A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was raving about a salad she ate at a new restaurant.
She kept going on and on about this type of salad green she had tried, which I did not recognize.
“What is this strange food I have never heard of?” I wondered.
But after a while, I realized it was just a matter of mispronunciation. She was trying to say “arugula.”
Her mispronunciation kept us from communicating clearly at first, and gave us a nice little laugh once we figured out the issue! Thankfully, this was a casual conversation and not a board meeting or an office presentation.
Have you ever been part of a conversation where mispronunciation caused miscommunication?
Often, it is pretty clear a person has learned the mispronounced word through reading—which is actually nothing to be embarrassed about! Reading is a great way to learn and grow your vocabulary. However, it can be hard to figure out how to say certain new words.
Thankfully, business English audiobooks eliminate that problem. With audiobooks, a narrator reads the book out loud, so you instantly learn how English words sound and can try pronouncing them yourself.
That means you will not learn incorrect pronunciations and build bad habits into your business English.
Why Should I Listen to Business English Audiobooks?
While listening to business English audiobooks might not sound like the most fun activity, they are typically made with non-native English speakers in mind. This means you are able to learn without getting too frustrated with the vocabulary or how quickly the narrator speaks.
Unlike a live conversation or class, with a business English audiobook you have the ability to pause, rewind and take notes about anything you need to work on or do not understand fully. You will not have to feel embarrassed asking someone to slow down or repeat what they have said. Audiobooks also allow you to easily practice specific concepts you are struggling to learn or listen to lessons that target your exact goals.
In other words, you have complete control over how many times you need to listen to a specific part of a sentence.
And—as my earlier story illustrates—hearing words properly pronounced can make a huge difference in your ability to speak English without picking up bad pronunciation habits. While reading can teach us a lot, there are definite advantages to being able to actually hear the language being used.
Perhaps the strongest reason to use business English audiobooks is how flexible they are. You can listen to them at the gym or even during your commute to and from work.
Once you try using business English audiobooks to help you become a better English speaker, I think you will agree they are a perfect addition to other learning materials, like FluentU. Why? Well, FluentU is like an audiobook but with fun things to watch while you listen. It is a great addition to your audiobook learning!
Unlike traditional language learning sites, FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the English language and culture over time. You’ll learn English as it’s spoken in real life.
FluentU has a variety of engaging content from popular talk shows, nature documentaries and funny commercials, as you can see here:
FluentU makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you'll see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning and recommends examples and videos to you based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
You can start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, by downloading the app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
9 Business English Audiobooks for Learning the Right Way
Ready to get listening? Below, we will show you several business English audiobooks written specifically for language learners. Then we will also show you audiobooks created for native speakers that you can use to advance your business English skills.
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Business English Audiobooks Created for Language Learners
Living Language’s “Business English”
This audiobook covers a broad range of business related topics to help you succeed professionally. It is designed not only to build your language skills but also to make you more comfortable in English-speaking work environments.
There are four hours of content across four audio CDs. You will get foundational grammar lessons as well as industry-specific vocabulary. There are also dialogues you can follow along with to build your own speaking skills.
The audiobook itself does not just cover language topics. You will also learn about idioms, immigration and visas, social etiquette and cultural differences.
“English for Business Communication,” Simon Sweeney
This is a short audiobook course for quickly building English confidence and language skills.
Topics include how to present, use the phone, negotiate and socialize in English. The audiobook is set up as a series of “tasks” that you study from, plus practice activities for building your skills.
This audiobook is from a U.K.-based publisher so you will be exposed to British English.
“Speak Business English Like an American,” Amy Gillett
In this audiobook, you will learn many of the different idioms and expressions Americans use to communicate in the workplace. The goal is to make you feel more comfortable with these “Americanisms” so that you never feel lost in conversation.
This audiobook will help you understand what people mean when they use sayings that do not make much sense on their own, such as step up to the plate (take action or take responsibility for getting something done) or in the red (generally meaning a company is operating at a net loss).
The audiobook comes with example dialogues demonstrating conversations you might encounter in the office or in job interviews in the U.S.
“99 Essential Business Idioms and Phrasal Verbs,” Zhanna Hamilton
This book keeps a clear focus on the 99 most common English idioms and phrasal verbs used in the English-speaking business world.
Each phrase is explained with five real-life examples to help you fully understand how they are used. The definitions are simple to understand, and the audiobook narration is slow and easy to follow.
Once you finish this audiobook you will be well-prepared when you hear these sayings in the workplace.
“Speak Intelligently in Business,” Liv Montgomery, Pamela Jett, Nido Qubein
Once you finish this audiobook you will have a much larger business English vocabulary. The audiobook presents key words for you to learn, along with example sentences so you know how to use them.
You will also hear the vocabulary used in sample conversations that demonstrate a wide range of English accents.
“The Complete Business English Master,” Jenny Smith
This two-part audiobook teaches you essential business English vocabulary and then puts it into action.
The first part covers 86 vocabulary words and phrases that all business English learners should know. The second part provides practice articles that use those vocabulary words so you can see them in context.
The audiobook even has background sound effects to give some life to the narration and keep your attention.
“Speak Better Business English and Make More Money,” Amy Gillett
Similar to “Speak Business English Like an American” (also by this author), this audiobook provides key expressions you will need for an American workplace.
You will hear just how important idioms and expressions are to American professionals. The reviews for this audiobook are quite positive and you will appreciate the natural, realistic narration.
Authentic Business English Audiobooks
For advanced business English students, the following audiobooks written for native speakers will provide a bit of challenge (and you might pick up some new business skills)!
“Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street,” John Brooks
This engaging business audiobook will hold your interest with stories about major companies such as Xerox and General Electric. While you are entertained and learning valuable business information, you will also be learning business English as you listen!
In this audiobook, you will likely hear many of the new idioms and expressions you have been learning. The narration is slow and steady and provides a great example of an American accent.
“Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds,” Carmine Gallo
TED Talks are presentations known for their engaging educational content. Listen to this audiobook to learn how to become a powerful public speaker at work and improve your business English skills at the same time.
Listening to audiobooks will give you great opportunities to hear English in action. They will also demonstrate proper pronunciation of different words and show you how native English sentence structure flows. With Business English audiobooks in your language learning toolkit, you will be able to improve your skills quickly and efficiently—even on the go!
Sarah Frady spends her days chasing after her two little girls. She has a B.S. degree from the University of South Carolina. She spends her evenings as a professional writer and entrepreneur. She endeavors to uplift, inspire, educate and encourage other moms on her blog Our Happy Imperfection.
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