How to Improve English Speaking Fluency
Do you dream of being a confident, fluent English speaker?
But it seems like no matter how much you study, you cannot have a god speaking flow?…
In this article, I’ll explain my favorite and most effective fluency activity that will boost your confidence and give you renewed hope that it is possible to speak English fluently!
How Can We Define Fluent Speaking?
Depending on who you ask, fluency has a different meaning and idea that they imagine.
But we can all agree, that it is related to the word ‘flow’.
For me, I believe speaking fluency is the ability to link your thoughts together using connective words and phrases in a way that feels easy and is almost automatically connects spontaneous thoughts together in a way that ‘flows’.
English Speaking Fluency Activity
This speaking exercise is very effective in helping you to develop your speaking skills and it can be completed in less than 30 minutes. It’s a perfect exercise if you do not have much time or if you need to improve quickly.
I understand that it can be difficult to practice speaking alone. It can be difficult to get started…
The fact is that most students would rather read, write, study grammar, review vocabulary. Speaking is difficult when you aren’t very good at it and it is uncomfortable. With regular practice, it will get easier!
I recommend making a decision right now to TRY this activity and see what you think.
An Effective Speaking Activity You Can Do Alone!
If you feel embarrassed by your speaking skills, I have good news for you. This activity is most effective when you practice it ALONE in the privacy of your own home. Without the pressure of another person waiting for you to answer and the ability to look up words you need in a dictionary, you will be able to use new vocabulary with confidence.
Speak, Learn & Repeat: Say it 3 Times
The first time you do this activity, I recommend choosing a topic that you can talk about for a few minutes.
In the video above, I asked the question:
“How will speaking English fluently change your life?”
Other questions you can answer are:
- What is something that made you happy this week?
- What was the most frustrating or annoying thing this week?
- Explain the last picture that you took on your phone?
- What is a typical day like at your job?
You can talk about an interesting article you’ve read, a news story, a television show, a movie or even a podcast that you listened to… Pick a topic that you’d like to be able to talk about with more confidence and fluency!
How Detailed Should My Answer Be?
- You may need to write down some notes and words to help you. Your goal should be to speak for 30 to 60 seconds (or 1-3 sentences).
- You should try to speak for 1 to 3 minutes (6-10 sentences). If you feel like you sentences are very short and direct, take a moment to think about how you would answer the question in your native language to get some ideas about the detail you can add.
- Your answer should be very long and detailed. Think about adding extra details, your opinion, experiences that have happened to you, etc. Ideally, your answer should be at least 5 minutes long or until you run out of ideas to talk about.
Discover New Vocabulary & Use What You’ve Learned
One of the best things about this fluency in speaking exercise is that you realize vocabulary you are missing and you have the opportunity to can immediately use it immediately. This ‘activates’ the vocabulary and makes it much easier to use in a real, spontaneous English conversation you will have in the future.
Additionally, it allows you to practice grammar structures that you have to think about. After using those structures 3 times, it will start to feel much easier to use and even automatic.
This activity can be done until you reach your speaking fluency goals. As you advance, you will start talking about the more advanced topics and using more advanced vocabulary.
Speaking Activity Instructions:
How to improve speaking fluency?
Step 1: Start trying to explain what the topic is about. Tell the story as if it is something interesting that you are explaining to someone in a conversational way.
Step 2: Write down the words or phrases that you do not know as you are trying to speak. Look up these new words you recognize that you need to know in order to tell the story.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you feel confident with your ability to express your idea clearly and with a good speaking flow.
A Little Story About Me…
(If you skipped the video above, I recommend watching it for a couple of minutes. It pretty much summarizes what I’ve written here)
I am a language learner, just like you.
Born and raised in Canada, my native language was English and I didn’t start seriously learning a second language, which was Spanish, until I was an adult.
In total, I was ‘learning’ Spanish for 14 years at a beginner level. Even after 5 or 6 years of trying to study on my own, I wasn’t able to say a simple sentence.
Fast forward a few years to the point where I learned HOW to learn a language on my own.
I discovered this ‘Repeat it 3 Times’ technique when I decided that I was going to tell an online language partner about the book I was reading.
Speaking Attempt #1
I decided to try to explain it to myself using the words I knew….
It was BAD. I had NO speaking flow, I was lacking basic verbs and I didn’t know how to connect the sentences well.
Next, I wrote down the words I needed to learn and realized I also need to know the ‘conversational connector words’: so, then, and, now, but, you know, anyways, after, later, etc.
When these words are used, they sound extended. The word ‘so’ sounds like ‘soooooooooo’. Or ‘and’ is said like aaaaaaannnnnnnd.
If you listen to a real conversation, you will hear how often these words are used and how they ‘buy time’ for the speaker to organize their thoughts. Conversational English is different from written English in the way it is communicated.
Speaking Attempt #2
After finding the vocabulary I needed, I tried to explain the story again. It was easier this time but I changed how I was explaining it a bit. This changed the verb tenses I was using, gave me new ‘grammar structures’ to think about and of course, new words.
I started to describe things in greater detail which meant I needed to look up more words and phrases that I was discovering I didn’t know.
Speaking Attempt #3
On the third try, I felt like a champion!
The words seemed like they were flowing out of my mouth, the grammar was already organized in my head and I was able to remember the new vocabulary.
The next day, I tried the summary again. To my surprise, I was able to remember the new words even though I had not studied them AND I was able to explain the story in even more detail with the best speaking flow I have ever experienced.
Speak English with Confidence and Better Fluency!