As professionals, many companies often require you to be proficient in speaking English correctly and confidently. That’s why employers do a series of tests and interviews before hiring you to measure your speaking skills, especially for industries like sales and marketing, tourism, education, healthcare, government, law, and more.
Now that you’re in your current job, it probably means your speaking skills have passed your company’s standard.
Sometimes, you become stagnant when you’re constantly busy with your job and have no time for self-improvement. This is true, especially if you’re working in a closed space like an office with little interaction with the outside world.
While your English writing skills are still intact, your speaking skills might soon deteriorate, particularly if you don’t get to practice them every day. As a result, you develop insecurities and lose the confidence to speak with clients.
Thankfully, there are still steps you can take to keep your speaking skills sharp despite having hectic schedules. Here are some tips for busy professionals to help enhance their speaking skills:
There are plenty of technical tools available which you can use to help enhance your speaking skills. In the past, the only way you can learn to speak English is by attending an actual class with an English teacher. At present, you can use your phones, laptops, or tablets to learn English online and improve your speaking skills.
Nowadays, you can find yourself an online tutor that can teach you through virtual classes depending on your time and day availability. You can also use a language app to practice your speaking skills, correct your word pronunciation, tone of speaking, and intonations.
Read Out Loud
Another effective way to elevate your speaking skills is by reading out loud. The best thing about this strategy is that you can do this by yourself anytime and anywhere. When you read a magazine, newspaper, or blog article, practice reading it aloud by yourself.
Just make sure you do this with no other people around to avoid disturbing them in case they’re working. Reading aloud will help enhance your word pronunciations, and it allows you to hear yourself speak. This reading exercise helps you to focus more on how you sound without overthinking your grammar or sentence structure.
Speak More Frequently
The best way to enhance your speaking skills is to put them into practice regularly. Even if you’re often confined inside the four walls of your office, make time to speak as often as you can.
This doesn’t mean you can randomly chat with your co-workers in the middle of your tasks, but instead speak to as many people as during your lunch breaks or after work. This may not necessarily improve your grammar, but the act of talking to other people will enhance your confidence and oral communication.
You don’t need to overthink your mistakes or how awkward your sound is. Sharpening your speaking skills is like learning a new sport or musical instrument. If the idea of talking to strangers scares you, you can take small steps by speaking to the people you know.
Let them listen to you attentively and encourage them to provide constructive and honest feedback. You can also give them pointers about which factors they should watch out for, such as your tone of delivery, grammar, and confidence.
Record Your Practice Conversations
If you’re practicing your speaking skills with your friends and family, tell them that you’ll be recording the whole process. When you’re finally alone and not busy, you can replay the recording and reflect on your own performance.
You can note which words you think need improvement in terms of delivery, diction, or tone, and look back on the words your friend or family told you that you didn’t understand, and do some research. This will help develop your vocabulary, but you’ll also know how to use that word correctly.
Be Mindful of Your Body Language
Good speaking skills also come with proper body language. Even if you’re pronouncing the words correctly or using the correct grammar, you would still appear shy and unsure through your body language. Whether you’re reading aloud, making conversations with strangers, or practicing with your friend or family, remember to be aware of your body language.
Be aware if you’re constantly slouching as you talk, having a difficult time maintaining eye contact or if you’re always fidgeting with your clothes. Let your friends help you point out some of your awkward body language that needs improvement, and make sure to work on them.
Overall, the only way to improve your speaking fluency is through regular practice and huge amounts of listening. Sharpening your speaking skills can be a lifetime journey, and even the most fluent speakers still need constant practice. So, get started with these tips and be the best speaker you can be.