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 to do is to speak as much as you can! Find someone to speak to and practise as often as you can. 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 who gives lessons online using an app like italki or Cambly, or you could book a lesson with me! 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
Many people think that they can only improve if they talk to a native speaker but that isn’t true. Talking to other learners will also help you to develop your confidence and fluency. Ask all your friends and you’re sure to find somebody else who’s learning English. If not, try joining Facebook groups, like mine, or making friends on social media.
4. 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.
5. Time yourself
If you're talking to friends from your own country, I know it’s so difficult to keep talking in English without going back to your own language. Could you have 10 minutes a day when everyone has to speak English? And when you can do this, increase it to 15 or 20 minutes.
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”. Maybe 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. Not just speaking
Remember that 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 you can't put the words together if you don't know the grammar.
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.
Did you know that writing in English can help with your speaking? This is because speaking and writing are similar skills. They both involve thinking about how to produce correct sentences. 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 hinative.com and get feedback.
Possibly the fastest way to improve your speaking is to have lessons. I give lessons online, mostly one-to-one. Visit my lessons page to learn more.
If you'd like even more tips, click here for some extra speaking tips.
For more top tips and suggestions, click the button below to get my English Speaking Challenge e-book.
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