Before we tell you how to speak English confidently and fluently, it’s important to ask: what makes a fluent speaker? Simply put, it is someone who can communicate easily in English, while understanding most of what they read and hear in the language.
Following that, the confidence to speak English comes not from perfecting the language, but communicating effectively with it. If you’re an international student wondering how to speak English confidently and fluently, check out these tips; we promise you’ll have fun trying them.
Exchange personal stories
English learning exercises are often structured and sorely lacking in excitement and authenticity. To grasp how to speak English confidently and fluently, try the opposite. Tell stories from your own life, and listen to other people share theirs.
Teacher Juan Alberto Lopez Uribe believes the #1 way to achieve fluency is to “live language through meaningful and dynamic interactions in a caring, challenging, and interesting environment.” Fellow teacher Kevin Stein adds that “Fluency requires automaticity which requires familiarity” — so practise your existing vocabulary by having meaningful conversations.
Is there an interesting story about the first time you travelled alone? Perhaps an anecdote from your childhood that your parents love retelling? Don’t be shy to share the story — speaking vulnerably allows you to let down your guard. This leaves you free to make language mistakes, then learn from them. People who know how to speak English confidently and fluently now were not always perfect, you know.
Read, watch, listen in English
English teachers recommend watching movies, listening to podcasts, even singing along to songs to sharpen your language skills. These are active learning methods that allow you to immerse yourself in the language, instead of just studying books. The best part? There are so much English media to choose from, so you’ll never get bored.
While it’s important to know your grammar and vocabulary, being able to use everyday terms will make you more relatable to others. That’s key to being a more fluent speaker — in any language.
Play to your interests
Here’s another little trick for those wondering how to speak English confidently and fluently: the next time you want to learn how to do something online — fix a pipe, bake a cake — choose an instruction video in English. Trust us when we say it’s even more satisfying to pick up a new skill in a foreign language.
See, the first step towards speaking English fluently is understanding it well. If you can learn in English, you will gain the confidence to use the language, too. In the words of an English teacher in Japan, Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto, “Focus on a bit of language that interests you, practise until you know it, and then use it until you own it.”