7 Helpful Tips To Improve Your English Listening Skill

There are many ways to dress a chicken, and there are many ways to prepare a spaghetti dish. In the same manner, there are many ways we can develop our English listening skills, and this lies largely upon our consistency in practicing. Find out which learning exercise works for you, and regularly use that method to hone your listening skill.

1) Write the lyrics while listening to a song.

Listening to the correct lyrics can be difficult, even for native English speakers. For this exercise, pick an English song that’s not familiar to you but one that you like. Try to write the lines, and when you think you got it right, compare it with its real lyrics online. Then you can try singing along until you memorize the song. This way, the lyrics will stick in your head for a very long time.

2) Watch a video lesson about English sounds done by an English teacher.

Watching English movies or TV shows can be difficult, especially when they speak very fast. So, to help build up your listening skills, you can try searching for “English Lessons” on YouTube. The English teachers there simplify their English, speak slower, and are easy to understand. You can do this for a while until you are accustomed to listening to English.

3) Listen to someone talk about your job.

Search online for a training video, a lecture, a conference speech, or a conversation about your career or job. The vocabulary may be difficult, but the topics will be something you can easily relate to since this is your field.

4) Choose your “background noise”.

Listen to a podcast in your headphones while you work, jog, prepare dinner, or ride the train. You can download free podcasts from iTunes. Use the same podcast for a week until you’re familiar with the vocabulary and phrases used in that topic. Having English as a “background noise” will help your mind get in-tuned to English.

5) Use an audiobook during your free time.

Choose a convenient time, like once every week, to listen to a whole audiobook. An audiobook is a recorded voice of someone reading a book. The readers speak in obvious and entertaining ways, so they are fun to listen to for several hours. The books use a broad range of vocabulary, so this will teach you new words and help you listen for correct pronunciation.

6) Listen to English speakers who speak very fast and very slow.

Challenge yourself and listen to a fast speech. This will be difficult to understand, so you can pause in between sentences to allow yourself to catch up with the meaning. This will be a good listening drill.
On the other hand, listening to a speech at a slow speed will also help you notice the words, sounds, and intonations that you normally miss. You can adjust the audio speed by using applications on your iPhone or laptop.

7) Listen to an English native speaker and to someone who isn’t.

Find a good way to practice listening to native speakers on these websites:

Ted Talks
Breaking News English
The British Council

Many of these websites provide activities after the listening part to encourage the student’s participation.

Finally, there is no strict method or way of speaking the English language. There are computer experts with an Indian accent, there are company CEOs with a thick French accent, there are Japanese business partners who have their own English accent, and there are Filipino English teachers with a different accent. Train your ears to listen to various accents so that when you meet people from different parts of the world, you won’t have a hard time listening to their accents. This will help you understand English in various situations, settings, and encounters. It would then be easier to understand what they are trying to say.

I have a passion for the English language because it is such a powerful tool for creativity and personal development. I've been writing articles since I was in High School. I represented my school in English writing competitions in the city, regional, and national levels. When I was in college, I wrote a short story which was published in the University Literary Portfolio. In 2006, I worked as a call center agent in Cebu City. In 2007 up to 2008, I worked as an English accent trainer in a startup call center company. I have also been offering ESL lessons as a freelance tutor since February 2016.