Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. Welcome back to "Top Words." My name is Alisha. And, in this lesson, we're going to look at 15 ways to improve your speaking skills. Let's get started. Okay. Let's get to the video.
Okay. The first tip is, "learn words through phrases." So, "learn words through phrases," what does this mean? This means instead of studying one vocabulary word at a time and having that be your only way to study vocabulary, it means study entire phrases, study a group of words at a time. So, for example, don't study like "morning" only. Study, "Good morning," or "How was your morning?" Those kinds of expressions. So, you're not just studying one word at a time, and thinking about how you need to link that word to other words. Instead, set yourself up to know how to put those words together by studying a few phrases at a time.
Okay. The next tip is to "watch your favorite video with subtitles." So, when you do this, choose a video or maybe a movie that you like, and turn on the English subtitles for that movie. So, while it might be difficult to catch everything that's happening in each scene, you can at least check the subtitles. You can check the information as it's being said. So, if you can't catch everything by listening, you can at least read the words on the screen and understand these as kind of units, or as sentences that you can study. So, again you're not looking just at one word or maybe even two words together, but you're studying things as a phrase, or as a question or as a sentence.
Okay. Let's go to the next tip. The next tip is to "think in the language you want to learn," think in the language you want to learn. This is a really, really tough one. Especially, when you're starting out, and it will take time. So, don't worry if you can't do this right away. But, this means as you go about your day, as you wake up, and eat food, go to school, go to work, whatever, try to think. Spend some time thinking in English. Think in the language you're studying. So, this can be really, really boring stuff. Like, thinking about what you're doing. How could I express that in English? So, think about those sorts of everyday actions and activities, and try to express them in English. You can do this out loud to work on improving your speaking skills. Okay. Let's go to the next tip.
Okay. The next tip is to "use available learning applications," use available learning applications. So, that means if you have a favorite application, an app, that you like to use to study, make sure you use that. So, maybe you've downloaded our application, for example, thank you. You can use that to work on your speaking. You can do that by reading dialogues, by trying to shadow conversations that you hear. You can also just use your phone's recording function and record yourself, and then listen to it later. That might sound like a really simple tip, but it can help you a lot. So, we sound very different when we're talking. And, we often don't hear that unless we kind of step outside our body a bit, and listen to ourselves from outside. And, recording your voice is a really, really good way to do that. So, make sure you check out, the apps and the functions that you have on your phone or your computer to do that.
The next tip is to "expand your vocabulary by reading," expand your vocabulary by reading. So, a common complaint from learners is they say, "I don't feel like I have the vocabulary I need to express myself. I know lots of basic words, but I don't feel like I can say the things I want to say when the time comes in a conversation." So, one way to do this is to work on building your vocabulary. Reading is a really great way to do that. So, choose things to read that you have a connection to. They're related to your hobbies, to your work, to your studies, whatever. Choose things that are relevant, so like they're connected to your life. And, read those things and find the key vocabulary words that people use within your daily life activities, and try to remember those. Try to make those the vocabulary words that you study and practice, so that you're able to use them when you speak in conversations.
The next tip is to "talk to yourself." Talk to yourself? Like, talking to yourself sounds a little bit crazy, sure. But, this is a great way to practice speaking when there's nobody around. You can just practice making the sounds that you're working on. You can practice saying sentences and questions. You can practice talking about your day. So, for those of you that maybe don't have somebody to practice with, this can be an excellent tip. And, again, as you talk to yourself, you can also record yourself and listen back. And, I know a lot of people say, "I hate the sound of my own voice! I hate the sound of my own voice!" It's only you. You're the only person who is going to listen to that recording. And, it's to help you study, and it helps a lot, actually. This is something that I do when I need to improve my own speaking skills. So, I highly recommend this tip if you want to work on speaking and improving your speaking. So, talk to yourself. Sounds weird, but it helps.
Okay. Next tip is to "listen to recordings and repeat," listen to recordings and repeat. Another word for this is "shadowing," shadowing. So, that means, basically, you listen to a lesson for example. Like, if you want to listen to this video or you want to listen to one of our lessons, you can listen to it and then quickly try to say the same thing that the speaker is saying, right after them. So, if you're using this video, for example, it just means you try to repeat the same things I say now, in just a moment. So, shadowing like this, the point of shadowing like this, is to try to match the intonation and the rhythms of the speaker in addition to the pronunciation. So, this can be helpful if you're having trouble like linking words together on your own, if you're having trouble building your own sentences. By shadowing after a native speaker, you can kind of get a better feel sometimes. For the rhythm of how a language is supposed to sound and how you can produce that language yourself.
The next step is to "prepare for daily routine situations," prepare for daily routine situations. So, that means like think about your day and think about the things you need to say in your day, and how you would express those things in English. So, for example, when you greet your co-workers or you greet your fellow classmates, or whatever, how do you greet them? How would you greet them in English? Prepare something for that. Or, when you want to ask about dinner, how would you ask for dinner in English? So, think about these things you know you're going to do in your day, and just prepare them ahead of time. It will save you time, and it will also make the other person feel more comfortable, right? Because they'll be ready for a natural question.
