Improving your English speaking is like learning to play a fun game. Just like how you practice a game to get better, you can practice speaking English by talking to friends, reading books, and watching cartoons or movies in English. The more you play the game of speaking English, the more words you’ll learn and the better you’ll become at talking with others. Remember, it’s okay to make mistakes – that’s how you learn and get even better!
SpeakingEnglish is a dream of many English learners, including you! Right? We study English grammar, learn English vocabulary, attend English courses (like my online English course), and read books just for one reason: To be able to speak English fluently! Isn’t that the true aim of learning the English language? To speak? Of course, it is the dream of all language learners to be able to speak without hesitation. But how can you do that?
Let me show you what you need to do in order to be able to speak English fluently and without hesitation! Let’s begin
How to improve English speaking?
Imagine you want to learn how to drive a car. You apply for a driver’s license, read the driver manual and watch driving videos on YouTube. Will you become a good driver by doing these? No! You have never touched a car!
The same goes for speaking. No matter how many books you read, how many words you learn or how many hours you spend practicing on paper, you won’t automatically become a good English speaker. You need to get enough speaking practice. Also, you should know how to improve English grammar and vocabulary. These 3 skills are English main skills.
The more you practice speaking English, the better and more fluent you become in doing so. However, here is a big question:
How should I practice English speaking?
Different methods to practice English speaking
Many students ask “Is it possible to practice English speaking at home?”. Let me tell you something: There are 2 main ways you can practice English speaking: practicing on your own, or practicing with a partner.
1Practice English speaking with a partner
If you have friends who also want to practice their speaking, you can do it together.
Careful: I have seen many students who are looking for a speaking partner on a chatroom. Texting on your phone is not speaking! In fact, that’s writing! Make sure you “speak” with each other in English, and not just text each other.
One challenge of practicing with a speaking partner is lack of ideas to talk about. To be able to speak English, you need ideas, topics and prompts. You cannot always talk about the weather, trees and “what did you do today?”. That would just make the practice extremely boring!
So, what’s the solution? Let me introduce an online tool which you can use to get plenty of ideas, topics, and questions to use so as to practice English speaking with your partner. This website is called ESL discussions. It is a full directory of topics. By clicking on each speaking topic, you can see two sets of questions, one for student A and another for student B. You can use these questions in pairs to ask and answer. In this way, you will always have something to talk about, and therefore, you can improve English speaking in a more fun way!
Remember: In order to speak English fluently, you need practice, practice and practice.
But what if I cannot find a speaking partner? What should I do? Don’t worry! Let me tell you what to do!
2Practice English speaking on your own at home
A commonly held view is that it is impossible to improve English speaking without a speaking partner. Well, I am here to tell you that it’s simply not true, and I am going to tell you how to practice English speaking at home!
2.1. How to improve English speaking?: Talk to yourself in English
To practice English speaking by talking to yourself in the mirror is like having a special chat with your reflection! When you talk to the mirror, you get to hear your own voice and see your expressions. It’s a great way to practice using different words and sentences in English. Just pretend you’re telling a story to your reflection or explaining something cool. This helps you get more comfortable with speaking English and makes it feel like a fun game. Plus, you can be your own best cheerleader, giving yourself a big thumbs up for trying! So, go ahead and have fun talking to the mirror – you’re building your English skills when you improve conversational English.
Yes! That’s right, and people may think you’re crazy, but who cares! In fact, we are constantly talking to ourselves in our head. The difference is that this time, I want you to do it aloud! Simply, imagine a situation. Then, start talking about it with yourself, and aloud. For instance, let’s say you want to explain your future career plans to an imaginary friend. Tell him/her all about what you want to achieve in life. Use all the words and phrases you know, and use your knowledge of English grammar (future tenses, be going to, etc.) to make sentences.
A common concern, however, is that “what if I make mistakes?”. We cannot know if we are making mistakes or not, right? It is true, but remember: learning English is a process, and making mistakes is an inseparable part of this process. Don’t worry. By working on your grammar, you will gradually reduce your mistakes.
This “talking to yourself” should become a habit. You should constantly try to explain things to yourself or an imaginary person in English. In this way, your brain will get used to thinking in English as the second language!
2.2. How to improve English speaking skills?: Record your own voice
A very good exercise to improve English speaking and to think in English is to record your own voice. As you talk to yourself in English, record your voice. You can create a playlist on your phone, and use it as English podcasts! In this way you will hear yourself, and listening to your own voice in English will make your mind more accustomed to English, and so thinking in English becomes an easier task.
Another benefit of this English pronunciation practice is that you can monitor your English pronunciation and accent, as well as your grammatical accuracy. This will make room for improvements!
Do you want to make it more challenging and fun? Send your voice to friends and relatives and ask for their opinions! I know you may feel shy, but the fact is we are often better than we think. So, don’t be afraid to expose your English speaking skill to others!
2.3. How to learn English speaking?: Learn to think in English
One of the main reasons why students are not able to speak English fluently is because they think in their L1 (language 1 or mother tongue) and then try to translate it to English. Clearly, it takes time! Plus, not everything can be exactly translated from one language to another. So, how can you eliminate this step and stop translating? To do so, you have to be able to think in English. There are many things you can do to think in English.
2.3.1. Learn English speaking: Immerse yourself in English
In order to improve speaking English and become a fluent English speaker, you must create an English atmosphere around yourself. You need to be in contact with the English language on a daily basis.
“But teacher, I cannot study English every day!”
Did I ask you to study English every day? No! I want you to be in contact with English every day. But what does that mean?
