How To Improve Speaking Skills In A New Language

To most people, speaking is the most difficult part when learning a foreign language. Although everyone knows that the best way to speak a language fluently is to practice speaking as much as possible, not many people can do this. Language centers often create courses focusing on speaking skills, but besides the help of these courses, you should make some effort to improve your skills on your own.

Learners often hesitate to speak because they are afraid of pronouncing the words wrongly. In fact it is very difficult to correct a mistake in pronunciation later if you don’t pay attention to it from the start. The advice is that you should try to pronounce the words right from the very first lessons. Be patient when pronouncing new words. If you make a constant mistake in pronunciation, you should record the right pronunciation of that word and listen over and over again so that you will be familiar with it.

You can find short stories in the language you are learning, in books or on the internet and read them aloud at home. In this way you can roughly judge how good your pronunciation is and gain more confidence when speaking to others later. You can also try to think in the language you are learning. It may sound crazy but speaking to yourself in a foreign language is very effective for your learning.

Of course the best way to improve your speaking skills is to talk with a native speaker. That also means the best language class is the one which has a native speaker as the teacher. The foreign teacher usually uses only the language being learnt in the class and refuses to speak in any other. Therefore you can become more familiar with the language you are studying because you are forced to speak in it.

Talking to a native speaker in your country is good, however, talking to a native in his own country is far better. If you can afford to travel to the country where the language that you are learning is spoken and stay there for some time, it’s the fastest way to improve your speaking skills. When you are surrounded by a new language everyday and no one talks to you in your mother tongue, you have to try your best to speak in that language to survive! Besides being able to learn how people really talk in their daily lives, you can also enlarge your vision with new views and enrich your knowledge about a different culture.

9 Tips That Will Improve Your Speaking & Writing Styles

Being able to communicate effectively is key to be successful. Here are tips that will help your verbal and written communication.

Tips to improve your speaking style

1. Make sure your speech is not wordy, chatty or unfocused. Get to the point.

2. Do not do a lot of hemming and hawing when you are speaking by making sounds like umm or ahhhh.

3. Use the words of personal power, definitive words, words of affirmation. Do not use words like kinda, sorta, maybe, coulda, shoulda, woulda …those are not the words of leadership. They are not the words of personal power.

4. Stay away from you knows, like you know this or you know that. The key to an effective overall speaking style is to be precise in your language. Say what you mean, mean what you say and say it very clearly. Slang words used inappropriately can blow a whole speech for you.

5. Lead off every talk you give with a powerful headline. This technique works particularly well one on one or in small group speeches. When you use this technique, spend the rest of your time delivering on your headline and then sum it all up in the end.

Another fundamental of effective communication is being adept at writing. It has been said that people who are good thinkers are good writers. This is certainly true in today’s society. If your thinking is flabby then your writing is flabby. Therefore, as you improve your understanding of how to write effectively, you will sharpen your thinking skills. Your thinking will become crisper, clearer and more compelling. Your writing will become persuasive and in most organizations a good writer gets promoted.

Tips for writing effectively

1. Make sure that you state your key point, recommendations or conclusions early in the document. Then support the finding or conclusion throughout the rest of your document.

2. Also let the reader know what you want him or her to do after reading the document early in the document. This helps them read with an idea of how to use the information.

3. Write short crisp sentences and paragraphs so as to keep the document reader friendly. We have a rule at my company that our paragraphs on a standard 8 ½ inch by 11inch sheet of paper will not exceed eight lines. The reason is that we have found that people tend to stop fully reading paragraphs that are longer than that. They scan and may miss key points. The longer your paragraph, the less likely people are going to read it.

4. Try to keep most documents to no more than one page–90% of most subjects can be communicated on one page.

The Secret to Better Writing & Speaking

One of the very best communication classes I ever took in college was with an instructor that had a good academic background from Stanford, but more important, he was one of Dale Carnegie’s initial cohort of trainers.

A member of and past president of Toastmasters International, Sheldon Hayden loved to speak, and I’m sure he was most gratified by the adoration he received from pleased-as-punch audiences.

One of the secrets to his success as a speech teacher was the fact that at each class, every student had to deliver at least one brief talk. Add those one-minute chats to the formal speeches which we also had to deliver, and this meant during a semester we would be giving somewhere around twenty-five speeches.

That is a lot of experience “Popping off on your hind feet,” as he used to colloquially call it. With all of those successes under one’s belt, how could a student NOT improve?

Frankly, that was impossible. Failure wasn’t an option, because if you speak enough, you’ll become competent. Speak more, and you’ll grow adept. And outdo that level of performance, and you’ll excel, and probably learn to enjoy it, immensely, as I did.

I have come to embrace and apply this principle, also known as The Law of Large Numbers, to nearly every endeavor. If you’re a salesperson, make more contacts, and they’ll turn into more prospects and they will become more sales.

If you are a writer, do a lot of it, more than you ever thought you could.

Sooner or later, you’ll feel capable of writing anything, any time.

Someone once defined “luck” as preparation meeting opportunity.

I look at it this way. Prepare a lot, and you’ll meet even more opportunities than you ever imagined, creating your own luck along the way.