Most English learners love speaking, but a lot of people are terrified when they have to speak in a formal way. Unfortunately, most of us need to speak formally to improve our lives. Some of us are preparing for job interviews in English or business presentations. Others are doing difficult Cambridge exams or the IELTS exam. Here, you can learn how to succeed when speaking English in any situation – with 5 simple tips.

Whatever your situation is, don’t panic! Here are 5 simple things to remember if you want to be a successful speaker.

Succeed When Speaking English: Be Calm

It doesn’t matter how good your speaking skills are; if you panic, everything is lost. You cannot pronounce properly, your grammar and vocabulary are a mess – in short, you can’t communicate.

So, stay calm. There are many ways to do this. Do something relaxing before your exam/interview. Think of why you’re doing this and how good your life will be when it’s finished.
But the easy way to do this is to concentrate on your breathing. Even if you spend just a few seconds or a few minutes thinking about your breaths (in and out), you will have more focus.
We advise trying a tongue twister. You may sound silly when you do this, but you will become more focused, and you will be improving your pronunciation at the same time!

Succeed When Speaking English: Concentrate on your Pronunciation

Pronouncing English correctly is not really a language skill, but a physical skill. You have to train the muscles in your mouth to move in different ways. Some of these ways are new ways for you.

It takes a long time to sound like a natural speaker, but you can begin with a simple video from our founder and English teacher Simon….

Even if you are not confident about your pronunciation, you can still do well while you’re speaking. Remember to concentrate on the individual sounds you’re making. Speak slowly. It’s not a race, and you will do a better job by making sure you pronounce the sounds in the best way you can. 

Succeed When Speaking English: Keep It Simple

You’re in the meeting/exam/presentation to do one thing: communicate a message. If you try to use complicated English, it’s possible that this message will become unclear. The best thing to do is to keep it simple. Use simple words and concentrate on using clear sentences.

If (only if) you’re feeling more confident, then try to be creative. Before the speaking task , prepare by thinking of how you could use a new tense which you have learned, or interesting vocabulary (for example, Business English words in a job interview). Make longer sentences if you know how.

Whatever you do, make sure you know what you’re doing. You don’t need to be a fluent speaker – you just need to be a clear speaker. These are not the same thing.

Succeed When Speaking English: If You Don’t Know a Word…

You will often forget a word. Or you will need to use a word which you don’t know. You have 2 choices:

1) spend a long time trying to think of the word, in silence, while the listener gets bored

2) quickly move on, not letting it affect your confidence.

It’s easy to see which option is the best one – number 2. So how do you do it?

We posted an image on our Facebook page to help you with this problem.

Clauses are the most difficult way to communicate a word you don’t know – but they’re also the most effective. Learn how to use clauses with this post in our series Unlocking Advanced English.

Succeed When Speaking English: Use Interesting Language

If your level of English is Intermediate or Advanced, you could try to impress the speaker by using some creative language.

Business English is full of creative phrases and acronyms – can you use any of these in your job interview or presentation?

For any situation, having an idiom or two helps. These are unique phrases which we use in natural English, and you can begin learning lots of them here.

And phrasal verbs? Well, that’s another story…


If you’d like one-to-one help before an interview, presentation or English exam, contact us! We can give you advice and help.
Just click on the image below…

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