If you're looking to use your English skills, the best way to do this is by conversing with someone who speaks English fluently. How do you start?
It might seem intimidating at first, but trust us when we say that actual conversation is one of the best exercises for honing your English skills.
Not quite confident enough? Here are some tips to help you out.
Before you even utter a word, be mindful of your countenance. Relax those shoulders and smile a little. A friendly appearance is very likely to result in a friendly and smooth conversation. Most English speakers become more open to conversation if you also look like you're open to conversation.
2. Start off with a greeting.
Greetings might be some of the first English words you learned. That's because they're the first words you'll use to start off a conversation! So go ahead, practice saying "hi," "hello," "good morning," or "good evening."
3. Follow it up with a question.
Once you've gotten the attention of someone with your greeting, ask them something. It's always polite to ask about another person, so ask a fairly general question that's easy to answer.
If you're talking to someone you know, you can ask them, "How have you been?" to imply that you're curious about what they've been up to since you last met. And if you're talking someone you don't know, ask something like "What is your name?" to show your interest in getting to know them.
4. Get a little specific.
Once you've asked about the person you're talking to, you can ask more specific questions. For instance, you can ask how they know the person who introduced you.
You can also ask about something you have in common, such as the concert you just attended or the drink they have in their hand. Sometimes, it doesn't even have to be a question. You can simply give them a quick compliment like "That's a nice shirt" or "Your tattoo is very interesting."
5. Listen, and listen well.
Conversations are a two-way street. You must also listen and respond to the person you're talking to. Focus on the words they're saying, and respond accordingly. For example, if they mention that they're a huge fan of the Foo Fighters (but you don't know them), don't be afraid to ask. The more questions and answers that go back and forth between you, the better!
Practicing in the classroom is very different from actually applying what you learned. So go out there, and start off an English conversation today!