Tired of being stuck at your current level? What makes you fluent in English?
10 tips to improve your English fluency and maximise your classes.
10 tips for your English fluency classes
Getting the most out of language classes requires effort and dedication on your part.
Online intensive courses are designed to help students communicate effortlessly in a short amount of time.
They typically involve several classes each week, homework (or not!), and speaking practice sessions.
Here are 10 key tips to answer a question we often hear as teachers for adult professionals in business settings: How can I master fluency in English?
Use these techniques to help you get the most out of your classes and maximise your investment.
1. Set goals
Sit down with your teacher and identify what you want to achieve through your English course.
Make sure to set specific, measurable goals for yourself.
The goals can be big, “Give a keynote speech for 45 minutes”, or small: “ask the Financial Director two questions at the next meeting”.
This will help you stay focused and motivated.
2. Be actively engaged
You’re paying for the English fluency classes so make sure to participate in class as much as you possibly can! Ask questions, and make an effort to practise speaking and writing in English.
The more you engage with the language, the more you will learn. Not feeling inspired one day? Ask your teacher to do most of the talking that day. At least you’ll work on your language comprehension skills.
If you find some exercises too boring, let your teacher know so he or she can adapt to your learning style.
3. Practise outside of class
Ideally you would make time to study and practise outside of class. Pick something that doesn’t feel like homework! This could include:
- Listening to podcasts
- Reading in English
- Record a video of yourself as you speak
- Practising speaking with native speakers (Meetups, language exchanges)
- Use your teacher’s conversation tips at work
If you’re working, our recommendation is to prioritise coming to class. It’s better to keep a rhythm and come to class, than to feel burnt out because you’re trying to squeeze in too much in one week. We’re only humans.
As teachers, our approach is that it’s great if you practise outside of class, but we totally get it if you don’t. Experiment to find your best learning style.
4. Get feedback
Ask your teacher to give you feedback on your speaking and writing.
An experienced teacher will do this either way during the online course, but if you need more feedback, just ask for it. That way, your teacher can adapt to your needs.
Getting clear and regular feedback will help you:
- Identify areas for improvement (“you still pronounce stop as estop”)
- Celebrate goals (“YES, you spoke with the UK Director for two minutes straight!”)
- Make progress faster (“You’re speaking is more fluent, let’s focus on past tenses”)
5. Stay motivated
We’ve been teaching professionals and high executives since 2000. Trust me when I say that learning a language and mastering fluency can be challenging!
This is why it’s SO important to stay motivated and keep a positive attitude.
If you’re not feeling inspired one day, remind yourself of why you took the intensive course in the first place.
Remember how much you’re paying for it and revisit the goals. Imagine how GOOD it will feel when you finally talk to that American Finance Director!
Celebrate your successes with your teacher and set smaller goals if the big goal feels too far away.
Try to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible to improve and master fluency in Business English. Watch British or American TV shows online, movies, listen to podcasts and news programmes. Or listen to some new music!
This will help your listening skills as you develop a better ear for the language. It’s effective to understand spoken English in real-life situations. Particularly in business settings.
There are many language learning apps that can help you immerse yourself. These apps often have features like chatbots and voice recognition technology.
In the last years, we’ve seen a boom in free apps that help you practise speaking and improve your pronunciation.
7. Practise, Practise, Practise (you get the point)
The more you practise speaking, the more confident (surprise…!) you will become. Take advantage of all opportunities to learn to speak English fluent, whether it’s with other students, teachers, or native speakers.
A cheap tip is to talk to yourself! You’ll get used to hearing your own voice in a foreign language, which helps if you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when you speak.
Ask your teacher for further ideas that help your progress. Oh, and imitate your teacher’s pronunciation (here you can find more pronunciation help and conversation tips).
8. Focus on Vocabulary
Building your vocabulary is key to mastering fluency. Make a list of new words and phrases you learn each day, and practise using them in conversations at work.
If there is some vocabulary you find hard to pronounce, write it down on post-it notes. Or record a video of yourself and learn how to move your mouth differently for a more British or American pronunciation.
Don’t overdo it and try to read thick books just because they have a lot of vocabulary. Focus on texts you ENJOY reading. How about articles related to your profession, or hobbies?
9. Visualise the language
Got the post-it notes ready? Put them in visible places!
Involve all senses as you increase your communication skills. Each time you lay your eyes on the vocabulary you’ve written on post-its, your brain lights up.
Pronounce the words out loud 3 times for extra effect. Speak out loud!
You can also write the translation in your language, if that is your learning style. There is no right or wrong when it comes to English fluency, we all learn differently. Adapt your course as go along, to boost your skills.
10. Read and Write
Reading books, articles, newsletters and other materials will help you understand the language and improve your reading skills. Writing in English will help you to practise using grammar and vocabulary in context. It’s a great way to improve your comprehension and speed up your learning.
Choose grammar material that is at your level. Gradually challenge yourself with more advanced material as your skills develop and improve.
You can also ask your teacher for suitable materials, and discuss the subjects in class.
We also (highly) recommend correcting your emails or presentations in class.
What level is "fluent" English?
Perhaps you’re wondering what level you need to have to be considered fluent? A common goal we typically set as business English instructors is to reach B2 or C1.
Ideally, you would reach C2, but this level requires a longer course.
Learn more about CEFT, the performance standards created by the Council of Europe.
That’s it! Ready to master English fluency with an Intensive Course?
Remember, fluency takes time and practice.
With dedication and hard work, an intensive English course online can achieve your goal of speaking with confidence. It doesn’t matter if the classes are online or face-to-face, decide what works best for you.
By following these 10 tips to be more fluent in English, you can make the most of your English fluency classes and achieve your goal of mastering the language.
You’ll quickly see how this benefits your career development. An intensive course focused on speaking, writing, and reading can boost your future and show a high return-on-investment.
Great teachers rock, don’t they?
- Recommended reading: How Non-Native English Speakers can appear more fluent