How would your life and career be different if you could push your English past intermediate?
If you’re like most people I know who need English for their careers, you can probably think of some your life would change if your English started to improve:
- The way you would feel when you were leading an international team--with confidence
- Or just knowing, “I’ve got this” when you pick up the phone.
- Feeling like yourself (not nervous or hesitant) when you need to socialize with business contacts.
- Starting a new project, new direction, or new business idea without hesitating--without wondering if your English is ‘good enough.’
There are so many opportunities that can be yours when you have the level of language you need. And so many lost opportunities when you can’t quite get there.
As I shared last time, I know all about being stuck at intermediate--and what it costs.
It happened to me in French when I needed to use the language for professional purposes--not just for socializing or ‘getting by.’
Here’s what I know from my own experience, and from listening to other professionals who have worked with me to improve their English:
Your life and career possibilities really do change when your English becomes more advanced.
And today I want to share exactly how you can do that. How you can push your English past intermediate.
Even if you’re busy.
Even if you’ve tried to improve your English before and haven’t quite been able to do it.
Our goal for today is to start with something small and sustainable--and extremely effective for pushing you past intermediate.
We’ll work together to create your own virtual immersion plan.
Does that sound big and scary?
Don’t worry--part of the reason it’s so effective is that it is something you CAN do.
Your virtual immersion plan:
- makes practice easy by creating habits,
- focuses on small steps (things you can do and continue doing)
- uses short and extremely effective practice activities--because you don’t have time to waste.
Let’s get started so you can push yourself past intermediate. There are so many opportunities waiting for you out there. You can’t afford to wait.
First, let’s look back at why we get stuck on the “intermediate plateau.”
Last time, we talked about the fact that a lot of smart, competent, hard-working people get stuck at intermediate in their language learning. Remember this:
- If you’re stuck at intermediate, that’s normal, and a sign that you’ve already come a long way!
- Now that you’ve reached a certain level (and especially if you’ve reached a certain level in your career) you need to try new and effective strategies if you want to continue to improve. Like virtual immersion.
- In order for your virtual immersion habit to be successful, you’ll need to make sure you include two approaches to learning English: natural learning and deliberate learning.
If you missed the blog post and video last time and want to take a closer look at these ideas, check out “Are you stuck on the intermediate plateau? [+What to do about it]”
And if you’re ready to start a new language learning habit that will push you past intermediate now, read on. Today we’ll talk about why virtual immersion is just what you need. And I’ll help you create your own routine (that fits into your schedule!) so that you can get started today.
1. Why virtual immersion is my secret weapon for pushing past intermediate.
It’s effective for someone who has reached the level you have (intermediate +) and who needs to use English in a more sophisticated way in a business setting. It pushes you forward because it helps you:
- Practice your English daily, with short, doable activities
- Stay regular and consistent, so you “start thinking in English” (and stop translating in your head!)
- Create your routine so practicing English becomes easy and enjoyable
- Remember what you learn faster and better
- Feel more confident and comfortable speaking English for business or just for yourself.
Most of my clients already instinctively know how effective immersion is--they tell me all the time they wish they could have studied, lived, or worked in an English-speaking country.
Luckily, you can recreate this effective learning experience without leaving your life and your career behind.
Virtual immersion is so effective that it’s what I have created in my programs to help my clients push themselves past intermediate so they can find new opportunities with their English.
And what we’re going to do today is create a mini-version of this experience so that you can get started right now. It’s a first step you can take to (really) improve your English.
Have fun, and let me know how it goes!
2. My virtual immersion plan--How I practice German.
Where did I get the inspiration for the virtual immersion plan I’m sharing with you?
It’s the one I use to practice German. I know from my Neurolanguage coach training that it’s a fast and effective way to push your English forward even when you’re stuck on the intermediate plateau.
And since I can do it even while running my own business, creating videos, and managing a team of 15 people…I know you can do it too.
