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How to Listen More Effectively and Understand English Better in Key Situations

Listen for the gist or general idea of the conversation first

Only focus on the details once you have understood the main idea(s). If you are listening in class, you should relax during the first time listening and trying to get the general picture. Listen again and focus on the important details; usually, essential vocabulary can help you do this. Before you listen for detail, try to think about precisely what information you are listening for.

Use key words

Use key words to help you understand the general ideas – these key words help to create context. For example, if you understand "London", "business trip", "last year", you can assume that the person is speaking about a business trip to London in the past, and therefore most of the verbs will be in the past tense. Remembering this will help you to understand the detail as the person continues to speak.

Listen for context

If you think in context, you will begin to understand more effectively. For example, if the past situation happened, you know that most verbs will be in the past tense. You might understand the word 'radio' but not the phrase 'tuner.' However, from context, you could work out that tuner is somehow connected to the word radio, which you do comprehend. Now you understand better: This is a simple example, but it shows what you need to focus on: Don't think too long on a word you don't know but focus more on the info you do understand.

Timetable regular practice

For example, do a listening task for 15 minutes at lunch, 15 minutes before breakfast, and again in the evening. You can find listening tasks online or go to YouTube or Netflix and watch and listen to a show. Make sure you set aside time every day to practice and hone your listening skills.

Find something that interests you

If you like watching movies, watch a film in English. Harry Potter is an excellent movie to watch if it is your first movie in English. Find a podcast about a topic that interests you! You could learn to do something through English, and YouTube has many tutorials on almost any subject!

Listen in small chunks

If you listen to a podcast or even watch a movie in English, don't listen for too long. Listen in bite-sized pieces, to begin with. As you practice every day, you can listen for longer periods. After each period of listening, think about the context, and you can listen to the same part again if you want to focus on details.

Hopefully, you've picked up some useful tips here, but for more courses to improve your listening skills, get in touch with us, today on one of the numbers below.

For more information on interview skills in English, get in touch with us @ BBLC today.

+7 495 626 0473

Anthony Kent is the owner/director of BBLC and has 22 years of experience teaching business English programmes in Moscow to the biggest Russian and multinational companies.

Anthony's email:

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