In the last twelve years of my working as a Motivational Speaker, if there is one fiery need that I have identified across School / College campuses in Asian countries- it is that of improving English, both spoken and written. As the world becomes more global, this need becomes more pronounced.
I wish this need were limited only to the students/ youth only. Unfortunately it is not. People in the corporate sector; at the end of my corporate training will silently / secretly want to get answered the same question. 🙂
If you are interested to know the ‘Real Secret’ behind becoming better at English speaking / writing skills in just a few months’ this is the blog post for you!
Our mother tongue is Hindi but unfortunately it becomes increasingly difficult to make any kind of progress — be it a career progress or a progress even in the relationship with the opposite gender; if you do not bring with you- the charisma of a hygienic English. ‘Good English’ gives one the confidence of a notorious kind. Women with good vocabularies, feel all the more beautiful carrying themselves. Men, on the other hand- feel more powerful — when they speak ‘Fluent English’. 🙂 MACHO MEN!! ‘Ye to bada Toing hai type feeling 🙂 ‘ . I know – sad but true!
People, with good English skills — have 1) either been good readers in their school/ college days or 2) have had a great public schooling background.
The lesser mortals thus shall need to work out this improving English problem – else very soon a strange feeling shall start creeping in their minds. A feeling of diffidence – which only grows with time. This shall be an unfortunate situation then. Don’t worry. As long as you are here, Dilwale dulhaniya le gaye hon, but Angreziwaale Dulhaniya nahi le jaa payenge 🙂
Read very carefully next:-
No ‘English Guru’ book series/ English improvement Coaching classes etc are going to help you. All these are marketing gimmicks. They only help KAPIL DEV (Rapidex English Course… Remember!!) Very few of them contain substance. What to do now!!
Of course, no other way but to do it yourself. And don’t you fret. Improving English on your own is very much doable.
Whatever I tell you next; you have to do for a minimum of 6 months.
A sexy Guitar – I got one on my b’day & paid for the BEST Guitar classes in the city. Three things I can do :-
The BEST thing : Be disciplined in the classes for 6-7 months and LEARN it out…(Pain involved)
2nd Best THING : I do not GO to the classes at all (even after paying the money). I accept it !!!
Worst THING : – I do not GO/ Go irregularly ; but keep on feeling GUILTY about ‘Not Going’…
Ditto for MOST other things in Life … ; including improving English. Take strong, firm decisions and LEAVE the Guilt behind.
Your English improvement will take a minimum of 6 months. The sudden jump happens one fine day; and you don’t even realize that it has happened. You feel ‘WOW’ that day. It happened with me in Guitar classes too. I have seen it happening with thousands of people who improved their English; because they had the persistence to stay put and take the ‘impotent’ type feeling of the first 5 months. There is no other option but to be patient and to just ‘Lagey Raho’.
Karna kyaa hai ? :
Do these 3 things religiously for the next 6 months and that’s it:-
1) Get yourself disciplined to seeing / hearing a very good English News Channel for a minimum of 60-90 mins daily.
We learn the maximum from our environment. Don’t we?
It is very difficult to get better at anything; until we surround ourselves with people; who are better than us — at that thing. Let an NDTV, CNN IBN, Headlines Today etc keep on playing around you. Even if you are working on something else, you just switch on the TV and let them keep on speaking (the news readers) .
‘90 mins — just let the TV run. You don’t need to do anything.
What will begin to happen is — ‘You will begin to learn subliminally and inadvertently’.
Researches in Multiple Intelligences / Experiential Learning have proven the above concept. Even the weakest of the guys have shown brilliant improvement in his Body language, energy in voice, speaking confidence etc; after 6 months of disciplined ‘English News Channeling’.
2) One hour of proper ‘Reading English’ is the next thing to be done. You may do it with a Newspaper or with a novel.
Get stubborn that even if you understand less. If you have not remained a good reader- ‘start with a book which is from your area of interest/ comfort zone’. Do 3-4 books from your interest areas and then shift to other areas.
No newspaper is bad. Pick up any and just make sure that you do the front page & editorial page compulsorily. You may even do magazines or online journals etc.
You may not understand many Vocabulary words; while you do this. Try and understand the meanings of those words in context; rather than going to a dictionary every time to know the meaning of each word and end up getting irritated.
