Easiest Ways to Improve Your English Communication Skills

May 06, 2016

            As a country ranked as one of the highest in Business English proficiency, it is important that more and more Filipinos learn to speak better English in order to stay updated and afloat in the various industries. According to Forbes.com, the Philippines has even taken over India as a hub for call centers, the main reason for this sudden shift due to our better and progressive English.


            Even though Filipino (or Tagalog) is our native language, in addition to the 13 different dialects spread across the country and spoken by 90% of the Philippine population, learning English is vital as most businesses today communicate in this language. Whether we are selling merchandise to a foreigner who cannot understand Filipino or negotiating with an important client from abroad, English is the 3rd largest language of native speakers in the world.


            Improving one's English is not just beneficial for us at work and in our jobs, but it also applies to us in our daily life. In an ever-changing world where people constantly innovate technologies and jobs become increasingly challenging, we must be adaptable ourselves.


            Listed below are a few steps in which you can help yourself slowly but steadily build your English vocabulary and perfect your pronunciation and grammar:



            1. Practice with Others / Practice on Front of a Mirror

            - The most important advice that you can apply is to practice speaking English with either 1) a native English speaker or 2) someone who is also willing to improve their English communication skills. By having another person help you learn, he/she will be able to recommend points for improvement or correct you on the spot as you are conversing. You will also be able to hear the words aloud and figure out if you are pronouncing them properly. If you do not have someone to practice with, try practicing in front of a mirror. Read long strings of English text from a novel or even try talking to yourself. This removes the pressure from having to converse with someone while still practicing the sound and pronunciation of your words. 


            2. Forget Grammar

            - When speaking with another person, especially conversationally, don't focus too much on your grammar. Many people put too much thought into saying the correct words with the proper structure that they tend to stop after every few words. The more you stop, the less confident you sound and the less comfortable you become. Grammar can be corrected eventually, but in order to become fluent in speaking English, you need to be able to speak without pausing to ponder whether your next words are grammatically correct or not.


            3. Use Phrases or 'Chunks' of Words

            - Learn simple sentences, phrases, or fragments instead of singular words. It'll be easier to understand the context and apply them in situations as opposed to learning the definition of many individual words and eventually putting them into sentences. Also, try to recall the words or phrases that you normally say and translate it into English so that you can get used to saying your common phrases in another language. To learn a few simple English phrases, which you can practice on front of a mirror or with a friend, you can check out: http://www.fluentu.com/english/blog/simple-english-sentences/


            4. Slow Down Your Speaking Speed

            - If you are not comfortable speaking English at the same speed that you speak  your native language, it's okay to slow down. Speaking slower is better than mispronouncing and even jumbling your words (which may frustrate you). This will also give you a little more time to think and better construct the ideas that you would like to communicate.



            5. Relax!

            Learning another language, especially a language with a multitude of words and word forms, is hard; but don't worry too much about how you sound when you speak or whether you're getting it right. Just relax! When you get stuck or confused, it's okay to stop, think about what you want to say, and start over. It doesn't matter how long it takes to master the language as long as you have the right attitude, stay determined, and keep practicing!


            6. Think in English

            - In the same manner of applying "think before you speak", you can also try practicing the language by thinking in English. It's difficult to become fluent in a language when you keep having to translate it in your head as you hear it and right before you speak the words. However, by thinking in the language, you'll notice that it becomes increasingly easier for you to speak it with ease.


            7. Listen

            - When learning or improving your proficiency in another language, you may be so focused on what you are saying, or even deconstructing the structure and grammar of the other person speaking, that you may forget to really listen to what he/she is saying and miss out on what he/she is trying to communicate to you. Don't forget to pay attention and absorb what the other person is saying. You may also learn something from them, so don't be too focused on just your own sentences and wording.



            8. Repeat

            -  Parrot or imitate the English words and phrases that you hear in the shows and movies that you watch. Try to match the tone, speed and even the accent (if you can) - but also make sure you understand what you are saying. Singing along and even memorizing English songs can also be a huge help in becoming more fluent in the language. Catchy phrases from shows or songs are a lot easier to recall and can be really helpful when practicing pronunciation and learning its context.


            English can be tricky; but with simply starting small like practicing with a speaking partner or even memorizing the latest English song on the radio, we can improve our English communication skills by leaps and bounds. Who knows? In no time you may even be good enough to call yourself bilingual!