How can I improve my English speaking skills?

How can I improve my English speaking skills Big

How can I improve my English speaking skills?

There are many elements that you need to consider and ask yourself what are you looking to improve:

  • Vocabulary?
  • Grammar?
  • Pronunciation?
  • Accent?
  • Fluency?
  • Intonation?

1. Speak with native speakers: Are you aware that when talking with native speakers, you are just mimicking their sound, mannerism and body language. You are not learning the practical skills needed to build a foundation for correct pronunciation. This is why we say speaking more doesn’t mean speaking well.

2. English grammar: When having a conversation exchange, we don’t have the same time to think compared to writing a text or an email. An obvious grammar mistake we have noticed is that many non-native English speakers often leave out or misuse prepositions and conjunctions when speaking English, however they don’t necessarily make as many of these mistakes in written English. Learning to think before you speak will allow you more time to process and avoid making mistakes.

3. How advanced is your current vocabulary: A limited vocabulary will restrict your choice of words and can be perceived as unintelligent and common. You might also find it difficult to engage with the listeners and conversations will be cut short. Learn new words!

4. Your tone and speed matter: Almost all non- native English speakers speak English in the same tone and speed as their native language. Pay attention to that! One size doesn’t fit all. Most of the time you are more than likely to be speaking too fast. You need to learn the English way of delivery or you might sound funny to others and risk not being taken seriously. Also your tone can change the meanings of your words. Somethings that’s supposed to be harmless can come across hurtful!

5. Stop saying “Eeeeeeh”: It is not an attractive trait and you might annoy the listeners. You don’t want that. Plan ahead and think before you speak. You can think without saying “eeeeeeeeh”. Think quietly!

6. Learn to listen: Good speaking skills require good listening skills. More often than not, we are all guilty of not listening but just waiting for our turn to speak. You also need to learn what to say and what not to say. Having good speaking and listening skills will help you to develop good communication skills.

7. Replying not reacting: Do you find yourself easily triggered? If you find yourself all worked up, it is better not to shout out words that you will regret later. If it means it’s better to walk away, then walk away. We need to learn to see other people’s perspective, and once you understand this fundamental you will be less triggered. This will help you develop self-control!

8. Learn to agree to disagree: We don’t always have to be right. We all have different opinions and points of view, but it is key that we learn to agree to disagree without fighting. Stay calm!

9. Be constructive, don’t belittle: Put the ego to one side, be open-minded, approachable and constructive. You can’t take back your words. Make friends, not enemies! If not, at least don’t hurt with your words.

10. Accept feedback: It’s rare that a native English speaker will correct your English, they are just too polite for that. If you come across your colleagues, managers or friends from college correcting you, use the perspective that they are helping you to improve your English and don’t get upset over it. Ofcourse if they are mocking you then it’s a different matter. Learn to take feedback and constructive criticism.

11. Timing: Saying the right things at the right time is one of the most important skills we all need to master. Learn to read the room and learn to read people. For example, if your boss is in a bad mood, it’s best not to ask questions as it will affect his answer to your question. You don’t want to be rejected, or do you?

12. Be intentional with your words: Don’t just throw out words. Be mindful of your words. Is it relevant to the subject of your conversation? Is it necessary?

13. Filler words: The most common filler word is “like”. It can be frustrating for your listeners to hear you say it all the time. It also makes you sound unintellectual and uninspiring.

14. Pronunciation and Accent: If you want to learn English pronunciation properly and make actual progress, we suggest that you consider working with our team at Speech Etiquette. This way you will receive adequate training, feedback and guidance.

Why expanding your vocabulary is the most important?

In order to engage with your audience, you need to learn how to do storytelling, paint a picture and drive their imagination. Therefore in our opinion, without adequate vocabulary you will not improve your speaking skills much. As a result, we will recommend you to start with expanding your vocabulary first.

To fully improve your speaking skills require more than regular practice and speaking with native speakers. However you can try our list below at home without a tutor:

Task 1: Expand your vocabulary – learn 10 new words a day

Task 2: Learn to plan ahead and think before you speak – bring out your pen & paper

Task 3: Copy your favourite British drama or movie & mimic their sound, tone & mannerism

Task 4: Write a simple script

Task 5: Practise tongue twisters

Task 6: Sing your favourite English songs

Incorporating these tasks listed above and practising at least 20 minutes a day will help you with your English speaking skills. Please bear in mind that doing it alone without professional help means you are likely to still speak in a certain accent and won’t sound like a native.

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