How To Improve English Speaking Skills
Many students master the fine points of English grammar but find themselves at a loss when it comes to actually having a conversation with native speakers. In reality, the only way to develop fluency in speaking is by huge amounts of listening, and then practicing. The following are a few tips for improving English speaking skills. Don’t forget that listening is the foundation for speaking! When you also want to practice speaking, here are some suggestions for how to improve English speaking skills.
Find An English-Speaking Conversation Partner
First of all, it’s important to find native speakers to practice with. Students who are living around many English speakers may be able to find informal opportunities to chat with neighbors and local business people. Joining a club or a volunteer organization can be a great way to get to know people informally. If that isn’t an option, consider hiring a private tutor. A lot of students find and meet with tutors online via tools like Skype or Google Hangouts.
Make Sure To Listen As Well As Speak
When practicing with a native speaker, try to balance your listening and speaking. It’s a good idea to prepare questions in advance so that the conversation will flow back and forth. If your conversation partner asks you a question and you answer at length, you can always turn the question back to your partner by asking, “What do you think?” or “What about you?”
Record Your Conversation Practice
Recording is a great way to get the maximum benefit from a conversation with a native speaker. When you listen again, you can evaluate your own pronunciation and notice areas where you need to improve. You can also review the content of the conversation, take notes on new vocabulary or misunderstandings, and prepare questions for the next meeting.
Surround Yourself With The English Language
Another way to improve your English speaking skills is to immerse yourself in English as much as possible. Watch movies or TV in English, with subtitles if you need them, and watch the same programs over and over. Most people find that they understand more each time. Listening helps you become familiar with the rhythms and intonations of English. Once the sounds are familiar, try imitating them.
Practice With Music and Movies
Listen to music in English and sing along. Music is one of the best tools for learning intonation pronunciation. Listening to and singing songs might also help you remember vocabulary and phrases (if the song is easy to understand), and it will help you learn to pronounce English rhythm in a more natural way. By unconsciously imitating the singer, you’ll learn to pronounce phrases the way native speakers do. One good song for ESL or EFL students is “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega because it uses simple language to describe everyday scenes and actions. Movies are a much better choice for learning English. You’ll learn vocabulary, idioms, slang, pronunciation, and listening by watching movies. Be sure to use my movie technique when you do this!
Reading out loud is a great way to practice speaking when there are no conversation partners available. Reading aloud gives you a chance to focus on pronunciation and pacing without worrying about coming up with words. Make sure to practice with material that you can understand. Some students find videos online that have transcripts. Many TED talks, for example, include word-for word transcripts of the talk. By reading aloud from a transcript, you can check your pronunciation by listening to how the speaker says something.
Talk To Yourself
Saying your thoughts out loud or narrating your actions (“I am drinking coffee, and now I’m going to open my book”) can be a very effective way to practice spoken English. By talking to yourself, you can become more fluent in translating your thoughts into spoken words. Practicing alone is also a low-pressure way to practice, since no one will hear your mistakes.