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5 Free Ways to Practice Speaking in English

No need to take a course. No need to live in an English speaking country.

Practice speaking with a peacock
Australia, 2013. Me trying to speak with a peacock. Don't be like this guy. Speak!

How can you practice speaking in English if you live in a non-English speaking country?

Should you take a language course? Maybe. But that’s just 1 of the many options you have.

Here are 5 more. 

They’re all free and they can help you practice speaking in English even if you live in Italy, Brazil, Japan or Indonesia.

Let’s go.

1. Start your own podcast

I’ve already discussed in detail the benefits of having your own podcast in this article so I’ll be brief.

In a nutshell, starting a podcast show can help you practice speaking in English every single day for the rest of your life, if that’s what you’d like to do. You can have conversations every week with one or more guests, or have your own solo show.

You may think you need to have a high level of English to start a podcast, but no, you don’t. 

You can be an intermediate learner and still have conversations about simple topics. 

And it’ll cost you nothing because you can use free podcast hosting platforms – like Anchor – to start your show.

Podcasting is great if you’d like to develop fluency, but it also works well to get rid of the mistakes you tend to make (see my other article for more on this).

2. Start a YouTube channel

Open a YouTube channel and make videos on whatever you like.

You can give opinions on topics, tell stories, read out passages from your favorite books, teach others something you’re good at or give mini-presentations about your country. 

Don’t worry whether people may or may not be interested in your content.

Keep reminding yourself that you’re doing this primarily for your own benefit. You’re doing it to get into the habit of speaking, not because you want to become a famous YouTuber. 

So forget about what others think. 

And don’t worry about your level of English either. I’ve heard politicians speak broken English at international conferences so I don’t see why you couldn’t do it on your YouTube channel 🙂

No special film-making abilities are required. 

Did you know that you could just open a Zoom meeting, press record and then upload the video on YouTube? That’s it. 

You don’t have to be a skilled video maker, but you might become a more skilled English speaker as a result of making videos.

3. Join ACTIVE Facebook groups

Facebook is filled with groups for learners of English. But most of these groups, however, have 100k+ members whose posts look like this:

screenshot of a meaningless Facebook post

If you’re a member of one of these giant “communities” but have never actually spoken with any of the people there, leave the group today.  

Don’t waste your time there replying to meaningless comments. Instead, find other groups where learners organize live meetings that you can join to make friends and talk to people. 

I know two of these groups: MAOFEN (Masters of English – fewer than 400 members at the moment) and the Chat Box (about 6,500 members).

They’re both free and learners are quite active there (I’m in the Chat Box too). 

4. Start your own speaking club

Who said you need to join a group? You can start your own where you make the rules. You can do it online or in person at the local cafe, library, or cultural center in your town. 

Print out a sign and pin it around town. 

I created a super basic one for you that you can download and adapt.

Keep in mind, though, that if you decide to start a speaking club, you’ll need to think about how to make it interesting. 

I participated in some of those free clubs when I was living in London. I attended them a couple of times and then stopped going because participants would always talk about the same things.

“Hello, how are you? Where are you from? What’s your job?” 

Boring small talk.

So prepare in advance some topics and questions that you can discuss.

Here’s just one of the many websites where you can find questions for discussion.

5. Do a language exchange 

The world is full of fluent English speakers who would like to speak your first language. You can meet one of these people so you can both practice and teach each other your first languages.

There are free apps and websites for this. 

Here are some that you might want to check out:

***

You can study all the English grammar books in the world, watch all the TV series in English and listen to all the English podcasts on Spotify, but you’ll never improve your speaking skills without speaking. 

It’s simply impossible.  

It’s like wanting to become a better cook without cooking. 

So…speak! It’s free! 🙂

Fabio Cerpelloni is an English language teacher, writer, author, and podcaster from Italy. You can find out more about him and his work by clicking on his glass of beer in the photo.