What do I mean by ‘Authentic Business English’? This is an expression I use to describe the kind of English you would use if it was your first language. It matches with your authentic self, your character, personality, values and the position you hold or that you would like to have in the future. In other words, ‘say what you mean and mean what you say.’

This involves being careful with the words that you choose to use and being honest, not just using the latest ‘buzzwords’ or ‘cool’ expressions. Therefore, it requires some thought, especially if you are thinking in one language and translating into English in your head or in a translator application.

How does this work in practice? One of my favourite examples, and a great place to start, is the standard learned answer to the question ‘How are you?’ So many people simply answer ‘Fine, thanks.’ However, this is not a very positive or imaginative response and doesn’t help the ‘smalltalk’ part of the conversation to develop or even to focus on business topics. In fact, it often has the effect of killing the conversation and creating an uncomfortable pause. A more positive response is simply to say ‘Very well, thank you, how are you?’

If you want to be more imaginative, you might try something like ‘Excellent, thank you...’ followed by the reason which can be anything from a personal event at the weekend, such as a birthday celebration, to having a good start to the week at work. Alternatively, you might want to shift the topic of the conversation by saying ‘I’m very well, thank you, but I’m a bit worried about...’

Try improving your conversations by getting off to a better start.

How are you today?