If you don’t live in an English-speaking country, and you don’t have friends or family to speak English with, where can you practise your English speaking skills?
It’s easier to have a conversation if you have a reason to speak – something to talk about. These ideas all give you a reason to speak with another person.
Start a film or book club
Invite people to discuss a film that you all watch together, or a book that you are all reading. Prepare questions before, to help people talk about specific aspects.
Volunteer to help other people
Does your town or company often welcome foreign guests? Can you offer to translate for them? Or perhaps you can offer to help children or students with their English homework.
Take part in a film conversation
Watch a film on DVD, and decide in which part you can speak with the film character. Listen to what the character says (and the reply) then rewind, and either mute or pause the DVD after the film character speaks. Take the other character’s role, and reply to the first character. You can also find film scripts on the IMDb site. Print it out, then practise taking a role in the film.
Chat with other people in a penpal forum via Skype. You can get to know them first by writing to them, then invite them for a conversation.
Take English lessons
This is the most expensive option, but paying for private or group lessons is a good way to regularly practise your English. If you have a job, maybe your company can also arrange lessons for you.
Before you start speaking
– Try to plan what you want to say. Make sure you know the most important words or technical terms that you’ll need.
– Practise standard expressions. For example, “Pleased to meet you”, or “How are you?” Getting these expressions right makes you feel more confident to continue the conversation.
– As well as concentrating on what you want to say, also concentrate on listening to the other person. Give your full attention, and make sure you understand by using clarifying expressions such as “Sorry, do you mean…” or “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand. Can you repeat that please?” Don’t forget: being a good speaker also means being a good listener. People will want to have conversations with you if they know you’re interested in what they say!
See our page Better English speaking skills for more tips to improve your fluency and your confidence!