People ask me about this all the time - how do I improve my English? Notably, non-native English speakers. It is a widespread problem.
This has cascading effects. It hampers their communication skills and consequently, their confidence itself. And then they start getting paranoid about public speaking.
Let’s solve this problem for you!
Whenever someone asks me - how do I improve my communication skills? Or how do I improve my English speaking ability? There is one incident from my childhood I always remember. That incident was the best advice I ever got - which instantly set me up for success. The success that improved my English forever.
When I was in my 8th grade, in high school, we had an English teacher. Super fun and amazingly fluent English speaker. During that time, I was utterly struggling to speak in English. But, to be honest, I was at least a little better than my other classmates - because I was at least trying.
In those days, English movies were getting very popular in India. This was around the late 1990s, early 2000s — films like Titanic, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and so on.
My English teacher, when I went to her for advice to improve my English, told to watch all the English movies. Over and over again. But, the key was to keep the subtitles on when watching the movies.
According to her that it helps to improve the grammar, vocabulary, sentence formation, the way you express yourselves in certain situations, and much more. There are so many things you could actually learn from English movies.
The more English you hear, the easier it will be for you to copy what you hear.
I couldn’t do that at that time because I was small. Too young to watch English movies according to Indian standards! But, that advice had stuck in my mind.
You don’t need to live in an English-speaking country to become fluent in English.
When I went to college, I got more freedom. So, I started watching English movies more religiously. Slowly, things were improved. And, then I came to a point where my English was just perfect.
So, now, when anyone asks me, I tell them the same thing. Watch Netflix. HBO. Watch all the English series that you can with turning on the subtitles. It will increase your vocabulary, grammar. It will tell you what and how to speak in certain situations. There are so many invaluable lessons to take from it.
The Missing Piece
Practice. Practice. Practice.
There is only so much that you could improve by just watching English movies. The trick is actually to practice it.
This step is so obvious, yet so blatantly ignored. You have to get comfortable getting into uncomfortable situations.
Grab every opportunity of speaking in front of the audience. However, big or small. Just do it!
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Surround yourself in English.
Talk to a stranger every day - on a bus, in an elevator. Give presentations in school, office. Speak in English at home, with friends.
You will feel awkward at first. But, trust me on that will make you fluent and a good English speaker.
Don’t wait. Start today. Watch English movies with subtitles on. Go out and speak in English with a stranger. Practice how much ever you can to improve your English. This is the only way you can get good at public speaking.