Speaking Fluency Tip: 3 Steps to Having Better Speaking Flow Today | Learning a Language

Speaking Fluency Tip: 3 Steps to Having Better Speaking Flow Today

speaking fluency tip

Speaking Fluency Activity: 3 Steps to Having Better Speaking Flow

Being a fluent speaker is every language learner’s dream. Fluency is defined in different ways depending on who you ask, it definitely has a connection to the word ‘flow’. For me, I believe speaking fluency is the ability to link you thoughts together using connective words and phrases the way native speakers do. This allows you time to think about grammar rules or words while you are still ‘speaking’. Fluency is about being able to connect spontaneous thoughts together in a way that ‘flows’ and it’s not as difficult as it sounds to achieve that.

More speaking advice and tips here

Believe me, this activity will help you to speak better and you can complete it within the next 30 minutes. I’m going to show you how you can achieve better speaking fluency today or at least a better speaking flow than you have ever felt before.

This speaking exercise is very effective in helping you to develop your speaking skills. It’s a perfect exercise if you do not have much time or if you need to improve quickly.

Often the activities to help you improve quickly can feel hard in the beginning and it takes a certain amount of discipline to choose to do these types of challenging activities. It’s normal that most students prefer to do things that are easy and comfortable… but those students don’t want to improve their English as bad as you do, right?

 

You want to be better at speaking English?

But you hate doing speaking exercises….

Can´t talk in English

The fact is that most students would rather read, write, study grammar, review vocabulary…. Or do anything else they can think of to avoid speaking. Speaking is hard, it is uncomfortable at the beginning and it doesn’t get any easier until you start speaking more often.

The good news is that this technique I am going to share with you can be practiced in the privacy of your own home. You can practice giving your opinion, doing a summary or telling a story with no one around to hear your horrible speaking efforts.

I’m sure your speaking isn’t as horrible as you think it is BUT it can be really uncomfortable talking with someone you don’t know and having a difficult time expressing your thoughts when you are not used to speaking.

 

Speak, Learn & Repeat: Say it 3 Times

Speaking fluency activityChoose a topic that you can talk about for a few minutes. I like to use an interesting article or news story I have read, a television show, a movie or even a podcast that you listened to.

If you are at an intermediate level, you are going to have a shorter answer than an advanced learner. Even beginners can do this activity using the materials that are appropriate for their level. The great thing is that this activity can be done until you reach your speaking fluency goals. As you advance you start talking about the more advanced topics you are studying and using more advanced vocabulary.

Step 1: Start trying to explain what the topic is about. Tell the story as if it is something interesting that you are explaining to someone in a conversation.

Step 2: Write down the words or phrases that you do not know as you are trying to speak. Look up these new words you recognize that you need to know in order to tell the story.

Step 3: Repeat step 1 and 2 until you feel confident with your ability to express your idea clearly and with a good speaking flow.

Be sure to read the next section where I explain what ‘conversational connectors’ are and how they are essential to speaking fluency.

Let me tell you a story about how I know this technique works…

This story will explain to you how I use this technique. You will also see the quality of the techniques we share on the website. I only share the best and most effective exercises that really helped me to overcome problems with my speaking and listening skills.

One day I decided that I was going to tell my language partner that I was practicing with regularly, about the book I was reading in Spanish. I wanted to be able to explain what the book was about based on what I had read.

amy real english conversations

This is a picture of me, Amy from Real English Conversations, the person writing the article. I just wanted you to be able to see a picture of me so you could imagine me driving down the road and struggling to speak in a foreign language 🙂

So, as I was driving around in my car, I decided to try to explain it to myself using the words I knew. Let me tell you, the first version was a disaster. I had NO speaking flow, I was lacking basic verbs and I didn’t know how to connect the sentences well. I did not feel very good about being able to explain the story line of the book to my language partner in just a few hours…

I wrote down the words I needed to learn and realized I also need to know the ‘conversational connector words’. Examples of simple conversational connectors are: so, then, and, now, but, you know, anyways, after, later, etc. However; when these words are used, they sound extended. The word ‘so’ sounds like ‘soooooooooo’. Or ‘and’ is said like aaaaaaannnnnnnd.

If you listen to a conversation, you will hear how often these words are used and how they ‘buy time’ for the speaker to organize their thoughts. Conversational English is different from written English in the way it is communicated. These words make you sound like you are telling a story to a real person, rather than reading something that is written.

Now that I knew the words I needed and they were fresh in my mind, I tried to explain the story again. It was easier this time but I changed how I was explaining it a bit. This changed the verb tenses I was using, gave me new ‘grammar structures’ to think about and of course, new words. What was happening was I was describing things in greater detail. I looked up any new words and phrases I discovered that I didn’t know.

On the third attempt, I felt like a champion! The words seemed like they were flowing out of my mouth, the grammar was already organized in my head and I was able to remember the new vocabulary.

