How to Get the Most out of your Business English Classes
Whether you want to get a promotion, find a new job or even change your career, there’s no doubt that improving your English is going to be a great asset. Taking Business English classes is one of the best things you can do, but lessons are a serious investment of both your time and money, so you want to get a great return on that investment. Here are some tips on how to make the most of the time not only during, but also outside of your lessons.
Prepare for your business English classes
You would never conduct a business meeting or give a presentation without preparing for it, would you? So why would you start your English lesson without giving it some thought? Of course it is mainly the teacher’s job to prepare your class for you, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t bring your own ideas to the table. Teachers (most of them, anyway) love it when students bring their real life experiences and interests to their sessions. For instance, think about some things that have happened to you during your week when you had problems with English. Maybe you didn’t understand a word or you couldn’t remember how to say something. Maybe you read an interesting business article or news story that you would like to discuss. Or maybe you have to do something at work in English and you need help with it. These are the perfect things to ask your teacher about, and to ensure that your lessons are focused on you and your everyday needs.
Get in the mood to learn business English
Make sure you’re really ready to get the most out of your English lesson by putting yourself in the right frame of mind. If you are feeling stressed or worried about other things, you will have a harder time using your best English or focusing on your teacher’s explanations. So before your class, take a short walk to clear your head. Have a coffee or tea and something to eat to make sure you’re energized and ready to learn. During class, keep distractions to a minimum by turning off your phone or putting it on silent. The better you feel, the better you will learn.
How do you usually feel after practicing speaking in your Business English classes: calm and pleased because you didn’t make any mistakes, or exhausted and annoyed because you couldn’t express yourself and your teacher corrected you a lot? If you said calm and pleased, you are probably not getting the most out of your class time. You should spend your speaking time pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, trying new vocabulary and complex grammar structures so that your teacher can help you improve them. Think about going to the gym: the more you sweat and the more uncomfortable you feel, the better your workout. So don’t be afraid to to push yourself to the limit – it’s a good thing!
Reflect on your lessons
It’s easy to finish your Business English lesson and get caught up straight away in your normal business and life. But don’t forget to spend some time reflecting on your lesson and what you’ve learned – it takes time for new things to sink in. Firstly, rate your performance – did you really push yourself? Maybe in your next class you can have a goal to speak for longer, or to use more complex language. Secondly, think about your mistakes. Was there a particular grammar point you got wrong again and again? Spend some time looking through your notes and the grammar section to review and test yourself. Finally, what did you learn that was new? Make a plan to review and practice your new language several times before your next session.
Use it or lose it
Imagine this: you’ve had a great Business English lesson and you’ve learned a whole list of new business words and expressions that you think are going to be really useful for your job. What do you do with it next? You’d be surprised how quickly you can forget new vocabulary if you don’t put it to use almost straight away. To get started, you could write everything in a small notebook that you carry with you to review the language when you have a few minutes to spare. You could write an ’email’ to a friend, or perhaps to your teacher for homework, using all of the new phrases you learned in class. Or you could try calling a friend who speaks English and try to use all of the words during your conversation. Either way, you have to see, hear, speak or write those new words many times before they form part of your long term memory. So don’t let that precious class time go to waste – start doing something with that new language.
Live and experience your business English classes daily
Don’t think that once your English class stops, your learning stops. There is so much you can do to complement your learning, and thanks to the internet, the world is on your doorstep. Use real and authentic English texts like newspaper and magazine articles, radio, podcasts, films and TV series to read and listen to natural English language. After reading or listening to understand the main points, go through the text, transcript or subtitles to search for new and interesting language – this can be phrases, idioms, phrasal verbs or useful words. Choose some to look up in your dictionary, and try using them when you have a chance to speak English. Try this article as an example – there are many common and useful phrasal verbs and expressions to look for – can you find them? Good luck!