Many people judge the level of English proficiency by how fluently a speaker speaks. It is not just a matter of speaking quickly but also of being sure that oral statements are linguistically correct. All these improvements should be pursued simultaneously. How to work on the fluency of Business English learners in practice?
Planning the speech
Learners vary and can certainly be divided into several groups. Some of them find speaking extremely easy, while others hate oral exercises because they are afraid of making a mistake. Those who speak quickly and willingly should pay attention to the correctness of the language as well as the grammatical structures and vocabulary they use. If learners have a limited and repetitive vocabulary, increasing the fluency of their Business English will involve diversifying grammatical structures and expanding vocabulary. Adult learners who avoid speaking and have a language barrier should aim to break it. Throwing them in at the deep end is not a good idea. Suggest them to build a plan of speech, initially even write it down and prepare a speech based on a carefully prepared plan. They can work on speed later.
Create plenty of opportunities to speak
A constant element of Business English should be speaking. Try to encourage adult learners to practise speaking as often as possible. An excellent part of a lesson can also be the unannounced exercises, i.e. when you are doing other exercises. If any learner expresses an opinion, immediately take advantage of the situation and create a space for an exchange of opinions and mutual discussion. Watching interviews and films together is intended to familiarise students with the language, but it can also be a great way to analyse vocabulary and grammatical structures. Encourage learners to write down every new word and every new structure they hear and to look for synonyms and antonyms. In business English, expanding specialised vocabulary also aims to build a base to make speaking easier. Another group of learners includes those who are reluctant to speak due to a lack of appropriate vocabulary and skills.
Accent and correct pronunciation
Fluency in both General English and Business English is about proper pronunciation. Even the most complex utterance without careful pronunciation and accent will not give the impression of being at an advanced level. It is the correct pronunciation of speech sounds and accents that native speakers most often pay attention to. Practise it with your learners and try to start with simple texts. A very good effect will be achieved by putting the accent on keywords and working on the speech tempo, i.e. on the correct use of pauses. Linguistic correctness is also appreciated in Business English. Try to listen a lot and discuss the part of the word on which the accent falls. In the beginning, repeating parts of a video and comparing the speech of learners with the original speech can be a good exercise.
Regular exercises and boosting speaking comfort
Regularity is the key to success, thanks to which learners will get used to the correct pronunciation. Hard work results in better speaking comfort after some time. In Business English, you should also remember to monitor your progress to measure the effectiveness of your teaching. Pay attention to the following aspects:
• Language correctness
Pay attention to whether the constructed utterances are characterised by language correctness.
Spot out repetitions and try to give feedback on vocabulary.
• Speech tempo
Pay attention to the speech tempo and, at the same time, to the language correctness.
Listen carefully and pay attention to accent placement, pauses, and clear pronunciation of speech sounds.
• Stress when speaking
Observe whether learners get stressed when speaking and what mistakes they make.
• Joining discussions
If learners join the discussions more willingly and more often, you can call it progress.
When assessing, take the individual abilities of your students into account and remember that everyone makes progress at a different rate.