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Improve Your Memory with Business English at Work

Remember new words in Business English at work

Have you ever felt stuck at the intermediate level of Business English wondering...


Why remembering new words is so hard?


While Roberto, your teammate who has Spanish AND English parents comfortably learned English when he was a kid without putting in any effort at all.

Life's hard, I know.

If this sounds like you, then this post is what you were looking for.


We'll dive into the 3 reasons non-native-speaking workers can't remember new words in Business English (or other languages) and how to overcome this problem.






1. Frequency of Advanced Words

When people start working using Business English they often already have an intermediate level of proficiency. 

It means they already know most vocabulary they need to work effectively.

At this level, some words don't appear as frequently as others.


These are the words that, because you see them less often, tend to slip through your memory.


Imagine trying to catch a butterfly that rarely visits your garden.


challenging, right?


How to fix it:

Increase the overall input time.

If you have more time to spend in the garden, you will be more likely to see the butterfly.

Likewise, if you spend more time reading and listening you will have more chance of seeing advanced words.

Also, try to use those words near the time you see them first.

For example, if you learn a new word today, don't wait too long before using it.

Creating flashcards can also be helpful, but it's the least effective method.


Best Flashcard apps to use:

  • Memrise

  • Quizlet


Pro tip:

When you create a flashcard, don't just add the single word, but include the word in a short sentence.



2. Speaking Frequency

Another problem is the lack of speaking practice.


Many professionals I see do not speak Business English often enough.

Maybe they speak to their CTO in whatever country once a month to report about whatever project.

And maybe they use English on holiday once a year.

This is not enough!

And often leads to a 'blocked machine' scenario.


Think of it like a diesel engine that needs to warm up through regular use.


if not used often, starting the engine becomes a difficult task.


Speaking Business English regularly is crucial to keeping your engine healthy and ready to go.


How to fix it:

Decrease the time between speaking sessions.

Look, I know that office workers are busy.

But you don't need MORE... Just MORE OFTEN.

Use your diesel engine for shorter times but more often during the week.

I bet it will become more snappy.

Instead of speaking English for hours one time a week, speak for 20 minutes multiple times a week.

This way you will stimulate your memory effectively.


Pro tip: 

Find a friend you can talk to multiple times a week. If you don't have any friends, check out our buddy program.



3. The Passive Vocabulary Problem

A common trap that intermediate learners fall into is having a 'passive' vocabulary.


This means when you can recognize a word but can't use it.

I guess you have probably come across this problem when reading emails or listening to your colleagues in a meeting.

You can understand the word you read or hear, but when it's time to speak, finding that word feels like searching for a needle in a haystack.


This happens because learning new words is a process involving two steps.

Knowing the word is only the first step!


Most people stop there.


The next equally important step is to intentionally use the word.


When I say "intentionally" I mean that your goal for one speaking session MUST be to use that specific word! Period.


How to fix it:

Create some word goals for each speaking session.

Write them down, and tell your fluency trainer about them.

For example, "Today I will do my best to use the word "suggest" in context".

Pro tip: 

Create a bullet point list of 3 to 5 new words and expressions you want to use.

Those words must be good to use together within the same scenario.

Decide a roleplay speaking scenario that can fit those words and set it up with your speaking trainer.

Ask your speaking trainer to share their screen and show you the list clearly.

You MUST be able to clearly see the list. Use a big font and stop at 5 words max.

Your trainer should encourage you to use those words by asking you questions in a natural way (by following the scenario as in an act)

Whenever you use one word or expression, have your trainer strike it out.



At Mindlingo, our fluency trainers are skilled at encouraging you to use words you want to remember during the session.


Remember, every learner faces obstacles but it's how you overcome them that counts.


The journey from intermediate to advanced is a hard path, but with the right strategy and motivation anyone can get there.




I hope this was helpful.


But even more, I hope you will do something with it.



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