Speaking is perhaps one of the most dreaded aspects of learning English, whether online or not. Part of the reason why several English language learners are afraid to speak is because speaking involves another person – a listener or an audience who could spot language errors. In many cases, language learners lack confidence in their speaking skills and feel that their abilities will hinder their listeners from understanding what they are trying to say.
Nevertheless, whether we like it or not, speaking will always be part of mastering a language. The ability to correctly communicate with others allows us to be heard and understood – that is the goal of language, after all. Being able to converse in the target language with mastery and confidence is the objective of every language learner.
Here are some tips that can help you practice your conversation speaking skills in English.
1. Talk to family and friends in English
The key to conquering our fears of speaking English when learning the language is simple: PRACTICE. Like any other skill, our ability to converse in the language, whether online or in-person, takes time to perfect. Consistent practice not only helps with the technical aspects of speaking, such as grammar, diction, and fluency, but it can also help build our confidence and be more at ease when talking in English. Practice speaking with family and friends, especially those who are also learning English. You can set online dates on Zoom or Skype if meeting in person is not possible for now. You can also practice your conversational skills with the people you encounter daily – the postman or the friendly barista in your favourite cafe. You’ll never know what you can learn from people around your community unless you give it a go.
2. Go online
With the global pandemic still making face-to-face interaction less of a possibility, the best way to learn English nowadays is online. As for honing your conversational skills, there are different apps and websites that you can use to sharpen your speaking skills. These apps and websites, such as Verbling and HelloTalk, allow you to connect and practise your conversational skills with either a native speaker or an English language learner like yourself.
3. Watch and listen
Speaking is an output-based skill, which means there needs to be sufficient input to perform the skill. The language input would refer to all the instances we are listening to and reading in English.
One of the most effective (and not to mention most fun) ways to increase our input when learning the language is to watch movies and TV shows in English. Take advantage of online streaming apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and watch Hollywood TV shows and movies. By doing so, you can learn how native speakers use the language in casual conversations. You can also pick up body language cues and facial expressions to help you be a more effective speaker.
If you don’t have the time to sit through an entire movie, try listening to a podcast in English. There are hundreds of podcasts online to choose from, and some are even about learning English. You can also select a podcast about a topic that interests you – from gardening to crime; there is a podcast out there for you. The benefit of listening to a podcast? You can listen to it conveniently while tidying up your place or even while going on a run.
4. Prep in advance
Sometimes, not feeling confident in our speaking skills stems from not knowing what to say. One way to work around this is to prepare in advance. For example, you are going to a doctor’s appointment. You can already prepare (and lessen your anxiety) by looking up phrases or expressions related to going to the doctor. You can also do the same for virtually any kind of situation you know you’ll have to encounter at some point, such as paying bills, doing bank transactions, dining in a restaurant, and even an online meeting. Preparation is vital in learning and honing our English skills.
5. Record your voice
It might feel awkward for most of us, but recording our voice is an excellent way to improve our speaking skills. Being able to hear ourselves talk makes us aware of the things we need to improve on – some of which you may not even be aware of. You might even be surprised to know that you sound better than you think! To take things up a notch, you can let your instructor or a native speaker listen to your recording and give you feedback about your skills.
6. Learn a variety of phrases
When learning English online, vocabulary is one of the things you may tend to focus on. Learning new words can help you express yourself better in conversations. However, when conversing, it is also essential to learn different ways of saying things. Learning a variety of phrases and expressions can help your conversations become livelier and sound more natural. It is also necessary to learn a variety of terms that would suit different situations.
Looking for more effective ways to master your speaking skills? Anglia Education can help you learn English and become an effective speaker with our AI-powered online courses. Anglia Education’s step-by-step approach to learning and testing will help you improve your speaking skills and reach your full potential.
Your dream of speaking English fluently and confidently become a reality with Anglia Education.
For more tips on learning English online, click here.