Improving your English speaking skills will help you communicate more easily and effectively.

But how do you become a more confident English speaker? Practise where you can, when you can. Any practice is good – whether you speak to someone who is a native English speaker or not. It's important to build your confidence. If possible, use simple English sentence structure that you know is correct, so that you can concentrate on getting your message across. Try to experiment with the English you know. Use words and phrases you know in new situations. Native English speakers are more likely to correct you if you use the wrong word than if you use the wrong grammar. Experimenting with vocabulary is a really good way of getting feedback. Try to respond to what people say to you. You can often get clues to what people think by looking at their body language. Respond to them in a natural way. Try NOT to translate into and from your own language. This takes too much time and will make you more hesitant. If you forget a word, do what native English speakers do all the time, and say things that 'fill' the conversation. This is better than keeping completely silent. Try using um, or er, if you forget the word. Don't speak too fast! It's important to use a natural rhythm when speaking English, but if you speak too fast it will be difficult for people to understand you. Try to relax when you speak – you'll find your mouth does most of the pronunciation work for you. When you speak English at normal speed, you'll discover that many of the pronunciation skills, such as linking between words, will happen automatically. Remember, when speaking English… Try to become less hesitant and more confident. Don't be shy to speak – the more you do it, the more confident you'll become. Remember to be polite – use "please" and "thank you" if you ask someone to do something for you.

More English Speaking?

Don't forget our new English Speaking site. Linking words help you to connect ideas and sentences, so that people can follow your ideas.

"There are two problems: namely." Too goes either at the end of the sentence. but not before and." Also is used to add an extra idea or emphasis. the expense and the time. you put a comma between each item. . In a list. education and the budget. Namely refers to something by name." "We are interested in costs as well as the competition. we are concerned by the competition. but also by the competition." We don't usually start a sentence with also.Giving examples For example For instance Namely The most common way of giving examples is by using for example or for instance." You can use also with not only to give emphasis. If you want to start a sentence with a phrase that means also. or In addition to this… As well as can be used at the beginning or the middle of a sentence. you can use In addition. "We discussed training. "As well as the costs. "We are concerned not only by the costs." Adding information And In addition As well as Also Too Furthermore Moreover Apart from In addition to Besides Ideas are often linked by and. or after the subject and means as well. "We also spoke about marketing.

It's rare to use "fourthly". finally The first point is Lastly The following The former and the latter are useful when you want to refer to one of two points." Apart from and besides are often used to mean as well as. or "fifthly". too. "Marketing and finance are both covered in the course. the second point." "Besides Rover. Sequencing ideas The former. we are the largest sports car manufacturer. we are the largest sports car manufacturer. "Apart from Rover. secondly. ." Moreover and furthermore add extra information to the point you are making." Firstly. the third point and so on. Moreover. try the first point. … the latter Firstly. The following is a good way of starting a list." "I. … secondly. was concerned. The former is studied in the first term and the latter is studied in the final term. or in addition to. they tell us about the competition." Summarising In short In brief In summary To summarise In a nutshell To conclude In conclusion We normally use these words at the beginning of the sentence to give a summary of what we have said or written. "Marketing plans give us an idea of the potential market. … finally (or lastly) are useful ways to list ideas. Instead."They were concerned too.

verb and object). For example. "Because of bad weather. "Since the company is expanding. we need to hire more staff.25%. the company has been unable to fulfil all its orders." "We believe in incentive schemes. we need to hire more staff." Giving a result . "Due to the fact that oil prices have risen. the match was postponed." "As the company is expanding. the inflation rate rose by 1. the inflation rate has gone up by 1%25."The following people have been chosen to go on the training course: N Peters. the football match was postponed." Giving a reason Due to / due to the fact that Owing to / owing to the fact that Because Because of Since As Due to and owing to must be followed by a noun. we are unable to supply all items within 2 weeks." "Owing to the demand. you must follow the words with the fact that." Because can be used at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence. because we want our employees to be more productive. "Due to the rise in oil prices." Because / because of Because of is followed by a noun." "Owing to the fact that the workers have gone on strike. "Because it was raining." If you want to follow these words with a clause (a subject. C Jones and A Owen." Since / as Since and as mean because.

she went out in shorts. "He works hard. he doesn't earn much. but he doesn't earn much." "He works hard. It is not normally used at the beginning of a sentence." "In spite of the cold." So is more informal. However. she went out in shorts. "Despite the fact that the company was doing badly. "The company are expanding. Therefore / So / Consequently / As a result. consequently and as a result are all used in a similar way. . you must use the fact that. If you want to follow them with a noun and a verb." Despite and in spite of are used in the same way as due to and owing to. they took on extra employees." Although. despite and in spite of introduce an idea of contrast. They must be followed by a noun.Therefore So Consequently This means that As a result Therefore. With these words. Contrasting ideas But However Although / even though Despite / despite the fact that In spite of / in spite of the fact that Nevertheless Nonetheless While Whereas Unlike In theory… in practice… But is more informal than however. "Although it was cold." Nevertheless and nonetheless mean in spite of that or anyway. so. they are taking on extra staff. you must have two halves of a sentence.

