If you’re a non-native English speaker working in an English speaking company, you may have gotten the impression by listening to those with better English than yours that you have to learn loads of specific English vocabulary in order to be able to fully function in your work environment.
If you’re preparing to sit an English test or an exam – such as IELTS or CAE – you may believe that you have to dedicate all your efforts towards English grammar, syntax and irregular verbs.
And if you aspire to learn to speak in English fluently so that you can simply communicate with other English speakers out there, you may also have this notion that you have to be able to discuss hundreds and thousands of various topics which would quite logically require you to learn a massive amount of new English vocabulary.
All in all, you may believe that English improvement is:
- Inevitably based on studying textbooks,
- Demands exceptional intelligence and analytic mind!
Is that so?
Not really, my friend! 😉
In reality, while requiring lots of hard work, English improvement is MUCH EASIER than you think ❗
Basic Ability to Speak Applies on All Life Situations
The problem is that if you have a specific goal which demands you improve your English such as:
- Acquiring extra qualifications in order to advance your career;
- Passing an English exam in order to obtain a visa to gain entry to some English speaking country;
- Improving your IELTS oral part score…
… you may think that in order to achieve your goal you have to do plenty of comprehensive studying focusing on grammar, English tenses, irregular verbs etc.
In reality, IF you learn to speak normal, conversational English, you’ll be able to do all of the above and even more ❗
Once you learn to conduct a simple conversation which consists of plenty of ready-to-go phrases used by English speakers across all industries, you’ll be prepped up enough to take on any test or exam even without doing in-depth grammar studies and acquiring massive amounts of technical vocabulary.
Whether you’re applying for a new position in your company, speaking with an interviewer or answering oral exam questions, basic speech remains pretty much the same:
- Hello, how are you, it’s a really nice day out there, isn’t it? (typical English small-talk)
- Well, as a matter of fact, I’m not really sure how to put it into the right words… (this is how you use hesitation filler phrases)
- I decided to go for this position because having spent 3 years in my current job I figured out in the end it’s not really my cup of tea, so to speak! (such and similar idiomatic expressions can be used in ANY life situation!)
Don’t Get Bogged Down on Technical Vocabulary!
I was getting plenty of e-mails from my mailing list subscribers asking to provide examples of specific industry related expressions and vocabulary because my audience consists of people coming from all walks of life:
- Army personnel
- and much more!
So I put together a list of phrases containing technical expressions and idioms following all these requests, however, I believe that there’s one thing all these industry professionals are missing – namely, they put TOO MUCH EMPHASIS on the technical vocabulary!
Yes, fair enough, if you read some industry related article it would probably consist of technical vocab for the most part, however, spoken English is different.
When you speak, your speech consists mostly of expressions and phrases ANYBODY uses, so I’d say it’s important to develop your ability to speak fluently in general, and then you can focus on the specific industry related vocabulary and phrases.
Just read this article where I’ve been writing about Forex trading. It consists of 16 general English phrases and only 5 specific industry-related terms, so it just goes to show that specific vocabulary isn’t the end of it all.
Don’t Get Side-tracked by Exam Scores!
If you’ve failed your IELTS exam due to poor performance in the spoken part, for example, you may be too focused on the pass score and the necessary requirements to achieve it.
You may dedicate another month of your life in order to hammer the most advanced English tenses in your brain, for example, so that you can use them during the test because your assessment said so.
It may confuse you even more, and next time around when you do the oral exam, you may hesitate and stutter even more because you’ll be frantically trying to implement this or that particular English tense in your answers.
What you should be doing instead is – learn relevant English expressions that include all the necessary grammar tenses in them, and focus on acquiring only a small number of more advanced grammar constructs:
… and all of a sudden you’ll sound more native-like and your chances of passing the exam are going to increase big time than if you learned the entire English Grammar Tenses table and tried to implement all that theoretical knowledge while answering questions and having the minimum score requirements showing up in front of your eyes the whole time.
Having a Specific Goal is Important – But Remember that Conversational Fluency is Universal!
I’ve always maintained that it’s important to have a specific goal in mind when you go about your English improving routine so that you can stay focused while engaged in your activities and motivate yourself to keep up with the daily English practice.
I mean – you just have to talk about subjects that are relevant to you and your particular situation, otherwise you’ll lose your focus and keep wandering what spoken English topics you could discuss…
At the same time, as I’ve already stated previously in this article, you shouldn’t become bogged down on learning specific vocab the whole time because developing your general fluency should be your first and utmost goal – technicalities will almost look after themselves once you’ve gained the ability to speak fluently without constructing English sentences in your head!
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!