You’ve been trying for a while now to master English. You read books, do online grammar practice activities, read articles, comment on blogs, and tweet all the time. So why is it that when you speak English, people still struggle to understand you?
You really need to talk…a lot…to people…face to face. You need the two-way interaction with another human being to build speaking skills.
How can you meet these people?
- Signing up for an English speaking class seems obvious, and I bet there are free classes within driving distance, but during group work, who are you partners with? Not native English speakers, I bet. Instead, sign up for an English literature or career training class where you’ll learn alongside native speakers.
- Sign up for any class, but preferably one where you’ll work in groups. Business leadership, team building, or conflict resolution classes will give you the speaking opportunities you need.
- Join a sports team and invite your teammates out for snacks or drinks after practice or a game.
- Go to a social media club meeting. Don’t just listen to the presentations; network with other attendees during intermission. You don’t have to be clever. Start with, “Where are you from?” or “Have you been here before?”
- Get a roommate if you can. It’s really difficult to avoid speaking regularly with someone who shares your kitchen and bathroom.
- Get a part-time job. It’s only temporary, so you don’t have to love it. You make friends immediately because of all the other employees who are in the same boat as you. You might even be able to talk to the customers. The best part is that it’s 10-20 hours per week of additional English practice.
The key is to actually speak. Get out of your shell, get out of your patterns, get out of your house, meet people and speak.