Techniques to Improve Your Speaking Skill

by IDP IELTS — August 7th, 2020

One of the most stressful parts of IELTS for candidates is undoubtedly the Speaking test. You can improve your Speaking skills, as well as improve your Listening, Reading, and Writing skills. Here are the techniques to improve your Speaking skill:

Learn a new word every day

You will need to know different words to express yourself fluently and effectively. Writing new words every day is a good way to expand your vocabulary. Set a goal that can be reached for this; this goal may be to memorize 5 or 10 words a day. It’s worth trying even if you have time to learn just one word a day. If you learn a word every day, you will learn 365 new English words a year later.

News, lyrics, and television shows are great resources for learning new words. If you like to listen to music, pay attention to the lyrics, and write down the words you don’t know. The songs usually contribute to improving your language as it contains many different words, phrases, and expressions.

Learn words in groups

For example, learn drinks as a glass of wine, a cup of tea, a pot of coffee, rather than simply memorizing tea, coffee, wine. It will be more useful to learn related words together. If the moon has four phases for a month, it will be more efficient to learn these phases together as crescent, gibbon, waxing, and waning.

Think in English

If you think English, you don’t need to translate while speaking and you spend less time answering.

The best way to start thinking in another language is to keep a diary. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The goal is spending less and less time thinking in English.

Describe your experiences in English

Challenge yourself a bit by trying to tell a story in English. See how you can express other people’s thoughts in your own words.

Start with a familiar story you know. But when translating, be careful not only to express the meaning of words but also all rhetorical and cultural details.

Or, you can try retelling a story in different words in English. Start with simple things like a fable or fairy tale. Regardless of your choice, your English skill will improve.

Improve your pronunciation

You may know a lot of words, but you may not be understood when you misspell them. This means that the time you devote to learning words is almost wasted.

When using online dictionaries, listen to words that you are not sure how to pronounce, by clicking the small speaker icon on the side. You can get ear familiarity by following youtube videos and podcasts so you can improve your pronunciation.

If you want to push yourself a bit, you can try the tongue twisters here.

Learn the natural flow of English

It is great to be able to say the words correctly alone, but the secret of speaking fluent English is hidden in the flow of sentences. When reading a book, listening to music, or watching a TV show, note the following:

Transitions: Notice how native English speakers connect words, how do they switch between the two words, pass without saying a voice, or change some to make it more fluent?

Abbreviations: Notice how the two words are spoken briefly.

  • I + am = I
  • he + will = he’ll
  • they + have = they’ve
  • do + not = don’t

Stress: Pay attention to the stressed syllable or words in the sentence.

Rhythm: Rhythm; it is the general result of emphasis, bindings, and abbreviations. These ups and downs are the musical characteristics of English.

Imitate

Listen to a native English speaker and try to imitate him. So you can easily spot pronunciation and stress.

Open a video with subtitles: Make sure to open a video that you will enjoy because getting bored can slow your learning.

Listen several times: Watch the video several times, read subtitles to understand the overall content and streaming.

Repeat the sentences: Play the video, listen, stop, speak, record your voice if you want. Try to imitate the speech by copying as much as you can. If you record your voice, you can compare it with the original speech. Or you can listen to yourself and see similar and different points.

Talk to yourself

Speak English out loud with yourself. It could be a suggestion like “Shall we go get a glass of water” or even a reminder sentence like “I need to do a load of laundry today”. Or, choose a book and read a few pages aloud. This exercise can slow your reading, but it will help speed up your speaking skills. You can also record your voice, then check your pronunciation by listening later. If possible, you can ask a native English speaker for feedback.

Practice speaking constantly

Practice makes everything perfect and speaking English too. You may think that you do not have the chance to practice because you are not in an English-speaking country. You may even be discouraged because English is not spoken at your workplace or because you don’t know someone whose native language is English. Although all are valid excuses, do not let them prevent you from learning. Thanks to globalization and technology, you have the opportunity to practice English like never before. Thanks to many applications that you can download to your smartphone, you have the opportunity to speak English whenever you want.

Techniques that will improve your speaking skills will also make it easier for you to prepare for IELTS. Once you’ve learned the techniques, check sample IELTS questions, and try yourself.

Check out Speaking Assist to get feedback from an IELTS expert before your test.