Hello again and welcome back to the Art of Business English. Well, it is that time of year again when we start a new year full of promise and new year’s resolutions. As a result, today I want to share with you some tips on how to realistically improve your business English and stay motivated.
As with many things, people often start out with very idealistic expectations and are highly motivated, however, within a short period of time they have found themselves demotivated and start with the excuse making stage. Once the excuses start being created it is easy to give up and stop trying to achieve the thing you have set out to do.
So, how can we overcome this? Well, I am going to take a little different approach than most English trainer. At the end of today’s episode, you will be able to do the following:
Set the right vision for your language learning
- Understand goal setting and how to reach objectives
- Develop a study plan
- Appreciate the power of reading
- Understand and use translation methodology
So, let’s take a look at these 5 top tips.
In order to really stay motivated with your English you need to have the right vision. This means many things in one word. The reason that I have put “independently” in the title of this article, is that you as a learner need to have the vision and motivation to study independently. It is not enough to go to class once a week and then do very little or nothing for the next 6 days.
Vision is having the correct attitude and perspective. If you don not really understand your reasons for learning a language, then it is hard to stay on point (stay focused).
Developing your vision is very simple, as with most things. Firstly, you will need a pen and paper, or you can download my free cheat sheet. Once we have this ready we need to simply brainstorm and list out our reasons for wanting to learn or improve our business English. The key is to do it from a problem to solution perspective. This way we can start to set objectives and measure if we have achieved our goals. Reaching your goals will keep you motivated.
Understanding the power of goal setting is critical to learning or improving new skills. My first piece of advice is related to personal development and not necessarily Business English. Setting goals and being motivated is the only way to improve your life. We can only improve our situation one of 2 ways. One, by learning new skills and two by meeting new people. So, learning a new language is a new skill that can improve your life.
My first piece of advice is to set the goal of waking up 30 minutes before your usual wake up time. How does this relate to my English? Well, it is simple, in 30 minutes you can achieve a lot in the morning. All the most successful entrepreneurs have a morning routine. For example, my routine is the following:
Wake up at 7am, mediate for 5 minutes
- Stretching and yoga for 10 minutes
- Crunches and push-ups, 5 minutes
- Reading 3 or 4 pages of my book, 5 – 7 minutes
- Thinking about the top 3 things to achieve that day and writing them in my diary, 3 minutes
See how many things I have achieved in 30 minutes? Well, it is that simple. As a learner of English, you can use 10 minutes of your morning routine to read in English, do some simple grammar exercises, learn some new vocabulary in context or listen to the news. If you multiply this by a month and then 6 months and then a year, you will suddenly see how powerful just spending 30 minutes every morning can be. Apart from that you feel GREAT! You start your day energised and super motivated.
So, as I mentioned earlier, at the Art of Business English we believe in a holistic approach to learning English. You cannot improve your English if you don’t set achievable goals. Achievable is the key word. You must be realistic about how much you can learn in a specific period of time. It is much better to set SMALL short-term goals and continually reach them than big goals that are hard to measure and time consuming to achieve.
For example, my goal this week is to read 1 small new paper article a day in Spanish, and then read the same article in English (Most major news outlets carry the same news all over the world, so it is easy to read the top news in both Spanish & English).
You can see from this example that the goal is short, 1 week and measurable.
If we go back to the cheat sheet, which you downloaded earlier, you will see that there is a study plan. It is super simple. You fill out the boxes and outline a study plan for 1 month. You use this plan every morning for your 5 – 10 minutes of English.
In the second part of the guide, there are some links to resources that will help you find material, or you can request material from AOBE, we are more than happy to develop material for your needs.
Remember, the secret to your study plan is setting daily tasks, that build up to the completion of your learning objective. The learning objective must be measurable.
Reading is very powerful and underutilized. Everyone wants to talk, however, if you are studying independently, then reading is your best friend. The beauty of reading is that you can do it for pleasure. I recommend finding a magazine you like, for example, Time, photography, interior design, whatever you’re interested in and order a yearly subscription. Reading magazines is great because the articles are short, there is lots of vocabulary and the topic is something that you’re interested in.
The benefits to reading are massive. You can do it any time, independently, you can learn vocabulary in context and write it down on your vocabulary list, you are subject to vocabulary you don’t hear everyday and you are indirectly learning grammar structures and word order.
I am a great believer in the translation methodology and I use it with my students frequently. It is very useful for people who have a lower level and can help them advance much faster than if working with a teacher who only speaks English.
The secret to the translation methodology is finding a native English teacher who all speaks Spanish fluently. They can then show you the differences and similarities between English and Spanish structure.
For example, you may translate a sentence literally and to a native speaker this will sound strange. However, your native English teacher can show you the correct way we would say this sentence in English. Hence, the grammar rules can be taught through translation making it easier for the learner to understand and advance through the material.
Once, a learner reaches a good level of English, then less focus can be placed on translations and more on 100% English based training.
The only downside to this top tip, is that it is more difficult to study independently as you need to good trainer or take an on-line course that uses this methodology.
Well, there you have it, 5 top tips for help you to study independently and stay motivated to reach your learning objectives in 2018.
As always, if you have any questions then do not hesitate to get in touch with us via Facebook or email.
If you’re interested in taking some business English courses, we are always working on new material and are happy to provide all our listeners and readers with a free coaching session.
Take care till next time.