Here's how you can improve your fluency in English language

The only way to improve your English communication skill is by speaking more and by reading. With the advent of technology, there are numerous e-books, apps and materials online which you can refer
English has become a language of career success. Those who are able to communicate effectively in the language can heighten the chances of success
English has become a language of career success. Those who are able to communicate effectively in the language can heighten the chances of success

A week ago I met a software engineer working in a leading IT company in Coimbatore. Let’s assume his name is Ramesh. He said that as he had studied in an educational institute situated in a small town, he could not develop his proficiency in English. Though Ramesh was not fluent, he was able to communicate in English. He said, “I feel very inferior to my colleagues who speak English fluently. I think that unless I develop my English language and communication skills, I won’t be able to achieve career success.” He asked me to suggest ways of improving English speaking skills.

Like Ramesh, there are many professionals who feel inferior to their colleagues due to their lack of proficiency in English. Whether we like it or not, English has become a language of career success. Those who are able to communicate effectively in the language can climb up the ladder of success easily. What should one do to improve their English speaking skills? Here are some useful tips:

- Be passionate about improving your English. If you are passionate about learning a new skill, you will find ways of learning it and achieving success in it. Ask anyone who speaks good English and the person will say that they love the language.

- Have a goal and take steps towards achieving it. Your desire to do something should lead you to take some positive steps towards translating your desire into action.

- Be confident and think positively. Learning English is not difficult. It is possible for everyone to enhance their English language skills if they have a positive attitude.

-  Have a workable plan and practise your English regularly. Practise these important skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

-  Expose yourself to English. In the twenty-first century, technology helps you have access to the language easily. You can watch YouTube videos, download audio and video files and listen to people who speak English. Listening is an important skill. It is said that a good listener is a good speaker. 

- Speak confidently even if you can’t speak correct English. The best way to develop one’s fluency is through speaking. Be open-minded when someone corrects your language. Be willing to correct mistakes and learn from mistakes.

- Read news reports, stories and anything that interests you. Reading helps you learn new words. 

- Make it a point to learn at least ten new words every day. Whenever you come across a new word, try to know its meaning(s) and see how it is used in sentences. When you come across a new word, try to know the other forms of the words. For example, the other forms of ‘courage’ are: encourage (verb), courageous (adjective), courageously (adverb). Know the word and its collocations. For example, some of the adjectives that can go together with the word ‘rain’ are: heavy, lashing, pouring, torrential, steady, fine, gentle, light, and patchy and the verbs/phrases that can be used before ‘rain’ are: forecast, look like, threaten, pour with, and get caught in. It is an easy and effective way of building one’s vocabulary. Remember the example sentences of the new words/phrases you have learnt. This will help you remember them.

- Maintain a diary and write regularly. Write at least a paragraph on your activities every day. This is to cultivate the habit of writing every day. You can also use e-diaries. There are good e-diary apps available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

- Use online resources to your advantage. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary app is very useful to learners of English. The app allows the user to look up words, independent of a network connection.

- Use social media effectively. Many interesting and useful anecdotes and news reports are shared by people on WhatsApp and Facebook. Reading them and commenting on them can help you improve your reading and writing skills.

- Take online tests regularly. There are many interactive online tests freely available

Albert P Rayan is an ELT resource person and a Professor of English )

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