Well, most likely, you have already overcome the first barrier and are not shy about speaking English, even if you still have something to strive for in terms of grammar and vocabulary. This is already an excellent result, but today we will try to improve it even more and tell you how to make your conversation in English not only grammatically and lexically correct, but also lively and interesting.
There is no shame in not knowing English perfectly. Only native speakers are capable of this. So, you have a great chance to get good practice. For your conversation to be not only interesting but also effective for both parties, just ask your interlocutor to assist you during the conversation.
You can immediately say that you feel that at the moment you lack conversational skills, but you will still try to speak as clearly and correctly as possible. Plus, ask your interlocutor to speak a little slower and more clearly so that you do not have to constantly ask him again. There is nothing shameful in this, but all the same, to make the conversation seamless and interesting, you need to carefully monitor the thread of the narrative of your interlocutor, without being distracted by requests to repeat or reformulate.
This rule works not only when speaking in English, but also in any other language, and lies more in the plane of psychology than linguistics. Listen to your interlocutor and focus on what he tells you, ask him clarifying questions. At some point, you will notice that you began to subconsciously copy his pace and manner of speech, and this is a good sign. This will mean that your conversation goes to a new level.
This is also a psychological trick, but it works perfectly when you need to learn a new language and develop speaking skills. When you hear the original speech in English, at some point your brain stops catching every word in an attempt to translate it and put it into a sentence and begins to catch the context and essence. Also, it allows you to hear the correct pronunciation of words, and make your next conversation more interesting, correct and understandable to the person you are talking to.
Your conversation can take the form of a discussion on a certain topic, and your story is one more argument in your favor. Therefore, you need to learn how to tell relevant stories according to the topic and do it interestingly and convincingly. How to do it? Just try to tell any story from your life to yourself. Imagine that you have an invisible interlocutor and tell your story. At the same time, make sure that your story is really interesting - take pauses, describe only the most important points, and try to convey as much essence as possible with as few words as possible.
If it is difficult for you to do this exercise without prior preparation, write down your story on a piece of paper. Just remember that you are not writing an academic essay, but simply telling an interesting story from your life. There are no strict rules. Write down your thoughts, read what is written and try to repeat it. Develop this skill until the stories are born out of your head automatically.
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Since our goal is an interesting and informative conversation, you need to be sure that your interlocutor understands you correctly. At the initial stage of language learning, we subconsciously translate our thoughts from our native language into English. And only after a very long practice, the English speech begins to sound by itself, in other words - you begin to immediately think in English and express yourself.
But until this happens, you may find that your interlocutor does not understand you or understands you incorrectly - simply because you use certain linguistic constructs that are inherent in your native language, but not in English. Therefore, if you feel that a misunderstanding may arise, or you see it on the face of your interlocutor, just ask him to repeat what you just told him. And try to reformulate your thoughts more clearly.
Albert Einstein was always tormented by the problem of posing the right question. He believed that a correctly asked question is almost all 100 percent of the correct answer. Applying this idea to your conversation in English, be prepared for the fact that you will need to ask a lot of interesting questions to maintain and develop the conversation. And this is a great way to show the importance of your interlocutor for you, learn a lot about him, and of course, get a huge portion of a speech from a native speaker.
However, a polite conversation also means a counter-question, since in the opposite case, this is no longer a dialogue but a police interrogation. Therefore, be prepared to answer the question you asked yourself. It is very likely that as soon as your interlocutor finishes his answer, he will immediately ask - And what about you? You will have to answer and to make it interesting, remember our advice on storytelling skills.
Surely you know this uncomfortable feeling when the word or phrase you need just evaporated from your head, and you definitely remembered it yesterday. This is exactly the moment when an uncomfortable pause in your conversation is about to arise. And for the interlocutor not to lose interest in the conversation, you need to fill in this pause, or even better to pretend that there is no pause at all.
To do this, use transitional phrases like “Let me think for two seconds”, “I know what I want to tell you but I can’t remember the word I need.” Most likely, at this moment the interlocutor himself will begin to help you come across the right thought, and the conversation will not fade.
