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Have you noticed that there aren’t a whole lot of websites targeted towards Business English users?
Do you struggle to find fun, engaging and productive activities for your business English students? Well, today’s post is here to help you!
5 Business English Activities I Love
So, I’ve put together a list of five activities I love to do with my students – and I think your students will love them, too. Now, of course, Business English students are adults – sometimes CEOs, sometimes entry level admin staff at a hospital or other clinic where they urgently need to learn English.
Actually, it’s crucial to diverge from the textbook, even if you are preparing for the CAE, CPE or Business Vantage exams (the Cambridge Exams). In fact, authentic and realistic materials are so important that I center my Business English curricula on them.
So, here are my top 5 activities!
1. Phrasal Verbs Game – Business Edition
So, if you’ve signed up for my free printables library (updated monthly with great free teaching worksheets!), you’ve already got the cards for my Ultimate Phrasal Verbs Game (the post on it is here). I have fun playing this story based game with my students several times a month.
Want the Business English version? Actually, they are cards with 30 Phrasal Verbs hand picked for making Business English scenarios. They will be available in my March printables pack, which will be released shortly!
How to Play
- Cut out the cards and place them in a ziploc bag ahead of time. If you have a class and can make teams of 2 to 4, use different coloured paper and create several sets. This way, each team has a different colour.
- Have students (or teams) draw 10 cards
- Create a story with the cards, using the phrasal verbs. Get students to be as creative as possible, and use a business context
- Challenge: Ask students to use all the cards they can instead, in a given time limit.
- Extra Challenge: Use the cards in the order you drew them!
2. Mock Interview
Holding a mock interview can also be a great way to engage business students. Of course, this works best in teams of 2 people, or 4 people if you are practicing panel interview skills.
Actually, you can have students prepare the class before by assigning interview question creation, or a written CV as homework. Working in teams, they can create a roleplay in the class itself and present it. Of course, it is important that the questions are not too easy! Ask a mix of types types of questions:
- Basic – Introductory, warm-up questions
- Character – Ask about how the candidate would describe themselves, their personal strengths and weaknesses.
- Situational Analysis – Create a short scenario and ask the employee what they would do in this situation. If possible, have them explain what they have done in a previous, similar, situation.
3. Meeting Recording
Well, this one was actually a suggestion from a current student! Although he had a C1 level of English on paper, he felt his colleagues were much better at conversational English that he was. Since he works for a large organization, he has multi-national clients and meetings run in English.
Here is how I help him:
- He audio records meetings with customers or clients (note: Be sure your students have permission to do this!)
- I receive the recording and listen to it before class, writing down any grammatical, vocabulary or language use errors
- Every class, we review the error list (and transcript). First, I see if he can find the errors, and then we correct them.
It’s super simple, but it works so well! Also, your students will gain confidence when they realize that they are not the only second language speakers making small errors in their speech!
4. Curriculum Vitae & Cover Letter Prep
- Before class: Have students find job postings they are interested in and bring them to class
- Review the CV or Resume format. While there are several formats, I first introduce a chronological resume, as this is the most common
- Review CV and cover letter vocabulary in class
- Have students work to create a draft. Use the next class to peer-edit, if you are teaching a large group.
5. Role-playing Business Scenarios
Finally, role-play can be a great way to learn vocabulary and teach situation-specific phrases and cultural behaviours. Now, you may be thinking that role-plays are for children! Well, I beg to differ. I’ve had classes have a lot of fun planning a script and acting out a role-play, or even acting one out on an impromptu basis.
In addition to the mock interview I suggested above, you could also role-play the following situations:
- Meeting a client for the first time
- Running a weekly status update meeting
- Dealing with an angry customer in a store or office reception
- Pitching a product or service to a potential client
- Any other situation your students find difficult in real life!
Starting your own tutoring business? Don’t forget to check out my FREE Course for English teachers and tutors on 7 Secrets to Profitable Tutoring!
What are your favourite Business English activities? I love hearing from all of you, so please share your experiences with the Teaching Cove community in the comments below!
P.S. Photo fans, I took the photo of the skyscrapers in New York on my holidays there in December 2007.
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