How to improve your English skills

By Munira Rangwala|30th Nov 2016
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We live in a time of rapid globalisation and cut-throat competition. For this reason, it is only apt that one be well-versed in the English language, which is the language of commerce. An employee who can speak English eloquently is more likely to climb the career ladder than his contemporaries who aren't as fluent with the language. This goes for small business owners, too. A lot of customers today feel that they experience a communication gap when they try to make purchases from smaller shops. This in turn leads to loss of business.

Image : shutterstock

Image : shutterstock

According to skillsyouneed.com, a staggering 83 percent of employees report that poor business language skills have resulted in a negative impact on sales, profitability, and efficiency of operations in their organisations. Picking up a new language and excelling at it is not as daunting a task as it seems. Read on to find out how you can improve your language skills in a record amount of time!

Wake up the reader in you

Nothing will help you grasp the English language quite like reading will. To start off, don't be shy about reading material that isn't age appropriate. Your main motive is to grasp new words. Content comes secondary. While reading, when you come across words that you don't understand, underline them and look them up in a dictionary later. Gradually, you can start picking up books and magazines that are related to your field or business. This will not only familiarise you with common commerce terminology, but it will also keep you up-to-date with all that's happening on the business front.

Take the Hollywood route

Imagine learning and entertaining yourself at the same time. Download English movies or series along with their subtitles and watch them as and when you are free. Watching pictures with subtitles will ensure that you understand the content of the film and also how certain words are pronounced. The same goes for music, too. Listen to English songs and try to jot down the lyrics according to your understanding. Compare your lyrics with those on the internet. This exercise will help you increase your vocabulary and frame better sentences.

Play some games

While your purpose for wanting to better your language skills can be business-related, there is no rule that says you cannot choose a fun way to do it. Once you have picked up new words and considerably bettered your vocabulary, you can test it out by playing word search games like Crosswords. Always play these games with people who know the language better than you do. Such people will not only be able to tell you where you're going wrong, but will also teach you a whole lot in the process.

Implementation

Your newly acquired knowledge about English will do you no good until and unless you practise. Try to string words together to form plausible sentences. A common mistake that people do while practising speaking in English is that they think in their native tongue and translate the same in English. This doesn't help because English word orders and syntax typically cannot be translated from any other language.

Determination to master an unfamiliar language and loads of practice in everyday life will make you speak and write English faster than you think. In addition to the above tips, you can also try other things like talking to yourself loudly at home and writing down any questions you have relating to grammar or pronunciation. Remember, not giving up is the key.