In my last blog, we found out why Learners Fail to Achieve Fluency in English. Fluency is all about Spoken English: how well you speak and express yourself. In a conversation, two things are most important: speaking and listening. We speak in response to what we hear the other person say, isn’t it? But, what if you cannot understand what is being said? How will you respond in such a case? This is precisely why listening skills are important. We need to listen properly and understand so as to be able to respond aptly.
It is not easy to understand native English speakers when they speak. Their accent is completely different, they speak too fast, they omit words and use slang. Therefore, one needs to process their words slowly in order to decode what is being said (trust me, for a learner, it is almost like cracking a code!).
That being said, we cannot ask them to speak slowly, hence we need to work on our listening skills: we need to train our brain to process words faster.
Studies have shown that most working professionals face this issue today. Dealing with international clients becomes difficult for them as they are unable to understand what they say. Multinational companies too, have people from all around the world. In such a scenario, good listening skills are essential to coordinate and function as a team.
The problem is not limited to native English speakers only. Poor listening skills make communication difficult. That’s why I thought of sharing with you some ways you can improve your listening skills and make life easier!
Top 5 Ways to Improve Listening Skills in English
1. Make the most of every opportunity you get to practice
We have so much free time during the day which we do not utilise. You must be thinking I am crazy to say that we have free time. No, you’re just not looking carefully – replay your day to day routine in your mind and you will see what I mean. Are we not free while we commute to our work place/college? Are we not free during our coffee break? Are we not free when we lay in bed and cannot fall asleep?
Why not practice in this time? Play an audio book or podcast as you travel and listen to it – simple, isn’t it?
2. Watch English Movies without subtitles
I know it is much more convenient to understand English movies with subtitles, but look at the bigger picture here. Watching the movie without subtitles will help you understand the accent of native English speakers. Initially you might have to strain your ears a bit or stop and go back every now and then but you will get the hang of it soon.
3. Listen to English Songs
This tip is going to be a hit among music lovers. Learning with music is a great way to learn! Listen to songs and learn the lyrics. Try to guess the words on your own in the beginning, then look at the lyrics. Remember the lyrics and sing along to practice!
4. Learn with audio books of your interest
Gone are the days when people had to put herculean amount of effort into learning. This is the era of technology – and you can learn sitting at your own home.
The internet is flooded with audio books and podcasts on every topic under the sun: be it business, entertainment, health and so on. Pick your favourite genre and get started!
Doing all of the above steps once in a blue moon will make no difference. You need to be regular and it is only then that you will be able to improve your listening skills. Repeated practice is very important and I cannot stress this enough.
Whether it is a sport that you are learning or a language, practical understanding is essential.
Make time if you do not have it because English is something you need in every sphere of life.
I have not mentioned even one boring or monotonous way to learn English here because I know it is difficult to learn if you do not enjoy learning. Have fun with the language to learn it better and faster.
All of us enjoy movies and television series. Follow one television series and you will see how easy it becomes to understand English then. This is so because movies, songs and television series are a part of popular culture. Popular culture involves all the slangs and colloquial terms that you need to know.
I am sure this article will help change your perception about learning English. Keep reading our blog for more such tips and tricks !