How to learn new English words and expand word bank?

language
New answer on May 16, 2022
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 14, 2022

I am a non native English speaker working at a consulting firm. I'd like to seek tips on how to learn new words efficiently so that I can communicate more effectively on client materials. 

Are there better ways than memorizing words on a dictionary, or doing google translation? I'd like to learn advanced business vocabularies that would be used on business occations, client proposals, presentations, etc. Thanks!

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 15, 2022
McKinsey & Oxford / 100% success rate beyond 4 sessions / top 25% best consultants in the Firm

Hi there, 

I think the key here is not the materials, but how to activate your vocabulary. 

To begin with, I'd do a simple exercise. In every meeting or discussion you participate in from now on, write down the words that you hear and that you don't know or don't commonly use. Look them up, write down the translation and then make a point of using a couple of them in the next meeting or discussion. 

This is a good method because of a few reasons:

  • Requires little time and resources from your side
  • It helps you learn specifically the words you'd most often need
  • It's focused on targeted learning rather than random memorization

Good luck!
Best,

Cristian

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Ian
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updated an answer on May 16, 2022
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

For every single language I've learned I've always gone with good old-fashioned note cards. Nothing, seriously, nothing gets you more quickly ramped up w/ vocabulary than this.

When learning a language I pull them out whenever I'm on a bus, plane, etc.

In order to add to the list, I get inspired by 1) Book vocabulary 2) TV Show/Movie vocabulary and 3) Day-to-day thinking about words.

There are also great language flashcard apps like Quizlet and Brainscape!

(edited)

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Angelina
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replied on May 15, 2022
Digital Health start-up founder; ex-BCG; SDA Bocconi. Youtube: Angelina's Business World

Hi there, 

I relate to this question because I worked in consulting in my fourth language. I 100% agree with the tips given by Cristian and Lucie, that's exactly what I used to learn Italian fast. 

However, if you're already advanced, listening to podcasts and reading news articles might not be an efficient way to get exposed to new vocab, because native speakers tend to use the same terms over and over again. If it is the “top-SAT-score slash went-to-an-Ivy-league-school vocab" that you're after, I would just use specialised apps that allow you to learn many synonyms in a fun, game-like manner. I love using the app Elevate and its Speaking/Reading section to keep my English afloat (English is my second language) - it's much more efficient, I find, since I spend only 3-5 minutes a day using it. 

Good luck!

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Lucie
Expert
replied on May 14, 2022
10+years of recruiting & top BCG trainer & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & Pricing and Revman expert

Hi there,

from my own experience not being a native speaker myself, I would recommend:


1. Read business articles, and news (e.g. The Economist)
2. Listen business-oriented podcasts
3. Get an English speaking teacher

Anything practical is probably better than just memorizing new words.

Good luck!

Lucie

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 16, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

English wansn´t my first language either, but it´s the one that I have always used for work. 

I echo what other coaches said, and emphasis that you focus very much on the business world vocab - it doesn´t make sense to just learn more English, broadly, unfocused. 

As recommended before, reading The Economist can be killing two birds with one stone. 

Hope it helps!

Cheers, 

Clara

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Cristian gave the best answer

Cristian

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McKinsey & Oxford / 100% success rate beyond 4 sessions / top 25% best consultants in the Firm
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