Business English Topics for ESL Students

Business English Topics

Business English Topics

23.04.2024

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minutes
  • Speaking
  • Tips & Strategies
  • Methodology

In the era of globalization, free trade, online services and transcultural relationships, more and more people are eager to start their businesses. However, every person who decides to give their dream a go faces the importance of knowing English, an international language. The thing is that they may know general English on a decent level but still struggle with business communication. 

In this article, we are going to elaborate on how general English is different from business English and which topics you can use to make your Business English students speak.

Why does teaching business talk differ?

There is an endless list of reasons why business English is difficult but at the same time important to teach. Even though we refer to teaching business English so often, providing students with the right tools to participate in business conversations effectively is a whole new level of proficiency. 

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Here are some of the reasons why we should consider different approaches:

  • Conversations about business require a different type of vocabulary. Therefore, if you used to be a teacher of general English, you will have to look for new materials as well as possibly discover and google a lot of stuff yourself.
  • Focus on communication. Conversation for business purposes is the main priority for anyone who comes to a Business English class. So, you have to make sure that all the information your students learn eventually results in its active usage in conversations on various topics.
  • The need for quick results and the desire to use the obtained information instantly. The majority of the students are usually interested in quick results. That is why you have to increase retention as much as possible as well as make students feel that they progress.
  • More time for preparation. Business discussion topics are not easy for someone who is not in business. Therefore, creating a perfect Business English plan may require more time. Plus, a lot of professionals experience troubles with creating conversational topics for a business English class.

The best way to fulfill all these requirements is by enrolling in special TEFL classes and mastering all the teaching tools you need. Further, you will see some unbeaten business conversation topics and examples of questions that will make your Business English class more engaging.

Business

B1–B2

Business topics to discussExamples of questions
Bankruptcy
  • In what ways does bankruptcy affect an individual's credit score, and what steps can they take to rebuild their credit after filing for bankruptcy?
  • How does bankruptcy impact businesses, particularly small businesses, and what alternatives exist for companies facing financial distress to avoid bankruptcy?
Brand awareness
  • What role do social media platforms play in increasing brand awareness, and what strategies can businesses employ to use social media effectively for this purpose?
  • How does brand awareness contribute to customer loyalty and trust, and what are some examples of successful brand awareness campaigns that have impacted consumer behavior and brand perception?
Consumer risk
  • With the rise of online shopping and digital transactions, what are some emerging consumer risks related to cybersecurity, data privacy, and identity theft, and how can consumers protect themselves against these risks?
  • What are the different types of consumer risks that people may face when going shopping, and how do these risks influence consumer behavior and decision-making processes?
Corporate culture
  • What role does leadership play in shaping corporate culture, and how can leaders cultivate a culture that aligns with the company's values, goals, and desired outcomes?
  • How does corporate culture impact employee morale and productivity and what are some effective strategies for promoting a positive and inclusive corporate culture within an organization?
Data security
  • What are the primary threats to data security that businesses face today, and what proactive measures can companies implement to avoid these risks?

Employee coaching
  • How do effective coaches establish rapport and trust with their employees?
  • What communication techniques and feedback mechanisms are essential for creating a supportive environment that promotes learning and development?
Marketing ethics
  • How do cultural differences and societal norms impact perceptions of ethical marketing practices, and what steps should multinational corporations take to maintain ethical consistency across diverse markets?
  • In an age of influencer marketing and sponsored content, what ethical considerations arise regarding transparency, authenticity, and consumer trust?
Outsourcing
  • How can companies determine which activities are suitable for outsourcing versus keeping in-house?
Risk management
  • What are the key steps involved in the risk management process within organizations?
  • How should businesses identify, assess, prioritize, and mitigate various types of risks?
Work-life balance
  • What are the potential consequences of poor work-life balance on employees' mental and physical well-being, job satisfaction, and overall productivity?
  • How does technology impact work-life balance?
Workplace diversity
  • What challenges do companies face in promoting diversity and overcoming barriers to inclusion?
  • How does a diverse workforce contribute to innovation, creativity, and overall organizational performance?

Best podcasts and YouTube channels for English teachers

C1–C2

Consumer loyalty
  • What factors influence consumer loyalty to brands or businesses?
  • How do companies build strong emotional connections with customers to foster long-term loyalty and repeat purchases?
Copycat products
  • How do copycat products impact the original brands in terms of brand reputation, market share, and revenue?
  • How do companies balance the need to protect intellectual property rights with consumers' right to access affordable alternatives?
Green products
  • What are the main factors driving consumer demand for green products, and how do companies demonstrate the environmental benefits of their products to appeal to eco-conscious consumers?
  • How do companies balance sustainability goals with profitability and market competitiveness?
Intellectual capital
  • What role does intellectual capital management play in driving innovation and knowledge creation within organizations?
Philanthropy
  • What motivates individuals and companies to engage in philanthropy?
  • How do philanthropic initiatives contribute to addressing social, environmental, and humanitarian challenges both locally and globally?
Regional planning
  • What factors influence the decision-making process when expanding into new regions or international markets?

