Do you see yourself struggling when you speak English?
Follow these 5 tips and polish your English speaking in no time.
1. Slow Down Your Speaking Speed
You might be an eloquent speaker when it comes to your mother tongue, but expecting the same standards from yourself when speaking in a foreign language may not be very realistic.
Especially, if you’re at the early stages of learning. Learners are often told not to worry about the mistakes they’re making, however, it is easy to understand why you would like to make a good impression on your audience.
To overcome this difficulty, you may try slowing down your speaking speed.
Nobody will hold it against you if you speak more slowly and clearly. Great speakers do the same to get their message across.
Selecting your words carefully may also be seen as a sign of respect towards your audience. It shows that you want to give them the best possible answer.
2. Give Yourself Time to Think
You may be worried that the people you’re talking to are impatient and would like you to say what you want as quickly as possible.
First of all, it may not be true – people often prefer a well-thought-out answer to a rushed one.
So just relax.
Another practical thing you can do is equipping yourself with fixed phrases you can use when remaining silent doesn’t seem to be an option.
Here’s an example:
• Why is there so much violence on TV? That’s a good question. Let me think for a moment, I haven’t really thought about it before. Well, I suppose…
Here the speaker gains considerable amount of time to reflect just by repeating the question and adding a few sentences. If you do the same, you’ll sound more fluent and won’t feel the pressure of having to say something before you’re ready.
Fixed or set phrases are phrases whose words are usually fixed in a certain order. They can be verb patterns, idioms, collocations – basically anything we always say in one particular way. For example,
• during the day
• in the meantime
• It’s been a long time since
• Sorry to bother/trouble you, but…
• Would you mind if…?
• Oh, come on!
• I’m just kidding!
• For what it’s worth,…
• To be right/wrong about
• Tit for tat/an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
3. Learn Sentences, Not Only Words
In a way, this will take the pressure off too. When you learn a new word, try to memorize a couple of sentences that contain it.
There might come a time when you can use one particular sentence with little or no alteration at all. Unfortunately, many people learn words by heart, but have no idea how to use them in a sentence.
4. Learn to Listen
When speaking in a foreign language, you might be so focused on what you are saying and whether it’s correct or not, that you forget to listen to what others are saying.
This is a big mistake as they might be using the exact words or grammar you’ll need later on. So pay attention to what’s being said around you, it’s your most important resource at the time of speaking to someone.
5. Produce, Produce, Produce
As I said at the beginning of this article, you might know a lot about the language, but this is passive knowledge that must be activated somehow. Your aim is to be able to produce correct English; practice is undeniably the best way to learn and improve.
Writing is one way of producing language; it may help you get used to and reflect on the ways English operates, which, in turn, might prove to be useful when speaking.
Speaking, on the other hand, is a much more spontaneous process and nothing prepares you for it better than actually doing it. So, find people you can practise with – either in person