Your writing vocabulary is established by the words you can spell and use correctly in business situations. Writing is a complex vocabulary skill, so a person’s writing vocabulary is normally smarter than other types of vocabulary. Business English writing will take on a formal tone and use difficult or advanced words. This is the reason learning new vocabulary must be constant.

Luckily, reading and learning new words go hand in hand. Business people must keep written records of their activities. Your company must have already produced many reports or documents. Read the ones that the staff can access. You can learn a lot of business-related vocabulary and apply them in similar situations that come your way. If company reports aren’t easily available, you can go online and look up other companies’ annual reports that are open to the public. Read everything that you’re able to: company histories and profiles, product descriptions, and reviews.

If Business English writing is important for your work, you may want to enroll in an English language course specially made for that function. Or you can buy affordable and top-quality learning software like LillyPad.ai which has a wide selection of reading resources and interactive learning features designed for Business English learners.

15 Common Business English Words and Phrases for Beginners

You will hear common words, phrases, and Business English expressions at your workplace. Begin the practice of putting them on a list. 10-15 items each week is a reasonable start. Focus on mastering the list and applying the vocabulary when you find good use of the words. To start you off with your list, here’s a compilation of 15 common Business English words and phrases:


1. Budget – money used to pay for expenses. Ex. Make sure that we stay within the budget for the New Year’s ball.

2. Corporate – used to describe anything related to a company or business. Ex. Corporate communication is a skill you should develop.

3. Counterpart – a business colleague or associate usually of equal position. Ex. We have a conference call with our French counterparts.

4. Debt – a bank loan or money you owe someone. Ex. We paid off our remaining debt last month.

5. Invoice – a bill that lists products or services that were bought. Ex. I haven’t received the invoice for the event organizer that we hired.

6. Lucrative – producing a huge profit. Ex. Being an overseas specialist is a lucrative career.

7. Occupation – what someone does for a living. Ex. I asked him what his occupation was.

8. Salary – the amount paid to an employee. Ex. His team received a 5% raise in salary.


9. Across the board – applies to everyone. Ex. “We need to implement the new policy across the board.”

10. ASAP – pronounced Ay-sap or spelled out Ay-Es-Ay-Pee, this is an acronym for “as soon as possible.” Ex. We need to review the proposal ASAP.

11. At stake: used to describe something that is in question or at issue. Ex. The total sales for this quarter are at stake.

12. Ballpark figure – an estimate or educated guess. Ex. “Can you give me a ballpark figure for our potential profit?”

13. Damage control – an action to limit the bad effects of an error or accident. Ex. We needed to do some damage control after the malfunction in the factory.

14. Industry Standard – the standard for quality and production within an industry. Ex. It’s our goal to keep industry standards every step of the way.

15. Mission statement – a statement describing why a company exists. Ex. Our mission statement is to provide affordable IT solutions.

Strengthening your Business English Vocabulary Skills with LillyPad.AI 

LillyPad.ai is a leading English language learning software that offers the best solutions to your language journey. The instructional design of LillyPad.ai covers all types of vocabulary: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and final vocabulary. The platform uses this framework with authentic or real-world Business English communication to provide first-class methods for improvement. LillyPad.ai also offers a personalized space of learning for members, where they can supervise and direct their progress by adding their favorite materials to their own exclusive page. LillyPad.ai is equipped with resources carefully curated by our language experts in the field of learning and teaching English as a second language.

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All English language learners carry a set of words according to their skill levels. They use this vocabulary to manage everyday situations. Business English vocabulary is a specialized set of words used in settings around business and the workplace. This area of English language skills is developed through office exchanges, self-study, and conversation practice. These skills become recognizable when you know how to use Business English vocabulary properly.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a business vocabulary?

Remember that vocabulary is the foundation of learning any language. We have a vocabulary that we use daily in typical everyday situations. We also have a vocabulary that we use at work. Although a big chunk of the language that we use at the office isn’t normally spoken in social settings, Business English vocabulary is not separate from the vocabulary of General English. It’s a part of it, but for business-related situations. A business vocabulary includes the English phrases, words, expressions, and so on used in business settings. Business English belongs to English for Specific Purposes, a branch of study that focuses on English utilized in particular industries. So learning Business English doesn’t mean you stop learning English for general use. In fact, A solid General English vocabulary can enhance your vocabulary skills in Business English. 

How can I improve my business English vocabulary?

The two best methods for expanding Business English vocabulary are to actively engage in workplace communication and self-study. You should actively listen and make an effort to apply previous knowledge during office conversations and written correspondence. Beyond that, you must make more effort at home. Watch business TV shows and programs. Read online, magazine, and newspaper articles about trade and industry. Learn new vocabulary and apply them in daily interactions Set reasonable language goals. Don’t stress yourself when you make mistakes or believe your progress is slow. As long as your learning methods are dynamic and you create strong relationships at work, you’re on the right path to success. Your relationship with your colleagues is important because they’d be more patient and helpful with your language limitations.

How can business communication improve vocabulary?

Regular English usage at the office makes you more proficient in Business English grammar, structure, and vocabulary. The more you interact with native speakers and other non-native English speakers like you, the more exposure you get to the vocabulary and structures that are used in a business context. You will learn new words and mimic how they’re used according to their relevance and value. Not only that, reading can help a lot to improve your vocabulary. All companies have some written report or record of any business activity and some of these are available to the staff. You can read these documents and learn the language naturally. This can be especially valuable in the business writing process. The next time you write an email, you can have an “aha moment” where you know exactly which words to use because of your background knowledge.  

What is basic Business English?

Basic Business English involves the essential language needed to communicate in English in a business context. Non-native speakers starting to learn Business English have achieved intermediate to advanced levels in general instruction. Since Business English normally uses formal language, its basics require sufficient vocabulary and grammar skills. They know common business idioms, phrases, and expressions, and have a bit of expertise in using them. Basic Business English means individual learners have sufficient knowledge to fulfill communication tasks in the workplace: attending video or in-person business meetings, answering phone calls from foreign clients, customer care and support, writing emails, and so on. 

How do you teach business vocabulary?

Each individual learner has their own purpose for enhancing their Business English skills. They may want to focus on a particular purpose: efficient business communication, moderating a business meeting, managing a team of employees, communicating with business partners, and so on. So first, in order to teach properly, you need to perform a needs analysis survey in order to design an effective language program. Additionally, you need to use real-life situations to add value to your lessons. There are plenty of topics to cover. From simple business presentations to complex business negotiations. Include teaching about the importance of other Business English skills such as writing and conversation. They go hand in hand to achieve success in your students’ business tasks and projects.

Which is the best app for learning English vocabulary?

LillyPad.ai is the best English language learning software in the ESL industry today. The app provides effective solutions to your English vocabulary learning needs. The platform’s unique approach to improving vocabulary focuses on interactive reading materials like a built-in dictionary, grammar assistant, voice recording for pronunciation feedback, an automatic function to collect and save valuable words and materials to your subscription’s personal page, and so much more. Apart from LillyPad.ai’s user-friendly interface and innovative features, the content is designed and regularly updated by experts in language teaching. LillyPad.ai continues to study efficient teaching methodologies and learning strategies to create more options that are crucial in the development of your vocabulary and other English language skills.  

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William Landry

William Landry

William is a professional English and ESL teacher with over 15 years of experience. He has taught students of all ages, from children to business executives, and has worked with ESL learners from all over the globe. With a degree in English Education, William has developed curriculum for learners of all levels and interests. He is passionate about helping people learn English effectively and shares his knowledge with the LillyPad community. When he’s not teaching or writing, William enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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