2014 IATEFL Annual Conference

BESIG Pre-Conference Event (PCE)

The theme for the IATEFL BESIG Pre-Conference Event (PCE): How to teach business skills while teaching business English

Sponsored by Cambridge English

To attend the IATEFL BESIG Pre-Conference Event you need to book your place at the IATEFL Annual Conference 2014 in Harrogate. You´ll find the online booking form on this page: IATEFL Annual Conference Booking

Tuesday 1 April 2013    10.00 – 17.00

Many business English trainers find that they are actually expected to do more than just deliver language training. As business English learners need English to deal with tasks in the workplace such as negotiating, chairing meetings, giving presentations, making sales pitches, and so on, the business English trainer is increasingly expected to provide not only the language required to carry out these tasks, but also the business skills necessary to get the job done. The ‘disconnect’ occurs when trainers feel that they are not equipped to offer skills training to their learners as they consider themselves to be language experts rather than experts in business.


This pre-conference event will look at the different way trainers can teach business skills while teaching business English. In the interactive workshops, talks and panel discussion planned for the PCE, this issue will be addressed by speakers who have experience in both language and skills training. Participants will gain tips and ideas on ways they can incorporate business skills into their own teaching situations. The aim of the PCE is to help both experienced and inexperienced trainers to find ways to meet the specialized needs of their business English clients.



10.00 – 10.10 



10.10 – 10.30 


with Jonathan Deer

Sponsored by Cambridge English Language Assessment

In the overview, Jonathan will consider recent developments in testing business English and will make a link as to the possible impact on teaching. The discussion will also focus on the potential mismatch between demands for wider soft- and hard skills instruction within the business English contexts and the knowledge gaps that many Business English instructors/facilitators may have.

You can download the slides from Jonathan´s presentation here


Jonathan Deer is the Development Manager for Workplace and Online Testing for Cambridge English Language Assessment, which includes the suite of business tests (BEC and BULATS). Previously he worked for Pearson Education in Latin America, largely covering the vocational and workplace testing market, as well as being involved in the development of large-scale projects involving vocational language benchmarking for Colombian National Vocational Agency and the Ministry of Education. Previously Jonathan worked for the British Council for 10 years and was involved in teaching business English as well as being Exams manager for 4 years. 

10:30- 13:00 (with a coffee break from 11:30- 12:00)


Teaching Business Content and Skills in a Business English Context

with Martin Lisboa

Sponsored by Cambridge University Press




Shirt sleeves will be rolled-up as we get to grips with a set of tasks to start to redefine the outer limits of BE. Where does Business English stop and Business Studies start? Can a Business English teacher facilitate learning content from a Business Studies course? Is teaching students how to communicate persuasively an application of a business communications theory, a business skill, or an example of business language in use? This two part workshop will explore the answers to these questions using material from Business Advantage and other sources. The thesis of this workshop is that the barriers are coming down and the traditional boundaries between disciplines are blurring. We as a profession, can and should, move purposely into new territory.


You can download the slides from Martin´s workshop here: Part 1, Part 2

  Martin Lisboa teaches Business Communication Skills and EAP at Imperial College Business School, University of London. His interests span EAP, Business ELT, Busines Studies and Learner Material Writing. He has an MBA from the OU Business School and has worked in Mexico, the UK and Italy. He set up his own executive language training centre in London, was Senior Lecturer at London Metropolitan University and Assistant Director (Marketing) at the British Council, Milan. He is co-author of IELTS exam preparation course books IATEFL Express (pub. Cengage/ National Geographic Learning) and the New English Business English course from Intermediate to Advanced level, Business Advantage, (pub. Cambridge University Press). Currently back in the (virtual) classroom studying part-time for an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at Portsmouth University.


13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break

14.00 – 16.10 (with a coffee break 15.15- 15.45)

Developing interpersonal skills, sponsored by York Associates

Is it time to change the skills paradigm which the ELT industry has created - language, professional skills  such as presenting, negotiating etc. and intercultural - and shift to the real challenge, namely helping our clients to develop effective interpersonal skills for communicating internationally in English. In this workshop, Fiona Mee outlines the case for a radical shift to an interpersonal syllabus for business English trainers which includes, for example, relationship building, influencing, managing conflict etc. and then illustrates practical ways in which Business English teachers can integrate the teaching of these skills into their classrooms.

You can download the slides from Fiona´s workshop here

  Fiona Mee worked as a business English and intercultural skills trainer, manager and entrepreneur in Brazil and Germany before joining York Associates in 2008. She is now a director with responsibilities for operations, change, people and business development. Her interests lie in researching and writing about how to better understand change and in how to improve international professional relationships through effective communication. She contributes to material development at York Associates and recently wrote Managing Change, part of the International Management English series published by Delta Publishing and York Associates. Fiona is currently working towards the Institute of Leadership and Management level 7 diploma in coaching and mentoring and is implementing a coaching approach in the management and training at York Associates.   Business Communication Skills and EAP at Imperial College Business School, University of London. His interests span EAP, Business ELT, Busines Studies and Learner Material Writing.




16.30 – 17.00 Panel Discussion with speakers