Do you want to improve your English speaking skills? My first piece of advice is to stop trying to sound like a native speaker. Instead, try to speak clearly and concisely. People living in different parts of the world speak English in their own style and that is perfectly acceptable. It is estimated that over a billion people speak English as a second language. Only a few among them manage to speak English like native speakers do. On the flip side, there are only around 380 million native speakers out there. That means you are in the majority.
Learn idioms, but don’t use them
Try to avoid using idioms and slang. Learn idioms, but don’t use them in your speech. Although idioms are common in all kinds of English, they just don’t come naturally to a non-native English speaker. If students try consciously to fill their speech and writing with idioms, the result will probably be strange.
Use non-idiomatic ways of expressing ideas, and you will normally be understood. What’s more, English speakers do not expect foreigners to speak perfectly idiomatically or correctly.
Don’t fill your speech with long, complicated words when there are shorter alternatives. Keep it short and simple. Remember that most speakers (and that includes native speakers) have a small vocabulary. Very few words are used in everyday English speaking. Learn those words and you should do fine.
You can’t learn a new language in two months. Learning a new language is a time-consuming process, so be patient with yourself.
Grab every opportunity to speak English. You can’t improve your English speaking skills if you don’t practice. Grab every opportunity you have to speak with people in English. The more you speak English, the more fluent you become. Can’t find English speaking people in your locality? Try to find them on the web. Search ESL forums on the internet and you will find plenty of people interested in practicing their English speaking skills with you.
Use internet based voice chat programs like MSN Web Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk. If you can travel to an English speaking country, do it. It is one of the best ways of improving your English speaking skills. When you are in an English speaking country, you will be surrounded by people speaking the language. Needless to say, your English speaking skills will improve automatically.
Don’t worry about your accent. A lot of students try too hard to get rid of their accent. This is hardly worth the effort. Accents no longer matter. That said, you need to work on your pronunciation skills because people need to be able to understand you.