“We grow fearless by walking into our fears.”
Another month, another guest blogger.
This month I am delighted to introduce you to Steven Wesley. He believes, as I do, that one of the most effective ways you can feel comfortable speaking English is by improving your writing. The more you write the more the words will flow from your brain out of your mouth.
Imagine this scenario: you meet a British client or colleague. You’re trying to ask a question and have a nice, relaxed conversation, but that doesn’t work quite as expected.
You get too nervous and you start making mistakes although you went through the grammar rules dozens of times before.
WAIT, you don’t have to imagine the situation.
Chances are, you’ve probably faced it at one point or another.
Why aren’t you confident when speaking English?
Because you’re simply not confident enough in using vocabulary and grammar in daily communication.
Do you know what helps?
Listen to the Post
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That’s not the answer you expected, was it?
Everybody keeps telling you to practice your speech.
So why should you write if you’re trying to improve your speaking skills? It’s another kind of practice that makes you more confident in the way you use grammar and advanced vocabulary.
When you feel confident writing business emails and documents, the speaking will come naturally.
Let’s see how exactly business writing can (and will) boost your speaking skills.
Writing Improves Your Grammar
When you’re practicing business writing, you’re learning how to write professional emails, instructions, reports, business proposals, mission and vision statements, cover letters, and other types of content.
The writing skills are mainly based on your ability to convey a message in the right tone. However, that particular skill depends on your ability to choose the correct verb forms and tenses, nouns and noun modifiers, and clauses.
The logic is simple: when you’re trying hard to make progress in business writing, you’re basically practicing proper grammar. As you continue with this practice, you’re naturally becoming more confident in the way you form sentences. That confidence will reflect in the way you speak.
You’re Using the Acquired Knowledge in Practice through Business Communication
Let’s say you learned new vocabulary and verb constructions. Memorizing a few nouns and verbs is not hard, is it?
Then why do you choke when you’re supposed to use what you learned in speech?
It’s because you haven’t fully integrated the new vocabulary and grammar rules in your speech. That’s where business writing can help.
Good business writing is conversational. When you’re communicating with a business partner, an employer/employee or a client, you’re using everyday words and grammar rules.
However, you’re not writing to a friend, so you’re trying to maintain proper tone and you double-check the spelling and grammar before sending the message.
Through business writing, you’re learning how to implement everything you learn in effective communication. That’s why it becomes easier to use new words and grammar rules in speech if you practice them in writing first.
When You Turn Business Writing into a Habit, It Grows on You
The skill of business writing is developed through a lot of practice and persistence.
Do you know what helps?
Keeping a private journal, where you’ll express your thoughts and ideas.
This won’t be a simple brainstorming notebook where you just write words and concepts that come to your mind.
You’ll be writing the journal in English, and you’ll do your best to maintain the style and form of business writing. That practice will quickly boost your skills.
Business Writing Has a Structure. It Helps You Track the Progress
You’ve kept a journal for a few months?
That’s great! It’s time to check what progress you’ve made. Read your first entries. You’ll probably notice a few mistakes in them. That’s good!
If you’re able to notice and correct your own mistakes, it means you’re becoming a more fluent user of English. It means you’re less likely to make those mistakes when you speak to someone.
The structure of business writing is also important for your overall language usage skills. Go ahead and check a few emails or documents you wrote.
Here’s an example:
I’m sending the materials you asked me to complete for you. Please let me know if revisions are needed.
That’s a simple example for a business email. It’s written in a conversational, but respectful tone. It has an introduction, body, and greeting. Now imagine transferring this structure into effective spoken communication.
It’s good to see you today. How is that project going?
Once you’re done with the conversation and you’re trying to bring it to a conclusion, you simply come up with a greeting:
Let’s arrange a meeting to talk about the details, shall we?
And you end up with a simple have a lovely day.
When you know how to do this in writing, you won’t choke when speaking to someone.
It’s Easy to Transfer the Newly Acquired Skills to Speaking
Let’s see: what is business writing all about?
- Writing persuasively in English;
- Effective communication via email;
- Adapting the message to a specific purpose, context, and audience;
- Using appropriate tone that fits the purpose.
Through your practice with business writing, you improve all these skills in English.
You start using English effectively and persuasively, and you adjust the tone according to the circumstances. Those are the exact skills you need for effective verbal communication.
If you’re making connections with international businesses and you can’t use your native language for communication, the writing practice will give you the foundation you need.
So how can you improve your English speaking skills through business writing?
-Be more careful when writing emails.
-Maintain proper vocabulary, grammar and style.
-Read those emails out loud; that’s how you practice pronunciation.
When you find yourself in a situation when you’re expected to speak English, the words will flow.
Steven Wesley is a blogger and an academic writing tutor at BestDissertation.com. He is interested in educational, technological and political issues and believes in the mighty power of pen to change the modern world.
I couldn’t have put this better myself. Thanks so much, Steven.
What is your worst fear when it comes to speaking English in a business context? What have you done up to now to conquer your fear?
Please share your experience with me in the comments box.
Until next week, ciao for now
Psssst, if you need more help to improve your Business English writing, check out my latest e-book, Business English Secrets.