The Business Communication SIG

The aim of the Business Communication Special Interest Group (SIG) is to create opportunities for teachers and researchers to discuss, publish, and present their ideas about Business Communication.  Business Communication as a term evolved from Business English to reflect the usage of English in business contexts such as meetings and presentations. Business Communication also signifies the content of what is being discussed as well as the professional, social, and contextual skills that are developed with experience. These three areas combine into Business Communication, a subset of English for Specific Purposes (ESP).

Over the last year, we produced a newsletter in January featuring articles on Business English as a Lingua Franca, the learning process, and different cross-cultural pragmatic norms. We also set up a website to give members up-to-date information, and we have a Facebook page to share news, activities and events. We were also happy to have some Business Communication related presentations at the PanSIG conference in Okinawa in May. 

In June, we ran The Evolution of Business Language Training, a two-day conference in Fukuoka where presenters from a range of different backgrounds came together to share their ideas. Some common trends included analyzing English uses and identifying needs. These uses reflect the dynamic nature of language use where people switch from informal to formal, passive to assertive, and indirect to direct behavior, to get tasks done while maintaining relationships, and maneuvering between national, organizational, and occupational cultures. There were also several presentations, which highlighted the importance of evaluation methods to show a return on investment. The emphasis was not only on student satisfaction and learning, but also on creating new behaviors to improve business results.

Our July newsletter featured highlights of the above conference as well as an article on a multinational corporation’s needs, and a Q&A interview about how to adapt real world problem solving needs for pedagogical practices. Please visit our website if you would like a sample copy. 

Looking toward the future of the Business Communication SIG, we would like to produce activities and events which are inclusive of different groups and interests and provide research ideas which can stimulate our members and create a platform for synergy and development. To this end, at our AGM, we will propose changing our name to the ESP SIG because it includes researchers and teachers, in the English for Specific Purposes and English for Academic Purposes fields who are not business focused. This will not detract from the Business Communication SIG momentum we have been creating this year, and we have plans to bring in more business related content to our seminars in the future. However, we also feel that if we could combine our energies with ESP activities, it will draw together more like-minded people and create a wider and more sustainable community, to support transferable needs, knowledge and skill development. 

So if you have any feedback on this proposal, or would like to get involved with shaping the future of this dynamic group, then please email us at or come along to our Annual General Meeting at the JALT conference in Nagoya, in November.

Business Communication SIG Publications & Contact Information

Business Communication SIG, Pragmatics SIG, & JALT Tokyo Chapter present:

Discourse Strategies in ELF: Project-Based Learning in Transylvania

Professor Hiromasa Tanaka (Meisei Uni.) will describe how Japanese and Romanian Business Communication students used project-based learning to help them acquire discourse strategies. 

Friday, October 14th, 18:30-20:30, New York 

University in Japan, Shinagawa Campus