If you’ve Googled “How To Learn English Quickly for Business,” then you’re already setting yourself up for failure, and your expectations are out of whack. But if you’re honest with yourself about your goals, your current English fluency level and how much time you can commit each week to improving your English skills, then this article will most definitely assist you in getting to the next level in being able to speak English as a second language.

If you’re already able to work in English as your second language (B2 level or above), you know that it took a long while to get where you are. It will take another large chunk of time to get you to the next level.

Listen to English as Much as Possible – Even if You’re Not Paying Attention

If you don’t live in an English-speaking country, then it’s probably been a slow process to increase your English fluency. So try to get in as much practice as you can by watching Netflix, putting a podcast on during your commute to work or even throwing on English talk shows while you’re making dinner. Studies show that even if you’re not paying attention, your brain is categorizing the words and absorbing the patterns and sounds.

At work, I’m sure you’re joining international conference calls and emailing with your English-speaking colleagues in the U.S. in order to learn a few new words a week and practice your listening skills. But it’s been hard to get to that next level of confidence when working in English when you use it only about one hour a week. We understand. If you’ve relocated to the USA for your job, and you’re currently an expat for 1-2 years, then try not to fall into the trap of finding others who speak your first language for social activities. Push yourself to make friends with native English speakers.

The Plan to Improve English – at Any Level or Location

Make a plan to get in just 50 hours of English listening. This is about half a level of progress. Let’s add up how many hours a week you can get in to reach your English-speaking goals:

Monday - Friday

When How Long What
Commute to & from work 1 hr total "How I Built This" podcast
Shower in the morning or at night 15 minutes Listen to news online
Lunch time 45 minutes Lunch w English speaker (if not possible, Netflix show in English, like "How I Met Your Mother" or Grey's Anatomy"
Making dinner (M,W) 45 minutes "Hidden Brain" podcast
Driving kids around 1 hour Songs for pronunciation
Afternoon yard work 30 minutes "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" podcast
Gym time 30 minutes Netflix show

Total : 13 hours per week!

How Long It Takes to Improve English Fluency

If your native language is a romance language (Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian), then it will take roughly 500-600 hours of conversation (you speaking to someone else) to get to a high level of English (B2 level) if you are a complete beginner (A0). There is no way around this number, and you cannot get from A0 (no knowledge of a language) to B2 (able to work in the language) without speaking the language with someone for hundreds of hours. (It is 1,200 hours or more for other languages, such as Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin and Russian, and that’s why these expats should receive double the hours of allotted training in their relocation packages.)

We know you’ve heard the radio ads for Rosetta Stone and Babbel, and that you were excited about learning a new language in just a few months. But unless you’re speaking with someone in English for 10 hours a day for those three months, then you will not be able to work in English after those three months. So make a plan to listen and use English on a daily basis, and stick to it. You will see progress. Guaranteed.

Got more questions about learning English or offering English language training at your company? Contact us for a free consultation: getfluent@fluencycorp.com or (800) 401-3159.