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How To Improve Your English Speaking Skills

How to improve your English speaking skills

Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been learning English for a while now, improving your speaking skills will help you to communicate better in person and develop your confidence. At the same time, you’ll be able to build relationships with other English speakers, which is probably one of the reasons why you’re learning in the first place.

Let’s explore how and why you might want to improve your English speaking fluency. Look out for some top practical tips too!

Why are English speaking skills important?

Most English language learners will buy books, use tools and apps, and probably find a teacher too. But there’s one thing that money cannot buy – and it’s arguably more important than all of the other things we’ve mentioned– and that’s motivation.

Before you start studying, it’s important to think about exactly why you want to improve your English speaking skills. You should have a compelling reason – and you should hold yourself accountable to it. 

If you’re not sure why you want to begin, here are some top motivations to learn English, that might inspire you:

Global communication 

English is the official language of 53 countries and is spoken by over 1.5 billion people worldwide. It is the language of international business, diplomacy, science and technology. Therefore, having strong English speaking skills can open up more career opportunities in various fields, such as international business, tourism, and research. 

Good English skills can also give you an advantage over other candidates when applying for roles in multinational companies. Speaking business English enables you to expand your professional network beyond your own country by connecting with people from different parts of the world over the course of your career.

Educational opportunities

Many of the top universities in the world are in English-speaking countries. If you’d like to study abroad at one of these prestigious institutions, you’ll need to be able to communicate in English in order to study and live in an Anglophone country. 

Maybe you’re not planning to attend university, and you’re more of an independent learner? English will still make a big difference to the information you can access. English is the language of the internet, after all, and most of the content on the web is in English. Therefore, having good English speaking skills can help you to benefit from the vast amount of knowledge available online.

Personal growth and confidence

Improving your English speaking fluency can boost your self-confidence and help you connect with people, leading to better personal relationships. It can also broaden your perspective. After all, you’ll be exposed to lots of different cultures as you communicate with people from diverse backgrounds.

Learning a new language can benefit your physical health as well as your emotional well being. It has been shown to improve cognitive skills such as problem-solving, memory, and concentration. It can also delay the onset of age-related cognitive decline. So, boosting your English fluency is a great workout for your brain! 

Let’s take a look at some practical tips to help you to improve your English speaking skills. 

Build a strong foundation in English

Speaking is a skill where lots of different aspects of language – grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, intonation etc. – are working together simultaneously, which is why people often say that speaking is the hardest part of learning any language. 

Here are three useful areas of English to focus on. Once you start building your skills, you’ll notice that your English speaking skills will improve rapidly.  

Learn grammar basics

Understanding grammar helps you make sure you make sense and are saying exactly what you mean to. It includes verb tenses, sentence structure, and subject-verb agreement and more. While English grammar can be complex, with practice and patience, you can get better at it.

One way to improve your grammar is by reading a lot in English literature. Books, magazines, and newspapers written in English will expose you to different sentence structures, vocabulary, and writing styles. You can also take grammar classes or use online resources to improve your skills.

The ELSASpeak app can also help you to work on the grammar you use in spoken English. It pinpoints your errors and lets you know where you’ve gone wrong. It also suggests more complex grammatical structures for you to use as your skills develop. 

Expand your vocabulary

Once you are confident in using more complex grammar, it’s important to improve your vocabulary. Watching films and series with English subtitles is an easy way to learn new words and phrases in English – and even hear how they sound. 

If you’re watching online or on a streaming service, pause the program and take note of new vocabulary. Look up any words you are unfamiliar with using an online dictionary. 

Try to watch a variety of different programs – for example, documentaries, movies, news items, etc. And focus on themes that you are interested in – that way, you’ll be more motivated to watch and learn from them! 

ELSA Speech Analyser/AI tool can also help you work on your vocabulary. It will score your vocabulary and let you know what you can do to improve. 

ELSA Speech Analyzer will look at the words you use often, and suggest alternatives to help you enrich the language you are using. 

As your vocabulary grows and develops, you’ll find that you are more and more comfortable discussing a wider variety of topics. You’ll have the language to express your ideas and experience, and you’ll feel more confident in communicating with other English speakers. 

