This is usually the number one goal of students, to speak English more easily. Unfortunately, there are no quick and easy shortcuts but you will definitely get better if you work hard and follow my top tips!
1. Practise, practise, practise
Obviously the most important thing is to speak as much as you can! Find someone to speak to. Talk to native speakers, non-native speakers or even yourself!
2. Talk to native speakers
If you want to talk to a native speaker, you can find a teacher online easily on a website like italki or an app like Cambly. You have to pay for that. If you don’t want to pay or can’t, maybe you can find a language exchange partner. This is an English-speaking person who wants to learn your language and you help each other for free. Search for “language exchange partner” on Google or find an app for your phone, such as Hello Talk.
3. Talk to non-native speakers
It doesn’t have to be a native speaker. Talking to people from other countries will also help you to develop your fluency. Try meetup.com to find a local group or use italki, for example, to find someone to talk to online using Skype.
4. Talk to your friends
What about talking to people from your own country? I know it’s so much easier to communicate in your own language but if you have friends who are also learning, could you have 10 or 15 minutes when everyone has to speak English?
5. Talk to yourself!
You don't have to be crazy to do this!! Talk to yourself in English, out loud or in your head! Imagine you are telling somebody about your day or about the film you just watched, for example. If you are shy, this could be easier for you than talking to other people and it can build your confidence. Also, when you talk to yourself, you can take the time to notice which words you need but don’t know, and which grammar you find difficult. Then you know what you need to study next. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to think in English?! Try it! Try not to think in your own language and translate.
6. Record yourself
Find a video online and try to copy some phrases. Record yourself saying them and then listen to yourself. Compare your voice with the original. Maybe you should check first if it’s the version of English that you want to learn: British, American or Australian for example.
7. Sounding natural
Use contractions to sound more natural. Say “I’m” instead of “I am”, or “don’t” instead of “do not”. Learn a few idioms but don’t overuse them as this sounds unnatural.
Work on your pronunciation. Look for videos online to help with this or just watch any video and try to imitate a few phrases. Look at yourself in the mirror to see if your mouth is the same shape as in the video. Try reading out loud and thinking about your pronunciation.
9. Just want to speak?
Some students say they only want speaking practice. However, to speak better, you have to study grammar and vocabulary as well. You can’t explain something easily if you don’t know the words and people will find it difficult to understand you if there are too many grammar mistakes.
However, don’t worry too much about mistakes. Don’t be so worried about getting it wrong that you are afraid to speak. We all make mistakes and most people will be kind! Mistakes can even help you to learn!
11. English everywhere
Read in English. Read books, newspapers, websites, anything! Listen to English. Watch films or TV shows, watch YouTube videos, or listen to music. This will help you learn more vocabulary and give you a feel for natural language.
Even writing in English can help with your speaking. When you write, you have more time to think about the grammar and vocabulary so this will help you with accuracy. If you don’t have a teacher or language partner to check your work, you can put it on italki.com or lang-8.com and get feedback.
Please comment below if you have tried any of these things and say what helped you the most.
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