How to learn English quickly for work

“To learn, you need exposure to the language. That is why I take every opportunity to speak English. It does not matter if you make mistakes because everyone makes mistakes when they are learning.”

Abraham Ramirez - Business Consultant, PWC

There are many reasons why people choose to learn English, but one of the most popular reasons is for their career. Learning English can significantly broaden your career opportunities, whether you want to work abroad, get a promotion, or simply improve your confidence in the workplace.

Business Consultant Abraham Ramirez learned to speak English fluently with EF English Live in just three months to get his dream job at PWC. We spoke to Abraham about his amazing journey and his tips on how to learn English quickly for work.

Why did you want to learn English? Was it specifically for work?

Two reasons. The first reason was for work. We live in a global world, and I need to communicate with other companies around the world. I work for one of the big four global accounting firms: PWC. And speaking English is vital for my job – all my meetings are in English. The second reason was for myself. I prefer to watch movies in their original language, I love English music, and I just love learning English. 

What was your goal when you started this journey?

I had a big challenge because I was working in a company that was in the process of selling its stocks, and I was responsible for presenting that company’s portfolio. So, my goal was to learn English in three months by practicing for eight hours a day. 

Why did you choose to learn English with EF English Live?

EF English Live is an ideal choice for busy people like me. By taking an online English course, I can book classes whenever I want with no problem. The teachers are native speakers, and the quality of the course is very good. I have used both private and group classes to learn, and I love them.  

What did you find most challenging about learning English?

Mastering technical terms was difficult and spontaneous conversations in English. In class you can read off the slides and you repeat the things your teacher says, but spontaneous conversations with strangers are hard. You do not know what the other person is going to say. 

What part of your English has improved the most?

Listening, because I used to find it difficult. For example, when I used to listen to songs in English, I did not understand anything. Today, I understand 80% of the song. Or I can watch a movie in English and understand it, and I love that. It makes me happy.

What part of your English do you still want to improve?

I would like to improve my fluency and my vocabulary. And listening, because you can never practice enough!

Did you change anything about your life to learn English?

I tried to live in English. In everyday situations. I changed my phone into English, my computer, and my car. I tried to speak with everyone in English, including my family. My family are even learning English now because I prefer to communicate in English! At work, my non-native English-speaking colleagues and I have a special day when we only talk in English.

Did you have a breakthrough moment in your English journey?

When we were in the process of selling my last company. I had to present all the services, the whole portfolio, and all the operations manuals in English. It was a successful project because we managed to sell the company. This improved both my confidence and my English.

How do you practice English now?

My goal is still to study every day. It does not matter if it is just a minute, as long as it is every day. I read books or magazines, I watch TV and YouTube videos, and I immerse myself fully in English. I need to do this because every day I have meetings at work with people from other countries, including London, Germany, and the US. My role at PWC requires me to speak English every day.

What day-to-day tips can you offer other learners?

You need to establish goals. This is going to help you measure your progress. For example, a goal of learning new vocabulary each day – one word, two words, five words – whatever works for you. Every person and every goal are different. Then, consistency is important. You have to decide how much time you want to invest in learning. 

What do you do to improve your confidence speaking English?

Before, I studied vocabulary before meetings because it is important for it to be fresh in the mind. But today I do not need to prepare because speaking English is part of me. It is like having a toolkit – you need to have the right equipment for different scenarios. For example, if I needed to speak to a doctor in English, I would prepare for that specific situation. In our lives, we are always acquiring new abilities, and learning new skills. That is all part of our toolkit.

What advice would you give to a beginner learner?

When I was a beginner learner, I avoided meetings in English. I work in Sales, and we are always looking for new customers and new clients, but when I heard the customer was English, I was afraid to speak to them. But to learn, you need exposure to the language. That is why I now look for any opportunity to speak English. It does not matter if you speak perfectly or if you make mistakes, because everyone makes mistakes when they are learning.

What are your top three learning tips?

  1. Set goals. Realistic, reachable goals.

  2. Be consistent and practice every day.

  3. Live in English. Immerse yourself fully in the language.

And finally, could you describe your English learning journey in three words?

Challenging. Rewarding. Transformative.

What an inspiring journey! If you want to learn English to get your dream job, like Abraham, EF English Live offers a Business English course that can help you progress in your career. The Business English course and the Professional English courses will equip you with the terminology and skills you need to succeed at work. Whether you are a beginner learner thinking about applying for your first job, or you already have a job and want to improve your English.