How can I improve my English listening?

20 tips for learning business English

How can you best improve your English skills? There is no straightforward or simple answer to this question. But three ingredients are essential for successful learning: motivation, fun and patience. Here you will find 20 more or less serious tips to help you make the learning process as effective as possible.

20 tips for learning business English

1. Think and learn. At what level would you like to speak English? For what purpose? How fast do you want to reach this level? Few of them set clear learning goals, although this step is fundamental to measuring success and avoiding frustration.

2. Prioritize and learn. Decide where the priorities are in your day-to-day work. What do you need to be able to do in English: write e-mails, make phone calls, give presentations, take part in meetings? Focus on the areas where you have weaknesses.

3. Invest and Learn. You should have a good bilingual and monolingual dictionary. A grammar book is also useful for self-study (e.g. Grammar in Use Cambridge University Press).

4. Repeat and learn. Twenty minutes a day achieve better long-term results than a full day of learning on the weekend - followed by a two-week break.

Believe me, your business English is way better than most English speakers' business German.


5. Risk and Learn. Many Germans are too afraid of making mistakes in English. Believe me, your business English is way better than most English speakers' business German. Stop striving for perfection. Start speaking!

6. Work and learn. Agree with your colleagues that you will use English for part of your day-to-day work - for example, certain meetings, telephone calls or e-mails. If you can find some regularity here, it will soon feel all natural.

7. Speak and learn. It is possible that you rarely have an English person to speak to. But even then, you still have yourself. Make the most of it: Practice sentences and conversations in your head. You will soon see where you are still having trouble.

8. Read and learn. To improve your business English vocabulary, read a news item in the English press first (e.g. The Wall Street Journal, The Economist or Financial Times), then in a German newspaper and finally again in the English source. Compare vocabulary and style in both languages.

9. Listen and learn. Listen to English-language radio, podcasts, audio articles, or watch TV shows or videos. Take a few minutes every day to do this. You can also improve your listening comprehension with DVDs or streaming services: Use the English soundtrack with English or - if necessary - German subtitles.

10. Write and study. Always write emails to English-speaking colleagues and friends in English. Also, read their answers carefully to expand your vocabulary and avoid mistakes in the future.

11. Collect and learn. Make a list on which you can record new vocabulary. Jot down important words and phrases on post-its and put them on your desk or computer so that you can refer to them immediately when the phone rings or an email reaches you. Optionally, you can also create electronic post-its on your desktop.

12. Pick up and learn. For example, if you are preparing to give an English lecture, ask a native speaker to improve the text and absorb yourself reading it. Then record yourself trying to copy the pronunciation. Here you can find more tips for presentations in English.

13. Surf and learn. Regularly visit English-language websites, such as those of the BBC or CNN. For German learners, theBusiness Spotlight and Spotlightlots of interesting articles, exercises and study tips.

14. Network and learn. In many cities there are organizations such as the German-British Society or the American-German Business Club, where English and German native speakers come together. Language learning meetings are also organized through Meetup.com in most major cities. Keep an eye out for these meetings and attend.

To learn quickly, it is best to be fully immersed in a foreign language.


15. Travel and learn. To learn quickly, it is best to be fully immersed in a foreign language. Fly to the UK for the weekend, get yourself a bed and breakfast and don't forget the most important thing: talk, talk, talk.

16. Free time and learning. Combine learning English with activities you enjoy. For example, find an English-speaking music teacher to learn an instrument. Or join an English-speaking sports club, church, debating club, or something similar.

17. Sing and learn. Not only do you listen to your favorite songs, but also sing along in English. Whether the lyrics are deep or just a hit off the charts, singing will definitely improve your pronunciation.

18. Laugh and Learn. Learn some English jokes and tell your friends about them. Each time, your pronunciation and your confidence will increase. You can find jokes in abundance on the Internet or in books.

Try to find out at what alcohol level your tongue is relaxed but your brain and legs are still fully functional.


19. Drink and study. Visit English or Irish pubs, in the local area or on business trips. This makes it very easy to get into conversation with native English speakers. Try to find out at what alcohol level your tongue is relaxed but your brain and legs are still fully functional.

20. Love and learn. Find an English-speaking partner - ideally with limited knowledge of German. This will most likely improve your language skills dramatically. And even if you don't, you're sure to have fun anyway.