What really helps me keep practicing is that it’s a routine. That makes it easy to fit into my busy day and it makes it easy to do again and again.
And it’s helped a lot of my clients too.
The important thing to remember is to keep it simple and to focus on one resource at a time.
Also check out my lesson: Stop translating in your head.
3. For a virtual immersion habit that works: keep it simple and focus on 1 resource
Never underestimate how important it is to keep things simple when you want to really improve.
With that in mind, we’ll focus on ONE resource today--a podcast in English.
And this routine is extremely efficient because it will help you use a mix of natural and deliberate learning, (we talked about that in the previous lesson.)
Now that you have your one English resource to use. Let’s work on keeping your virtual immersion simple and effective by starting with your one-day plan.
4. For a virtual immersion habit that works: make a one-day plan.
Yes, creating your virtual immersion takes time and effort. It’s work, but it’s effective.
You can start small and still notice results.
And once you see that this is your chance to finally push past intermediate. And to stop losing opportunities because of your English, you’ll realize that you can do this.
It all starts with a single small step
That’s all you have to do for now.
Tomorrow, you will decide what your next (small and single) step will be.
If you really have time and want to make a big change right now, you can try to do all the steps in the routine the first day.
But you don’t have to.
This routine will still be effective if you pick ONE new thing to try each day and keep going.
If you’re busy, just pick one item from the routine and start that on your first day.
The most important thing is to start.
5. A simple, easy and effective virtual immersion plan: your sample.
Here’s your plan--remember, it’s ok AND effective to start with just ONE of these and add more to your routine later.
- Start by listening to the podcast while you get ready for work. This is a natural learning activity--you’re just listening and seeing what you understand.
- At breakfast: Read over the transcript for a little more natural learning: You are intuitively picking up interesting new expressions. The transcript for the episode “How to Feel More Confident Speaking in English” is here
- On your way to work: listen to the podcast one more time. This time you’ll use deliberate learning and try to focus on expressions within this particular context.
- During your lunch hour: Make Flashcards with new vocabulary. I’ve already created a set of cards for you on Quizlet. Click here to access them. Study your cards later in the day (1-3 minutes is enough). You’re using deliberate practice because using several short review sessions makes your learning extremely effective. (It’s brain-friendly!)
- On your way home from work: Listen to the podcast one more time. Focus this time on noticing any new expressions you want to learn today. That’s right! It’s an example of deliberate learning. You are listening with a purpose: to remember something specific.
- In the evening, write down a short list of some of the new expressions you’ve learned from memory.
- Talk about it informally! Meet up with a conversation partner or teacher, so that you can talk about the podcast and put some of the expressions you’ve learned to use. Don’t have a conversation partner? You could always join my Faster Fluency Conversation Club!
- At the end of the day, write for 5 minutes. Try to summarize what you learned. Can you use your new vocabulary again? And here’s an expert tip: write it by hand. Why? It helps your brain remember it in the long term.
This is a quick outline of your virtual immersion routine--but if you want to take a closer look with visuals and explanations, I’ve made a video for you too. Click here to watch it.
Also check out my lesson: How to remember vocabulary in English.
Take the next step: Improve your English in the comments
The best way to become more confident using Business English is to practice!
Here’s your weekly challenge for this week:
- In the comments, tell us what ONE new habit you’ll try today.
- And is there anything you think you could try every day this week? Let us know what it is in the comments.
If you learned something from this lesson, please share it with your coworkers & friends. You can send your message to them in English for more practice!
Are you trying to get off the intermediate plateau? Don’t miss out on the rest of the lessons in this virtual immersion.
Are you ready to try some new and smart English-learning strategies and finally go beyond intermediate?
I’m passionate about making and sharing new lessons to help you reach your Business English goals, so you can reach all your goals.
If you want to get all my future lessons, videos, virtual immersion challenges, plus my English Habit Starter Kit to make it feel easier to learn more each day, sign up here.
See you for the next step in this virtual immersion!