Communication is the gateway to all relationships, expressions, and activities that we engage in during our everyday life. Imagine trying to tell your best friend how your day went without being able to use any method of verbal communication. Of course you could pick up sign language, but even with that, you would still be left with some loopholes. On the contrary, just because you know a language does not mean you can communicate it well. However, if you are trying to communicate with your second language, being able to communicate effectively can be an even tougher task to manage. Let’s take the English language for example, as it is the most commonly used language among foreign language speakers. Whether or not English is your first language, you are going to need to use it to communicate effectively. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to improve your communication skills in English.
Types of Communication
Before we go over the ways to improve your communication skills in English, let’s take a look at some forms of communication and why they are important.
Verbal: We use it every day! No matter what we are doing, or who we are with, practicing verbal communication is an ideal way to get your point across. When you are verbal with someone, you also have the opportunity to use your words to convey emotion.
Nonverbal: With technology, nonverbal communication is becoming much more common. We are more apt to use email, reports, and other messaging techniques to get our points across.
Formal: Knowing how to communicate formally is essential when you are with elders, in the workplace, or talking to superiors. Being informal with certain people could cost you!
Informal: On the other hand, informal communication helps to loosen people up in a group setting and engage and cultivate relationships freely.
Improving your English Communication
Now that we have the types of communication down, let’s get into the things you can do to improve your communication skills in English.
Speaking: Communication relies heavily on speaking, and in English, you are going to need to know how to speak and relay your information properly to get your point across. To improve your speaking skills in English, you can:
- Speak with native English speakers, listen to audio tapes of English speaking, or tune into some catchy music from sung in English. Additionally, watch television to observe how English speakers move their mouths and pronounce their words. Do not be shy about asking an English friend to dinner just to converse. Offer them some knowledge on your own language as well!
- Speaking slowly as you are practicing communicating in English. Even if English is your first language, speaking clearly and annunciating is a great way to get someone to listen and understand you.
- Record yourself speaking English so you know how you sound. If you do this, you can also help find little quirks in your speaking skills.
- Consider enrolling in a class to help practice your speech, as well as to meet other students learning to communicate in English. This will provide you with a lot of opportunity for practice!
Listening: Communication is not just about talking, it is about lending an ear as well! The tricky thing with listening to English is that not everyone speaks English the way that people are taught it as a second language. There is a lot of slang involved depending on where the person is from. The help yourself become a better listener when listening to an English speaker, try these tips out:
- Ask questions if you do not understand what the person is saying. This will help develop conversation and also show them that you are interested. Additionally, you will get to know their speaking style. The more you listen to someone talk, the easier it will be to understand them once you know what they are saying.
- Put your radio on, podcast, or the television to an English speaking show and get used to hearing English in the background while you go about your day. You will find that you can pick up a lot of things this way.
Writing: When looking to improve your English communication skills, you can look to other forms of communication outside of verbal speaking, such as writing. To improve your communication in writing:
- Write! This may sound simple but practicing writing in English everyday will help you get used to speaking, thinking, and processing ideas in English as well. You do not even have to focus on writing anything interesting, just write!
- Have a friend or teacher who is native in the English language take a look at your writing. If you are shy about having someone read it, go online. There are plenty of sites that will help you check your work free of charge.
- As you get better at writing, slowly insert and add phrases to your sentences or simply work to extend them.
- Remember when you are learning to communicate in writing, do not get stuck on writing in slang. A lot of people online end up using “LOL”, “brb”, or “u” when they are tying. Make sure you write normally and regularly, there is no need to sidestep the basics.
- The internet, again, is a great resource. There are programs you can download that have English lessons, games, and writing activities that can help you practice your English communication on a daily basis in the comfort of your own home.
- If there are errors in your writing, correct it before you continue. Knowing where you made mistakes is essential, and correcting them will prevent them from reappearing in the future.
Take Your Time!
Communication is a tough skill to master. As you are going through improving your English communication, remember to not get discouraged! It can be tough to try to understand and get a message across, so take your time, be patient, and consult with Udemy’s online courses for any further assistance. Soon you will be speaking and communicating with confidence!