Number one for English language teachers

Business Spotlight

A series of lesson plans for business English classes focusing on particular topics, business skill areas and business-related language.

business spotlight

Karen has written a comprehensive introduction to the series, along with hints and tips on how best to exploit these lessons in the classroom. Each lesson plan contains a lesson summary, comprehensive teacher's notes and reading articles with comprehension questions and related vocabulary exercises.

Business Spotlight lesson plans are based on articles from Business Spotlight, a bi-monthly magazine for teachers and learners of English for business. Each lesson plan provides you with material for approximately 90 minutes’ teaching. 

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Business Spotlight lesson plans

  • Introduction to the Business Spotlight series

    Author: Karen Richardson

    Karen Richardson introduces a series of lesson plans based on articles from Business Spotlight, a bi-monthly magazine for teachers and learners of English for business. 

  • Business Spotlight: And it's off to work we go ...

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about how people can use the time spent communting effectively.

  • Older workers are special

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about adapting workplaces to meet the needs of older employees.

  • Ready for the future

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, focuses on how students could improve their CVs.

  • A matter of values

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about the importance of ethical behaviour.

  • A basic income for all?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, weighs up the pros and cons of introducing a universal basic income.

  • Riding the nostalgia wave

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about the commercial success of vintage and retro items.

  • Job killers or job creators?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, examines the role that robots may have in the future world of work.

  • Should we abolish cash?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson,based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, examines whether we really need cash any more in these days of electronic payments.

  • Seeing the invisible

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about private detectives and those who might employ them.

  • The sky's the limit

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about drones and their current and potential uses. 

  • An impossible dream?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, focuses on the American Dream and life in the USA. 

  • Wild West of new business

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about the emergence of young, innovative companies funded by small investors through crowdfunding sites. 

  • Making a start

    Author: Karen Richardson

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, deals with the stages of kick-off meetings and their importance for the success of new projects.

  • The container story

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about containers, shipping and the smooth transportation of goods worldwide.

  • Ecotourism

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about ecotourism and sustainable holidays. 

  • Selling yourself

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about how to brand and sell yourself at work. 

  • Whistle-blower: Karen Silkwood

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about union activist Karen Silkwood who exposed some scandalous business practices in her place of work. 

  • English as the EU language?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about whether English should be the official language for the European Union (EU). 

  • Money or morals?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about the importance of ethics in business. Students will study a text about business ethics.

  • I think, therefore I am

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about France and the French mentality in business. 

  • On the road again

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about business trips. Students will discuss their experience of going away for business.

  • Should taxi apps be regulated?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about Uber, a new company that is competing in more and more cities with existing taxi companies.

  • Stop the supermarket monsters

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about supermarket chains and consumer habits. 

  • The web of ideas

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about important inventions that we probably now take for granted. 

  • The man who fell to Earth

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about the early ambitions and career of Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield.

  • Should staff have unlimited holidays?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, explores the question of unlimited holidays for staff. 

  • Geek-in-chief

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, focuses on Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. Students discuss women in top positions and the character traits of their ideal boss.

  • Should we ban fracking?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about whether hydraulic fracturing should be banned. 

  • Moving up

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about promotions. Students will study an article that provides tips on how to win a promotion.

  • Masters of the elements

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about the Netherlands and how the country’s geography has led the Dutch to be especially innovative and creative. 

  • Should digital giants be broken up?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, explores the possible regulation of digital giant companies. 

  • Should salaries be transparent?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about whether companies should be open about what their employees earn.

  • Low-cost air travel

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about the emergence of low-cost travel and South West Airlines. 

  • Invisible man

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s head of design, a man who could be famous, but isn’t. 

  • Have marketers become spies?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, questions whether consumers are aware of how much they are being spied on and how their digital data is used. 

  • MOOCs: A rising tide

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about the rising popularity of MOOCs and covers strategies for looking at the pronunciation of acronyms.

  • When Superman died

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, focuses on the well-known comic figure, Superman, and the creators’ daring decision to kill him off to improve sales.

  • Would independence help Scotland?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff RoomPrint material

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, focuses on whether becoming independent would be beneficial for Scotland. 

  • Money, money, money

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about money and how attitudes to money differ between cultures and countries. T

  • Small is now big

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about the trend towards holding bespoke business gatherings at luxury boutique hotels rather than in conventional business hotels. 

  • The best way to say goodbye

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about starting at a company and, more importantly, what bosses should do when someone leaves their company. 

  • A sixth sense

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This advanced-level lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about how to improve professional relationships with co-workers. 

  • Coca-Cola's biggest mistake

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about Coca-Cola and a far-reaching marketing decision the company made in the 1980s. 

  • Henry Ford's $5 pay offer

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about the visions and decisions of Henry Ford and how they impacted on the Ford Motor Company.

  • Calm and productive

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, which is based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about work-related stress, what consequences it has and how it can be relieved. 

  • Powers in the East

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, two businessmen, one from Japan, the other from China, talk about the economic challenges Japan and China are facing and dealing with. 