2.3.2. Practice English speaking: Listen to English podcasts
A very good exercise for your listening skill is to listen to English podcasts . Podcasts can not only improve your listening, but they are extremely helpful for your English speaking skills!
A conversation happens between two or more people, and listening and speaking happen at the same time. Therefore, improving one will definitely help the other!
I highly recommend BBC and VOA podcasts, which are in British and American accent respectively.
2.3.3. Learn English speaking: Read English short stories
If you are into reading and want to improve English speaking skills, I recommend English short stories depending on your level. There are many short story books that are designed for different levels of students (beginner, intermediate and advanced). These books are often a summary of famous stories, so they are simplified and easier to understand.
However, there is one important thing you must pay attention to. Many students choose more difficult books and stories to improve their vocabulary. However, when an English story book is hard to understand, you won’t enjoy the story and spend most of your time on the dictionary, looking up the new English words! I recommend choosing stories which are easy for you to understand. The point is not to learn, but to stay in touch with English! So, make it enjoyable!
2.3.4. Practice English speaking: Watch English movies & TV series
If you are a movie fan, this can definitely be a great exercise for you! Movies and TV series are amazing materials for practicing your English! Although they don’t directly improve English speaking, they train your brain to listen and understand English. The whole point is to make your brain accustomed to hearing, seeing, reading, writing and being in touch with English. That will eventually lead to thinking in English, and as discussed earlier, thinking in English will help you speak English fluently and without hesitation. (Follow the article “describe movies in English” to learn about the important tips that help you describe movies!)
2.3.5. Improve English speaking: Pursue your hobbies in English
Learning English MUST be fun. That is my rule for all my students who join my online English courses and want to improve English speaking skills ! I always say “If you want to be a good English speaker and speak fluently, you must make English an enjoyable part of your life”. Learning English shouldn’t be hard work, but an enjoyable hobby.
That being said, a very good way of enjoying and learning English is to pursue your hobbies in English! What do I mean? Let me explain.
I love soccer. In fact, I am crazy about Manchester united. I’m a big fan! So, instead of reading blogs and articles and news about my favorite team in my L1 (mother tongue), I do that in English! I love Manchester United, so it will make it less difficult and more enjoyable for me, right?
2.3.6. Improve speaking English: Follow influencers who speak English
This is a fun and useful activity to improve your English speaking skills. Not only will you enjoy following an influencer on social media who speaks in English, you will also get used to hearing the English language. The influencer you choose shouldn’t necessarily be an English teacher. For example, I love going to the gym. I always watch the videos of “How to beast” on YouTube. He is a lifestyle influencer, bodybuilder and confidence mentor for men. He is also extremely talented at editing and shooting videos!
Apart from sports, I am also interested in health and diet. I follow Dr. Idz on TikTok. He provides evidence-based insights about the food we eat and our lifestyle. Even though these influencers aren’t English teachers, they are native speakers and by following them, you can improve your English and consequently, speak English fluently.
2.3.7. Practice English speaking: Don’t forget English teachers on YouTube!
YouTube is full of creative and lovely teachers that can help you practice speaking English! I am sure you know some of them. Find some teachers who you like, and regularly watch their posts. This should become a habit, so try to do it consistently.
3Common myths about improving your English speaking
There are many false opinions and myths about the best way to improve English speaking. Over the years, many students have asked me strange questions about their English speaking skill and the right or wrong way to do so. Let’s see some of these myths, and my answers to them:
Many students are looking for ways to speak English fast, because they think the faster they speak, the more fluent they are! This is wrong! Fluency has nothing to do with speed! In fact, speaking English fast can make it difficult for others to understand you. Fluency means being able to speak without hesitation and ummmm, urrrrr, aahhhhs. You can speak slowly, but fluently!
Anyone who learn the English language is not a mother tongue speaker, right? So why do you want to speak English like a native speaker? Of course it is important to improve your pronunciation and accent, and to speak clearly. But it is not important to speak like a native speaker! Native speakers speak really fast. You don’t have to! Just focus on speaking correctly, and with clear pronunciation.
Many students say that I don’t want to learn grammar, I just want to improve English speaking skills. That is not possible! English speaking is one of the 4 skills of the English language: Speaking, Reading, Writing, Listening. The basis of these 4 skills are Grammar and Vocabulary. Without improving your grammar and vocabulary, you cannot improve your 4 skills! So, the basis of English speaking is your general knowledge of English (grammar & vocabulary).
Texting somebody via social media, or online, or in the comments section of YouTube is not going to help your speaking skill! Texting is basically writing, not speaking! If you have a speaking partner, talk to them. If not, practice English speaking on your own at home.
4How to speak fluent English without hesitation?
Speaking fluent English without hesitation is like becoming a superhero of words! Just like superheroes practice their powers, you can practice English speaking by chatting with friends, reading books out loud, and even talking to yourself in front of a mirror. The more you practice, the stronger your English speaking power becomes. Don’t worry if you make mistakes – every superhero-in-training faces challenges, but that’s how they get better. Keep trying and you’ll see yourself speaking English confidently and smoothly!
Another way to improve speaking English is to play fun games that involve talking. You can pretend to be a news reporter, a chef giving cooking instructions, or even characters from your favorite stories. When you make it into a game, you’ll forget about being nervous and just enjoy the adventure of speaking English. Remember, even superheroes had to start somewhere, and with practice, you’ll soon be speaking English as fluently as if you were flying through the sky with your words!
5Conclusion: improve your English speaking
In this article, I shared many ways in which you can improve English speaking skills and become a fluent speaker of English with different practices. Remember: Time spent of speaking English is the ONLY way to speak English fluently.