7+ Tips to Start Speaking English Fluently and Confidently

Are you at a point in your learning where you can understand English well, but can speak little or no English at all? Why does this happen? If you understand the language to the point where you can comprehend what talking about now, it means that it’s already quite good. So, what is that block that is preventing you from actually opening your mouth, using the words that you already know, and speaking English fluently? Are you thinking to yourself, is there something wrong with me?.

speak english fluently and confidently
Speak english fluently and confidently

No, there isn’t anything wrong with you. You’re suffering from what in second language learning is known as the silent period, but when you learn about it, you realize there’s nothing to suffer from, as it is a natural part of learning a second language. What’s important though is that you spend the least time possible in this period that you break out of it and that you start unlocking the endless benefits of speaking English freely in the world. 

You’re first going to learn why this is happening. This will give you some much-needed peace of mind as you’ll learn that it’s okay that you’re not speaking yet. However, we also want to get speaking once and for all, and so the other part of this lesson is going to be focused on giving you seven tips so that you can finally start speaking in English, and in this way, get closer to your dream of becoming a fluent speaker. How does that sound? if you’re new here, welcome! Here at RealLife English, our mission is to guide you beyond the classroom to live and learn and speak English in the real world.

What is the silent period?

The silent period is the time between the first time that you start learning English or are exposed to the language and the moment when you start speaking it. You can’t speak the language knowing zero words. Well, you may not be able to do it if you know 20 words. What you can do is imitate or say your words out loud, but while this can be useful it is not speaking. Only after a time when you have already learned enough words and sentence patterns can you start speaking, and start emerging out of this silent period.

You might be able to start speaking 2 months after you’ve started learning English. Others take six months or more. What’s tricky about this stage in language learning is that it tends to make students feel a lot of stress and anxiety about their lack of speaking skills.

Well, the point of actually becoming aware of this silent period is that you can relax because you now understand that it is a natural part of learning a new language. This goes hand in hand with understanding more than you can speak.

1. Don’t let this get the greater of you

Don’t let anxiety get the best of you Whether you’re not talking at all or you’re doing it very little, accept that as part of the process. In this lesson so far, explained to you why it’s okay to be like this. What’s not good is to forever be in this state, but you will not be. Learners with high motivation, self-confidence, a good self-image, and a low level of anxiety are much better equipped to succeed in English. But, if this lack of speaking is creating this debilitating anxiety, you need to work at it so that you can gain this peace of mind. Think of a process that you think is going to help you improve your English, keep you motivated, and help you increase your motivation and confidence. Then, keep at it consistently and progress will surely come your way.

2. Springboards

Use a Springboard In competitive diving, athletes use a springboard to help them elevate in the air, gain momentum, and then perform all these fantastic acrobatics. Speaking a second language is quite a similar feat. Formulating your ideas in English (which involves words and grammar), and then articulating them (which involves pronunciation) is pretty similar to an acrobatic dive. However, at this point, you don’t have to worry about the acrobatics. Just the act of jumping is the win we’re looking for. You’re just going to dive straight into the water, no need for the fancy stuff. So, leaving the metaphors aside, your springboards are your sentence starters. When you know a few basic ones, you can start to talk and get momentum.

3. Boring sentences

Boring sentences Master answering questions with boring sentences. What is this you might be asking? So, if the goal is to start speaking, we’re going to start with the basic stuff. We’re gonna jump off that springboard straight down first. Then, when we gain practice, we’ll add all the twisting, somersaults, and all the fancy stuff. Maybe, one of the things that prevent us from speaking is a feeling of insecurity that you can’t do it with perfect pronunciation, a perfect accent, use idioms, phrasal verbs, and all that stuff. So, let’s start with an essentialist mindset. Think of how you would introduce yourself.

Many advanced English speakers struggle with this simple question because they focused too much on doing it in a sophisticated way, which isn’t a bad thing. But again, let’s first master the basics. You’ll do it in the simplest of ways. 

Don’t let the simpler interactions make you feel nervous or anxious. First, you need to feel assured that you can answer them, and then with time you’ll learn to add all the fancy stuff. 

Now, let’s go back to the springboards, which in other words are your sentence starters. One, it gets you speaking, and two, it gives you some time to think. Just try not to do it for every single question you’re asked. These are your springboards or sentence starters. You can observe how other more experienced English speakers start their sentences and learn from them! 

4. A class or a club

Go to a conversation class or an English-speaking club If one of the main roadblocks to you starting to speak English is that you don’t have the opportunity to do it, signing up for a conversation class or joining a conversation club is fantastic idea. A conversation class is great because you’ll have a teacher or tutor who will give you feedback. If you can choose one of many different conversation classes, even with different teachers, maybe attend a few of them and pick the one that you like the most.

When we were talking about this idea with the RealLife English team, they told me they went to a conversation class where the teacher talked too much. So, if your teacher does most of the talking in the conversation class, then that’s not a good teacher. Choose a conversation class where the teacher allows you and your classmates to speak. The other option is a conversation club. There are usually a few of them close to you if you live in a big city. 

If you live in a smaller city, with some searching maybe you can find one. Conversation clubs are that many times foreigners join to interact with locals and even practice their own English. One of our members of the RealLife team the other day was telling me that when he spent four months living in Peru he set up a conversation club there. Soon people from France, Belgium, Ireland, the US, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina got together and they became friends. Conversation clubs are great because they go out of the classroom, you can make really good friends, even party with those people, maybe even find that the love of your life is from another continent.

5. Use chunks

Word chunks are a sequence of words that come naturally together to express an idea. It helps with fluency. Various research studies have found that more fluent speakers can speak faster and with less hesitation due to the effective use of chunks. And one of the best parts about word chunks is that they set you up for further learning. One chunk can help you get the foundation for subsequent learning.

6. Stay busy

Stay busy Once you get talking, you’re getting the much-needed practice. That’s great! Don’t forget the most brilliant quote ever said on the topic of English speaking skills: However, also try to stay busy with the language in other ways too. If you can do a bit of good old studying, that’s great. You’ll be shocked to see what 20 minutes a day amounts to in the course of a few months. Also, keep experiencing the language through music, movies, and watching videos on YouTube. This will expand your vocabulary, your grammar, and your pronunciation. 

7. The RealLife App

Download the RealLife English app With the RealLife English app, you can say goodbye to the lack of opportunities to practice your English, because anytime, anywhere and at the touch of a button you can connect with an English speaker and practice your English. 

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