Many learners tell me that they don’t get enough English speaking practice.
The biggest reason for this is not being able to find someone who wants to have conversations with them. If you don’t have anyone to speak with, you can’t practice.
That is why I created this lesson where I am going to give you five ways to find English-speakers so that you can get the practice you need.
Watch the video and then read the article below!
Why Speaking Practice Is Important
There are two main reasons why it’s important to get more speaking practice.
- It’s going to help you improve your speaking
- It makes the language real
Think about a football/soccer player. If he never plays a game, he will never improve. He needs to play in order to get match experience and learn what works in a real situation. Additionally, if the player never actually played a game, what’s the point of training?
It’s the same with learning English. If you never have a real conversation, you won’t learn what it’s like having a conversation and you won’t feel a strong connection to the language. Now that we know that it’s important to practice, here are some ways in which you can find someone to talk to.
(Note: natural practice isn’t the only way in which you can improve your speaking. It’s important to also do things like this.)
How to Get More English Speaking Practice
Okay, now it’s time to find someone who is going to speak with you. Here’s how:
1: Use it In Daily Life
This is for those who live in English-speaking countries. If you live in the U.K. or America, it’s a case of putting yourself out there and interacting with people on a daily basis.
Speak with people when you go shopping, when you’re out and about, when you’re in class, or in any situation.
A big reason why people don’t do this is that they aren’t confident or they’re afraid. If that is you, watch this video:
2: Go to Language Exchanges where you live or online
A language exchange is where you meet people who want to learn the language you speak and speak the language you want to learn.
Okay, imagine this. Paul is from Spain (he speak Spanish) and is learning English. He meets Sarah who is from the U.K. (she speaks English) and learning Spanish. They meet for one hour every week and spend half the time speaking in English and half the time speaking in Spanish.
Going in person is fun and you’re going to benefit a lot out of it. Do a search like this: “language exchange in my city” on Google to find language exchanges where you live.
Want to meet English speakers from home online instead?
That’s easy now due to the number of apps available that bring together language learners. The one that stands out for me is Hello Talk.
Create a profile and start searching for people who you would like to talk to. You can chat, video chat, or voice chat using the app.
The key is taking the time to find the right type of people. Many people get frustrated because they spend 30-60 minutes contacting people but don’t hear anything. Or they try it a couple of times and don’t like their partner.
It might be frustrating at first but it’s worth it. Think about ways in which you can help others – don’t just think about yourself and what you want to get out of it.
Convey this message through the platform and have people come to you.
The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.
4: Use websites such as Couchsurfing and Airbnb
These two sites connect travelers and hosts. If your city attracts English-speaking tourists, this is a way in which you can meet more people.
How far you go with this depends on you and your situation.
For example, you can simply meet tourists for a quick coffee. Or you could show them around your city. Or you can host them in your apartment.
What this does is gives you natural speaking practice with English speakers.
You’ll be using your English as you show people around your city, give them tips on the best things to do, and if you host people in your house, while you’re hanging out together.
5: Get a teacher – great for feedback!
Paying for a teacher means that you’re guaranteed speaking time.
The teacher – in the vast majority of cases! – is going to show up to your lesson and be present with you during the time you have booked.
It guarantees speaking practice. But it’s more than that. A good teacher will give you feedback on your speaking so that you can learn from any mistakes you make. A teacher can also guide you in other areas and help you improve more quickly.
Bonus: Talk to Yourself
When you just want to practice but there’s no one to practice with, have conversations with yourself.
You can put yourself in certain situations. For example, buying tickets, talking about football, talking about being sick. Anything really.
Or you can describe what’s happening around you.
Try it today and see if it’s going to help you.
Other Ways to Improve Your Speaking
Having conversations isn’t the only way to improve your speaking. In fact, I recommend including the following as part of your study plan:
Let me know what you think!