The business of English or the English of business? English is my business, or my business is English: not sure that those two are different, but they are in my head. More and more I really believe that the two are very strange bedfellows. English is so very much a part of who
I am, and business is so very very much not any part of me at all. I understand why it consumes some people and I have got a hold on the basics – profit, loss, supply, demand, bottom line etc. etc. but it moves me not. It has no soul, no identity, no feelings, no character, no life. So trying to combine it with English which is so expressive, so full of emotion, vibrant, dynamic and very much alive is always going to be an uneasy matching. For me anyway.
Here’s the thing. I have to do two talks in short succession next week – one is at a huge convention of business-y type people in Germany and the other is to a smaller group of teacher-y trainer-y type people in London. The talks couldn’t be more different – they have to be. One addresses the business of business – competitive edge, globalised, increasingly connected, highly demanding international business arena; the urgent need to present a confident, accomplished, sophisticated image to the world by having your English under control otherwise those big competitive bogey men, China and India, will be ahead of the game, English-wise. The other is far less aggressive. It deals with the person at the heart of all this: the complex, pressured, tired, anxious and possibly fearful Business English learner, whose most urgent need is to be accepted, encouraged, praised and guided towards a place where s/he feels comfortable speaking in English.
I know which talk I’m looking forward to more…….