My first post on tips for improving speaking skills in English is my most visited post so I thought I would do another one with some extra ideas for you! Click here to see the first post.
1. Try to think in English
If you always think in your own language and then translate everything when you speak, it's going to make your speaking slow. It can also cause you to make more mistakes because not everything translates word for word. Click here to read more about how to do this.
2. Learn common phrases
As well as learning words, try to learn some common phrases that English speakers use. This can help you to speak more naturally and fluently because you don't have to find every word you need separately. Here are some examples: "I'm looking forward to it", "Could I speak to ..., please?", "A table for two, please" or "have a party".
Think about your speed. If you speak too slowly, people will lose patience and find you difficult to listen to. If you speak too fast, this could affect your pronunciation and you might make more mistakes. Then the other person might not be able to understand you. Ask a friend if you speak too fast or too slowly.
4. Conversation skills
Remember that half of a conversation is actually listening. As learners, I think we can get so focused on wanting to practise or on what we want to say, that we forget to let the other person speak! So don't forget to take turns and let the other person say something!
5. Don't know a word?
There will definitely be times when you don't know a word that you need or can't remember it. Stay calm. Don't just stop speaking. Don't spend too long trying to remember because your listener might lose interest. Find another way to say it. The other person might even be able to give you the word. For example, "I was late for work this morning because my, oh what's it called? You know the clock that wakes you up in the morning." "Alarm clock?" "Yes! That's it! My alarm clock didn't work."
6. Read out loud
When you are reading something in English, try reading some of it out loud. This is a way to practise speaking if you have nobody to talk to! When you do this, you don't have to think about finding the right words or correct grammar. Instead, you are practising your pronunciation and it may help you to remember the new words. If you're not sure how to pronounce a word, check in an online dictionary. Alternatively, watch a video with subtitles on and the sound off. Then listen and check.
7. Retell a story
After you read a story or watch a film or TV show, in English of course, try to tell someone about it, or just talk to yourself. This is good because you can practise some of the language that you've just heard. Using it helps you to remember it.
I know it's hard but try to relax and enjoy it. The more you relax, the better your speaking will be. On the other hand, if you are tense, you will forget words and make more mistakes. That makes you more tense and so on! So try not to worry. You can communicate even if it's not perfect. Most people are kind and they are not going to laugh at you! They are more likely to be impressed that you know another language!
If you haven't seen it already, click here for my first twelve speaking tips.
If you'd like to practise speaking with a native-speaker teacher, click here to find out about my lessons.
To get my e-book full of tips on how to speak better English, click the button below.
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