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Speaking the language of business

A Warwickshire company is coaching overseas executives the subtleties of the English language to help them in their working lives. Williams and Cooper, which is run by Melodie Williams and Nicky Cooper, has received support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce through the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme.

Speaking the language of business


(left to right): Melodie Williams, Helena Bassett, Nicky Cooper



The company, which is a member of the Chamber, is now looking to expand its client-base which already includes a range of small and medium-sized businesses as well as BMW, Arup and Hewlett Packard.

Rather than teaching language, Williams and Cooper coach individuals to use English in the right way and to understand culture, phrases and the way people communicate in business.

Its clients are from right around the world – from European business executives through to Chinese students – and the company tailors its services to each individual or small group.

Melodie said: “People may have a good technical understanding of English but that doesn’t always mean they understand the culture or the nuance of language. And, as a nation, we don’t always say what we mean!

“For example, someone may say in a meeting ‘that’s interesting’ but what they actually mean is ‘let’s move on’ or, when discussing tasks, your boss says ‘you could do that’ but they don’t actually mean ‘you should do that’.

“If you are a native English speaker, you will very often understand the subtlety and the culture of your working environment but, if you are not, you can take things very literally.

“We work with individuals or small groups and we look at what businesses they are in and how they communicate. We might look into the way they communicate by email and advise on how they ‘speak’ to customers and colleagues using that medium.

“We also work with people on the way they handle presentations and how the language they use may differ in that situation.

“Companies that recognise that this can be an issue and support their staff with this kind of coaching are in a stronger position than their competitors.”

She added: “We’ve had great support from the Chamber. Helena Bassett has given us some excellent advice on how we use the website to get our message out there in the right way to attract new clients. We looked at our marketing strategy and ways in which we could drive interest in our services.

“She, and her colleagues, have also been an excellent sounding board – which is great for a small, growing company.”

Helena Bassett, a business adviser at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “With a huge skills gap, more and more companies are having to tap into the overseas market when it comes to recruitment.

“Having English on your CV is one thing, but actually being able to cope with all the different slang and subtle phrases is very different and that’s where Williams and Cooper comes in.

“We are delighted to have supported them and wish them every success for their future growth.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in partnership with Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the District and Borough Councils. 

For more information or to book on to the Business Support programme, call the Chamber on 024 7665 4321 or log onto

For more information on Williams & Cooper Ltd visit or call 07768 095885.

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