Improve your Business English with Practice in VR

May 22, 2018 - Dom Barnard

Millions of businesses around the world communicate in English. It has become the major language of international business and trade. For individuals who what to achieve success in the workplace, increasing their fluency and competence is essential in order to remain competitive.

Whether you are looking for a new job, hoping to secure new clients or moving country, there is a high chance you will benefit from a good level of business English. In this article, we discuss how virtual reality (VR) can help you improve your business English by letting you practice different business situations in a realistic way.

Current methods of practicing English aren’t good enough

You can of course practice your business English without VR, however many of these methods are not suitable for multiple reasons:

  • Practice speaking English to a mirror – this is a good way to get comfortable with certain phrases and words. However you’ll receive no feedback or indication that you are speaking correctly.
  • Conversations with friends – friends or colleagues will give you feedback on how you’re doing. However, they may not be willing to spend hours of their time and may not be as honest as they need to be.
  • Traditional online language class – online classes don’t let you practice speaking English in a realistic way. Online classes are good for learning grammar, phrases and other concepts.
  • In-person classes – these can be expensive and require you to be located near to a training centre to take the classes (or spend additional money travelling and living near the training centre).

What is virtual reality?

Virtual reality is the term used to describe a 3 dimensional, computer generated environments which can be interacted with by a user. When the user puts on a VR headset, they are immersed in virtual environments, which in our case might include a virtual meeting room or a conference room.

Within these virtual environments, they might start a conversation with an avatar, give feedback to an employee, lead a team meeting and more.

A VR headset is required to experience these different virtual scenarios, and cost anywhere from $20-600, depending on the quality of the headset. Higher end headsets allow you to interact with objects using your hands, while cheaper headsets let you interact with your gaze.

For more information on virtual reality, read our complete guide to VR.

User practicing English with a VR headset

How can VR improve your business English?

There are hundreds of apps and courses out there for learning English, all somewhat similar in design and function. We’ve tried to create a more realistic and immersive learning experience with the help of virtual reality.

VR can immerse the user in a range of realistic business situations, where they can practice scenarios such as leading a team meeting, or giving a keynote speech at a conference. It provides a convenient way to recreate the nerves and excitement of a real business situation.

The visual immersion, as well as 360 surround audio, tricks the user into believing the virtual world is real. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars travelling and living in an English speaking country to improve your skills, you’ll be able to practice the same situations within VR from anywhere in the world.

Here are some ways VR can improve your business English:

  • Participate more confidently in meetings - you can practice speaking English as often as you like in our realistic virtual simulations, ensuring you’re ready and confident for workplace meetings.
  • Communicate more effectively in the workplace - features in our VR app ensure you’ll be better prepared, including voice analysis and impromptu speaking challenges.
  • Immerse yourself in the language and culture - as well as traditional language learning, you can visit landmarks and famous sites from around the U.K. and U.S.
  • Speak clearly with voice analysis technology - using the latest voice analysis technology, you’ll be analysed for hesitation words, pace of voice and more.
  • Learn through experience with VR - skills improve the more you practice them. VR lets you practice your business English anywhere, anytime.
  • Respond effectively in unknown situations - practice answering tough interview questions, giving a keynote speech at a conference presentation, running a team meeting, impromptu speeches and more.

Let's discuss some of these benefits in more detail.

Practice in safety with virtual reality

With properly developed virtual reality scenarios, you’ll believe what you are seeing is real. You can practice in these photo-realistic environments from the safety of your own home, where you are free to make mistakes and try new techniques out.

Practice business situations whenever you want

One of the great benefits about practicing to a virtual audience is that you can practice your language skills any time you want. Once you get hold of a VR headset, you can practice your business English in various VR scenarios in an experiential way.

You’re more likely to practice in the virtual world because it’s a safe environment, away from human judgement. Yet you still get many of the benefits from practicing or having a conversation in front of a real audience.

Feedback on your English speaking skills

Receiving feedback is essential for improving language skills. With the VirtualSpeech VR app, your speech is analysed for hesitations, pace, pitch, etc. and you can even receive an insight of your personality based on how you came across in your conversation or presentation.

This instant feedback is useful for honing different elements of business skills, from building rapport to empathy.

Analysing conversation in English with VR

Track your progress within the app

All the feedback you receive from the speech analytics feature is stored on your VR device and displayed in a specific room within the app. It's easy to track progress and determine how you are progressing over time, including areas such as eye contact, hesitation words and pace of speaking.

Load in your own presentation slides

You can load your own presentation slides into the VR scene and practice with them in different virtual rooms. This will help you prepare for sales pitches, presentations and conferences you have coming up in English. The slides can be interacted with, changed and updated within the VR app.

What workplace scenarios can you practice in VR?

There are many business related VR scenarios you can practice in the VirtualSpeech VR business English course, these include:

  • Conversations with other employees
  • Leading a meeting
  • Business networking
  • Answering interview questions
  • Giving a presentation
  • Keynote speech
  • Impromptu speeches
  • Giving feedback to a colleague

Each scenario lets you practice a different business skills as often as you need to, until you are comfortable performing that skill in the real world.

For more information about our workplace scenarios, read the following article:

Find out more about our Learn English for Business course.