3 surprising business lessons you can learn from English language and literature.

Veröffentlicht am 3. Juni 2024 um 15:13

What do literature and language have to do with your career if you work in business? More than you think. 

After working as an investigator for DM/Euro payments in Ireland, I returned to Germany and studied English language and literature at the University of Osnabrück.

It was a fantastic time, and I loved learning about UK and Irish culture, literature, politics, history and everyday life.

But I also learned some life skills that are still helpful to me in business, in English or German. How can literature and language studies teach you about business communication skills? Read on for three lessons you can learn about business while you improve your English in general.


1. Want to deliver more facts? Use English.


When I compared English and German at university, I noticed that you deliver more facts with fewer sentences in English. Emails in German, for example, were often very long and used a lot of complex sentences. Sometimes, you had to read them twice to ensure you understood them.

However, in English, they often delivered the most critical tasks without using complicated language.

It makes the email more straightforward to understand and increases the likelihood that the reader will follow up, reply, or agree to your request. 

Sticking to the facts is especially important for business when you must present and want the audience's attention-especially for international audiences. Have you ever attended a meeting in German that you found harder to follow than a meeting in English? I have been in this situation, and meetings in English seem different to me.

The simple and brief nature of business English makes it easier to convince your audience with facts. 


2. Get to the point.


Another critical business skill you can learn in literature studies is getting to the point. I remember a particular exercise I had to do in one of my seminars.

It was a literature seminar, and we read one book from an Irish

or Northern Irish author for half a year. Then, we had to summarize the book. There was just one catch: the summary shouldn’t be longer than one A4 page, no matter how many pages the book contained.

That way, I had to focus on the most essential information, avoid repetition, and get to the point.

Learning to get to the point is also handy for business presentations. Just ask yourself what kind of information your audience expects and why they are attending your presentation in the first place.


3. Create a relaxed, communicative atmosphere.


What I truly admired about one of my English lecturers was how he created a relaxed, communicative atmosphere.

He used a more informal language than my German lecturers and sometimes made jokes. It initially surprised me, but I got used to it quickly and enjoyed it. That way, studying English was a great joy.

Being less formal but still maintaining the appropriate respect can also create a more relaxed communicative atmosphere.


4. Takeaway


Delivering facts, getting to the point, and creating a relaxed, communicative atmosphere are the three skills I learned during my studies of English language and literature.

They have accompanied me in my business life ever since and are undoubtedly transferable skills. 

Could you use any of the skills mentioned in the post to help you with your business communication?

How could English communication skills like delivering more facts, getting to the point, or creating a friendly environment help you with your career?

Do you want more tips on how you can become a better Business English communicator with less stress? Sign up for my newsletter.


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