The next day, I tried the summary again. To my surprise, I was able to remember the new words even though I had not studied them AND I was able to explain the story in even more detail with the best speaking flow I have ever experienced.

 

Try this Activity… Right Now!

Okay, so now you have a choice. You can either close this article and only think about doing this activity. Or you can try to do it.

Once you do this activity, you will see the way you are using English and how it feels different in your mind than other activities. Below are a few ideas that you can use to practice this exercise right now without needing to leave this page.

  1. What is the technique discussed in this article and how do you do it?
  2. Why did you decide to learn English?
  3. When you are able to speak English fluently, how will it change your life?
  4. What was the last television show you watched about?
  5. What is the plot of your favorite movie?
  6. How do you cook your favorite recipe?
  7. What makes you love your favorite sport?
  8. Tell me what your favorite song is about, what the idea is behind the lyrics.
  9. Describe in as much detail as you can in a story, what you do for work or what your responsibilities are as a student.
  10. What is your favorite season of the year and how that affects the type of activities you do?

As you can see, you can talk about anything using this technique. Your speaking is going to improve REALLY FAST, if you do activities that put all the English skills you have into action. Start using the words that are in your study lists, the grammar you have spent so much time learning and start using the language.

As a premium member on our website, we have 200+ questions that are designed for this exercise or you can use one of our free conversations.

I hope you found this article useful. Please share it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ if you found it helpful. Click on the icons below.

Leave a comment below to tell me if this is a new technique for you and if it has been useful!

Improve your English Accent | Speaking Practice Exercise: Accent Reduction

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Be Understood Easily with a Better English Accent

Often students have a goal to be fluent like a native speaker and to have a perfect accent. It is not impossible to achieve this goal but perhaps putting more focus on developing the ability to mimic the tones and rhythm of English will be more effective to helping you be better understood.

In this article, I am going to share a speaking activity that you can add to your study routine to reduce your foreign accent and be understood easier by native speakers. Also, there will be some useful links to help you find the type of accent you want to study and where to find more audio with a specific accent.

For more speaking advice, don’t forget to join our email list here.

Your Accent isn’t the Problem! Let’s listen to Patty’s Explanation

Rather than trying to explain the concepts in this awesome video, you can just let Patty Kennedy explain her theory on why your ‘accent’ isn’t the problem. Many famous people with a foreign accent have had great success in the United States such as Jackie Chan or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Accent Reduction Practice Techniques

An activity called ‘Shadowing’ is an awesome technique. Basically, this technique is mimicking a native speaker. Be aware that this activity requires a lot of patience and it may surprise you how many times you need to attempt to repeat the phrase before you can say it well.

For me, I find it too difficult to do this activity with full speed audio. I feel like my tongue and mouth cannot move as fast as the audio and I miss syllables and tend to have poor pronunciation. What I do is use a website like Audacity to slow down the audio by 30-40%. After a bit of practice, I can usually change the audio speed to only being 20% slower while maintaining good pronunciation.

I need to improve my English accent

He is trying to say: What is wrong with me?

 

Don’t feel like a failure if you need to try to repeat the audio 50 times! It is very rewarding when you finally can repeat it the same way. You will see that it is possible to have a better accent by doing this activity regularly.

I like to use my phone or an audio recorder to record myself shadowing (or mimicking) the audio so that I can hear which words I am struggling to say correctly or words that I am saying with a bad accent. Spend time pronouncing those words over and over again until they come out of your mouth with no problems.

The idea is that you become so good at repeating the audio, you actually feel like you are the person saying it. This gives you the sensation of truly speaking like a native speaker.

Finding audio that has the English accent you want to study

Podcasts: You can find podcasts that feature the accent you are interested in. Of course, if you want to learn the American English accent, you can use the conversations we have available on the website. If you cannot hear every single word, start by signing up as a free member so you can get a couple of full conversations and transcripts to practice with. We recently wrote a blog that features 10 Awesome American English Podcasts for Intermediate Students.

News Stations and Radio Shows: You can find news clips or radio stations from regions you are interested in developing an accent for. Pick a large city in the region you are interested in, then do a Google search for: city name + video OR city name + radio station. Example: Los Angeles News videos / Los Angeles Talk radio stations.

Movie Clips or TV Shows: Find movie clips or TV shows. Search in Wikipedia to find out where the television show is filmed or where the actors are from originally to determine the accents being used. I like the You Tube channel: Subtitled Trailers that features trailers from movies with English subtitles. Movie trailers are short which is perfect for this exercise but they sometimes jump around from scene to scene. Just make sure you are selecting one that you understand well. It makes a difference when you are repeating audio you understand.

If you find a video clip you are interested in practicing, but you are unsure which American accent it is, leave a link to the audio or video in the comments below, we will try to figure it out for you!

