You want to practise speaking English but you are on your own.
You need to improve your English speaking but you are not in class and you have no idea what to do.
This is a genuine challenge for many English students.
It seems like the only time you can actually practise your English-speaking skills is when you are in an English class. With a real, genuine, 100% native English speaker. And a room full of other students all keen to practise with you.
Let me tell you this is not true.
You can practise English speaking ANYWHERE.
You don’t need to be in an English-speaking class. You don’t need a teacher all the time. And you can also practise speaking English even if you are all on your own.
I want to show you NINE things that you can start doing today to help you speak English every day.
Some of them may make you feel a little uncomfortable, but please understand that by stepping outside of your comfort zone is where you will find success.
Are you ready to begin?
Great, let’s get started.
No Output without Input
Before I show you all the methods for practising your spoken English, you should understand something about how we learn English.
There are two fundamental ways of learning for English — input and output.
Input is reading and listening.
Output is speaking and writing.
Without input, there is very little output.
You need to practise reading and listening in English if you really want to make great gains in English speaking. And writing.
The more you read, the more you will improve your range of vocabulary.
And the more you listen to, the more your ears and brain become accustomed to the sound of the English words you are trying to say out loud.
Do not dismiss reading and listening.
I wrote some articles about reading and listening in English here:
The more you practise these skills, the more your spoken English will improve.
Read All About It!
Do you like reading the news? Do you like to catch up with what is going on in the world?
This is a superb way to help you with your spoken English.
All you need is an English newspaper — or a news app in English — and you are on your way.
There are many English newspapers to choose from. A quick look online and you should be able to find one of your liking.
Once you find one, then you just start reading the news out loud.
I am not suggesting that you do this on the bus on the way to school or work!
But you can easily read the news out loud in the privacy of your own home. Or you can go somewhere no one will disturb you — a quiet part of a park or some isolated spot where you can read out loud.
Journalists write the news in a very special kind of way. It is not how people speak to one another.
But it is still great practise for your spoken English.
Find an English Language Partner
I know this is easier said than done. And you may feel very shy to talk to a native English speaker on your own.
But this is a fantastic way to improve your spoken English.
I would recommend doing this as a language exchange. This means that your English language partner wants to study or improve in speaking your language. And you then want to improve in English with him or her.
For example, maybe you are Chinese. You then meet your language partner with a topic in mind. Maybe shopping or public transport.
You then talk about this topic, first in Chinese and then in English. You help each other, and then you improve over time.
By doing this, you are having actual conversations in English about a variety of daily life topics.
How to find a language exchange partner?
Try posting an ad in your local university or college.
Or use social media. Plus, there are many websites where you can advertise, such as Craigslist.
Find a Local English Group
If you have no luck finding an English language partner then maybe you can try with an English group?
You may feel less shy in a larger group of people who are all trying to improve their English.
Again, finding a group is relatively easy.
These kinds of groups advertise for new members on social media websites plus other sites such as MeetUp.
Well, the group meets regularly, and they may choose a topic to talk about in English. Just the same as with an English language partner.
The group leader might give all the members some information that you have to read before the meeting. This could be an article to read along with some accompanying vocabulary.
But there could be many other activities. For example, social meetings for dinner or in a coffee shop, where you just meet and chat — in English.
No local English group in your town?
No problem — make your own!
Be a Tour Guide
This requires a fair amount of courage…
But if you are prepared to do it, it will really help your spoken English in a big way.
You could offer free tours of your town or city to visitors.
And as English is the language of the world, you would have to speak in English.
What do you know about your town or city?
What interesting local stories can you introduce to visitors?
The people on your tour would have questions to ask you, so this would also help you with your English too.
Books, Books, Books!
Are you a book lover?
Do you love to bury your head in a book for an hour every day?
There are thousands of books to read from novels to history to philosophy and the sciences. Whatever your interest, you can find something to read.
And then all you have to do is read the book out loud.
You can do this in the privacy of your own home. Just find somewhere comfortable to sit and read out loud from the book.
Novels are the best for this as they have parts that describe things along with dialogue.
Put some colour into all the dialogue and this can really benefit your English-speaking skills.
Check out my articles here about books and reading — Study English Reading.
Talk to Yourself
Can you imagine?
Yes, talking to yourself in English helps improve your English speaking. It’s true.
All you have to do is talk about all the tasks and things you do every day. So, for example, you leave your house and you go to school or work.
What time did you wake up?
What was the first thing you did?
What did you eat for breakfast?
You could also talk to yourself about what your plans are for the day.
What lessons do you have today?
Do you have any tests? What are they?
Are you working on any assignments right now?
Talking to yourself may seem like a strange thing to do, but why not try it?
It is still English practise, and that is what you should do every day.
If you don’t know what MeetUp is, then you need to take a good look right now.
This is a platform for people to meet up and do different activities together. No matter what your interests may be, you can find a group of other like-minded people who also want to do the same thing.
There are groups for people to practise their English — groups for speaking, for conversation, for language exchange.
But that’s not all.
There are groups for all kinds of interests. So, if you are living in a western city — say, London, Melbourne or San Francisco — you can join any group you are interested in and practise your English speaking at the same time.
For example, maybe you are into football. So you join a football group. Most of the members will be native English speakers. You join and you must speak English to communicate with them.
This is free practice for you!
Toastmasters is a very well-established organisation that helps people to practise public speaking and leadership skills.
It has been around for many years as it was established in 1924.
Now, there are Toastmasters groups all over the world. Have a look at their website for more information — Toastmasters.org
Everyone that attends Toastmasters is expected to take on a role at every meeting.
Eventually, you will be asked to make a speech in front of the group. This may be terrifying at first, but as with everything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
There is a membership fee to join Toastmasters, but I personally think this is good value for what you could get in return — lots of English-speaking practice and a tremendous boost to your confidence.
One-on-One Classes Online
There are also thousands of one-on-one classes that you can find online.
Just a one-minute search and I found the following sites that offer one-on-one classes:
Yes, you have to pay. No such thing as a totally free English class.
But if you look carefully, you can find qualified and experienced English tutors that can help you with your exact needs.
One-on-one classes are a fantastic way for you to improve your English speaking. So it is worth spending some money on these classes.
And the beauty of one-on-one classes is that you can do them all from the comfort of your own home.
No need for dreaded English training centres…
Most of these methods above, you can practise for free.
Some will cost money for tutor fees, or membership fees. But I still believe it is worth the cost.
But this is what you must do if you want to see gains in your spoken English.
Many English students only practise speaking English in their English-speaking class. This is not enough. You need to practise much more than that and I have outlined NINE great methods that you can start doing today.