The next tip is to "try to practice your speaking with a native speaker," try to practice your speaking with a native speaker. This is challenging for many people, I know. Because they don't have a native speaker in their community, or they don't have a native speaker to connect with online. It might take some time to find that person, but this is, of course, a hugely important thing to do. So, a native speaker does not mean a teacher. So, just because a person is a native speaker, does not mean that they are a teacher. In fact, most native speakers probably don't know all of the rules of grammar, and they're not prepared to answer all of your questions, which is fine. But, a native speaker does know what feels and sounds natural. So, they can help you to make more natural choices with your speaking. They can also help you to address any questions that you might have about pronunciation, or maybe like vocabulary choices, within a specific region. So, it's important to remember that not every native speaker is a perfect speaker, but they can help you a lot in helping you sound more natural.
The next tip is "know your audience," know your audience. So, what does this mean? To "know your audience" means to think about the person to whom you are speaking. So, that means don't just think about you, think about the other person. Like, when you're talking to someone else, what are they looking for in the conversation? Are they talking to you to get information? Are you study partners? Are you co-workers? Are you classmates? What are their needs? So, how do you meet their needs? How do you match their manner of speaking? So, please try to remember to think about the other person in the conversation as well.
The next tip is to "ask for feedback and reflect on it," ask for feedback and reflect on it. So, try to think of someone in your community that you can ask for feedback about your speaking skills. If you don't have a teacher, you can check out the online options that we offer, of course. Or, maybe you have an online exchange buddy that you can practice with. But, make sure to ask for feedback. And, when they give you feedback, don't take it as criticism. So, if someone says, for example, "Oh, your pronunciation of this sound needs some work." Don't feel offended. Like, that feedback is intended to help you improve. So, when you receive feedback like that, think about how you can focus your energy on improving those points. So, that means please reflect on that feedback and think about what you can do to integrate it. So, "to integrate it" means how do you put that feedback into your mind, and put your energies towards improving that point.
Alright. The next tip is to "avoid reading directly and try to use an outline," avoid reading directly and try to use an outline. So, this tip is specifically if you need to give a presentation, or if you need to like share some information, like a report in a classroom. So, instead of just printing a piece of paper and reading directly from the piece of paper like this, in a classroom setting, or if you're giving a speech, or a presentation, try to print just an outline of your main points, and then practice talking about those things before you're speaking presentation, before whatever presentation you need to do. This will help you sound a lot more natural. It's really unnatural, and it's not very much fun or and it's not very interesting to watch someone just read a report in front of a classroom, or to read a report in a business presentation. So, instead of doing that, try to refer to an outline throughout your presentation. So, your outline might be something like introduction, main points I want to talk about, and then you move on to the detailed points you want to talk about. And, just write a few words so that you can remember. The things that you want to make sure you share with your audience. So, again, this goes back to that point about knowing your audience in our earlier tip. Think about their perspective, too.
The next tip is "shadow language CDs, and then repeat what you heard," shadow language CDs and repeat what you heard. So, very, very similar to the earlier tip about repeating quickly after a native speaker. Like, when you're watching this kind of video. If you're not comfortable using a movie or using a video like this one, you can try using language learning audio. So, maybe you have CDs, or maybe you have podcasts, or other lesson content that is at a slower pace, and that is easier for you to understand. You can practice shadowing with these things, too. You don't have to practice with a native speaker that's talking at fast pace. You can also use these slower practice CDs, and practice audio files to do your shadowing exercises. So, don't feel like you have to speak super, super quickly to practice your speaking efficiently. Practicing slowly is also okay.
"Keep practicing regularly, otherwise your hard work will be wasted." Keep practicing regularly, otherwise your hard work will be wasted. So, this one I think is pretty clear. But, it's important for all aspects, all parts of learning a language. Keep practicing regularly. So, that means practice your speaking a little bit every day. If you just try to speak for like an hour, one week, it's way too much. So, try to practice speaking like one minute today, and then a minute and 10 seconds tomorrow. So, keep building. Keep working on things every single day, and you'll see much better results in the long term.
Alright. Let's go to our last tip. The last tip is "don't give up and stay positive," don't give up and stay positive! So, that means please be kind to yourself. So, if you make a mistake in a conversation, it's not the end of the world. If you forget a word, or if you say something funny, that's fine. It's all part of the learning process. Please don't worry about those sorts of things. You'll get over them, and you'll learn how to improve. So, make sure that you always continue moving forward and you keep a positive attitude.
Alright. So, those are 15 tips that you can use to improve your speaking skills. Of course, if you know some other tips, you can please share them with us in the comments. That will be very interesting. If you have any questions, or other comments, or maybe if you want to practice making some example sentences, please feel free to do so in the comments section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this lesson. Don't forget to hit the like button if you enjoyed this one. Share it, too. And, also subscribe, if you have not already. Thanks very much for watching this video, and I will see you again soon. Bye!