Business English writing. What are the rules?

04 Apr 2022

After two covid postponements, Ian Badger will finally be giving his talk 'Business English writing.  What are the rules?' at the IATEFL conference in Belfast on 19th May 2022.  He will be kicking off the Business English Special Interest group's showcase event.

Here is the blurb:

In this talk I will discuss whether or not there are any ‘rules’ for written English international communication.  Drawing on examples taken from a long experience of working with business learners in global companies in geographically diverse workplaces, I will give examples of written language which is clearly understood and examples which cause confusion.  Are there key characteristics of understandable language?  Is one person’s clear message unclear to another person?  In many cases, our learners need to learn the skill of deciphering language which they do not easily understand.

I will demonstrate that the ‘rules’ of clear business written communication are fluid and that tolerance and flexibility are key to building good business relationships.  I will also demonstrate, based on my work with highly proficient non-native as well as UK and US managers, how ‘advanced’ and ‘native’ speakers also need help with writing clear English for international understanding.  Use of complex grammar, impenetrable idiom, slang and culturally-specific humour can cause greater communication problems in international communication than errors shared in the use of articles and the present perfect tense!

‘Rules’ will vary according to the context in which written communication occurs.  The standard of English demanded of those responsible for writing official company reports is, of course, not the same as the standard required for internal emails and chat.  

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