If you do not yet have confidence in yourself to start talking, this is a normal situation. We will be honest with you - even advanced English speakers sometimes don’t know what to say and are afraid to create the impression of, let's say, beginner level speakers. And all these are normal situations. Therefore, one of your first steps in how to learn to speak and become able to maintain an interesting conversation is to simply start listening to what other people are saying.
If you already live in an English-speaking environment, we can only congratulate you - all the trump aces are already in your sleeve. Listen to all the conversations you can hear. Listen to conversations on the bus, listen to conversations in stores, listen to random conversations on the phone, listen to how your new friends communicate with each other. In other words, listen to everything you can hear. At some point, your brain will get used to English so much that it can no longer resist.
If you are still in your homeland, then the only way to immerse yourself in native speech is to watch movies and other videos. However, this is also quite effective - plus it gives you the opportunity to study vocabulary and grammar.
And no, you will not be considered mentally unhealthy if you intentionally conduct a mental dialogue with an imaginary interlocutor just to practice the language. Moreover, this is a very useful habit that gives your brain a signal - I can think and speak this language, it’s not really scary.
Moreover, you will be the master of your conversation and no one will hear it except you. By conducting a dialogue with your internal interlocutor, you can deliberately put yourself in difficult situations - for example, imagine that your interlocutor asked you to tell the funniest story of your life, and now you need to do this not only in English but also keep a sense of humor and try to convey emotions.
After the conversation has taken place, it will be useful to give feedback to yourself. Try to remember the sequence of phrases in a conversation. Remember the moments when you understood every word - and when you did not understand any word, respectively. Evaluate your reactions - both in terms of language use, and in terms of emotions and mental blocks. Write down the new words and phrases that you learned and remember them. Go back to the most difficult moments of the conversation and come up with a few answer options that you could use.
The best way to learn to speak is to start talking. And yes, it is also the most difficult way at the same time. However, since your decision to learn English and gain the ability to freely support any conversation is irreversible, you will have to make additional efforts.
Of course, if you don’t live in a native environment, it is unlikely that anyone will want to speak English with you just for saying thank you after the conversation. Therefore, a bargain is what you need.
Now there are many applications for language exchange, and many native English speakers are ready to speak with you in exchange for the opportunity to learn your language firsthand. Yes, at first it will be very difficult for you, but live conversation skills can only be improved during a live conversation. It does not work in any other way. All other methods are supportive and additional.
Read more: Best Online English Courses for Free
In fact, single words alone are practically useless. What is the use of knowing them if you cannot use them correctly in context? Therefore, in order to make your conversation in English more lively, natural and filled with meaning, it is necessary to remember not individual words, but whole phrases and sentences that will be suitable for a particular situation. English has a lot of stable expressions, and fortunately, their meaning is always the same. Therefore, pay attention to this point and begin to gradually learn these phrases so that at the right moment the necessary one automatically appears in your head.
You can ideally know all the words, phrases and grammar structures that you need to maintain a conversation on a specific topic, but ... feel the mental block at the moment when you need to open your mouth and say them. The thing is that when we learn a second language, we still continue to think in our native language and subconsciously try to translate into English when we need to say something. And the only way to break this habit is to start thinking in English.
Yes, of course, you cannot think of all things without exception and understand yourself the first time. However, no one is watching you while you are flying on the wings of your thoughts. You have no one to be ashamed of and no one will condemn you if you think anything wrong.
Moreover, as soon as you start thinking in English, most likely you will immediately come across the fact that you cannot formulate a thought. This will make you remember other words and phrases, look for synonyms and additional options. And the ability to say the same thing in different words is a good stimulating factor for maintaining an interesting conversation.
As you can see, everything is not as complicated as it might seem at first glance. The main thing is to be open to communication, do not hesitate to ask questions and honestly say if you do not understand something the first time. And remember, this is not a shame when your speaking skills are not perfect, but you still want to master them perfectly to boost your career of just become a broad-minded person.
Melissa Mauro is a freelance writer who creates quality and original content. She is working for the company Best Writers Online writing services review in the translation department and wants to find new platforms for professional growth. She believes that creativity and improvement are things, which distinguish a good writer.