So, you’re at a business meeting and you are struggling to understand everything that is being said. You have decent English skills but can’t quite understand some words and phrases. I totally know the feeling. English isn’t always as straight forward as we would like it to be. Native English speakers often uses words and phrases in unique ways to get their point across.
Fortunately for you, there are a lot of common words and phrases used in business that you can learn. I have three easy ways you can improve your English skills for business and I’d love to share them with you! You have to first find a way to hear the English words and phrases as many times as you like. Then you need to research as much about the words and phrases as possible. Finally, your need a way to get more insight into the words and phrases from a native English speaker and learn new ones. Sound good?
1. Record your meetings.
A good way to improve your Business English is to record your meetings. Download a good audio recording app for your phone or use an audio recorder. It is also good to get permission to record the meeting. In some cases, sensitive information is discussed during the meeting and recording may be undesirable. If you are able to record the meeting, make sure you are as close to the speaker as possible to get a good audio recording you can listen to later.
When you have recorded your meetings for the day, take some time in the evening to listen to the audio. Write down all of the words or phrases that are unclear or that you do not understand.
2. Research new vocabulary.
Once you have a list of English words and phrases you would like to understand, take some time to research each word or phrase. It is good to own a copy of an English dictionary. With your dictionary, go through your list. First write down the definition of the word or phrase and then say the definition out loud. Try to come up with at least two sentences using the word or phrase that is different than the one you heard in your meeting. Practice speaking the sentences out loud and be aware of your pronunciation. You can also use an online dictionary which offers audio of how to pronounce words and phrases. Please avoid using a source like Wikipedia. Use an online dictionary from an official source such as Cambridge, Merriam-Webster or Oxford.
This technique is exactly how I was able to read, write and speak English at an advanced level as a child. Whenever I didn’t understand a word, I would look it up immediately. Later, I would use the new words while speaking or writing whenever possible. You will remember the right words at the right time if you build your vocabulary so you have more words to choose from.
3. Take Technical or Business English lessons.
Finally, in order to improve your business English, one-on-one lessons with an English trainer will give you a guided opportunity to learn new words, understand the best ways to use them and so much more. You have the chance to ask as many questions as you like and have them answered by a friendly, native English speaker.
You can read and take all of the free self-guided lessons that you like or use all of language apps free or paid and you still will not see as much progress as you will when you take lessons from a knowledgeable and effective teacher. You will be able to speak and learn freely without judgment. Any mistakes you make will be a wonderful opportunity for learning. An English trainer will help you understand, practice and correct your English.
You want this right? You can do it! Whenever I teach a student, I make it a point to let them know how well they are doing. It’s so easy for English learners to not fully realize the great progress they are making. Learning new words and phrases are only a small part of improving your English. How you feel is the most important thing. You have to believe that one day, you will read, write, listen and speak English like a native speaker. You are already almost there.
I want to know what words and phrases you heard at work that you struggle to understand.
Leave them in the comments below.