Hit the Business Blogs, EFL Tech-tip 5

Do you know where I get a lot of my ideas for teaching Business English?

The blogs.

Nope, not the teaching English blogs, although they're full of handy tips and tricks (see my posting here with a great list) but the blogs actually written by business people and marketers.

They're an excellent resource as they're generally well written, authentic, up2date and short!

Most of the time the writers don't use a lot of wordy words but when you do find an interesting phrase or idiom, you can spend time exploring these too, discussing the relevance and why used.

Here's a list of super material, tried and true resources:

#1 - Seth Godin http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

It really doesn't get better than this one so I probably shouldn't have started with it!

I may actually read this blog too often as it's more interesting than Facebook. Seth has a way of writing one-liners that you and your students, no matter who they are, will enjoy discussing. I use him with secretaries, IT students and with bank board members.

Sometimes he's spot-on, many times he's very controversial, he goes totally against the mainstream and it's always a challenging, interesting read.

His books are great too, by the way, and I've had students reading parts of them.

#2 - Presentation Zen http://www.presentationzen.com/

If you're teaching students who have to give presentations, are interested in marketing or selling products then this is an amazing resource of topical, timely written, beautiful stories along with handy tips for making their presentations look professional and modern.

#3 - The Customer is not always right http://notalwaysright.com/
Quirky stories. You can't always take these in as they are written to your classes but whenever you find a good one, you'll have your business English students laughing their heads off, nodding in sympathy or frowning in disapproval.

#4 - Autoblog http://www.autoblog.com/
Their tag-line says it all "we obsessively cover the auto industry" - if you're based in Stuttgart, then you're no doubt teaching at Daimler, Porsche or for any number of their suppliers.

Visit this blog and raid it for the latest news that not even your students know yet!

#5 -Engadget http://www.engadget.com/
Engadget's great as a springboard to find real stories later. Their posts are short, sweet and often pre-story. Great for the IT and engineering sectors.

#6 - Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/
Mike Shedlock is not an economist by profession (he's an investment advisor) however his blog is full of economic observations and analyses on the ideas, projections, figures provided by the media, 'so-called' experts and government officials.

Great materials/ideas suitable for bankers and financial experts. As to whether or not he's right is for them to say. You can just sit back, lap it up and get them to explain to you, the jargon.

#7 - Personal MBA http://personalmba.com/
Here's another blog which is best used for getting a tip or smart idea.

Recently I found a posting on patterns with a youtube video of 36 songs in 4 chords; took the video in with me but simply wrote the concept of the posting on the board : you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Then, dogme style, asked my students to think up the patterns that successful businesses all have in common. (The post which inspired that lesson here).

#8 - Dumb Little Man http://www.dumblittleman.com/
Just about any topic under the sun. Often funny. Some greats include 40+ tips for improving your grammar (with lots of links, makes a good post-task activity) and 10 ways to make your boss think you're brilliant and indispensable.  Time management tips, issues in the workplace, business, entrepreneurship, web2.0... and more.

UPDATE May 2010

#9 - Mashable http://mashable.com
A must follow if you're teaching adult Business English students: filled with short bursts of genius, offering advise on social media, how-to guides, entrepreneurship; the latest developments in technology, news on major corporations; PR and advertising tips.

Not teaching Business English, feeling left-out?

Try PostSecret, especially with your older teens and housewives - be careful which stories you choose though. http://postsecret.blogspot.com/

An easy way to find blogs directly related to your students' interests (you've brainstormed this with them already, right) is by visiting http://www.blogcatalog.com/ or technorati http://technorati.com/ and doing a search from within their pages.

Do you have another good blog recommendation for teaching ESP, Business or General English? Do write with the URL address and let us know who it works best with, ta!


More techie-type-tips here!
More Business English tips here.

6 Responses to “Hit the Business Blogs, EFL Tech-tip 5”

  • Anne says:
    April 10, 2009

    Hi Karenne,

    I'd add the TED blog (http://blog.ted.com/) and though it's not a blog-blog, Lucy Kellaway's column at FT (http://www.ft.com/comment/columnists/lucykellaway) has a forum.

    Hope things are going well for you in Stuttgart :)


    April 11, 2009

    Thanks very much Anne,
    The TED blog is an excellent suggestion especially as is linked to videos which teachers can take in to class or send students on to. Even just using five minutes of a real speech /presentation made by CEOs, professors and learned authors is stimulating authentic listening practice.
    Ta again!

  • Eric Roth says:
    May 14, 2009

    Karenne - Wow!

    You've compiled an impressive, wide-ranging collection of provocative and informative blogs for your Business English students.

    Perhaps my choice will seem too mainstream, but Marketplace, the leading business show on American public radio, remains an excellent source of information. On their very deep website (marketplace.publicradio.org), you will find blogs on sustainability issues, personal finance, and corporate ethics.
    Check out

    And I have to join you and Anne in praising the TED blog for sharing a true 21st century perspective on our ever changing world.

  • Vicki Hollett says:
    July 12, 2009

    A lovely list of sites Karenne - thank you!
    I have one to add too that's based in Australia:
    Basically they tell stories... enjoyable stories that can inspire insight, awarenes and change.
    Very warm wishes,

    July 13, 2009

    Great suggestion Vicki, Ta!

    I just drowned in a posting about taxi drivers and "the knowledge" and how that related to Gladwell's Outliers and .. yup, you're right this is a great blog tip!

    Thanks for sharing!


  • Blythe Musteric says:
    August 10, 2009

    Hi Karenne,

    Your list of blogs is great! I teach business professionals in Silicon Valley, and I have a few IT-related blogs to add to your list.


    Follow this to keep up with what's going on in the tech world, including rumors.


    This blog would be for advanced students, but it always has good "Quoted" and "Off Topic" posts that are short and fun to read for any level.




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