There are many resources available for you to improve your conversational skills, but it’s not always easy to find the time or know where to start.
We’ve put together 8 simple tips that will help you get started on the path towards mastering this beautiful language! These steps include paying attention, practicing pronunciation, learning new words, reading as much as possible and speaking often. You’ll also want to find a native speaker and talk with them about breaking down sentences into syllables. With these 8 easy tips in mind, we’re confident that you’ll see an improvement in your conversational English!
1. Pick your English
As with learning English from a textbook and learning it while running errands, there are many different types of English. Decide on the type of conversational English you’d like to learn before you begin. Imagine the difference between speaking English in an office in California and speaking English on the streets of Pretoria, South Africa. Slang, syntax, and idioms vary between people. Your goal should be to choose the specific type of conversational English you want to learn.
2. Listen and learn
If you live near a place where you will learn conversational English, contemplate taking a notebook with you wherever you go. Notes help you remember things better: typing them in on your phone is not enough.
Watch what native English speakers are saying to each other in your surroundings. Watch the driver chatting casually with a passenger while you’re riding the bus. Listen to what your neighbors are saying at a restaurant. Do not try to uncover secrets, but rather listen to the people’s opinions.
Make sure that you are in the right kind of conversation. Is the booth occupied by people discussing their jobs? Is the driver being given directions by anyone? If you make a mistake, write it down. You should pay attention to the speakers’ inflections and body language.
Even if you live somewhere where conversational English is not spoken, don’t worry! Embrace your surroundings. The best way to get started is to watch movies or TV shows from those places (although you have to be careful to pick ones that are authentic). You can even watch videos made in those locations with actors who aren’t practicing actors and who aren’t following a script.
Practice what you learn after observing. In front of a mirror, it is best to practice this alone. Learn how to use an idiom or to inflection you heard. At first, it will be awkward and strange to do this. It’s normal to see this!
3. Learn the local idioms
Idioms make English different in each kind. Idioms, then, are they not? Idioms are expressions whose meaning cannot be guessed just from their structure. There’s an idiom that means “it’s raining very hard.” If you have never seen it before, you would never know what it means.
There are idioms unique to each region. It is not always clear what an idiom means outside of a certain region. Language is so rich and colorful because of its idioms. You should learn them! You will sound more conversational if you know how to use them.
It will depend on the particular dialect you wish to learn, which regional dictionary is the best for you. There are a lot of regional idiom dictionaries available.
4. Learn the local lingo
What is the best way to say “semi-truck”? In different parts of the world, articulated vehicles that transport goods over roads are called many things, including lorries, trailer trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, big rigs, and juggernauts.
Not only that, but there’s more. A grey bug that rolls up is referred to as a roly-poly, a pill bug, or a potato bug, depending on your location.
There will be differences in the terminology you use in different places. If you call the storage area of a car the “boot,” you’ll get a funny look. When Australians talk about a ‘barbie,’ they’re referring to a grill, not the doll.
In conversational English, even though English is spoken widely in many regions, there are differences in language. It is possible to access parts of the Dictionary of American Regional English online if you want to improve your conversational English in a region of the United States. Amongst the words we listed above are many that we haven’t even mentioned yet. For British English, you can look up a lot of terms in the Oxford English Dictionary.
It is best to speak English for conversational skills than to study books.
5. Learn non-verbal communication
It would be a mistake to overlook the importance of non-verbal communication in language articles, even those that focus on language. Body language, inflection, and exclamations (such as hhmm, oooh, or uh-huh) constitute non-verbal communication.
Communication requires a lot of body language. Gesturing, facial expressions, and head movements are examples of body language. The use of body language needs to be carefully considered. It is perfectly acceptable to make some gestures in one culture, but rude in another. When Indians ask a question, they might raise their chin. Those gestures may be seen as challenging in other cultures.
It would be impossible to mention all the different types of body language here, but you will find that being aware of your own – as well as that of others – becomes essential when conversing.
An inflection is a change in your voice that indicates your point of view. Your inflection changes depending on whether you’re asking a question, making a statement, or giving a warning. Nonetheless, it is more than that: for instance, if I asked you, “Did you take my pen?”.” These people will sound different based on whether they are curious, enraged, or amused when they ask this question.
In addition to being sounds, exclamations communicate meaning even when they are not considered words. The pronunciation “uh-huh” means yes in American English, while “uh uh” means no. From the standpoint of a non-native speaker, these words appear almost the same, but they mean different things.
Exclamations are part of every language, and different languages and regions will use exclamations that do not exist elsewhere. Canadians, huh?Informally, there is also “innit?” in Britain.It’s essentially the same (“Isn’t what I’m saying correct?”). If you’re interested in learning Canadian English conversationally, you might enjoy practicing finishing your sentences with “eh?”.Isn’t it “innit”?”
6. Start by doing
There may be no scarier advice than this. It is best to have a lot of conversations in English to learn English conversational skills. Many people think they would rather jump into a pool full of sharks than swim in a pool with people. The following suggestions may help you feel more comfortable with the idea:
- Don’t worry about being the main speaker! In case you’re nervous about speaking in English, make noises such as “uh-huh” to indicate that you are listening and participating. You can also add an occasional “Yeah” or “I see.” As you gain confidence, you’ll be able to do this more often.
- Script your presentation. The words are not exactly the same. Consider what you’re going to say and expect the other person’s response before starting the conversation. Identify the vocabulary you will need to carry out the conversation. Learn a few idioms and practice them.
- Don’t be afraid to start small. I first think it would be nice to talk to the grocery store check-out person about the weather. In the next step, you can ask co-workers about their weekend plans.
Learners of conversational English should remember that fluency trumps correctness. It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake in your grammar while talking with people. Possibly even not noticing! Even English teachers make mistakes every now and then, unless they’re speaking to a room full of English teachers.
7. Immerse yourself
According to current research, people process their native language differently than their acquired language(s). People who have spent time immersing themselves in a foreign language, such as by living in that country, have the same brain processes as they do for their native tongue when they learn a second language.
In other words, you should put yourself in situations where English is the sole language spoken in order to perfect your conversational English skills. It’s great if you live in a country where English is spoken the way you want it to. Practicing every day will be easy for you. You will need to find opportunities to immerse yourself in the language if you do not live in an English-speaking country or if you want to learn conversational English from somewhere else. If you’d like to learn conversational Australian English, see if you can attend any Australian gatherings in your area.
8. Find a conversation partner
Having a conversation partner could help you immerse yourself in the culture. An effective tool for this is the internet. You might have some skills to trade, such as your native language (if it’s not English) or someone who wants to learn your native language. Ideally, your partner should be a native speaker of the language and available for at least one or two hours each week.
First, choose topics for the conversation, especially if you’re nervous. By learning the vocabulary before having a conversation, you will be better prepared. If your conversation partner asks you about your grammar, explain that you want to learn colloquialisms instead. Making new friends may also be a benefit from this!
Here’s how to get started
The lack of a defined course can make learning conversational English seem daunting at times. However, don’t be alarmed! It’s hard to get started. You’ll find that your English will be more colloquial and more natural if you follow this advice and practice a lot. I wish you all the best!