How to improve your English speaking

How to improve your English speaking

Are you looking for ways to develop your English speaking skills? Here are four tips to improve your fluency, pronunciation, accuracy and conversation skills.

If you're looking for ways to improve your spoken communication in English, you're not alone. 

'How can I improve my English speaking skills?' is one of the most popular questions we get asked. 

So here's what everyone wants to know. Read on for four tips to improve your fluency, pronunciation, accuracy and conversation skills in English.

Speak English to practise and improve

Speaking a language is a skill, like driving a car, playing a musical instrument or learning to swim. 

To be a good driver, you need to practise driving. You can read a book about car mechanics. You can study the rules of the road. But nothing is as good for your driving as spending time behind the wheel of a car, actually driving.

It's the same with speaking English. No matter how much you study grammar and vocabulary, if you don't practise spoken communication, it's very difficult to get good at it. 

So maybe you talk to yourself in English as you go about your day. Or maybe you look for opportunities to chat in English with people you meet. But however you do it, the most powerful way to improve your English speaking skills is to use them. 

Find people to talk to

OK, so you want to practise, but who can you speak English with? 

Do you know anybody in your network who speaks English? Maybe you have friends or colleagues at work that you can speak English with. 

If not, look for 'meetups', social events for people interested in practising languages. Or what about a language exchange? You find someone who is learning your language, and in exchange they speak to you in English. A language exchange app can also be a great way to find a conversation partner. (Remember to stay safe when connecting with new people in person or online.)

Practising English socially is fun! You get to know new people. You use your English for real communication. You adapt to each other's level and direct your own learning.

All this means you learn the skills and language you need fast. And you don't forget them.

Record yourself speaking

Listening to a recording of your own voice can feel strange. Especially talking in English.

But, once you get used to it, recording yourself speaking can be a powerful tool for improvement.

The big thing it helps is confidence. I bet you, the first thing you notice when you listen back is that you speak English better than you thought!

Another thing is pronunciation, or just feeling the words in your mouth. Speaking a foreign language is a physical workout for your mouth, and you want to get in the gym!

You're also practising fluency. Next time you have to talk about that same topic, the ideas and words will flow more easily.

By training yourself to notice and correct mistakes, you'll improve your accuracy too.

Work on your listening skills

Watching series and films in English, or listening to audio designed for your level, is great for your pronunciation and intonation. 

Listening to English is also a good way to notice how grammar is used or to pick up new words and phrases.

But not only all of that! 

Here's the big one. 

Being a good listener is a really important part of a good conversation. We often forget this when we're concentrating on what we're going to say.

You don't even need to be that good at speaking English. If you can listen, understand and show interest, people will absolutely love talking to you.

And that means more English speaking practice, more opportunities to improve your speaking and more of that lovely, warm feeling that happens when you use your English to connect with someone.

Enjoy improving your spoken communication in English! Choose one tip from this article and start improving your English speaking skills right away.

Jo Gore

Discussion

Average: 3.8 (460 votes)

Submitted by adirbj on Thu, 25/04/2024 - 18:29

Permalink

I'd like to improve my English 

Profile picture for user 0035

Submitted by 0035 on Fri, 19/04/2024 - 15:25

Permalink

i want to learn and speak fluently i do not know anything about this language is there anyone who can help me

Profile picture for user FayAriff

Submitted by FayAriff on Thu, 29/02/2024 - 12:18

Permalink

Hi all,

My speech is a work in progress, and I'm eager to enhance my English . I aspire to speak fluently without self-doubt in front of others. Any guidance or learning resources would be greatly appreciated. I believe that having a supportive friend to practice with will be incredibly beneficial in my quest to speak English fluently without doubting myself.

Hi FayAriff,

The best way to practise speaking is, of course, to speak with others so see if there is a group you can participate in where you live. Simply meeting up socially and making English the language of the evening is a good way to develop fluency and confidence.

Listening is also a good way to improve speaking. Hearing natural speech will help you to develop a sense of English's rhythm and cadence, as well as its sounds. As you listen to recordings, you can try to speak along with them if you have a transcript. This will help to to learn the speed and rhythm of natural speech, where to pause and where to speed up, where to place stress and how to modulate your voice in terms of intonation. The recordings on our video and audio pages have transcripts which you can use for this:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/general-english/video-zone

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/general-english/audio-zone

Finally, a good way to develop confidence and fluency by yourself is to reply to what you hear when listening to the radio or TV, or what you see or hear online. As you listen to a radio show or a news broadcast, for example, try commenting in English in real time, even if the original show is in your own language. It's a great way to develop speed and confidence. I used to direct my comments at my cat when I was learning a language. I'd listen to the radio and comment to the cat (who was very patient), and in this way I could practise the language for hours alone at home. It didn't teach me any new grammar or vocabulary but I because very fluent and very confident in speaking - so much so that people assumed I was much better than I was when they heard me speak.

 

I hope those tips are useful.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user MissCarlita

Submitted by MissCarlita on Sat, 17/02/2024 - 23:05

Permalink

The information on how you can develop the ability to speak is very interesting and I totally agree that the most important thing is to practice it and that it is better with a native speaker, so you can tell if you have assertive communication. . It's a bit difficult for me to understand the jokes, some phrases like in Spanish have different connotations like "spill the beans" which you actually use when you want someone to tell you everything they gossip about. I think the idioms are infinite to memorize them all but as I already mentioned it is very important to practice it as long as possible, in my opinion the best way is to speak it to survive.

Profile picture for user Srikanthparshapaka

Submitted by Srikanthparshapaka on Thu, 11/01/2024 - 17:02

Permalink

Yes I am interested

Submitted by Aminat on Fri, 27/10/2023 - 15:36

Permalink

am here to learn fluent in English

Submitted by bhuvangour on Fri, 13/10/2023 - 11:57

Permalink

Hey i wanna connect to someone who would love to learn speaking english

Hi bhuvangour,

Just a reminder that sharing personal contact details is not allowed in our House rules (linked). However, you are very welcome to interact with other people by posting messages and replying to comments here on this site. Thanks!

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team