I know of many people who wish that they could speak English better. They do speak English, but they feel that they don’t speak it well enough.
Here are three things you can do to improve your spoken English immediately.
(1) Work on Your Articulation
There are some words that we don’t articulate correctly. We may not be able to correct all of them; however, we should at least work on the words we use regularly.
Don’t just rely on your instinct or copy what others are saying. There are ways of checking for articulation online (eg: dictionary.com).
Alternatively, learn the phonetic symbols so that you can confirm the articulation of words in a dictionary.
Examples of commonly mispronounced words:
– Wednesday: The meeting is confirmed to run on wed-nes-day. (The correct articulation is wenzday.)
– lavender: Our office is on la-VAN-da Street. (The correct articulation is LAIR-vender.)
– colleague: Tom is my ker-league. (The correct articulation is KOR-league.)
(2) Manage Your Intonation
Intonation refers to the way your voice goes up and down in pitch when you speak.
Many people tend to speak with a rather flat or narrow intonation. This means that they place more or less equal stress on almost every word in their speech.
At other times, they don’t place any stress on key words, or they stress the wrong words.
For example, these sentences may convey different tones, even though the words are the same:
- We ARE busy, and we will work on this tomorrow.
- We are BUSY, and we will work on this tomorrow.
- We are busy, and we WILL work on this tomorrow.
- We are busy, and we will work on this TOMORROW.
English is a stress-based language, and people rely on your intonation to understand your meaning.
Intonation in your speech also shows emotion and enthusiasm, and these are important elements in communication.
(3) Be Mindful About Grammar
You cannot speak with incorrect grammar and hope that the listener will understand your intended meaning every time.
It is fun and easy to use Singlish when we speak, but when the message is critical and accuracy is important, be mindful of your grammar. Switch to standard English.
Why Should You Improve Your Spoken English?
At the workplace, when you speak clearly and correctly, you project enthusiasm and confidence, and you come across as being more professional.
Your overall professional image is determined by how you dress, how you act, and how you speak. Don’t let your spoken English be your weakest link.