Some of these people are native English speakers, but there are many people using English regularly for speak English as their second, or even their third, language.
What does this mean when you are writing Business English?
Remember that not everyone understands everything.
When we write for non-native speakers we have to be careful about any idioms we use, and think twice about using long, overly-complex, sentences.
Fiona Talbot, co-author of the excellent book Improve Your Global Business English, offers some useful advice.
- Work out what your main message is before you start to write. If you aren’t clear about what you are trying to say, there’s a chance your reader won’t understand you.
- Cut out the jargon that people may not understand.
- Check your word choice to avoid confusion. Some terms may not be taught in some countries. For example, use “two weeks” rather than “a fortnight”.
- Break down chunks of text into bite-sized portions and use headings and sub-headings to help readers find their way through your documents.
- Double-check your spelling and grammar every time. Mistakes that a native speaker might gloss over can cause frustration for a non-native speaker and prevent you from successfully communicating your message.