Fluency Over Accuracy

I often ask new clients what they do if they recognise that they’ve made a mistake when speaking. There tends to be a pretty even balance between two answers: I go back and correct it; or, I keep going in the hope that no one noticed.

My advice on this one would be the latter – fluency over accuracy – keep going at the risk of making the odd mistake.

While accuracy is important – and there’s always room for improvement – the right amount of confidence plays a huge role in building relationships and getting the job done effectively.

If your listener has understood the gist of what you said – keep going. If you are unsure whether they have understood you or not, you would be better to check their understanding later in the conversation by asking for any questions or recapping the main points of what you spoke about.

Especially if you tend to be on the shy side, try soldiering through the some of the mistakes and concentrate on the content.

And remember – fake it ’til you make it!

The path to better Business English

Sometimes it can seem overwhelming and impossible, the thought of one day speaking perfect Business English. Of course, there are oceans of resources online but it might feel like you’re taking a scattered approach and never really achieving anything.

One step at a time

Why not tackle one thing at a time? Try choosing one to three issues that you think you could improve on, write them down on a post-it note and stick it to your monitor. If you’re not sure what to choose, find someone you trust to help you identify issues they’ve noticed.

Think about each of these things when re-reading or editing your emails or when reflecting on a meeting or telephone conversation.

Good things take time

Don’t expect it to happen overnight. Stick with these three points for three weeks and add to your list if you feel you’re getting a handle on them. Rome wasn’t built in a day – and your Business English skills won’t be either.


A good grammar revision book is English Grammar in Use (with Supplementary Exercises and Answers) by Louise Hashemi and Raymond Murphy (published by Cambridge).

A good Business English text is Business English Handbook –Advanced by Paul Emmerson (published by Macmillan).

You can pick up a copy in Sydney at Abbey’s Language Book Centre or in Melbourne at Bookery Education.

Bamboo Ceiling – Share your experiences

diversity council austDiversity Council Australia is conducting a national survey called Cracking the Cultural Ceiling. The survey calls for leaders and future leaders from an Asian cultural background to share their views and experiences of the Australian workplace. The objective is to investigate and better understand if the Australian workforce is successfully attracting and promoting Asian leaders.

Studies and observations like this have most notably been conducted in the USA, which resulted in a book by Jane Hyun called Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Career Strategies for Asians.

If you’d like to participate in this 10-minute survey please click here.

Vocab Tips

New vocabulary acquisition is a pain and chore.

You wish there was that magic button you could press to allow your English to become instantaneously sophisticated. You wish people would hang off your every word as you fascinate them with fancy linguistics.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started…

  1. Listen for the words that you understand but don’t necessarily actively use.
  2. Gain new vocabulary by reading articles from The Monthly magazine – or any other good writing (hard to find).
  3. Set aside 10 minutes of every day to revise your new vocab list.
  4. Search for spelling mistakes in the MX paper on the way home.
  5. Come to the next E4B Conversation Meet-Up on 25 November at York Lane.

First Meet-Up

york lane
It was a dark and stormy night…

…but a few of us still got down to the funky York Lane in Sydney for the inaugural E4B Meet-Up.

It was good to see some familiar E4Ber faces again as well as a few of our trainers who shared a Moscow Mule or two.

Hope to see you at the next one on 25 November at the same place (http://www.yorklane.com/).