Here’s a movie trailer with a neutral American accent. It is easy to mimic because the phrases are spaced out.

Did you know there is more than one American English accent?

canadian accent vs. usa accentThe people that live in both the United States and Canada have an “American accent” and they speak American English. With that being said, the accent changes significantly from one side of this enormous continent to the other. Which one do you learn and how do you learn it?

In my opinion, I think the accent spoken in the West is the most clear and neutral. I base this opinion on the fact that 100´s of listeners from our podcast have told us how easily they understand our accent and manner of speaking compared to other regions of North America. Another reason why I believe it would be a good one to focus on is because approximately half of the continent has this type of accent. The East coast of the continent and in the central southern states is where the American accent has a noticeable difference.

However, you need to choose the accent you are interested in, it’s your language learning adventure! If you want to learn a New York accent, go for it! Maybe you are planning on living, working or traveling in New York and you want to fit in. Check out these videos to see samples of different types of American accents to help you determine which one you like the best.

Western North America Accent 

New York Accent:

Southern Accent:

How to Describe Words you Don’t Know Yet – English Speaking Practice Lesson

 

Learn how to keep talking and learn new vocabulary without a dictionary!

No Dictionary? No Problem!

Do this English Speaking Exercise to Keep the Conversation Flowing

Everyday conversational English is spontaneous and a wide range of vocabulary is used. In this article we are going to arm you with the skills to be able to describe words you don’t know like a pro and turn it into a game you can play with a native speaker.

A skill to Master to Improve English Speaking Fluency

The key to speaking fluency and developing a good speaking flow is to learn how to keep talking without long awkward breaks. It doesn’t have to be perfect English! Native speakers use sounds and words to stall while they are thinking all the time, which is not ‘perfect English’.

More speaking advice and tips here

As a person learning English, you will find yourself needing to describe a word or concept that you don’t know the vocabulary for. Instead of stopping to think, you can say, “I don’t know the word but….” And continue trying to describe the word.

The other person in the conversation won’t even notice the change in the topic or that you don’t know a word. The conversation will just flow from your original story into a game where they need to try to figure out what word you need to know in order to continue the story.

 

Here are some examples of how to do this English speaking exercise

Below you will find a few examples of what you might say to describe these words without using the word that you are trying to describe. You can always start by using the phrase, “I don’t know the word but…” then continue with your description.

describe sugar english speaking exercise

Sugar: 

I don’t know what it’s called but it’s something used for cooking that is sweet. It is usually white and it looks a lot like salt. Small, white grains that are sweet.

 

describe street light english speaking exerciseStreet lamp:

It’s a post that is on the street that has a light on it so that people who are walking or driving can see at night.

 

describe basketball english speaking exerciseBasketball:

This is a game that is really popular in the United States, it has a ball that the players have to throw into a ring with a net. They bounce the ball with their hand as they run.

 

describe waterfall english speaking exerciseWaterfall:

When there is a river and the height of the land changes, the water continues to flow but it drops over the edge. It can be a few feet to several hundred feet.

Speaking practice with a List of Random Words

Below, you will find a list of words that you can try to describe. DO NOT USE THE WORD that you are describing. The idea is that you need to pretend you don’t know the word.

I recommend trying to do this exercise while speaking out loud; especially if you are an intermediate student or higher. While doing this activity, write down any words that you don’t know to properly describe it, Learn those words so you know them for future situations where you will need to describe something.

Try to describe these words:

  1. Bridgebridge
  2. Bucket
  3. Rope
  4. Horizon
  5. Pants
  6. Zebra
  7. Girlfriend
  8. Construction
  9. File
  10. Hammock
  11. Campfirezebra
  12. Fireworks
  13. Humidity
  14. Farm
  15. Account
  16. Text Message
  17. Church
  18. Sink
  19. Fan
  20. Volcano
  21. Forest Firevolcano
  22. Drought
  23. Flood
  24. Toiletries
  25. Mop
  26. Warehouse
  27. Stadium
  28. Path
  29. Course
  30. Glass
  31. Railingbackpack
  32. Mirror
  33. Backpack
  34. Doctor
  35. Manager
  36. Reservation
  37. Receipt
  38. Zoo
  39. Amusement Park
  40. Parade
  41. Dictionary
  42. Lighter
  43. Beach
  44. Washing Machine
  45. Insurance
  46. Schedule
  47. Park
  48. Wallet
  49. Paint
  50. Plug

Mastering the ability to describe things will make you a better story teller and more interesting to have a conversation with. Native speakers love stories with lots of detail, it’s more entertaining 🙂

You can do this activity anywhere! Look around you and describe an object that is near you. If you are on the bus you could describe the hand rails, the seats, the coin collector, the emergency exit windows etc. Walking down the street it could be the sidewalk, street lamps, electrical wires, street signs, or the gutters.

