How to Improve Your English Conversation Skills

In a previous post we shared 8 simple tips to improve your spoken English. These tips used our free resources from our website and our YouTube channel.

Our final tip suggested that you ‘Speak with a friend.’ We suggested you ask a friend to listen to the same Spotlight English programme as you. Then enjoy talking together about that programme. So how do you start to talk about a programme? Here some ideas that will help you have a good conversation using ANY Spotlight English programme. 

1. Choose a Spotlight English programme

You and your friend need to agree what programme to talk about. Spotlight English programmes all have interesting English content. There are many programmes to choose from. You should both listen carefully to the same programme before you have your conversation. Each person can listen alone. Or you can listen to the programme together.

Never miss a chance to use the English you know.

2. Talk Anywhere!

You can practise English conversation anywhere. You can have a conversation in your own home, a coffee shop or a park. If you cannot see a friend in person you can still have a conversation to practise English. You can talk online using a platform such as Zoom. If you have an online conversation we suggest that you listen to the programme by yourself before going online.

3. Take Time

Do not rush a conversation. Make sure that you have a good length of time for a conversation. We suggest 30 – 40 minutes. Remember you will need more time, if you are first going to listen to the programme together.

Listening is a big part of good conversation…in any language!

4. Listen to Each Other

Good conversations are about listening carefully to the other person. Make sure that you give your full attention to your friend. Make sure that you are interested in what your friend says. Share your thoughts with each other. Say ‘I think …. What do you think?’ Our programme ‘Having Good Conversations’ will also help you understand the art of good conversation.

5. Ask These Questions About ANY Programme

Here are some useful questions to help you conversation. You can use these questions to help you have a conversation about ANY Spotlight English programme.

  1. What new words have you learned? You can share with each other the new words that you have learned.
  2. Was there anything that you did not understand? You may find that you friend understands something that you did not understand. Or you may understand something better than your friend. Help each other to increase your understanding.
  3. What was this programme about? You can try to explain to each other what the programme was about. Use just one or two sentences. If you can give a short summary of a programme, you will have learned a useful skill.
  4. What was your favourite part of the programme? (And why was it your favourite part?) Sometimes you and your friend will agree about your favourite part of the programme. Sometimes you will differ. That is part of the fun of having a conversation. Ask the question ‘why?’ Find out why your friend enjoyed a particular part of the programme.
  5. Did any part of the programme make you think about something in your own life? A program may make you think about something in your own life. Perhaps you have had a similar experience to that in the programme. Or maybe you would like to do something similar to that in the programme.
  6. What did you learn from this programme? You may have learned new words. You may have learned how to pronounce something. You may have learned new facts. You may have learned something about yourself.
  7. Will you change anything that you do as a result of this programme? Has the programme inspired you to take action? Will you change something that you do? 
  8. Don’t forget the questions in the programme! Do not forget to use the questions that we ask at the end of most our programmes.
  9. Practice using question words. Use these six words to ask more questions during your conversation. Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
Having a good time will make you want to keep practicing!

8. Do not worry. Enjoy the Conversation!

And finally – remember to have fun! You may make mistakes. But remember, making mistakes allows you to learn. Everyone makes mistakes. But the more you practice this art of conversation, the better you will be at it!

What do you like to have a conversation about? Do you like have conversations? What are your tips for using English in a conversation? Share them below.

Join the discussion

5 comments
  • I feel lucky to have discovered Spotlight English a few years ago. Among the various programs that I was able to read, I remember in particular one that concerned an artist who sculpted ice statues. Since then, even with some interruptions, I have continued to read the contents proposed, always with great interest. Not only did I learn a lot of things I didn’t know but I enjoyed myself as if I had met a friend. The first few times reading I had to translate one sentence at a time, with the progress made, now I can read the entire program with the certainty of understanding it sufficiently. As for speaking, I am not young enough to learn to speak a new language and in any case I have no one to practice with. I hope to be accepted even if I cannot speak English. Hello

  • Buenas tardes

    Estoy agradecida por participar de este programa de estudio, sigan adelante!

    Saludos cordiales
    Liliana López

  • Hi , I loved the questions tips for using them after we have listened the spotlight program. Then the tips are very useful , for example I like the tip.number 3 / Listen to each other. It is so important and respectful a person puts total attention to the interlocutor he or she is in front of. I like to have conversations but with a person who is informed about daily news or interesting topics of other countries . I can not stand to have trivial conversations. My tip in an English conversation is to use English phrases , phrasal verbs , vocabulary. Also to sing a nice English song and to ask if she likes this singer. And of course ..make questions like in an interview..for example : what day of the week is the most important for you? Or what’s your favorite clothes color? Do you love sports? What kind of sport do you practice constantly? And of course turn off the cellphone and put all the attention to his or her eyes. Thanks for sharing useful tips to have a real conversation. Greetings from Quito, Ecuador.

Further reading

Love & English

When people meet for the first time, there are a few common questions that get asked. “Where do you live?” “What do you do as a job...