Improve your business English by yourself

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learning vocabHow can I improve my English when I’m not in the training room? I think that probably every one of my colleagues (including myself) has been asked that question more than once. The simple answer is: exposure. The more you expose yourself to the language you are learning (through films, conversations, books, apps, etc), the more you will learn. Following my post about popular business English apps, I have made a list of audio books that I hope you’ll find interesting.

Tips for improving your English with audio books

  1. Make sure you approach the audio book with the right attitude and expectations. The goal isn’t to understand everything – but rather to get the key points.
  2. Read the summary information before you start so you understand the general idea of the book.
  3. Listening to a book is not the same as reading one. Even native English speakers will drift in and out. If you don’t understand everything, just rewind!
  4. One play is not enough: repeat, repeat, repeat! Listen as many times as you want or need to.

If you don’t want to listen to something related to business, there are thousands of free audio books available online that you can choose instead. This is especially good for building your vocabulary!

Top audiobooks and themes

Audiobooks by Spencer Johnson

Biographies from top business people

Audiobooks by Bill Bryson – funny cultural insights

Top business books that are currently trending

Other resources

You might also want to check out companies like that offer audio summaries. And don’t forget to download a copy of our latest eBook “How to learn vocabulary”.


4 replies
  1. Gerhard
    Gerhard says:

    Many thanks Jennie for your answer!
    I find the ted-page interesting! With a accompanying transcript misinterpretations of the speaker’s words will certainly be reduced to a minimum.
    Thank you again!

  2. Jennie Wright
    Jennie Wright says:

    Many thanks Gerhard for your responses – you are right – it’s hard to follow and sometimes you can misinterpret words (especially if you are in a car on the way to a meeting).

    If you feel this may be a problem for you, start by using audio CDs with their book together. This way, you know you can check the actual book if there is a section you cannot follow. I have ‘Who moved my cheese’ as a book and an audio CD. This way you can use both.

    Also, if you like videos, try as these often have subtitles and transcripts for you to read.

    However, if you really want to listen, you can choose an audiobook that has been made for English learners – often called readers – and these are available at all levels. At the moment, my learners are listening to the Amazing People readers by Collins:

    Again, thanks for your comments!

  3. Gerhard
    Gerhard says:

    I just want to add an observation I made yesterday: I watched a video on youtube: It was an interview Larry King did with a wellknown person. The video lasted 45 minutes. If you are vividly interested in then it’s easy to follow such a format and you learn easily.

  4. Gerhard
    Gerhard says:

    Thank you for the encouraging tips.
    In my opinion audio books can be helpful, but there is a reoccurring problem (you mentioned it): You will often misinterprete words. As a native speaker you can easily spot the right word, if a word isn’t pronounced clearly.
    As for the written books:
    I like Bill Bryson! I read his recent book about our homes “At Home: A Short History of Private Life”, but admittedly I did this with a german translation!

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