1. Don’t Be Scared
Imagine that you want to learn to swim, but you have a problem: you are scared of the water.
What can you do?
Well, you can either get in the water, or you can give up learning to swim. Learning English is just the same: you need to “get in the water” and speak to people as much as possible, even if you are afraid.
Don’t worry about making mistakes: everybody does it and it’s a normal part of learning a language. In fact, mistakes are an important part of learning. If you aren’t willing to speak and make mistakes you will never get better.
What makes you feel scared in another language? Talking to native speakers? Speaking in public? Whatever it is, go out and do it. It might be scary the first time, but it will get easier, and you will be able to speak more fluently the next time you are in the same situation.
2. Keep Talking
If you are thinking in your own language and speaking in English, you might have a word in your head that you just can’t say in English.
If this happens to you, don’t stop!
Find a way to keep speaking. Maybe you know a word with a similar meaning, or maybe you can use a sentence to explain what you mean. If you always try to find “just the right word,” you will always find it difficult to speak fluently. Don’t try to speak perfectly; just keep talking!
Look around your home, and find five things you don’t know the English words for. Think about how you could explain these things to another person. Is there a similar word? Imagine you are in a shop and want to buy this thing: how would you describe it? Do this every day until it gets easier. You can also learn some new words this way!
3. Read Aloud
A lot of people say that they can’t practise speaking because they don’t have people to practise with. Actually, you can easily practise speaking by yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to read aloud to yourself.
You can do this anywhere, anytime, and it will really help your fluency.
Firstly, it will help your mouth to get used to making English sounds. Secondly, it will help you to get used to hearing yourself speaking English. If you don’t like reading aloud, why not sing a song at home? Find an English song you like, find the words on the Internet, and sing. This is a great way to build fluency.
For the next week, spend 5-10 minutes a day, every day, reading aloud (or singing). Choose something which is not very easy but not very difficult. I promise that if you do this every day, you will feel at least a little more fluent at the end of the week.
4. Learn Whole Sentences and Phrases
When you learn and practise vocabulary, always try to use whole sentences and phrases.
If you want to learn new words, always learn them in a sentence.
If you have to stop after every word you say and think about the next word, you won’t be able to speak fluently. But, if you can remember a whole sentence or phrase, then you won’t have to stop and think in the middle.
Take these five pieces of vocabulary:
- best friend
Think about these questions:
- Have you used this vocabulary before in a real life situation? When and where?
- How could you use this vocabulary?
- Can you make some sentences with the vocabulary?
5. Prepare And Practise Before You Speak
Different situations need different language. For example, if you’re asking your boss to raise your salary, telling a friend about your trip to France or meeting someone’s family for the first time, you’re going to need different language skills.
Also, new situations are much more difficult in a foreign language than they would be in your own language. So, it’s important to be prepared. For example, if you know that you have to make a phone call, perhaps to order food from a restaurant, then prepare some useful phrases and vocabulary, and practise using them, either by yourself or with a friend.
This way, when you have to make the phone call, it will be much easier, and you will speak much more fluently.
Take these five situations:
- You want to buy a ticket at the train station.
- You want to meet some foreign clients for the first time.
- You want to give a friend advice about fun things to do in your town.
- You want to tell someone that he/she is being very rude.
- You want to deal with a customer who is complaining.
- Have you ever had to use English in these situations? What did you say?
- What could you say in these situations?
- Imagine you have to deal with this situation in five minutes. How would you prepare?