Many of our students want to know how to speak English fluently and confidently. For some people, this goal simply seems impossible. Every student is different, but the truth is that with the right strategies, and a little practice, your English can improve massively.
But what does it really mean to speak English fluently?
Fluency is basically when you’re no longer translating every sentence in your head. The language stops being a series of vocabulary lists and grammar exercises. Instead, you’ll be able to communicate naturally with all kinds of English speakers.
Here are our top six tips for how to speak English fluently and confidently.
Practice Speaking English Every Day
It’s worth thinking about how native speakers learn a language. As children, they’re constantly exposed to their language. This allows them to quickly improve, through constant practice.
When learning a second language, this is crucial too.
If you want to speak English fluently and confidently, it’s important to get daily practice, for your speaking skills, as well as your English reading and writing. The key is to get into a firm routine, so set aside time each day to work on your English.
There are a lot of different ways to practice a language. Some of the best strategies include one-to-one tuition, finding a language exchange partner, or attending meet-ups and language cafes for other English learners.
If you don’t have access to these resources, you can use simple strategies, like online language practice, listening to English radio, or simply just practicing your speaking skills on your own in the mirror.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
If you want to speak English fluently and confidently, you’re going to need to make mistakes. After all, this is how you learn any skill. If you don’t use your English skills because you’re afraid of getting something wrong, you’ll miss out on countless opportunities to improve.
You should never be ashamed of your English skills. Many native English speakers don’t have a second language. No matter your level of English, they’ll be impressed by the effort you’ve put into learning their language, and be willing to help you along.
If you can’t remember a word, or you’re unsure of a piece of grammar, don’t be afraid to ask the person you’re speaking to.
Learn Phrases, Not Just Words
English can be difficult to learn, because many words mean very different things in different contexts. Native speakers use a seemingly endless range of idioms and sayings, which often make very little sense, unless you know them.
If you want to speak English fluently and confidently, it’s important to focus on learning common phrases and idioms, as well as new vocabulary. This will help your listening skills greatly.
Focusing on phrases is also an effective way to master new vocabulary. When you learn a new word, practicing common phrases which include this will help you to avoid hesitation, and use your vocabulary more confidently.
Get Some Language Immersion
Language immersion is probably the most effective way to improve your English. Immersion means spending time in an English-speaking environment. This constant exposure to the language forces you to practice your English listening and speaking skills.
If you want to speak English fluently and confidently, you’ll probably struggle without some kind of immersion. The idea here is to put yourself into situations where you’ll need to use your English skills.
There are many ways to do this.
One of the most common is to move to an English speaking country, at least for a few weeks or months. This full immersion is certainly one of the fastest and most effective strategies to speak English fluently and confidently.
Of course, moving to another country creates other challenges.
So what do you do if you don’t have the time or money to move to an English speaking country? Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to gain some language immersion.
One strategy is to seek out native English speakers in your own country. This might mean meeting up with travellers, taking up hobbies where English is commonly used, or using online language exchange tools.
If you have friends or family who want to learn English too, you can also set aside time to practice together. For example, you might decide that at certain times of the day, you’ll only speak to each other in English.
Get to Grips with New Accents and Dialects
If you’re wondering how to speak English fluently and confidently, you probably know how hard it is when you meet someone with a different accent or dialect. Since English is spoken around the world, people in different places often speak very differently.
If you want to speak English fluently, you’ll need to get to grips with a range of accents. An easy way to do this is using radio, TV and podcasts, to gain exposure to how English is spoken in different countries.
This is one of the best strategies to improve your English listening skills, as well as picking up some incredible new vocabulary and idioms.
Take an English Class
Without a doubt, the best way to learn to speak English fluently and confidently is taking a class with an experienced teacher. Professional language teachers can help you to work on your specific goals and weaknesses.
English classes are also a safe space to practice your English, without fear of making mistakes. When you do get something wrong, your teacher can explain the correct way to express what you’d like to say in English.
In a group class, you’ll also have the chance to learn from other students’ mistakes.
If you have more specific goals, one-to-one English classes are an incredible strategy. For example, you may want to learn very specific professional English, in order to further your career.
How to Speak English Fluently and Confidently
There are countless ways to learn how to speak English fluently and confidently. Everyone learns differently, so it’s important to pick strategies which suit your goals, budget, time, and level of English.
No matter what, the key to learning any language is regular practice. Whether you are ready to move to an English speaking country, or you only have time for an hour each night, there’s no substitute for hard work.
At LSI/IH Portsmouth/IH Portsmouth, we’ve helped countless students to speak English fluently and confidently. We offer a range of English courses for all kinds of goals, from general language skills, to IELTs.
Check out our English Courses page for more information.