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Hello Leo Listeners! It’s Cara here from Leo Listening where I help advanced English learners break free from subtitles so they can fall back in love with their favourite films and series.


Personal development

So, it’s the month of March, and this month I’m talking all about the theme of personal development or self-help. But I prefer personal development as a term.

So that’s anything to do with motivation, habit formation, managing your time, being more compassionate with yourself and other people, communicating better. These are all notions that fall under the personal development theme.

I want to approach it from two angles:

  1. What you can listen to in English that will boost your listening and your own personal development.
  2. How to use the techniques from personal development to feel more motivated and inspired while you’re trying to understand English, which obviously isn’t easy!


I’m going to start off by talking about some ways that you can get personal development information into your ears.

I was going to talk about the obvious sources like watching TED Talks, listening to podcasts on personal development topics, listening to audio versions of articles on sites like Medium, where they have a lot of personal development material, reading summaries of non-fiction books on subjects, for example on Blinkist where they have audio versions of the books, or audio versions of articles on other people’s sites.

I had all these ideas that I was going to talk about and then I realised that there was something that I hadn’t thought about and that was using conferences as a tool.

Benefits of online conferences

Nowadays, the best thing about online conferences is that often you don’t have to go anywhere. So many of them are online. Instead of spending hundreds if not thousands of Euros or Dollars to take a flight, book a hotel somewhere, go somewhere for the whole weekend and then just hide in the corner somewhere, not talking to anyone, you can actually tune in from home.

There are quite a few conferences now in the language learning space. For example there was the Linguahackers conference last year. There’s the Online Teacher Summit that’s coming up again this April, and there’s the Language Learning Summit that was in February! And now there’s a new kid on the block in the language learning space, Women in Language, which I’ll be speaking at very soon.

I just gave some examples for languages, as an example of personal development through conferences, but I’m sure there are lots of online conferences in other fields as well. You just need to google them. Go use your friend Google to find some more examples!

What I like about online conferences compared to normal conferences is that you save lots of time and money. You don’t have to pay for a hotel. You don’t have to pay for food. You don’t have to pay for transport. You don’t have to pay for merchandise like the t-shirt of the conference or something like that.

What I like about online conferences compared to normal conferences is that you save lots of time and money

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Even though conferences are online, so you’re watching them from home, you can still interact and meet with people. For instance, at the Language Learning Summit there were special networking gatherings to bring people together. Usually at the end of talks you have question and answer sessions, so you’re interacting with the speaker and asking them questions etc.

If you’re not available on the days that the conference takes place, no worries! When it’s online, the organisers usually record them and you can pay a fee to have the recordings. You can watch them whenever. It doesn’t matter if you’re not there on the specific days.

You can of course listen to the conference talks while you’re doing something else. There’s no obligation to necessarily sit in front of the screen, although doing that means you can watch the slides, which can help. You need to learn something. The whole point of this is that it’s for your personal development and learning development.

Of course attending and participating in an online conference is a lot more interactive than watching the recording of a TED or a TEDx event where you just get to see the speaker and that’s about it!


Women in Language

I wanted to talk a bit more about the new language learning conference on the block, which is Women in Language, where as I said, I’m going to speak.

There’ll be 25 female speakers, who’ll be presenting from March 8th to 11th, so very soon. The conference is organised around four big themes:

  1. Starting languages – if you’re a beginner, there’ll be certain talks that are oriented around that.
  2. Mastering languages – which is for people who have been learning for a while.
  3. Living with languages – that’ll be talks from people who have been living abroad, living in the country where the language is spoken.
  4. Working with languages – you’ll be hearing from people who have been able to turn their passion into a profession and use their language in their job.


The idea of Women in Language is of course to amplify women’s voices and perspectives in the language learning space.

When I first saw that, I thought to myself “Oh yeah, it’s true! A lot of polyglots and language experts are men! They’re all blokes” So I thought It’s a really good idea to have something focused all on women speakers because there are a lot of men learning and talking about languages, but there are also a lot of women.

It’s hosted by three very inspiring language teachers and learners:

* Kerstin from Fluent Language

* Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages

* And Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

Those are three very inspiring ladies and I’m so glad they’ve decided to put this event on.

Just to clarify one thing. All the speakers are female of course, but you’re free to join the event whether you’re a man, non-binary, transgender – it doesn’t matter. You’re totally free to sign up, participate in the event and ask questions etc.

What’s good about the event is that it’s a ticketed event, so you pay, then you get in and get access to everything. As part of that, 10% of all the profits are going to Kiva, which I’m really excited about, because I heard about Kiva fairly recently.

I read about it somewhere and thought “Oh, I want to give money to this organisation!”

Kiva works with business owners in developing countries. The idea is that you loan money to people who need a loan to invest in their business. Normally you get it paid back because once people have had the loan and been able to invest in their business, they’re able to generate money and pay back the loan. That’s the way that Kiva works. It helps support entrepreneurs in developing  countries.

So it’s really cool that I wanted to donate to them, and now it turns out that Women in Language is going to be donating too, so that’s fantastic!

There are also going to be two round-table talks in addition to all the talks from each individual speaker.

Some of the talk titles that caught my eye were:

* The power of compassion and intuition in language learning abroad – that sounds really interesting.

* Why you’re struggling with listening and what to do about it – so that’s not my talk! That’s someone else’s talk and it sounds really cool!

* Find time in a busy life – learn with Instagram – that’s my friend Elfin who’s going to be giving that talk. That’s going to be really cool.

* Cracking the language code through art and self-expression – sounds really fascinating.

* How to kill it in language learning with crime fiction – I am really intrigued by that one!

* Making the world a better place as an interpreter. Sounds good as well.

My talk of course is going to be about subtitle freedom – no surprises there!

So make sure you join us for a listening boost and some language learning insights for your own personal development.

It’s March 8-11. I’m going to put all the links and everything you need to know under this blog post.

I hope that you can come and that this has inspired you to consider online conferences as another way to get some listening practice in English, and also to learn about something and develop your knowledge.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be back again soon!

Sign up for Women in Language by clicking here.

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