It goes without saying that effective communication is very essential be it for professional life or for day-to-day interactions. However, with most of the formal communication happening in English, and English not being the first language, it becomes a huge hurdle for many individuals in a country like India to communicate effectively.

The most common problems that many students who work on improving their vocabulary and overall communication skills face at different stages include:

  • Knowing the language but lacking the confidence while speaking
  • Not being able to recollect the right word at the right time
  • Not being able to speak fluently (fumbling or blanking out)
  • Not being able to construct grammatically correct sentences

In this blog, we will answer some of the most common questions and try to solve some of the frequently appearing problems related to effective communication.

Question: I know a lot of English words and phrases. However, I am not able to use these words when I am communicating with someone. What can I do to solve this problem ?

Answer: This is a problem that students face because they don’t practice enough. Firstly, you must use the word that you have learnt as immediately as possible in your own sentences and in your own life’s context. Jot down 2 or 3 sentences of your own in which the word has been used in different parts of speech. Writing down those sentences is the best way to etch the usage in your words. In THE BIG CD flashcards, you can understand how you can frame sentences using the newly learnt words.

Maintaining a small journal that you always carry along can be a little cumbersome but would go a long way in helping you improve your vocabulary. You may even record the sentences using a voice recorder. Every few days you must go through these sentences during your free time.

You can also share these words with your friends and see how they use them in their sentences. As and when you get a chance, use the newly learnt words while conversing with other people as well.

Also, when you listen to a new word in a movie or video or an audio clip, repeat it aloud as used in the movie or video or audio. That would help register the word in your sub-conscience.


Question: Why am I not able to speak fluent English in front of others?

Answer: Try to have 2 – 4 conversational partners with whom you can communicate easily. Even if you are wrong, don’t give up but instead understand why and where you went wrong and rectify your mistakes.

Conversing before a mirror is also a great way to practice speaking and improving confidence. Stand in front of a mirror and imagine you are talking to a hypothetical audience. This will help you to make mistakes without fear and learn from them.

And, always remember that there is no substitute to PRACTICE in language improvement. The more you will speak, read, listen, and write, the faster you would become proficient in the language. Fluency comes over time and with unending determination and perseverance.

Confidence comes with practice. It is important to keep practicing and remember with every mistake you will learn.

Also, improving your vocabulary and grammar skills on a regular basis would give you the confidence of speaking with others. Flashcards are an immensely interesting tool of improving your vocabulary in a systematic way. Different grammar books such as Wren & Martin and The Elements of Style are great books to improve your grammar.


Question: What must I do to improve my confidence while speaking in English?

Answer: For someone who is not conversant with English or is not confident while conversing in English, not giving up is the mantra to remember. It is understandable that bad grammar and poor vocabulary become major obstacles in one’s way of effectively using English as a conversational language, but it goes without saying that regular practice is inevitable in improving one’s speaking skills. It has been observed that regular and proper usage of flashcards has helped millions of people to improve their vocabulary.

First and foremost, every native speaker trying to hone his/ her linguistic skills in English must bear in mind that there would be numerous embarrassing situations where he/ she may fail to use impressive or even appropriate sentence constructions and vocabulary. But continual practice and unwavering determination eventually lead one to noticeable improvements in one’s speaking.

Speaking in short, simple sentences is a good way to start. Gradually, when one starts getting a good hold on the language, one can use longer and more complex sentence constructions Watching videos about common conversational situations and doing a role play and repeating the phrases/ sentences before a mirror would bring about marked improvement in one’s confidence levels. If one can, one must try to have 1 or 2 regular conversational partners with whom one can practice speaking and roleplay for various situations. Also, one must use English wherever possible: school, college, shopping mall, restaurants, doctor’s clinic, hospital, etc. Even if one is wrong, one must not stop, rather one must learn from his/ her mistakes and not repeat them.


Question: How can I write better/ impressively?

Answer: Firstly, one must read extensively and listen to good speakers and orators to get acquainted with varied sentence constructions, grammatical structures, and expanded vocabulary. Reading newspaper editorials and articles, blogs, and short stories or essays would create interest for one in reading. Gradually, one can go on to reading novels and longer texts. Jotting down interesting sentence constructions or new words and using them in one’s own sentences can go a long way in improving one’s writing skills. It goes without saying that a strong vocabulary is a highly essential aspect of writing. Being able to use correct grammatical constructions and appropriate vocabulary leads one to expressing effectively.

Maintaining a journal or diary where one jots down one’s special experiences or memorable events on a daily or a regular basis is a good way to start and enhance writing. When one is stuck, one must refer to a dictionary or look up the internet to find appropriate words or sentence constructions. Writing for varied purposes or various types of texts such as emails, essays, articles, blogs, letters, etc would lead one to writing in a versatile manner. When a mistake is made, one must try to rectify it as soon as possible.

These are some of the ways in which one can improve one’s writing skills over a period of time.


Question: I don’t have a friend circle or people around me who can or want to talk in English. What should I do to practice my speaking skills?

Answer: This is a very common problem faced by a lot of students even in metropolitan areas. To solve this problem, start reading whatever content you are reading aloud. Find a quiet place in your house or a comfortable area where you can readily aloud without disturbing anyone. Reading aloud would work at different levels: it will help you improve your grammar, pronunciation, and confidence levels.

Also, try repeating what you hear in your listening: for instance, you can repeat after or with an interview or a news feature that you are watching. Similarly, you can pause a serial or film that you are watching to repeat a dialogue or conversation.

Speaking before a mirror is an effective method of improving speech employed by several professional film and television artists. You can take a good piece of writing and stand or sit before a mirror to start speaking or enacting.

Even if you don’t have a regular conversational partner in person, you can find a few people on the internet who are in the same situation as yours and are looking for conversational partners. Having said that, given the risks of making contacts online, it’s very important to make sure that a virtual conversational partner you are communicating with is innocuous. Also, be cautious and do not share any personal details or information with him/ her.

Also, reading out or practicing from flashcards that have words, meanings, synonyms, antonyms, and examples of usage goes a long way in improving one’s vocabulary. Even when alone, a person would find a fun way of practicing vocabulary.

People in metro cities or towns must try to use English in situations and with people they can. For example, shopping in a mall, or eating out in a decent restaurant, or talking to a company executive could be the instances where one can use English while conversing.



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