  • The sky's the limit

    Author: Karen Richardson Level: Advanced Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, looks at some cutting-edge technological developments that may be of importance in the coming year(s).

  • Dressing for success

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about the importance of appropriate dress for certain business occasions. 

  • Access all areas

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about a man who changed his rather conventional job for something more adventurous, dangerous and physically challenging. 

  • Good connections

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about how social media can help you find a job or sell a business idea. 

  • Should interns be paid?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on two articles from Business Spotlight, two professionals offer their differing opinions on whether interns should be paid for their work.

  • We are not geeks

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, two London accountants talk about their very different working conditions and benefits.

  • Should you socialize with your co-workers?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on two articles from Business Spotlight, two professionals offer their differing opinions on whether work colleagues should socialize together. 

  • Outdoor office

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, features a man who has managed to turn his hobby into his career and start an ecological consultancy business.

  • Fighting back

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about different forms of bullying in the workplace and ways to tackle them.

  • A marathon, not a sprint

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about London hosting the Olympic Games and the disruption and challenges this may cause people living in the city. 

  • Do Americans work too much?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on two articles from Business Spotlight magazine, two working Americans offer their differing opinions on whether Americans work more hours than they should. 

  • Out of office

    Author: Karen Richardson

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about how more employees are now working away from the office, also known as teleworking

  • Masters of the universe

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about how ordinary people can help provide information required for the advancement of scientific, environmental and humanitarian projects.

  • Far from home

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about culture shock and explores the causes, symptoms and how to cope with it. 

  • The Golden State?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is written by an American expat who talks about how the situation in her home state of California has changed in recent years.

  • Do you talk too much?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about talking too much and highlights how you can recognize this in yourself and do something about it. 

  • The five Ps of participation

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about participating in meetings and offers hints and suggestions which have been divided into five easy-to-remember categories.

  • Creature comforts

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about pet-care and the estimated global revenue of the industry as well as its many sides - innovative, necessary and emotional. 

  • A new revolution

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, a Saudi Arabian woman talks about the restrictions that women in her country encounter in their everyday lives. 

  • Reach for the top

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, looks at the pros and cons of appraisals and both employees’ and managers’ attitudes towards them.

  • Time to take a 'RISC'

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about negotiating and, in particular, a four-step guide to structuring a successful negotiation. 

  • Africa's broken heart

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson is based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine which is written by a South African woman who gives her account of a trip to Zimbabwe. 

  • What I've learned: Tony Hawk

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, the American skateboarder Tony Hawk gives advice on how to turn your passion into your profession.

  • New beginnings

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, covers the topic of immigration in Canada – which is considered a model for successful immigration policy.

  • Daring to fail

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, features an interview with a businesswoman, Anna Koark, who talks about her experience of insolvency. 

  • Great expectations

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, is about intercultural communication and how different countries and cultures conduct business deals. 

  • Do women need quotas to get to the top?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on two articles from Business Spotlight magazine, two professionals offer their opinions on whether quotas are necessary to help women get to the top of their professions. 

  • All together now

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, looks at the reality of multi-generational workplaces and the methods that can be adopted to keep everyone happy. 

  • Should networking sites be banned from work?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, two experts offer differing opinions on whether social networking should be used at work. 

  • Emotional roller coaster

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, looks at the personal conflicts two managers faced as they took the most difficult management decisions of their careers. 

  • Specialist or generalist?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, an American career coach discusses why we should consider becoming specialists (rather than generalists). 

  • Who can you trust?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, an American career coach talks about practices and methods used to tell when someone is lying. 

  • My home is my castle

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, talks about the Indian government’s use of satellite images of slums and to what ends this information may be used. 

  • Is it ever OK to lie in a job interview?

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on two articles from Business Spotlight magazine, a former recruitment director and a director of an employment website discuss whether candidates should lie in job interviews.

  • End and beginning

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, deals with the problematic but essential Business English topic of losing a job. 

  • Career focus: Recruiter for love

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, Sophia McDonald talks about her company and how her people skills helped her become a successful matchmaker.

  • What I've learned: 50 Cent

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, the American rapper 50 Cent talks to the author Robert Greene about his life, career and business decisions.

  • Planning the future

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, two students who study abroad talk about matters that are important to them, such as tuition fees and future job prospects. 

  • The art doctor

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, a businessman talks about his decision to dramatically change his career path and the consequences it had on his life.

  • Moving down under

    Author: Karen Richardson Type: General lesson plan Staff Room

    In this lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, Nerida Frost talks about how she made the move from Germany to New Zealand with her family.

  • The case against self-employment

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight magazine, deals with the advantages and disadvantages of having a full-time contract and being self-employed. 

  • When eBay bought Skype

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about eBay’s acquisition of Skype. Teacher’s notes cover strategies for looking at the detail of written language. 

  • Quiet, please

    Author: Karen Richardson Staff Room

    This lesson, based on an article from Business Spotlight, is about being an introvert in, what can sometimes seem like, an extrovert’s world. 

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