12 Study Tips for Learning Business English Faster
Learning a language is not an isolated activity. After spending a year immersed in the language learning market, a key takeaway was just how collaborative learning a language needs to be. Organizations and individuals who invest need to understand that part-time investment leads to only partial understanding and achievement of objectives. Fluency requires time and dedication, support and collaboration.
The following 12 Study Tips for Learning Business English Faster focus on how to study better using the software that a company may provide, and how to complement that software and tailor the learning experience to individual needs—which is best done by individuals.
If you are an individual learner, this list offers actions you can take. If you are an organization sponsoring Business English learning you need to this about the holistic learning experience required to help your employees master English, not just the software you provide as the initial investment. Use this list as a guideline for internal marketing, blogs, reference material links, etc. that can be used to help your learners achieve their goals.
- Pick a regular time to study and stick with it. Make study an appointment and keep your appointment. The more time you spend with your Business English program, the faster you will learn. Every gap in study means that you aren’t learning. Every gap also means you are also forgetting something you already learned. Take time to learn regularly.
- Study with others. Find some other people who are learning English and spend time with them studying, and just talking. Taking the initiative to bring together people at lunch and breaks to study English.
- Use it. Speak English whenever you can. If you visit a restaurant where the staff primarily speaks English, try to use English during your entire visit. This also applies to business meetings, hotel stays and travel.
- Practice without apology. Many times, people will say, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak English.” But if you are reading this, you probably speak some English already. Tell people you are learning English and most will be happy to work with you to understand your question, request or comment. Use what you know and let each conversation guide you to new words and ideas you need to learn. Be fearless. Use any mistakes you may make as learning opportunities.
- Immerse yourself. Not everyone learning to speak English will be able to travel to a native English-speaking country to immerse themselves in the language. But you can immerse yourself. Read instructions out loud. Type out lesson instructions in a word processor. Listen to everything you can including TV, radio, audiobooks, podcasts and films. Sing songs in English. Cheer for your favorite sports team in English. You will hear different dialects and accents that will help you get a richer view of English, you will have fun and you will be speaking English while you do it. Once your brain equate learning to fun you can reach a new level of engagement.
- Keep a journal. Write down words you hear you want to learn, or phrases you want to incorporate into your daily use. Also write down words you learn that you really want to remember. Writing down a word is a proven way to reinforce reading or listening. You can also use your journal to build word associations, such as seeing a door and thinking “open” or “closed,” or going to a meeting and thinking about the “agenda.”
- Set goals. Set clear goals you want to achieve for yourself. Some enterprise Business English software allows you to set goals inside the product. Always take advantage of that feature. After you set the goals, work toward them. If you know why you are learning, you will be much more likely to stick with your learning.
- Don’t follow just one path. Learning can and should take many paths. We have already suggested that you talk to friends, write out lessons, keep a journal and listen to English media. You can also incorporate other activities, such as going through skill-based tutorials, reading about other cultures, practicing intonation and stress, exploring grammar and many other activities. Many learning solutions offer tools to help you define your own journey to Business English mastery.
- Read about topics of interest to you. Go beyond the assigned reading. Read magazines, books, or blog posts that cover topics you like. Even if you have to look up vocabulary to get through the articles. Because you are reading topics that you really like, you will be motivated to understand what you are reading.
- Describe things. A great way to practice English is to use it to describe things you like: pictures, hobbies or your job. This helps you use formal learning less formally, which will also make using it more meaningful to you personally.
- Focus on being understood, not right. Learning a new language is hard and it takes time. You won’t always have all the words you want when you enter a conversation, but you will probably have enough words to be understood. Most people study Business English to communicate with English speakers better. If you focus on you understanding others, and others understanding you, you will likely be meeting one of your primary goals. Native English speakers continue to learn vocabulary throughout their lives. Sometimes even native English speakers find themselves in a room where they don’t know much about a topic that others in the room do (think about an auto mechanic visiting the kitchen in a restaurant). Although the people in the room will only be able to talk to each other about basic ideas, they will use that as a starting point for learning more about each person’s specialized knowledge and its vocabulary.
- Use technology. Business English solutions offer comprehensive tools for learning English. These include special tools for learning how to pronounce English, as well as how to understand the language’s structure and grammar. They include learning games and mobile learning experiences. There are many sources of English that can complement online Business English tools including web-based social tools like Facebook, YouTube videos and Wikipedia. English speakers who want to learn French, Spanish, Italian or German can turn to NewsinSlow.com which offers news feeds read slowly, with transcriptions for key phrases. The site is designed for language learners. If your native language is French, Spanish, Italian or German you may want to consider NewsinSlow.com as a way to expand your English vocabulary as you listen to the news in your native language.
Don’t try to tackle all of these tips at one time. Slowly incorporate them into your learning process as the opportunity presents itself, or when boredom motivates you to find a new approach. Regardless of the instructional design associated with any products you may buy, the most engaging learning comes from you engaging yourself.
Gerty Gift says
I appreciate all of your advice, particularly about not tackling all of these tips at once. My husband has recently taken a position where he needs to speak with more business English and I’ve been looking for ways that I can help him at home. We will be implementing a lot of your tips, including immersion, over time.