How To Master Any Language ?

How Read, Write, Speak and Listen help you to master any language ?

Coach — What do you want to discuss today?

Coachee — I am trying to change my job. I have around 10+ years industry experience. I have been trying for job change since last few months but could not get any. My problem is that in interviews, I know all the answers whatever interviewer is asking but I am not able to express myself properly. I am struggling to answer in English though I know the answers. I can give answers in Hindi fluently but struggling to speak in English. Please advise me what to do.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Coach — OK, so if you feel that your English is not good and you are not able to speak good English, how you have been managing these many years in your professional life? How do you communicate with your team members and with client?

Coachee — In My team, mostly we speak Hindi only. For last 8 years, working with same client and the communication is mostly technical discussion, so they are also used to of what I am trying to speak and it’s kind of manageable there. Also didn’t tried for job change before in outside companies, and never faced such situation before so didn’t feel the need to improve on the communication part.

Coach — So what has changed now? Why are you looking for change now? What is the driving factor for this?

Coachee — As I mentioned it’s been 8 years with the same company, same client, same project, and same technology, I feel my learning is kind of stopped here. I am not learning anything new, it has become kind of monotonous work here and compensation wise also I feel that I am earning less than my peers and friends, so now I am thinking for change.

Coach — So how long you have been looking job change?

Coachee — It’s been few months now while I am searching for job.

Coach — Are you sure rejection or failure in interviews is because of communication or English speaking only and not because of lack of skills or experience?

Coachee — No, it’s not because of skills or experience, usually I know all the answers whatever interviewer is asking. There is no gap here. It is just that I am not able to express myself.

Coach — So what action you have taken to change this situation?

Coachee — I am not sure what to do here, I am feeling stuck and frustrated.

Coach — OK, to improve and master any language there are 4 things need to work upon — Read, Write, Speak and Listen. So, let’s see one by one what all you have been doing or can do to improve your English. Let’s start with reading. Do you like to read books or magazine or anything else?

Coachee — No, I am not a good reader, sometimes I read newspaper, sometime read news on some portal or may be some technical article, but don’t have a regular habit of reading.

Coach — Can you try reading something every day, it may be the newspaper, some story book, novel, or something? The only thing is read something daily.

Coachee — yes, I can try.

Coach — OK, great. Next thing is writing. Now in your workplace there would be somebody, may be your manager or some teammate, would be having good communication and English speaking and writing skills, so observe how they do official communication, how they write their emails. Try to follow their style, try to learn those jargon and try to put in your emails. Can you try this?

Coachee — Yes, there are people who write excellent emails and good in communication. I can try following their writing style.

Coach — OK, great. Now comes the speaking part. As you mentioned, you mostly speak with your teammates in Hindi only, can you try having more and more business communication in English or speak in English with people who are not much comfortable in Hindi? May be these people are from some other location or geography. Idea is to find opportunity to speak more and more in English, may be at workplace or in your surroundings. The more you practice the better your spoken English would be.

Coachee — Yes, I have some teammates who are not comfortable in Hindi, maybe I can try having more conversation with those people and yes try with other teammates also.

Coach — Excellent, now the last part. Listening. So, do you listen to any podcast, audio books, watch English movies or web series? Do you have any such hobby?

Coachee — I don’t listen podcast or audio books but I used to watch English Movies and Web series also. Not watched for a long time now, but yes, I can do this. Long back when I used to watch English Movies and Web series, my family and friends used to tell me that my English got improved that time. So yes, this is something interesting and I can surely do this.

Coach — OK, now finally It’s all about how we think and speak. If we need to speak in language other than our mother tongue, we usually think in our mother tongue first and then try to translate and speak. Usually we do two things, first we in think in mother tongue and then translate in other language. Lot of times this translation does not go well, hence we feel that we are not good at that language. To overcome this situation, we need to start thinking also in the same language in which we want to speak. The essence should not be lost in translation. There should be sync in how we think and speak.

Coachee — This is excellent, I never thought this way. I will try to implement this also.

Coach — Great. So, to summarize 4 ways to improve and master any language is Read, Write, Speak and Listen. Hope this discussion was helpful and now you have some action items to work upon which would help you in mastering this language.

Coachee — Yes Coach, today I have learned a lot of new things. This discussion was helpful. Thanks a lot for these insights.

Coach — It’s my pleasure.