You dress to impress, but what about your language skills?

Corporate language

Photo credit: Ben Rosett

Do you care about how you dress? You probably do, because you take yourself seriously and want others to do the same. But in the digital age, first impressions are not just visual. People want to hear and read what you have to say. Is your corporate language ready?

Because we recognise the importance of first impressions, we invest in business suits, office spaces with sweeping views, interactive websites and classy cars. These things symbolise our ambition and, ultimately, our success.

With e-commerce and remote working on the rise, traditional status symbols are losing importance, moving your written and spoken corporate language to the forefront. Unfortunately, linguistic quality is still often undervalued.

How often have you seen people stumble through presentations in their second language, misspell social media posts or use inconsistent terminology throughout various channels?

Investing in a good copywriter, proofreader and translators for your publications or actively working on your communication skills doesn’t have the same punch as “dress for success”, but they are no less important.

Focussing on language doesn’t just prevent you from sounding foolish, you’ll reap real and positive benefits as well.

Communicating clearly

Having a good command of your business language doesn’t only allow you to confuse people with big words. Much more importantly, it allows you to go the other way and get your point across in a manner that is concise and easy to understand. Whether you’re managing a project, negotiating a deal or giving a presentation, confusing an audience is detrimental to your goals.

Improving your language at a company level will improve understanding. After all, what is communication if not the art of understanding and being understood?

Gaining trust

When it comes to business, people don’t trust easily. They look for signs of professionalism, competence and authenticity. This is why we dress for business. But your written and spoken communication is as good an indicator of your professionalism as your wardrobe. So, if you maintain a professional wardrobe, you should also consider investing in communication training or editors for your written communication. Typos are no less off-putting than walking into a meeting with a mustard stain on your shirt.

Building your brand

A consistent corporate language allows for clearer communication, but it is also a powerful way to shape your brand. Is your brand traditional and elegant, or maybe more playful and innovative?

The way we phrase things influences our thoughts and perception. This is why we want more impressive job titles, why it’s the Ministry of Defence (not war or military) and why it was a good decision to rename Blue Ribbon Sports. It is important to make deliberate choices so you can create a positive and consistent image throughout.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your corporate language:

  • How formal or colloquial do you want your internal and external communication to be?
  • Should you use technical or foreign language terms?
  • Is your corporate language culturally and politically appropriate?
  • Can you generate positive associations by naming something differently?

You probably have a good idea of what you want your company to be, but working with a professional language service provider can help you implement the finer details and maintain consistency with training and resources such as style guides and glossaries.

Improving your own performance

We know that our body language can affect our confidence. Likewise, the way we dress can improve our performance. It stands to reason that improving our communication skills will not only have positive effects on others.

Becoming more eloquent will improve your spoken and written communication, but communication skills are more varied and complex than that. You can work on being a better listener, improving your body language and enunciation, having a more empathetic mindset and sharpening your conversational skills.

Becoming a better communicator will take training and lots of practice, but it is well worth the investment. Richard Branson even thinks it is the most important business skill.

How to get started on corporate language and communication skills

You can establish a more intentional and consistent corporate language with our corporate wording glossaries and style guides. These serve as a resource for internal content creators and external agencies.

We offer a variety of communication and English language seminars for international businesses. Many of our seminars have been adapted into a virtual format, giving you a flexible and convenient alternative for your remote team. Get in touch with our consultants to find out more!

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Robert Rothe
Marketing and Partner Manager

Robert grew up in Hamburg, but has strong South African roots. At EnglishBusiness he is the German translation editor, manages our pool of external translators and creates our marketing content. In his free time you’ll find him running around the Alster. In this blog he writes about the German language, South Africa, sports and our beautiful port city.

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