You may also want to check out this guest post I wrote for the Motivation Grid: 6 Simple Ways to become a More Confident Speaker
3) Vocabulary is not very important to do separately; if you are doing the above two things. However, if you can do- ‘nothing like it’.
A lot of us start- do note down words here & there & then somewhere loose those notes. The trick is to snowball your effort by doing it at one place only. I recommend a big, fat, thick register- something you think is going to stay with you for a lot of time. It shall be your repository of words. Your- one point of contact for all your efforts in Vocabulary.
A register has a left hand page & a right hand page. On a single side —do not make notes of more than 2 or 3 words. I mean — give due respect to the words you are choosing to remember.
It is very important to maintain this register for improving English vocabulary. You will never be able to remember it fine — if you do not write. In a way , you are making your own little dictionary in that register.
On any day — do not try to write/ learn more than 6-7 words (If you are doing 3-4; it is perfectly fine).
I strongly recommend that you take words only from the day’s newspapers. I would not recommend novels because they shall not provide fresh & contemporary associations for remembering. A newspaper would; on the contrary give a fresh example with the sentence- which is likely to get remembered.
WHAT NEXT FOR VOCABULARY?
Start picking up words from the newspapers & start filling the registers. Next- when you choose a particular word- go to a good dictionary & transcribe / write all the meaningful stuff from the dictionary to the register.
Connect the word to people, places, events & things around you. Think — this word can get associated with whom? It is a patience game. Go slow. Enjoy your slowness. For fast acting relief- ‘Try slowing down’. E.g. if you are doing a word e.g. ‘CORPULENT’ — it means fat. Link it up with a very fat person that you know e.g. Chadha aunty. The trick is to connect the new information with an old information that already exists in your mind. The same reason- why we ask for landmarks.
Then leave 4-5 lines blank. This has a purpose. Whenever you will revise this word- write a sentence / use that word in a sentence in that space. If you have used that word in 3-4 sentences after 3-4 revisions- it is likely that the particular word becomes a part of your active vocabulary.
IMPORTANT TO REVISE / FREQUENT:
Remember the first day of your college. Did you know all the people in your class? No- I guess. How is it — that you know , most of them now? This is because- you frequented them — met them again & again, noticed peculiarities about them. The same is the case with words- the more you meet them, the more they will be yours.
If you cannot do all this for Vocabulary ; then an easy thing to do would be to — press ‘LIKE’ on the ‘Vocab Dhaba’ at FB. This is Asia’s biggest community on FB for Vocabulary / Grammar. Here are a few memory keys that we use there to learn words. You decide for yourself, whether they create a lasting memory on you or not!
‘Munni IGNOMINIOUS Hui; Darling tere Liye’ ,
Chikni Chameli = UNCTUOUS Jasmine
Jalebi Bai = CIRCUITOUS Bai (in shape)
The Dirty Picture = The RIBALD picture
To look at more such memory keys, we also have the Vocabulary Premiere League for you. Yes! that’s right. 3 crazy blog posts with 70 words done in the most fun, bollywood -drama style. So that you don’t ever forget them. If this does not help in improving English vocabulary, what will?
In order to aid you with more content for helping work on your English skills, I have a huge list blogposts which can be viewed HERE. And for your spoken communication issues, you may want to check out the blogposts listed HERE.
You could do 3 things after reading this post:-
1) Subscribe to my blog so that you don’t miss out on the posts in your busyness. I promise I won’t spam your inbox.
2) Tell your friends that ‘English is not a difficult language at all !!’ by sharing this post with them. The sharing options are at the left and at end of this post.
3) We have created two powerful events on Communication Improvement: ‘Bindaas Bol’ & ‘Bolly-Vocabulary’. Have felt very glad doing these two events at some of the Top colleges / Schools names in India in the last 17 years. In case you wish to get them done; at your School / College — in a FEST / otherwise — get in touch with us HERE.
The ways to improve your English that I have written above, have been proved to be quite useful over the years, first to me and then to my students. We have successfully experimented with this tips and tricks to improve English writing skills and grammar even for competitive entrance exams like CAT, WAT (written ability test for IIMs and other B-schools), UPSC, GMAT, GRE, Bank PO exams, SSC, NDA, CLAT, CSAT, XAT essays and many more. These are simple, functional and very doable steps. Do definitely give them a try!