About me

Who's Cara Leopold? And what's Leo Listening?

What’s Leo Listening about?

Leo Listening is all about learning how to listen, making listening to fluent speakers less scary and getting you ready to listen in the real world. In conversations. That’s where the real listening is at.

If you want to stop smiling and nodding in conversations and start understanding. If you want to stop translating into your language while listening and find more effective strategies, then you’re in the right place.

You’ve probably learnt most of your English through the written word. Maybe you’re even a big literature fan and feel more comfortable reading in English than trying to understand fluent speakers in conversations. Or watch a film without subtitles. Or deal with all the different accents in the English-speaking world.

How can you learn to listen? Let me share a little bit about my experiences of listening to both myself and a foreign language first.

Listening to your inner voice

Have you ever learned to listen? Not just so you can understand another language. But to yourself? To what you really want?

I’ve done both. After university, I did just that and decided to follow my dreams and move to France.

9 years later, I’m still here and I’m so glad I made the move. Plus I can understand spoken French perfectly. It’s probably my strongest language skill!

What does that have to do with English teaching you say?

Well, first and foremost, I came to Besançon, France to teach English. I was curious about the profession and I had a 2-year teaching job lined up at the University of Franche-Comté.
Fast forward to October 2015 and I find myself starting over (not for the first time) as a freelance online teacher. Every 2 years since 2007, I’ve done something different professionally. I’ve been a teacher, a student, and an export secretary in an international company among others.
What connects all these different experiences? The desire I heard within me: living in France.
Throughout these 9 years, I’ve listened from others and learned from them too. I listened to an Iranian colleague who’d always considered herself as a temporary resident in France, despite living here for decades. Even though she’s well-qualified, she worked a couple of part-time jobs well below her educational level. Listening to her story forced me to admit that I was in France for the long term and that I needed to do something about my professional situation.
I made a sideways move, went back to university, did a degree in International Business and got a job as an export secretary in an international company. But I had to listen to that inner voice again. It  was telling me that this was not the right path.
During my studies, I did an internship in a small, private language school in Switzerland. While I was there I realised that I could teach Swiss people, or in fact students from anywhere in the world, online from my home in France. A seed was planted in my mind.
I listened to that desire within me. My inner voice told me to give online teaching a chance. It hasn’t always been easy building my online business, but I’m lucky to have met many fellow online teachers along the way whose advice I’ve listened to and acted on, to the benefit of the teaching service that I’m building. One that helps you understand spoken English.

Learning Listening Together

I’ve had to learn to listen myself. To what I really want. If you’ve listened to my story carefully, you’ll know that’s to fulfil my dream of living in France and helping learners like you understand spoken English. Living and working abroad has honed my listening ability to the point where oral comprehension is my strongest French skill. I never thought that would happen to me. I want to make it happen for you.

So, what can you do to get started on your listening journey? I’d love to help guide you. A great starting place is with my free e-guide, Understand Conversational English. After you download it, I’ll add you to the Leo Listening list. You’ll join fellow Leo Listeners across the world who receive my bi-monthly listening tip articles and videos, plus my bi-monthly podcast episodes complete with the full transcript.