How often do you read the business news?
 
Every hour, every day, twice a week?
 
Where do you read it? On your smartphone? On your tablet? The traditional print edition?
 
What do you read? I bet it depends on the time of day. Let me guess…
 
#1: Good Morning
 
As soon as you wake up in the morning, the first thing you do is skim through the news headlines. If one of the headlines refers to the business section, you may just open the article and skim through it to get the broad concept (gist) of the article. You then put your phone away and get on with the rest of your day.
 
#2: The day is long
 
During the day you get notifications or newsflashes on your smartphone or desktop. You give a quick glance at the headlines and carry on with what you’re doing.
If ( and it’s a big IF) the headline grabs your attention you may just open the article and give it a super fast skim through and bookmark  or save it to read later. (By the way, how many of you go back and read those saved articles? I always plan to, but it never happens…)
 
 
#3: Who does lunch these days?
 
If you’re the lucky (or should I say sensible) few who takes a lunch break, you may use this time to scroll through some business articles.
 
Listen to the post
 
No matter how busy you are, you know that if you’re to keep up to date with the latest developments in your industry or sector, you need to set aside some time to catch up with business-related news.
 
Not only is it beneficial for your professional development, it is essential if your role involves networking with clients and collaborators. It demonstrates you’re someone who’s well-informed and this can only enhance your reputation as a serious business professional.
 
Being well-informed about the wider business sphere is invaluable when you’re engaged in small talk, involved in meetings and negotiations, presenting or being interviewed. It gives you a better, clearer perspective of the world you work in and it gives you plenty to talk about.
 
Ok, I can ’see’ you nodding in agreement with all I’ve said.
 
Here’s another question.
 
Do you read any of this business news in ENGLISH? If your answer is no, here’s WHY you should start doing  it NOW.
 
Reading business news or business articles in English is going to give you the essential language you need to communicate confidently and effectively at work with English.
 
I am not referring to the specific language related to your industry, for example, insurance, fintech, engineering and so on. Business news articles in English give you an extensive variety of fixed expressions, buzzwords, phrasal verbs, idiomatic expressions  and chunks of language that are regularly used in business in English.
 
The key is to give yourself as much exposure to the language of today’s business. The language of business is evolving at an ever faster pace and new expressions and phrases are often coined by business news articles. (Later in the month, I will share with you the latest business buzzwords.)
The more you immerse yourself in business news, the faster and better you’ll be at acquiring new business vocabulary.
 
How to learn new business vocabulary with a business news article
 
Don’t forget to apply the 80/20 rule. (See my post)
 
Learning ALL the vocabulary in an article is not efficient or productive and quite frankly, pointless.You want to concentrate on the vocabulary you use 80% of the time. And that’s probably going make up 20% of the vocabulary in the article that will be relevant to you. Focus on that 20%.
 
Have a notebook with you.
 
As you’re reading the article, highlight or make a note of  the expressions or words you think or know would be useful for you and would like to use in the future.
 
If you use flashcards to record new words and phrases, use that method. There are now flashcard apps you can use, too. I am an old-fashioned kind of woman and prefer pen and paper. Plus it’s been proven the more we write downwords and expressions, the more we’ll learn AND remember them.
 
If you’ve picked a word or phrase, look at the other words that come before and after your chosen word. This is important because words don’t act in isolation of each other and it’s not going to help you learn how to use those words in a sentence. You need to learn the words and phrases in context.
 
For example, you like the word “impression”. Now look at how it was used.
Was it in a sentence like “we all need to make a good impression on….” or “you gave me the impression that you would be good for this job…” or “the impression people have of migrants is often wrong”.
 
Here we have three verbs we can use with the word “impression”
  • Make an impression
  • Have an impression of
  • Give an impression
Make a note of the expression, translate it in your own language and then, try and create your own example.
This may sound very time-consuming but if you develop the habit of recording vocabulary this way, you will slowly expand your bank of words. 
 
Make the words and expressions your own
 
A fellow teacher, Elena Mutonono shares this important piece of advice. She says that to feel confident saying these new words and phrases in a conversation, you need to make them your own. Here’s what she suggest you should do:
 
“Think how you can use them and experiment with them. Think of a situation and a sentence where this word might be used. Try saying the entire sentence out loud. Don’t write it down, just say it. Say it to yourself. Record yourself. Repeat a number of times. Listen to yourself saying it until you get confident that you can use this word with others. Then use it in a conversation.
 
The problem with using a word in a conversation right away is that it sounds new and weird to you. That’s why you need to try it on yourself first. Then it will become “yours,” and you won’t feel awkward saying it.”
 
Where can you find this business news in English?
 
The online world has made accessing business news so much easier than just a few years ago. Not only have you got the traditional newspapers like, for example:
 
➣ The New York Times (US),
➣ The Times (UK),
➣ The Guardian (UK),
➣ The Wall Street Journal (US),
➣ The Telegraph (UK),
➣ The Independent (UK)
➣ The Times of India
➣ Washington Post (US)
 
…you also have online news organisations like:
 
➣ BBC
➣ CNN
➣ Reuters
➣ Bloomberg
➣ Sky News
 
Not to mention the business news websites like:
 
➣Business Insider,
➣ Forbes,
➣ Harvard Business Review (HBR).
 
 
However, it’s easy to get lost in this sea of resources which makes organising your information essential.
 
This is where a news aggregator could be your life saver.
 
Let me introduce you to SQUID

 
SQUID is a news aggregator app that gathers articles from all the best sites and magazines of the web in one app and divides them into different news categories and topics of interests. It has a wide choice of topics ranging from marketing & media to parenting.
 
Once you’ve selected your topics of interest you’ll receive separate news feeds for every category with articles from the mixed sites.
 
You probably already use a news aggregator app but what’s especially innovative about SQUID is it’s been designed with English learners in mind.
 
Let me explain.
They have created a category called Easy News. In this category, you have access to sites aimed at English learners who may find reading ‘real news’ too difficult to start with. One site I think you’d find especially helpful is The Times in Plain English.
 

It’s a free online newspaper that features stories based on articles from the New York Times and other top American newspapers.

 

‘Plain‘ here means ‘easy to understand’, and the stories are freshly written to reflect the original article. You can find articles in categories such as Health and Education, Money and Work, Immigration, and Law.
 
Apart from other English learning sites like Voice of America, BBC Learning English and News in Levels, you also have access to General and Business English Learning bloggers like me!
 
Let’s get back to business news.
The four categories I think would help with your business vocabulary are Business, Startups, Tech and Marketing & Media. There are some excellent sites available such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Techcrunch, Medium, Small Business Trends, Business Matters and many more. Plenty of articles for you to choose and learn from.
 
One other thing…SQUID has a tweak facility where you can highlight or underline words and expressions and save them to your notes.
 
 
Oh and in case you’re wondering…I have NOT been paid for promoting SQUID. A few months ago, I was asked if I’d be interested in exploring the app and writing a post about it. I finally found some time to do it and when I did, I was very impressed by the app and decided to share it with you.
 
It also fits in naturally to March’s theme of learning business vocabulary through business news.
 
Phew, this was a long post and if you’ve got to this point, you deserve an extra biscuit with your coffee.
 
Thanks so much for reading and listening. Next week, I’m going to look at how to tackle business headlines in English and how you can understand them better.
 
 
Ciao for now
 
Shanthi
 
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