How to Improve Your English Speaking Skills
It may seem obvious but the only way to improve your English speaking skills is…. to actually speak.
Fluency is not about perfect grammar; even native English speakers make grammar mistakes. The aim is to make yourself understood, to communicate effectively, to speak confidently. That’s not to say that you can completely ignore grammar; of course not – you want to be understood after all, so you do need to build a solid foundation. But you also need to bite the bullet and, no matter what level of English you’re at, you need to actually speak.
Tips to improve your English speaking skills faster:
- Listen and copy native English speakers on the radio, on TV, Youtube, audio books – mimic them as closely as possible.
- Speak out loud! Don’t swallow your words thinking mistakes will be hidden – speak loud and proud.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Of course you’ll make mistakes, but they’ll help you improve.
- Don’t overthink. Especially when you start out, there’s a lot to remember – the vocabulary, the word order, the tense, singular or plural – just take a few deep breaths, smile and do your best.
- Train your mouth muscles to make the sounds typical to the English language, which you may not have in your own language. Record yourself reading out loud, then play it back. A great book with pictures on how to position your mouth for English sounds and written by two professional accent coaches is Work on Your Accent.
- Focus on learning phrases and expressions – ones that are actually relevant to your life, work and study so they’ll be useful to you.
- Practice regularly. Every day if possible. The more time you put in, the quicker you’ll see progress
5 Top Tools to improve your English speaking skills:
This is an app that connects you with other people who are also looking for conversation practice. You decide if you want a male or a female partner, or you can join a chatroom. It’s audio only, no video, for privacy.
This app allows you to have interactive conversations with it. It’s ideal for beginners and lower intermediates.
This app turns your mobile phone into an instant translator. Speak into the microphone in your native language, which the app detects automatically, and it will translate the words into your selected output language – obviously English!
This site offers audio recordings of vocabulary lists to hear how to the words are pronounced correctly. The site also has grammar games, quizzes and reading material.
To really master a language, nothing beats regular contact with native speakers. But of course that’s not always possible, and even online private tuition can be expensive. Lingoda solves these problems. They offer online classes with up to 4 other students, which means you keep costs down whilst still getting a lot of individual attention. Their programme is designed specifically to focus on speaking practice, and all their teachers are native speakers. You can choose and book lessons on topics that meet your needs and interests, and classes are available throughout the 24hour day.