I’ve got a game for you to play and do this English speaking practice activity…

Pretend you are in a conversation with a native speaker and you can’t remember a word or you don’t know the word. You need to explain the word or things related to the word until the other person guesses what you are trying to say.

Write a description of a word below in the comment section and see if I can guess which word you are trying to explain.

If you think this is a good idea and a helpful technique to improve English speaking skills, please share it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ so that others can learn from it too!

Sign up as a Free Member and get access to 1 hour of Real Conversations and the Bonus Lesson: 31 Words, Sounds and Expressions Native Speakers Use in Conversations

Lesson 130: Pass On #3 | English Phrasal Verb Course

Pass On #3 English Phrasal Verb course

It’s time to learn one of the uses for the English phrasal verb ‘Pass On’ which has 3 different meanings. In this lesson, we talk about transferring something to someone else. Now look at the examples that are in this lesson so you can have the best idea of how to practice speaking about this topic exactly the way you should.

 

Phrasal Verb: Pass On

by Real English Conversations | Phrasal Verb Course

Podcast Listener Bonus: Free Lessons Here

Phrasal Verbs Lesson: Pass On #3

Alternative Meaning:  To transfer something to someone else

Example 1:

  • Take a candy and pass on the basket to the next person.
  • Take a candy and transfer the basket to the next person.

Example 2:

  • Sue’s house will be passed on to her daughter when she dies.
  • Sue’s house will be transferred to her daughter when dies.

 

The English Phrasal Verbs Course

Learning phrasal verbs from a list is not the best way to do it. You need to learn the meaning of phrasal verbs through the context of a situation. In our phrasal verb course, you will get two examples using the phrasal verb in each lesson. Once you have studied 10 lessons, you can test your knowledge using the phrasal verb stories.

The phrasal verb stories are the key to helping you understand the verbs that have multiple meanings and to comprehend what the phrasal verbs mean when you hear them. To learn more about the course and see an example of the lessons you will receive Click Here.

Please share this lesson if you thought it was helpful and leave a comment below using an example if you want to receive a correction 🙂

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250 Phrasal Verb Lessons with 25 Stories

Start understanding phrasal verbs that you hear in everyday conversation. Our audio lessons give you the training you need with PDF transcriptions to master English phrasal verbs.

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33. Applying for Jobs – Free English Conversation Podcast

Getting a job should be one of the first steps to take in your future.In this free English conversation we talk about applying for a job and some of the most interesting methods we used to get one. Hear about some of our experiences applying for jobs as well as when we hired people for our own business. Please share with us some ideas that worked for you in order to get hired.

Check out a preview of the transcription and audio player near the bottom of this page.applying for jobs english conversations

Real English Conversation Tip:

We talk about a popular expression that we use to say you have a lead or an opportunity for a job offer.

Additional Links:

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google +, YouTube

Join our email list to get helpful lessons to improve your speaking and listening skills.

English Podcast Transcription Preview:

Curtis:  Well, hey, guys. It’s Curtis, and I’m hanging out with Amy. We’re from RealEnglishConversations.com. Today we’re going to kind of continue our conversation about jobs, and applying for them, actually.

Amy:  In the last episode we talked about resumes. And what was normal to see in a North American resume. And comparing it to a resume that we’ve recently seen from another culture or another country.

Curtis:  Yeah, from Colombia, and it was 27 pages long.

Amy:  Yeah. The total opposite of a North American resume, which is like a…the most concentrated summary you can possibly imagine of your work history.

Curtis:  Yeah, they’re almost opposites.

Amy:  Yeah. Complete opposites. So, anyway, we thought that obviously the next step, now that you have a resume.

Curtis:  Yeah, you’ve created a resume.

Amy:  This is the first step in applying for a job.

Curtis:  Yeah.

Amy:  What do you do?

Curtis:  Well, you go out there, and hand out your resume to the places that you would probably prefer to work at. Sometimes, you know, you can’t get too picky if you really need a job really bad, you apply everywhere.

Amy:  Right.

Curtis:  So you’ve got your stack of resumes with you, and then you go out there and you walk into businesses or places with that resume. You ask for the boss or the manager, that does the hiring, usually, that’s what I would do, that’s who I want to give my resume to.

Amy:  Yeah, can I speak to the manager, please.

Curtis:  Yeah, you want to make that…

Amy:  That’s where you would…you’re using…

Curtis:  First impression.

Amy:  The most formal speech that you possibly can, but, yeah, can I speak with the manager, please is definitely, I mean, if you’re making a complaint at a restaurant, you would say the same thing, but if you’re applying for a job, it’s, oh, hi, I was wondering if the manager is around, I’d like to speak with them.

 

End of the English podcast transcription preview to get the full transcription join our courses from this page.

Real English Podcast Conversations Podcast

English Podcast Episode 33: Applying for Jobs