4 Practical Tips for Busy Professionals to Improve Language Skills
Learning Tips

Most of us in Singapore have at least 10 years of experience in learning our Mother Tongue, and are able to hold basic conversations in our daily lives. However, most of us don’t expand on our language capabilities as we grow, and may even find our mother tongue proficiencies slowly diminishing. As a result, while we can still hold the most basic conversations, we aren’t fully equipped to take on the working world with our mother tongue, and may fall short of these necessary skills required to advance in the workplace.

So, how can we improve our mother tongue usage? Especially outside of formal education. Being natively fluent in another language can greatly improve your everyday way of life, as well as boost your career in a world where connectivity & communication skills are more and more vital for businesses to thrive. If you’re a busy professional, here are some tips for helping you to improve your mother tongue command with everyday habits that you can develop.

Taking Refresher Courses

Taking refresher courses is one way to improve our command of our mother tongue. For those who speak Mandarin, there are business Chinese courses available for working adults, structured so that you can master Mandarin in a short amount of time, or need to pass the Business Chinese Test (BCT). Refresher courses are great if you'd like some structure to your learning, and you'll be guided by a professional teacher who's able to answer any questions you might have.

However, the downside to refresher courses is that as we start working, we can hardly find the time to balance our career, family and study. Committing to a weekly class is tough and not possible for some of us. They can also be quite costly as well.


Consuming entertainment in your Mother Tongue

This is a sure way to gradually improve your skills in a language, be it watching Mandarin speaking  Dramas, or listening to Chinese Music. Research has shown that frequently watching shows in another language facilitates you learning the language, and improves your listening and vocabulary. However, this is a process that happens gradually over time, and may not be the best way if you're looking for a quick way to upgrade your language skills quickly.



Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular in the last few years, and has been a popular way of picking up new skills in general. Podcasts can help you to pick up new phrases and with pronunciation, and is available on demand, meaning you can casually listen in while on your way to work, and pick up where you left off afterwards!

If you have a Spotify subscription, you can access a variety of mandarin learning podcasts in their library. You can also go onto other sites such as Chinese Pod or Chinese Colloquialised to listen in to their podcasts, available for a variety of levels — although you might have to pay to access some of these podcasts.

MandarinPod (podcast) - MandarinPod | Listen Notes

Language Learning Applications


Lastly, we have popular language learning applications that help you to improve your language skills, such as Duolingo, Busuu, Babbel and Memrise. Many of these apps have fun and interactive activities and memory tactics to help you remember words faster. They're also available at any time of the day, so you don't need to worry about committing a fixed time in your schedule.

However, the downside is that most of them target the casual learner who have little to no basic knowledge in these languages whatsoever, so you're basically starting from scratch – or learning terms that do help you improve in casual conversation, but not so much in business settings.

If you're looking for something flexible and business language oriented, our business language app, Bluente, will be perfect for you! We are currently only available in Mandarin, but you can look forward to learning and becoming proficient in a whole range of business topics, ranging from financial statements, to general numbers, mergers and acquisitions, and more to come. We are available on the App Store & Google Play.

There are many ways to improve your Mandarin skills in our hectic lifestyles, and it's all about what kind of system works best. Some of us need a structured guide at all times, and some of us are audio learners, and work well with podcasts. Whichever way is ideal for you, it's important to dedicate time to improving your language skills in order to survive in today's harsh corporate environment.

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