"While my sister has blue eyes. they often don't have enough time. which is did. whereas and unlike are used to show how two things are different from each other. Does is only used if the subject is he. Nonetheless. but he went swimming nevertheless." "Unlike in the UK. can. etc." In theory… in practice… show an unexpected result. To make sentence 1 into a question. the USA has cheap petrol. The verb 'like' is still in the infinitive without 'to'. He likes swimming. 2.) "The company is doing well." While. 3. does. For example. "Can he swim long distances?" Not "Can swim he long distances?" or "Does he can swim long distances?" To make sentence 3 into a question. "Is he a good swimmer?" Not "Does he is a good swimmer?" or "Does he be a good swimmer?" . you need to add does. He is a good swimmer. but it doesn't have an 's' on the end. So you put the can before he. use do. "In theory. have." (In spite of the fact that it was cold. they aren't going to expand this year." "Taxes have gone up. Remember: after auxiliary verbs (like do."The sea was cold. we use the past form of 'do' or 'does'. she or it – in all other cases. 1." Direct questions – yes / no questions in English. without 'to'. He can swim long distances. teachers should prepare for lessons. whereas social security contributions have gone down. but in practice. The verb like goes after the subject. use is as the auxiliary. The does goes before he. "Did he like swimming?" Not "Did he liked swimming?" To make sentence 2 into a question. you don't need to use 'does' because you already have an auxiliary verb – can.) the verb is in the infinitive. mine are brown. "Does he like swimming?" Not "Does he likes swimming?" or "Do he like swimming?" If the sentence is in the past tense (he liked swimming).

'does'. why. "Who saw you?" Someone saw you – who was it? Compare with "Who did you see?" You saw someone – who was it?) "Which company made a profit?" A company made a profit – which company was it? Compare with "Which company did you work for?" You worked for a company – which one was it? Indirect questions in English If you want to ask a question that is quite sensitive. 'which' or 'what' are the subject of the question. then the sentence. 'did'. then the rest of the question. such as 'do'. Then you add the subject. how.Direct questions – "wh" questions What is your name? Why do you want this job? How much do you earn? How soon can you start? When did you see the advertisement? Where do you live? Which newspaper did you see the advertisement in? Who gave you my name? After the "wh word" (what. then the subject (you) ." . etc) comes the auxiliary (do. does. try using one of the indirect phrases below: Can you tell me… Could you tell me… I'd be interested to hear… I'd like to know… Would you mind telling me… These questions are followed by either about. For example. did or can). a "wh word" or if. Note: if 'who'. "What happened?" Not "What did happen?" The thing that happened is what – the subject of the question. or 'can'. you don’t need an auxiliary. "Can you tell me what you like most about your present job?" Not "Can you tell me what do you like?" "I'd be interested to hear about your experiences. You don't need an 'auxiliary'. when.

How good is their English? How much do they know about the subject of your talk? Why will they be interested in listening to you? It’s a good idea to find out who is attending your presentation so that you can make the information relevant and interesting to them. 3. Sales presentations are different from information-giving presentations. If you know who you are talking to and why you are talking to them. In this time you should interest your audience and give them a reason to listen to you. The idea of speaking in public can be frightening enough if you're a native English speaker. a presentation on your company’s financial results to financial analysts will focus on results. 1. Don’t forget the physical details You’ll need to make sure the room is big enough for the number of people attending. or a fact or statistic that they need to know. A presentation on new auditing software will focus on the benefits and features of the software."Would you mind telling me if you have applied for a similar position before?" At some time or other. What you say in the first minute depends on your audience and their interests. Find out when you are giving your presentation – your audience may be less attentive if it’s right before lunch or at the end of the week and you’ll need to make especially sure that the presentation is interesting if it’s at a difficult time. Know your audience To give an effective presentation. most of us will have to give a presentation. These eight tips will help you plan a perfect presentation. 2. It’s always a good idea to work out what you want your audience to think or do at the end of your talk. as this will help you focus on the language and content of your presentation. You can decide what information to include and how to order it. reasons and analysis. Plan the content of your presentation Planning helps you focus on your presentation goals. you need to know something about your audience. and minimises the chances of anything going wrong. for example. . but it's even more so if English is your second language. Use a strong opening statement or question to interest your audience The first minute of your presentation is crucial. you can put yourself in your audience's position. Also ask yourself what you want to achieve from your presentation. and that you have all the equipment you need. Perhaps it is a problem that you know how to solve. 4. but it must mean something important to them. For example.

Organise your presentation into main points and supporting evidence. you will know how long it will take. By practising. This gives you credibility as a speaker and means that you don't have to waste time telling people who you are and why you are there) b) The overview c) The main body of the presentation d) Your summary e) A question and answer session Make brief notes about all the points you want to make in your presentation and make a plan. 7. the more confident you will feel! . During the presentation. Remember that it’s difficult to absorb lots of new information. such as: “this brings me to…” “now I’d like to move on to. Many presentations are divided into five areas: a) The introduction (Get someone else to introduce you to the audience. Keep visuals simple Don't put too much information in visuals and only use them to illustrate information that would otherwise take too long to explain. Simple graphic visuals such as pie charts and bar graphs work better than visuals with lots of labelling or words. If you put the key words onto cards (1 card for 1 key word or point) you can refer to them at any time if you forget where you are in the presentation. The more you practise. remember that it is a good idea to refer back to your opening statement and remind your audience why they are listening to you.Aim to speak for no longer than 30 minutes. Practice makes perfect! Practise your presentation as often as you can using your index cards. and where the difficult areas are in your talk. You can also use the index cards to write the links between points. Use colour and different fonts to help information stand out. so don’t aim to include too much. and leave time for questions and answers at the end. Use your index cards for any words that you might find difficult to remember. 5. Use index cards Put your points on individual index cards to help you during the presentation. or words that are difficult to pronounce..” “Right…” 6.

as well as possible answers. The more you prepare these. Prepare questions and answers You're likely to have questions at the end of your presentation.8. the better you'll feel able to deal with them. . so try to think of some in advance.

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