Business English One-to-One... any tips?

<b> Forum for those teaching business English </b>

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Business English One-to-One... any tips?

Post by pigletdoglet » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:11 pm

As per the title! Am about to embark on a fairly intensive one to one tuition course with an Italian business man who wants to study business English as well as a load of grammar. I've not done much in the way of this before so just after any tips the more experienced among you might have!

It will be 12 hours a week (on top of my regular schedule which is currently at around 26 hours a week). Two two hour sessions during the week and two 3 hour sessions at weekends. I've never taught a 3 hour session before!! Eeek!

Look forward to hearing your suggestions and recommendations and tips and everything else you can say to me! :-)


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One on One teaching

Post by kirstindijon » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:44 pm

Hi there,

I've been teaching one on one business English for just under a year now, and sometimes it can be more demanding on your energy as the students don't feed off of each other's contributions if they're alone. But I think it's great that it really gives yan opportunity to help the student where they need it. Definitely have some goals that you'd like to achieve with each class, but be flexible - if you notice a reoccurring problem, take the time (especially when you have a 2-3 hour time-slot) to really iron it out with them.

You might like to check out my blog at - it has some of my reflections on business teaching, and one on one ideas

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Post by silencedobetter » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:04 am

Teaching adults can be a challenge especially business English. You may divide the lessons to writing, conversation and presentation- some of the basic skills necessary int he business setting. Teach him how to write and how to respond to a business letter. Prepare common business dialogues. And guide him in preparing a business presentation in English.

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Post by Sally Olsen » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:07 am

All my business students wanted to know slang and swear words so they could deal with the after hours meetings.

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Post by FrankS » Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:24 am

I have quite a lot of business English experience and, almost always, the student expects general English and is never satisfied with the results from that. There are nearly no schools that understand (or care) what is required, so you are on your own that way.

First of all, a one-to one class in business English is easier because there are no interfering needs come into play.

Second, it is probably up to you to determine what the student needs. I do not mean in English, but in business. Detrermine what they need to say and do and focus on that. For myself, I care not one whit as to what grammar rules they know or what level their grammar is. If what they require to say requires a structure they dio not understand, that is unimportant. The exam comes when they have to use it and if you try to follow a general English syllabus, they usually fail.

Next, it is a good idea to ask the student for material. It is always extremely relevant and better than anything else you will have. Base your work around that.

Last of all, I would use lots of audio visual material. It makes for a break, they can take it home, and they get an ear for the natural phrasing. It is best with English subtitles (download many for free and transcode onto a new disk), but those are sometimes very bad and usually not great. Any are better than none. I have to write many of my own subtitles and it is time consuming. It is better to edit them, but it could eat a huge amount of time. Nice thing is they are mostly universal. Most students want a few episodes from some popular TV show or a film and those last forever. I am still using disks from Star Trek (or Star Drek as I call it)

The A/V material should be a mix of business and casual material and as entertaining as possible. The student is certainly going to appreciate that, As hard as you work, the student is working harder and being able to switch back and forth makes for easier concentration and better retention.

Most important, mix up business topics with lots of stuff the student is interested in. As above, if they like the class, they will learn more.

I began this business being thrown into one- to-ones with forty hour one week intensives and found all the ways to do it wrong very fast. The school had no idea and neither did I. Over the years, I have come to realise that the worst part of high contact time is being stuck in a room a long time. It is bad for you and worse for the students. Go for walks if you can, let them talk about whatever they want frequently. keep them from getting bored and you will find the time flies by.

Most students can do wonders with a few phrases and a lot of substitutions. If they need presentation skills, there are business books and videos that are not bad (meaning they do not pretend it is "magic" or complex) try any one of the "Dragon's Den" or "Apprentice" franchise shows if they need negotiation skills they have a good opening for that as well.

I only know what works for me and that my first tries were disasters and I have not met a single teacher who was not a disaster their first time. The Earth did not collapse and the schools never noticed. The classes just got easier and easier with experience.


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Post by manujamin99 » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:38 am

Great info, I can definitely take something away from this!


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