Today I’d like to share with you some really quick and easy ways that you can integrate speech and pronunciation practice into your daily routines.
1) Newspaper Practice
Do you read the newspaper in the morning? Ok, take just 10 more minutes to do an analysis of a short passage — mark the work stress, break the content into chunks, read it out loud to practice flow. Concentrate on sounds that you know are difficult for you. There you go. 10 minutes of practice. Check!
2) Morning Commute
If you’re on the bus, metro, subway, listen to the mp3s on your phone. Obviously if you’re in a public place you probably won’t want to be doing production practice, but you could get away with it in your car. Either way, you’re at least working on your listening skills. That’s at least 15 more minutes of practice, and it’s really good practice if you’re able to also practice your speaking at that time. Check!
3) Boring Meetings
Now what about when you’re sitting in that incredibly boring meeting at work? Instead of letting your mind wander to all kinds of crazy things, put your speech awareness hat on and make some notes about how the person speaks. If they’re a good speaker, what can you learn from them? If they aren’t so good… what can you learn from them? Listen for pronunciation, timing, flow, use of examples and stories, audience engagement techniques (or lack thereof). Turn your daily experiences into learning experiences. We just got about 30 more minutes of practice in! Not bad!
4) Waiting Times
Now, another opportunity! Think about all the time you spend waiting during the day. Maybe you’re stuck on hold with your bank, or someone is late for a meeting, or you’re waiting in the car for your kids when you’re picking them up at school or another activity… Make small lists of minimal pairs that you can practice in these moments. Write them on small notecards, something like a business card size and have them handy at your desk or in your bag, so you can run through them and practice. You could get as much as 20 minutes of practice per day using this technique!!
10 + 30 (you have to commute both ways!) + 30 + 20 = 1hr, 15min per day!
Then let’s say you schedule just one 15 minute practice session into your day, as I recommend.
You’re working on your speech for an hour and half each day!!
And we haven’t even thought about all the talking you do in a day. Think about if you approached every conversation as an opportunity to practice! It’s just about raising your awareness!
Be creative with your speech practice. Integrate it into your daily routine. Raise your awareness about how you and others speak throughout the day. Always have this in the back of your mind in your conversations with people. You have more than enough time to work on your speech.
You CAN do this!!