Work on your English pronunciation

Pronunciation is a critical aspect of English language speaking. After all, it’s no use speaking grammatically perfect English if nobody can understand you! There are lots of different ways to improve your pronunciation, such as speech shadowing (where you speak along with a person on TV, using subtitles), using the International Phonetic Alphabet, and practicing minimal pairs. 

ELSA Speech Analyzer is a fantastic tool for improving your pronunciation. It helps you to understand which English sounds you struggle with, and gives you helpful advice on the month, tongue and lip positions you need to make these sounds: 

It will also suggest helpful video tutorials for your top errors, which you can use to practice and improve your enunciation. 

As you practice pronunciation, it is important to note that English pronunciation can vary depending on region. For example, British English and American English have different pronunciations for some words, for example garage. If you’re improving your English speaking fluency for professional reasons, then it’s probably best to focus on American English. On the other hand, if you’re planning to study at a university in English, it’s better to focus on British English. 

Three ways to practice speaking in English

Improve English speaking skills for work

Consistent practice is the best way to improve English speaking fluency. But it can be hard to find opportunities to practice if you don’t live in an English-speaking country. Here are some things you can do:

1. Create a daily habit 

Daily practice is the key to mastering any skill, from driving to playing the piano. The same is true of speaking English confidently. Using ELSA for ten or twenty minutes a day will create this habit. ELSA’s AI coach will give you instant feedback on your speaking errors, helping you to learn from your mistakes and build your fluency in English. 

Check out ELSA Speak. 

2. Join English-speaking clubs or groups

In joining English speaking clubs, you will find opportunities to meet people who are also striving to improve their English speaking skills. It’s a perfect way of practicing with other learners, gaining more exposure to different accents, and having conversations on a wide array of themes and topics. Before long, you’ll find that your confidence has increased when speaking in English. 

3. Use language exchange platforms

Language exchange platforms also offer excellent opportunities to practice and improve your English speaking skills. These platforms connect language learners who are learning one another’s languages and want to practice their speaking skills with one another. It’s a good way of practicing English with a native speaker, and who knows – you might even make a new friend! 

Read more about learning English with social media. 

Three ways to enhance your English listening skills

Improve English speaking skills by listening to podcasts

Improving your listening skills is crucial in becoming a better English speaker. After all, conversations are about speaking and listening. And through listening, you’ll learn new phrases, expressions and grammatical constructions that you can use in your own speaking. Here are some ideas for how to get better at listening in English: 

1. Watch English movies and TV shows

Watching English movies and TV shows can help you improve your listening skills. It exposes you to different accents, dialects, intonations, and contexts. When you first start, it’s a good idea to put on subtitles in your own language to support your understanding. As you progress, you can change the subtitles to English, so that you are seeing the language written down, as well as listening to it. The final step is to turn off the subtitles completely and rely 100% on your listening skills to understand what the characters are saying.

2. Listening to English podcasts and audiobooks

In addition to watching movies and TV shows, it’s a good idea to listen to English podcasts and audiobooks. It can help you improve your comprehension, expand your vocabulary, and familiarize yourself with different speaking styles and accents. 

One of our top recommended English learning podcasts is English Learning for Curious Minds. The podcast’s host Alastair will keep you hooked from start to finish with intriguing stories that will not only help you with your English but also teach you weird and wonderful things about the world. You can also follow along the podcast episodes with subtitles and an interactive transcript featuring key vocabulary on to really solidify your English learning experience.

3. Attending English-speaking events and workshops

There are lots of events and workshops that provide opportunities to practice listening and speaking skills, both virtual and in person. Attending these events can help sharpen your English skills and build your confidence in communicating in the language. What’s more, if you attend events or conferences in your professional field, it’s a good way of building up a network

A language learning journey

By following these tips, you can improve your English language speaking skills. It requires effort, practice and consistency, but it is a rewarding journey with endless opportunities. Moreover, if you make your learning practice fun and enjoyable, it will be easier for you to stick with it. You’ll speak English more confidently, and communicate more clearly with other English speakers. 

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