Sep 24, 2019
Hi again and welcome to episode 88 of the Art of Business English. This week we will be going over some useful ideas on how you can improve your business English faster.
Nowadays we have all the resources we could ever need at our fingertips to improve our English level; however, it is important to remember that English is best learnt through real world contact with the language. As such, if you are a parent with young children, I encourage you to create opportunities for them to be immersed in English. Even though it may not seem like it at the time, these experiences will make a huge difference in the future.
To give you some ideas, some easy ways to encourage English immersion are, watching TV programmes in original version from day one. If you try and start when your child is 5, it will be too late. They will complain and always want to revert back to their mother language. Therefore, start watching TV in English from the first day they start to watch TV.
Secondly, if your budget permits, you can send your children abroad, on exchange or to an English-speaking summer camp. This can start when they are about 12 years old.
Thirdly, it is always a good idea to start your kids of at an English school around the ages of 6-8 years old. Personally, starting them any earlier is a waste of time and money, which could be better spent on sending them abroad when they are older. Most language schools only offer young children an hour or two of English a week which is not really enough to make a meaningful impact.
Fourthly, you could send your child to a private school where English is spoken, this of course will depend on your budget and whether you have an appropriate school located in your area.
Finally, if you speak English OK, then you can dedicate one day a week to English being spoken in your house. Again, if you start this early it will be part of the routine and will seem like a normal part of life. Remember, the secret to most things is to start them before the child realises, if you try and introduce English when they are already 10 or 12, you will most probably get some serious complaints.
Now, I seem to have gone down a rabbit hole there, let’s get back to today’s topic. 10 tips to quickly improve your business English.
So, the first tip then is to start early and don’t stop. It is the same rule as investing. Many people ask, “When is the best time to start investing?”, or “Is it too late to start investing?” The same applies for your English level, the best time to start is now and then you need to stick at it. Improving your English is a matter of time and consistency. So, stop making excuses and start with your plan now.
If you want to improve your English quickly you need to stop making excuses. Many people will say, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak English”. You should be saying, “I am learning to speak English”. Most people will be happy to help you by speaking slower.
Another point to consider is that you should try and avoid making all of the excuses in the world for not starting on working towards improving your English. If we go back to the first tip in this episode, remember, the time to start is now. Making excuses will just prolong the process.
That leads me then to the next tip. As with most things, you need a plan, you need to have an objective and you need to have your KPIs set up. If you have a plan, then it is easy to make the commitment.
Firstly, you should identify how you can have contact with English, whether it is listening to podcasts, watching TV in English, or reading a book. You need to fit these things into your schedule.
It is important to also have an idea about your limitations. Don’t commit to doing 5 hours a week of English if you are already very busy and can barely fit family time into your schedule. It is better to do something for 10 minutes a day. It may not seem like much, but 10 minutes a day is doable and over time it will mean a lot. This consistency is what makes English language learning so effective.
Finally, you must also be aware that every time you stop learning English you are not learning, simple right. Furthermore, breaks in your learning also mean that you are forgetting what you have learnt in the past and you will quickly lose fluency.
Many people tell me they really want to improve their English, but as soon as they have to use it, they get all shy and refuse to speak. If you want to improve quickly you need to put what you have learnt into practice. That is one of the reasons we have an open conversation night at my school every week. You need to try and take advantage of these opportunities to speak.
If you are working and using your English, then make sure you take those calls, or write as many emails as possible in English. This will give you the practice that you need. Additionally, you will be surprised how quickly you improve and start to feel more comfortable.
Reading is the fastest way to improve your English independently. Reading is also what makes you smarter. You can gain the knowledge and insight from the brilliant minds of others. Furthermore, reading helps you to expand on your vocabulary and your structure. One of the biggest problem people have with English is getting the structure and word order right.
So, what’s the best way to read. Well, obviously you need to be sure that what you read is suited to your level. My recommendation is to start with websites, articles or blog posts based on your interests. This will make it much more engaging and interesting. Don’t pick up a 1000-page novel if you don’t have the level. It will be hard work; you will get depressed and become demotivated. Plus, it is also hard to follow the story, so just start simple and start with a magazine, or blog post.
Online courses rock! I personally take them all the time. Why? Well, suddenly we have at our fingertips a wide range of quality courses that just 5 years ago didn’t exist. Online English language courses offer you a fast way to improve your English without having to attend a traditional school.
They offer the following benefits.
If you want to improve your English quickly, then you can take a look at the Art of Business English University where we have a wide range of courses that can help you learn and get certified.
This is critically important. Many learners feel that they have to speak English to a certain level, or that it needs to be perfect. My question is “What is your definition of perfect?”, or “What level do you think you need to have before you give yourself permission to speak?”. Obviously, my students can’t really answer that.
It is no secret, you need to practice and make mistakes, we learn from our mistakes. Basically, if you keep quiet because you feel you are not speaking perfect English, then you are missing valuable opportunities to practice. Don’t aim for perfection, aim to be understand and over time you will improve your fluency.
Enjoying sports and hobbies with friends is one of the best things about life. It should be the same with English. If you can learn with others, then you are much more likely to succeed. Finding a great school and a great bunch of people to learn with can make all the difference. You will find motivation and you can also meet new people and make new friends.
If possible, try and get your company to sponsor some in-company English language classes, this will create a nice learning environment and a welcomed break from your work routine. Your company will benefit too, as it will mean you are more capable and productive workers who can better deal with international clients.
Nowadays we have a vast number of apps which we can use to practice our English. We also have access to Amazon, where we can easily find a wide range of English grammar books.
If you are listening to this podcast, watching the YouTube video or reading the blog post, then you are actively using technology to improve your English.
Want to improve further? Well, check out the resources at the end of this post over at the AOBE website and I will place the most popular and effective English grammar books. If you dedicate 10 minutes a day to doing a page of grammar exercises and listen to podcasts, you will notice a dramatic improvement in your level.
Finally, if you have the money to spend, or your company is willing to pay for you, then consider getting one-to-one private classes. Again, if you’re really interested in this avenue then you can get coaching from the AOBE team. Check out the link below.
What are the benefits? Today, we have the technology to connect and get live coaching classes from anywhere in the world. This means that even if you live somewhere, where it is difficult to find local native teachers, then you need not worry. Video conferencing software and fibre optic connections are revolutionising the way we can interact with our students.
Learning English should be a lifelong passion, however, if you want to learn fast then you should start adopting some of my recommendations. An important point to keep in mind is that you should start by choosing one or two of these tips. Don’t try too hard in the beginning, get some momentum, build these things into your weekly routine. Once you have some momentum then you can adopt more.
From my experience, the more you learn then more you release how little you know. This can be frustrating, however the more you learn the easier it is to learn more and recall more, so you learn faster.
Well that is it from me for another week, I hope you have found these tips interesting. Be sure to check out the AOBE university for all our online courses and coaching programmes. That is it for me, see you all next week.