Do you want to become a fluent English speaker? Learning how to be a fluent English speaker can open up so many opportunities, both in business and social life. After all, there is a reason why so many people want to know how to learn fluent English speaking!
In this article we’ll give you an overview of the steps you can take to help you or your student become more fluent in English.
21 quick tips on how to become a fluent English speaker
If you want to learn how to speak fluent English without hesitation, it’s important to understand that it takes time and practice. You need to have patience and be willing to put in the effort in order to learn and improve. You also need to be aware that achieving fluency in English can be as much about confidence as it is about ability.
However, in order to reach a level where you can be confident in your English speaking abilities, you first need to have the language skills to back it up. This is where a good teacher or English classes can help!
Let’s take a look at how to improve your language skills and learn fluent English speaking, starting today.
Practice, practice, practice
I’ve said it once (three times actually) and I’ll say it again, practice. This is the most important factor when it comes to improving the fluency in your English speaking.
Have you ever heard of the phrase “practice makes perfect”? This statement couldn’t be more true when it comes to learning a language. So, if you’re somebody learning English or somebody teaching it, you should always make time for speaking.
Keep a look out for opportunities to practice speaking English whenever you can. This can be in your day-to-day life, on English learning apps, or in a dedicated online English class. The more you speak the more confident you’ll get, and the more fluent you’ll become!
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
If you never speak, you won’t become fluent in English! So, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are a natural part of learning, and if they’re corrected in the right way they can actually help you learn faster. Even native English speakers make mistakes when they are speaking. Fluency isn’t all about speaking with 100% perfect grammar, it’s about communicating in a fluid, understandable way.
Listening is arguably the most important part of communicating. If you can hear and understand what another person is saying, it will give you the confidence to deliver an accurate response. Fluency is derived from confidence, and the more confident you are in using your language skills the more fluent in English you will become.
Try and make a habit of listening carefully to English conversations and give yourself time to respond. And, if you don’t understand something don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. This will help you deliver a more fluent reply.
Immerse yourself in English
If you want to know how to be a fluent English speaker, listen to native English speakers! Try to surround yourself with English as much as you can and incorporate it into you daily schedule. If you can, go and live in an English speaking country for a while. This is one of the quickest ways to become fluent in English if you possess existing language skills.
Even if you can’t move to anther country for a while you can still immerse yourself in English every day. Make it part of your daily schedule to watch the news in English, read a book in English or listen to English songs. Give it a try, you might even enjoy it!
Make use of English learning apps
There are some great English learning apps out there and they can really make a difference when it comes to learning English. Apps like Duolingo encourage you to practice every day and can help you learn new vocabulary and grammar. They also get you speaking sentences, which can develop your pronunciation. When allied with English lessons this can really accelerate your progress.
Watch Netflix and YouTube
There are so many resources online that can help you improve your English. You may already use some of them without thinking about it. Watching Netflix or YouTube in English are a great way to improve your fluency as you get to hear natural conversations. This can help you pick up vocabulary, intonation and body language, which you can then apply when you speak in your own English conversations.
Listen to podcasts
Podcasts and audiobooks are also great tools. You can listen to them and read along at the same time and go back to things you didn’t understand. You can even do something called shadowing, whereby you repeat after the speaker and try to match their talking speed.
Think in English
If you can start thinking in English it’s a huge step forwards. When you’re learning a second language, thinking in it can be a challenge. However, doing so helps you develop a better, more natural understanding of it. This is because you internalize the use of the vocabulary and grammar of the language. Fluent English speakers don’t need to spend ages trying to formulate a sentence, because they are already thinking in English.
So, if you can think in English you’ll be much better placed when it comes to speaking in English and expressing your thoughts and ideas. It will help you speak more clearly and accurately, and you’ll be more fluent as a result. You might even want to think out loud when you’re by yourself…
Talk to yourself
This may sounds strange but it can actually help! There are usually plenty of times when you are by yourself each day. Don’t be afraid to talk to yourself in the mirror in the morning or before you go to bed at night. This can be a good time to practice different vocabulary you have learned and how to use different expressions.
For example, you might be preparing for an English speaking exam and want to remember different ways to say in conclusion. Repeat each one using a different sentence and you’ll familiarize yourself with how it sounds.
Record yourself speaking English
To take things one step further, you can record yourself speaking English. This allows you to go back and listen to it again to identify what you did well or find out if you made any errors. Self-correction is a great form of learning and can really help you improve quickly.
Take pauses and breathe
Pausing before responding to someone can be a great way to appear more fluent. It gives yourself time to breathe, think and formulate a response. Native speakers can also benefit from this tactic. You’ll probably notice that some of the best speakers often make use of pauses. In contrast, when someone rushes when they speak, not only are they hard to understand but they also tend to make more mistakes and can mispronounce words. So, slow down a little. Just don’t be too slow!
Work on your pronunciation
One of the key parts of being fluent in English is to be understood by other English speakers. This means speaking with clarity and pronouncing words accurately.
