The Best Techniques to Improve Your English Communication Skills
Wherever you go in the world, connecting with other people largely depends on your ability to communicate in English, regardless of other people’s native languages. Speaking English fluently (and speaking it well) is the first step on your journey to becoming a master of communication on a global scale.
Today, we’re going to focus on speech techniques that matter – ones that can actually improve your English fluency in no time, as well as your confidence and skills when it comes to communicating with others.
The best part is: you don’t need a speaking partner to practice and master any of these techniques! All you need is yourself, your will, maybe your phone… and quite possibly, a big ol’ mirror in your room that you love to use. Let’s dig in!
Intro: Weird But Manageable
Before giving you my first tip today, I’d like to address one thing first. English is weird, and that’s a fact you’ll just have to make peace with at some point during your English language journey. Whether it’s for the inconsistencies in the pronunciation of “th” or making common mistakes in speech that aren’t necessarily mistakes in most people’s books...
Trust me, it’s very easy to get obsessed with the idea of speaking in English by the book. However, some things just don’t make sense from time to time or take too much of your precious time to master whereas you can just accept them the way they are, e.g. the plural of “mouse” is “mice” while the plural of “house” is “houses”. Other than that, we’re good to go!
Think in English
I’ll start with this one, as it is the backbone of English fluency. In order for you to always know what to say without pausing or thinking about how to say it in English to avoid making any conversational mistakes, the answer is: think in English.
Thinking in English is the key to speaking well and being able to communicate on a native-like level.
If you’re overthinking how to say something, i.e. translating words in your head from your native language to English, you’re losing valuable time in a conversation. Speaking English like a pro means to let the words simply roll down your tongue. If you think in English, it will take you less time to utter a response in everyday conversations. In other words, no translation is needed!
A great way to practice this is to write your thoughts down as they occur, as if you were actually having a conversation with someone. If you make mistakes, great. It’s about how you iron any potential errors out and eliminate them from your thoughts and speech completely that determines your level of fluency.
Talk to Yourself
Once you’ve gotten tired of writing your “English” thoughts down, crank up the heat and do this slightly more advanced exercise. I’ll keep the details on this one short, as I genuinely want you to try it out and see just how effective it is when it comes to improving your English fluency and communication skills.
Okay, I lied - I just have to emphasize just how important this technique is, so…
As weird as it may sound, “talking to yourself” allows you to master the art of communication as a whole, from knowing what to say and saying it correctly as well as predicting what your conversational partner is going to say in a real-world situation.
Again, mistakes are welcome! You’re the speaker and the audience, so there will be no judgements. Moreover, you can always know what to improve on each new time you do this. Just one piece of advice: try to do it when you’re alone and not in public, okay?
Focus on Pronunciation
As you practice talking to yourself more and more to improve your English fluency, a great way to augment that process is to stand in front of a mirror and watch how your mouth moves in order to master correct English pronunciation.
To reap the full benefits of this technique, record yourself to understand how you actually sound to others.
If you choose to record video of yourself, even better, as it allows you to see things like gestures, posture, etc. One short recording at a time will suffice until you get the hang of it!
Improvise & Present
Speaking without preparation and making things up in the moment – in other words, improvisation – is a phenomenal way to get yourself comfortable speaking with others.
After all, isn’t every conversation a big improvisation anyway? I mean, you can never know exactly what the other person is going to say but only expect it and be prepared for it, which brings us to our next point.
Make your speech exercises interesting, try out unpredictable scenarios, and just go with the flow!
Take a random word and talk about it for two minutes. To make it even more fun, pick a specific context to use it in. Clozemaster is a great resource for practicing vocabulary in context.
Try using freshly learned words - ones you still haven't totally mastered - as much as you can. Maybe learn a new English idiom every day and try to build an entire story around it? The mission is to keep your imaginary audience engaged! Make it fun!
Recording yourself while improvising is a great idea. Set a timer every time you do this, as it allows you to practice different scenarios as many times as possible. The more you improvise and speak, you’ll start to notice not only improvements in your English fluency but an increase in your confidence, as well.
Conclusion: Speak, Listen, Repeat
Now that you know these neat techniques necessary to improve your ability to communicate in English fluently, the best thing you can do is practice, even if it means practicing just 20 minutes per day or learning just one new word per day.
As long as you stay progressing by the day, you’re getting one step closer to your goal of becoming a native-like English speaker. Becoming a master at language and communication takes time, so use yours wisely.
Now, go… speak as much as you can, record and listen to yourself to iron out any wrinkles, and repeat this process every single day. I’ll be patiently waiting for you at the next stage of your English language journey.
Happy learning and good luck!