If you are like many non-native English speakers, you started learning English by taking formal English classes as a young child. These classes taught you grammar and sentence structure . In the years that followed, you continued to take classes in English which made you fairly confident that you understood it well.
However, once you got to university, you probably found it difficult to speak English as quickly as you wanted - you knew the words but you just couldn't speak as fast as you wanted. Hesitation plays a major role in frustrating English learners. Typically, you don't want to speak unless you know that you are not making mistakes.
But here's your problem - how will you know if you are making mistakes unless you stop hesitating and give it a try ?
A possible solution would to be find a friend who already speaks the language you speak at home.. Ideally, this friend is fluent in English and is someone you feel comfortable with. Whenever you talk to that friend, try to spend a few minutes speaking about the news in your own language and then try and say the same thing in English. Your friend should alert you to anything he didn't hear you say in English, or that sounded too formal.
You could also use a recording app on your smartphone to practice your English by yourself. Record yourself speaking English for five minutes a day. Your recording could be your thoughts on a new project at work, a recent news story or something that happened at work . While you speak, do not correct yourself in mid sentence or hesitate. Just speak. Do not listen to your recording right away, but play it back after two hours or the next day. This way you will not remember exactly what you said and will be more alert to the content that sounds fresh to you. As you listen, pay attention to how you sound. Are there any sentences which are unclear ? Think about how you might have said the same thing in your first language.
Watch English TV shows and movies
In 2020, almost every working professional can spare a few minutes a week to watch TV. You have a plethora of options : streaming services, YouTube videos, the news, your favorite shows. However, many non-native speakers of English find that when they are tired at the end of a busy workday, they would rather not watch TV in English.
There is a lot of content out there in your native language. Use those shows when you really want to relax. When you want to watch an English TV show, turn on the subtitles for your language to make sure you understand the nuances correctly.
To really make progress with your English skills, you should pay attention to English language audio for at least 15 minutes every day.
Listen to English radio
There are plenty of interesting songs and talk shows out there. Listen while you are driving or commuting to work, when you need a change of pace during your workout or when you are cooking or cleaning around the house.
Practice your English with a friend
You probably know someone else who is trying to improve their spoken English. Ask him or her to speak English with you over the phone. During the flow of a normal conversation, take turns listening for errors. You can give each other positive feedback and help identify errors. This works even better if you are comfortable enlisting the help of a friend whose first language is English - they can help you with common idioms and informal usage.
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