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They Told Raul His English Was "Good Enough"

Lesson #1: Why Business English?

Life in the USA has been very different for Raul than the one he left in Mexico 14 years ago. Of course, that was the reason he came here. Wanting more. Wanting opportunity. Wanting a better life for himself and his children.

His was a legal move. He had sponsors. He had money. He learned English at the Community College. After nearly two years of study, the Community College told him that his English was “good enough”, he had reached the top level they taught…and he was ready for the American Workplace. He believed them.

When Raul first found work at a construction company, he began as a laborer. Raul was able to take charge, he was able to influence his coworkers. He was respected by his boss for his skill, attitude and work ethic. After a year, he was running a crew of 8 men. He did all of this in Spanish. He felt he was on his way to career success in his new country.

Although Raul had been recognized for his natural leadership and skill and he had been rewarded with promotions, he had also become stuck at “Assistant Project Manager” for 7 years. The promotion he so desired, to become “Project Manager” was always out of reach. With the risk increasing that another worker would get the coveted promotion, Raul recognized that his Business English skills were the problem.

Raul needs to be well-versed and comfortable using project management terms, create and follow operational timelines and provide verbal and written progress reports to his bosses. He must be able to initiate conversations with customers, communicate understanding and resolution of problems that will arise, negotiate the best possible terms for purchases and be able to argue his points without emotion or aggression.  All of these functions require skilled use of Business English.

Our lessons together focus on accent reduction and expansion of basic project management vocabulary, correct pronunciation of frequently used terminology and customer names, construction of emails, phone messages and summaries.

While this effort is not easy, it is necessary to gain what Raul is looking for: Career Advancement.


1.      Learning Business English is different than learning English.

2.      Business English includes the ability to paraphrase a specific point or idea that someone else made to assure understanding of the message.

3.      Business English includes the ability to challenge someone else in an effective, respectful, assertive way, with a natural “give-and-take” dialogue.

4.      Business English can mean writing clear and appropriate work-related emails, leaving understandable phone messages, negotiating a price conflict, and persuading someone to do something differently.

5.      A competent use of Business English allows the speaker to interact effectively with American customers, vendors, management, and co-workers.


Successful use of Business English is essential if Raul, or any non-native English speaker, wants to get that promotion and advance in the American Marketplace.


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