The in-between moments of our lives are now an opportunity to learn. With the resurging popularity of podcasts, we can now use these moments to learn a language, catch up on current affairs, learn about a culture, and so much more – there’s a podcast for everyone.
Podcasts are particularly portable. Easily downloaded on your phone, podcasts are a convenient and efficient way to access authentic and current content anywhere, anytime.
How can you use this convenient technology to improve your English language and workplace communication skills?
Generally, podcasts on any topic are a sure way to help you improve your listening skills, expand your vocabulary and provide an accurate example of pronunciation. Nothing is stopping you from practising some words out loud too. To improve your communication skills in the workplace specifically, we found a few podcasts that will help you learn English on-the-go or from home.
1. British Council: Relationship-Building
The British Council has been developing great resources for ESL teachers and students alike all over the world for many years. Their website features a series of podcasts that cover a large number of business and work themes. Our favourite is all about relationship-building.
The podcast takes you to a management training session about developing relationship-building skills. You will learn some tips and practical ideas on how to build relationships inside and outside your workplace, in an informal or formal context.
The podcast is preceded and followed by language activities that can be completed on paper or online. A transcript is also available to ensure your full understanding and practice. If you type in a comment or a question in regards to the content, an online instructor will clarify for you.
2. Q: The Podcast
If you have recently moved to Canada (or are in the planning stages), it’s important to learn about Canadian culture, news, and current events. CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) is a great place to start – you’ll find local news and cross-Canada updates.
Q is a daily arts and culture radio show (also available via podcast) that showcases both international and Canadian talent across music, television, movies, and stage. This is a great opportunity to learn about your new home country, and hear the Canadian accent.
Learning about the Canadian arts and culture scene is important for when you start networking and begin your first job. Canadians enjoy ‘small talk’ – this podcast will give you ideas on what to discuss with your new connections and coworkers. You'll hear interviews from some of Canada's greatest songwriters, and get to know uniquely Canadian content.
3. Business-Focused Podcasts
There are a number of business-focused podcasts related to your field of expertise. Podcasts will ensure you are in the know about the latest trends in your sector. There are many to choose from. In your favourite podcast app, search by Categories > Business to discover a podcast relevant to your sector and interests.
This is a time efficient way to stand on trend with your sector. You'll learn new tools and have conversation pieces for connecting with colleagues.
Bonus: Podcast Playlist
CBC hosts a weekly podcast featuring some of the best podcasts out there. This show is a great way to discover new podcasts if you don’t know where to start, or what you’ll like. Each week they focus on a particular theme (for example, etiquette, travel, or crime stories) and sample podcasts on the theme.
This is a great place to start if you’re new to podcasts. You’ll be able to sample a wide variety of content and find a podcast that resonates with you. There’s something for everyone.
The best way to develop your language skills is to practice – podcasts are an efficient way to expand your vocabulary and improve your listening. As a newcomer, podcasts serve as a way to learn about a new culture, get to know new phrases and slang, and provide you with plenty of topics for conversation.