Sometimes we need to learn the basics of a foreign language as fast as we possibly can, because of a business trip, career opportunity or other travel plans. We start to panic and wondering how on earth are we going to pull this one on. I can assure you that it can be done.



In a business setting, being able to communicate with clients in their native language will set yourself at an advantage above your peers and will open a lot of doors.

I will give you some advice, as well as describing some tools and resources that can help you succeed at communicating in the foreign language of your choice.


Learn key words and phrases

Fluency takes time, you know it, but you can learn key words and phrases that you will most likely use. This will help you communicate with the locals, boost your confidence and will allow you to get around easily.

You will be able to gain enough knowledge of the language and this will enhance your communication skills during your trips. Buying a phrasebook with translation in your mother tongue might be very useful. Learn what you’re going to say and possible answers as well.

Take advantage of the spaced repletion language Apps available. They will be useful in making the process of memorisation easier.


Learning the most-used verbs will give you a good head start.


Learn the most frequently used verbs

Learning the most-used verbs and their conjugation will give you a good head start because they are key to improving your speaking skills. Communication will be much easier when you are able to use present, past and future tenses.


Use a frequency dictionary

The use of a frequency dictionary will help you learn the language as quickly as possible. The frequency dictionary provides a list of circa 5000 words and contains thematically organised lists of frequently used words and phrases on a variety of topics. This will help you learn the basics quickly. It goes without saying that you should combine this with other learning materials to get to more advanced levels.


Recording yourself speaking in the foreign language will enhance your confidence.


Record yourself

Recording yourself will prove extremely advantageous. It will help you get used to speaking in the language, enhance your confidence, grow your vocabulary list, realise where your weaknesses are, better your pronunciation by building muscle memory, gain overall command over the language.

Over time the use of vocabulary and grammar become automatic.

A good way to start can be with a spoken journal where you talk about what happened during the day. You will then use the language as though you were living in the foreign country.

You can also practice possible conversations that you are bound to have or talk about a film that you watched as though introducing it to a friend.


Speak with native speakers

It can be done either in person or online. There are a few websites allowing for this type of encounter. Italki is one of them. You can meet via Skype with an exchange partner (you teach them your language and they teach you theirs) or with a teacher as many times a week as convenient to you.

This will allow you to practice speaking, but also understanding different accents and intonation. You will be able to have a taste of what real-life conversations entail.


With audio guides, you familiarise yourself with the sounds of the language.


Listen to audio guides

The use of language audio guides helps you to get used quickly to the language. You can listen to them at every free moment available to you during the day.

The big advantage is that you’re training your ears to get familiar to the sound of the language as well as different accents. You learn to get used to spoken words.

It is a good immersive way to study the language.


Have a growth mindset

Learning a new language will require motivation and a strong will. You will have to step time and time again outside your comfort zone. You will make lots of mistakes, but you should not let this put you off. At the contrary the more mistakes you make means that you are putting yourself out there, you’re practising the language. Take every mistake as your best teacher, learn from it and move on. And guess what? With practice comes fluency.

Remember that “success comes from the simple fact that you are trying”.

Frank Macri




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