11 Best Sites for Effective Business English Listening Exercises
Having good listening skills is important for any business environment.
If you’ve been struggling with your listening abilities in English, then business English listening exercises can be a great way to improve your comprehension.
In this guide, I’ll share 10 of the best websites that you can use for listening exercises that will help you level up your business English skills!
- Sites for Business English Listening Exercises
- Why Is Listening So Important for Business English?
- How to Be an Efficient Listener
Sites for Business English Listening Exercises
I’ve sourced some of the best online resources suited to all levels of language learning. Here are my top 10 picks.
1. Business English Site
This website includes options for vocabulary training, grammar quizzes and listening and reading comprehension questions.
Their listening section has both audio and video-based exercises. Intermediate and advanced learners can check out the activities that accompany the videos, where you watch a short video clip and answer the questions that follow. The videos vary in content from business commercials to interviews to tips for those trying to get a foot in the business world.
Meanwhile, beginners might start with the audio-based exercises, which are designed for all levels and will specifically help you improve your pronunciation.
FluentU is an immersive language learning program that uses native English videos to teach the language naturally.
This program has a wide variety of videos for all learners, like movie clips and music videos. It also has an entire category for “business,” where you can find hundreds of videos on various industries, tips for business owners, inspirational talks from well-known CEOs, insider reports from popular companies and much more.
FluentU’s videos are meant for native English speakers, but they come with learning tools to make it possible for you to follow along, no matter what level you are.
3. English Media Lab
A fun, interactive website, English Media Lab caters to learners of all ages and skill levels.
They have a comprehensive listening section that includes vocabulary-based memory games, communicative expressions, crossword puzzles and others.
Our pick is the section that lists a number of exercises for “ESL Business and Survival English,” since they’re designed with the needs of non-native speakers who are keen to master business English in mind.
However, you need to have Adobe or Macromedia Flash Player already installed to access the exercises.
4. English Conversation Lessons Online
This is a go-to website for all your conversation queries, be it talking to a friend in everyday English or your boss in business English.
The site is designed for those wishing to go deeper in their studies by taking personalized lessons. They’re conducted on a one-to-one basis and are about 50 minutes long. They’ll take you through possible scenarios in the business world that you might find yourself in like telephone skills, negotiations and presentations.
However, the site does have a couple of listening comprehension activities (scroll to the bottom of the page) for those wanting to test their skills.
5. ESL Lounge
As well as having exercises for beginner, intermediate and advanced students, ESL Lounge also has learning activities specifically to help you improve your business English listening skills.
Each lesson features a short mp3 file, followed by listening quizzes in which you check your comprehension of the audio file.
Once you’ve answered all the questions, you can click “mark answers” to find out how well you did. Quizzes feature topics like “Scenes from an Office” and “Seeking Capital,” so will help you prepare for a range of scenarios that will feature business English.
6. Macmillan Business
Macmillan is a trusted name when it comes to learning, and they’ve published an excellent range of business English books. For example, their text “In Company” provides a student workbook and audio for students to work on listening exercises offline.
Through their skills-based units, you’ll get exposure to grammar in a business context and lots of new business vocabulary terms.
Also, their website even has a “Business Podcast” section. Each episode features business-related interviews or articles that you can listen to and answer questions about. Some of them also have group activities, so if you have a study group or wish to learn with friends, this is an ideal resource for you.
7. Business English Pod
If you swear by audio-based learning and enjoy listening to podcasts and audiobooks, why not combine the two for effective practice in business English?
Business English Pod is the best audio-based resource out there and covers almost every aspect of business English in an easy-to-understand manner.
Each episode or lesson comes with a MP3 audio file, PDF transcript, a lesson module and a quiz to test your learning. Check out their listening quizzes in the “learning section,” where you listen to a conversation and answer three questions. You can subscribe to them for free via Apple Podcasts or even via email.
8. British Council
British Council is a great source of learning materials for English learners, and also features a section dedicated to B2 or intermediate learners who want to improve their business English listening skills.
The aim of the activities is to help you understand extended speech about business related topics, featuring lessons such as “A Business Interview” and “A Lecture About and Experiment”.
In each lesson there is a preparation task, followed by the audio recording about a business situation. There are then two tasks you can do to help ensure that you understood everything in the lesson.
Another great resource, TalkEnglish.com is packed with free listening and speaking exercises, a business English section, grammar information and idioms and phrases. It makes for ideal self-study material.
They have a number of listening exercises, categorized under “basic,” “intermediate” and “advanced” levels. There are over 30 exercises for each one, and you even have the option of downloading conversations for later listening as well.
Anglo-Link is a brilliant self-study resource that comes with a free trial. It includes written and oral exercises, video lessons and interactive, one-on-one sessions with specialists.
Their video lessons are carefully curated and cover pronunciation, conversations and grammar, which are often animated. In case you choose not to sign up for their language teaching services, you can access their videos for free via their YouTube channel.
11. Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab
ESL Lab has a huge list of activities that include listening exercises for English for academic purposes and a variety of other topics like daily activities and vocabulary lessons.
Moreover, unlike other websites, their listening exercises come with fact files, helpful tips, vocabulary and grammar activities. They even have questions you can think about or debate with a friend and online activities which you can do. For starters, check out the activities to help you prepare for a job interview and job hunting.
In short, these will improve your listening skills and general knowledge. They will also help you develop your critical thinking skills and make you a proactive and self-reliant business associate.
Why Is Listening So Important for Business English?
Due to the structure of the English language, pronunciation can be tricky.
Until you hear a word spoken many times, you’ll be left unsure of how it should sound. And when you get into a specific field, like business English, you’ll want to have these terms down before your first business meeting!
Here are some reasons why being an efficient listener is crucial to success:
- Listening can teach you a lot about different accents, correct pronunciation and it can dramatically improve your vocabulary.
- It can help you understand tone of voice and speech patterns, so that you can imitate these features in your own speech.
- It also gives you information about the person speaking it. This is very important when dealing with customers and clients. Are they into small talk? Do they get right to the point? Are they extraordinarily polite? A good salesperson picks up on these cues.
- Only careful listening will help you appreciate what the speaker is trying to say, which is crucial for successful business negotiations.
- Efficient communication is only possible when both the speaker and the listener are completely involved in the present moment. Dialogues are always two-way processes.
How to Be an Efficient Listener
Listening (as opposed to mere hearing) is a skill like any other, and can be mastered if you’re prepared to work for it. These quick tips will show you how to get there.
- Don’t interrupt when someone is speaking. Not only is it very rude, but you also interrupt the speaker’s line of thought and can possibly derail an entire conversation.
- Think about what you’re listening to. Don’t just passively listen to your colleagues. If someone is talking about changes in a business framework, think about whether these changes are plausible and effective in the current situation.
- Ask for clarification politely. If you’re genuinely confused about something the speaker said, ask for clarification in a polite and diplomatic way.
- Make eye contact with the speaker. Don’t look distracted. Let the person know they’ve got your full attention and that they’re important.
- Pay attention to body language. This is for both you and the speaker. Make sure you’re not in an awkward or slouching position. Hand movements emphasize what the speaker is trying to say. Nod to show that you’re following the thread of the conversation.
Finally, always remember that practice makes perfect.
Developing efficient listening skills in the business world takes time. But if you’re dedicated, you’re bound to see results soon.