Depending upon where you’re from and your main language, some English words will be more difficult to pronounce than others. You may find that you need to move your moth or your tongue in an unfamiliar way to produce the correct sound, or you could have trouble saying certain letters together.
To help get better at this, practice your pronunciation of words that are difficult for you as much as possible. Listen to how a native English speaker says them and try to replicate that.
Use speech to text for English text messaging
Do you ever send text messages in English? Most of the major messaging apps such as WhatsApp have a setting where you can enable speech to text. This allows you to speak into your phone and it comes out as a text message. This is a great way to test your pronunciation and fluency to see how much you’re understood.
Alternatively, you could choose to send voice messages in English. You can do this with your English tutor as an additional way to practice and get feedback on your speech.
Know your English level
When you’re learning English, it can be incredibly helpful to know your English level. This is equally applicable when it comes to learning how to be a fluent English speaker.
If you know your existing English level, it can be much easier to find the right resources to help you improve. For example, if you’re a beginner, you won’t get very far by learning from content designed for advanced students or fluent English speakers.
To get an idea of your English level you can take an English proficiency test. Alternatively you can hire an English tutor and they will be able to identify the level of your English and work with you to improve it.
Hire an English tutor
One the of the fastest ways of becoming more fluent in English is to invest in an English tutor. You can practice speaking English with them, they can teach you new vocabulary and test you and provide feedback. They can then offer tips on where and how you can improve.
If you know that your going to be working in an English speaking environment or need English for your studies, it can also be a good idea to take an English for Specific Purposes course. These courses cover specialist subject areas across business, medicine and law and can really help you prepare and improve your English in that area.
How do you know if your fluency in English speaking is improving if you don’t get feedback? Make it a habit to ask your teacher or tutor how you are doing and if there are any aspects of your English speaking you need to improve. If you don’t have an English teacher you can attend a language exchange and get feedback from people there, or ask just any native English speakers you know.
If you’re looking for other ways to get feedback on your English there are also various apps you can use. Here are a couple that are worth checking out:
GoCorrect – This site gives you feedback on short, written text messages, but it is still a great way to improve your grammar, vocabulary and confidence. You can also practice reading the messages out loud.
HelloTalk – An online language exchange, HelloTalk helps you learn by allowing you to chat with native speakers all around the world.
Attend a language exchange
A language exchange is a great place to go to have conversations in English. You’ll all be in the same boat trying to learn another language and you can help each other out. It’s also a great opportunity to meet people in a low pressure environment, with similar goals and objectives to you. Plus, you get to speak to loads of fluent English speakers!
Prepare for conversations
If you know that you’re going to be taking English proficiency exams such as the TOEFL or IELTS, it can be a great idea to prepare for conversations. Both of these tests have a speaking element where you can be judged on your vocabulary, grammar and fluency. Study the sort of questions that can be asked and practice answering them. You can also listen to model IELTS speaking samples and TOEFL speaking samples to get an idea of the sort of responses you should be giving.
Away from exams, you might want to prepare to speak English in a specific situation. This could be for booking a hotel or for your first day working in an English speaking job. One of the best approaches here is to both research and rehearse what you might want or need to say. You can then see if there are any gaps in your vocabulary or if there is anything that you need to brush up on.
Fluency in English can take time to achieve and it can help if you set specific goals to stay motivated along the way. These goals should be measurable and achievable. This means you need to decide what you want to learn within a given time frame, make sure it is realistic and then be able to clearly track your progress. You can create a study plan to help achieve this.
How to set goals
Generally, it helps if goals are broken down into smaller, realistic goals that contribute to an overall larger goal. By setting smaller goals that contribute to something bigger you are more likely to be able to keep going and not give up.
Some examples of good goals include:
- Learn a new English word every day for 60 days.
- Have a conversation with at least one native English speaker each week.
- Record yourself speaking English once a week and ask your teacher to review your progress.
- Learn English on Duolingo every day for a whole year.
All of these goals are measurable and achievable. Why not think of some of your own goals and share what you are doing?
Maybe you want to get an IELTS score of 7.0 by the end of the year, or perhaps you just want to be able to understand some of the best memes in English!
Goals require discipline and it helps if you have other supporting you and making sure you adhere to your targets.
Don’t give up
Becoming fluent in English can be tough, even if you have set goals. However, it’s important that you stick at it. If you can study every day it will become part of your routine and it will be easier to overcome the difficult days. Force of habit is powerful.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get results right away, with time you’ll improve and you’ll reach your objectives before you know it.
Celebrate your success
When you reach your English speaking fluency goals you should celebrate your success. This helps reinforce your learning by rewarding you for your effort. Treat every interaction you have in English as an achievement and over time the small steps will really add up. The more effort you put in, the faster you will become a fluent English speaker.
Practice a variety of these techniques and see what works for you. Keep it fun and relevant and with time you’ll reach your goal of speaking fluent English. Be proud of your progress and enjoy the journey!
And if you have any other tips on how to be a fluent English speaker, let us know in the comments.