Administration and Management

B1–B2

Dress code
  • What impact does a relaxed or flexible dress code have on employee morale, productivity, and workplace culture?
  • How do businesses navigate the fine line between promoting individual expression and maintaining a professional image?
Employment equity
  • What are the key principles of employment equity, and how do companies ensure fairness and equal opportunities for all employees regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, or other protected characteristics?
Human resources
  • How do companies adapt their HR strategies and policies to address evolving workforce dynamics and employee expectations?
Knowledge management
  • How do organizations capture, organize, and share knowledge effectively across departments and teams?
  • What role does knowledge management play in promoting innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning within the organization?
Mentoring
  • What are the benefits of cross-generational mentoring, where experienced employees mentor younger colleagues and vice versa?
  • How do businesses measure the effectiveness of their mentoring programs in terms of employee engagement, retention, and performance outcomes?
Troubled employees
  • What are the common signs of employee distress or troubled behavior in the workplace, and how do businesses recognize and address underlying issues such as stress, mental health challenges, substance abuse, or personal difficulties affecting employee performance and well-being?
Workplace dating
  • How do companies establish clear policies and guidelines to address issues such as conflicts of interest, favoritism, and potential legal liabilities while respecting employees' rights to privacy and personal relationships?

What is an Engage-Study-Activate teaching method?

C1–C2

Bias in promotions
  • What are the consequences of unchecked biases in promotion decisions?
  • How do organizations identify and mitigate biases in promotion practices, such as implementing structured interview processes, establishing objective criteria for promotion eligibility, etc?
Employee benefit planning
  • What factors do businesses consider when designing employee benefit plans, and how do they balance cost-effectiveness with providing competitive benefits that attract and retain top talent?
Reverse performance evaluation
  • How do businesses implement reverse performance evaluation processes, where employees evaluate their supervisors or managers?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of gathering feedback from subordinates to assess leadership effectiveness and organizational culture?
Sexual harassment
  • What steps should organizations take to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace?
  • How do they create a culture of respect, inclusivity, and zero tolerance for harassment?
Succession management
  • How do businesses balance internal talent development with external recruitment strategies in succession planning?
  • What factors influence decisions regarding internal promotions, external hires, or hybrid approaches to filling critical leadership positions within the organization?
Telecommuting
  • How do companies effectively manage remote teams and maintain productivity, collaboration, and communication in a telecommuting environment?
  • What tools and technologies do they use to facilitate remote work?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of telecommuting for employees?
  • How do businesses assess the impact of telecommuting on organizational culture, employee engagement, and job satisfaction?

Economics

B1–B2

Consumerism
  • What role do advertising, marketing strategies, and consumer culture play in shaping consumer preferences, desires, and purchasing decisions?
  • How do consumer movements, such as minimalism, ethical consumerism, and conscious consumption, challenge traditional business practices?
Credit crisis
  • What lessons have been learned from past credit crises, such as the 2008 global financial crisis?
  • How have policymakers, financial institutions, and investors adjusted their risk management practices to prevent future credit crises?
(De)monetisation
  • How do content creators effectively monetize their online platforms?
  • What strategies do they use to generate revenue through advertising, sponsored content, subscriptions, or merchandise sales?
  • What are the economic and social impacts of demonetization policies?
Housing market crash
  • How do housing market crashes impact homeowners, renters, and the broader economy, including effects on property values, mortgage defaults, consumer confidence, and employment in related industries such as construction and finance?
Minimum wage
  • How do businesses respond to changes in the minimum wage?
National debt
  • What are the potential consequences of unsustainable national debt levels?
Unemployment
  • How do governments measure and calculate unemployment rates, and what are the limitations and criticisms of traditional unemployment metrics?
  • What are the social and economic impacts of unemployment on individuals, families, and communities, including effects on mental health, poverty, social cohesion, and economic inequality?

Dealing with unknown words in the text

C1–C2

Austerity measures
  • What are the main objectives of austerity measures?
  • How do governments implement austerity measures?
  • What are the political and social implications of austerity policies?
Bailout
  • What are the ethical and economic considerations surrounding bailouts?
Informal economy
  • What are the characteristics and drivers of the informal economy?
  • How do informal employment, unregistered businesses, and cash-based transactions contribute to economic growth, employment opportunities, and income generation in developing countries and emerging markets?
Sharing economy
  • How has the sharing economy transformed traditional industries such as transportation, accommodation, and personal services, and what are the key features and business models of sharing economy platforms?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of the sharing economy?
Tariffs
  • How do tariffs impact international trade and global supply chains?
  • How do businesses mitigate the risks and costs associated with tariffs?
Article authors & editors
  • Arina Kravchenko

    Arina Kravchenko

    Author

    Teacher of General English & IELTS

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