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Business Tips: How to Get the Jargon

Contributed by Ultimate Vocabulary

The first time you sit in a meeting at a new job, you might get lost in the sea of new terminology the experienced people around you are using. The task of learning business vocabulary can be daunting, especially if at first you hear many words that you don’t understand. You might hear words you thought you knew, but used in a different way.

You’ll probably also hear many terms you’ve never heard before, specific to your industry. Getting a good grasp on business English will help you before you start a new job. You can also jumpstart a promising career in the business industry if you have the verbal advantage over other employees who haven’t put the time in to study these words.  

Like all vocabulary improvement study, learning business English is not merely learning about the various jargons (jargon means terminology specific to a field or group of people) used in your industry or any other. Jargon is just one part of business English, and knowing a word’s definition is not enough. You also need to learn how the terms are used correctly in context so you can easily incorporate them in your conversations or written presentations. 

Learning more about jargon is the first step to being a successful participant in your business, no matter the industry. It has been proven time and again that people often fail to progress in the business industry because they do not fully understand certain necessary terminology.  

Tips To Learn Jargon And Improve Vocabulary 

Business vocabulary is largely made up of jargon, the words each type of business uses to describe what it does, the items the work uses, the roles of the people involved, and the products it creates. You should start learning the jargon of your particular industry as soon as possible to build vocabulary you’ll need later.  

1. Know the common jargon. 

Learn the basics first. There’s a core set of terms that is common across most industries that you’ll need to know no matter where you work. For example, because all businesses need to track where their money goes, so even if you’re not in the accounting department, you’ll want to know terms like P/E ratio and general ledger and capital expenditure. Most of these terms remain in use for many years, so don’t worry that you’re wasting time on words you’ll never come across. Many of these terms and words can be found in reference books on business vocabulary, either at the public library or on line. Familiarize yourself with at least 10 words a day.  

The basics are the foundation of your business career, but you also need to learn the terms specific to your job and industry. The best way to do this is to build on the basic terms that you know, and research the jargon used in your field. Get example of the terminology and try using them if you can. Learning and application go together, and more often than not, the terms will stay in your memory better if you apply them in real life. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes at first - it’s all part of the learning process. 

2. Read the business section of newspapers.  

Reading is power. You can pick up a lot of words through reading alone. The best part about this process is that most articles focus on one topic, so you can get a good cross-section of the vocabulary and really dig deeper into the jargon used

An advantage to using newspapers as your reference is that you can jot down new words as they are added to the jargon. Business vocabulary is a lot like fashion. Something new is introduced every week in one industry or another, and you have to be on the lookout for the current trends in business. Trends come and go, so you’ll find some words being phased out over time. To stay current, keep track of the latest terminology by reading the business section of local and national newspapers. 

3. Subscribe to business magazines.  

Business magazines are often more useful than newspapers, because they are written for people in the industry, not the general public, and so will use more jargon (and use it correctly). The publications might also feature stories of successful people in the industry, giving you hints on how you can better your own career prospects.  

4. Read business blogs.  

Your business vocabulary can be enhanced further with the help of business blogs. More and more people are going on the internet to share their expertise in a variety of fields. You can find lots of business blogs that offer vital information that can help improve your vocabulary as well as your knowledge of the latest trends. Sign up for the blog’s news feed to get current reports and articles, which will allow you to keep track of the blogs and stay updated. 

You might also want to join a community of business-oriented people, such as an on-line discussion group or local city club or lunch meeting. The atmosphere in these gatherings is more relaxed so you can ask questions about terms you don’t understand.


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