If you want to learn to speak English, you will also want to understand how to have an English conversation. They may seem like the same thing, but when you talk about having a conversation, you must understand many other things outside of just knowing some words and phrases.

When you really want to be comfortable using a new language, you need to feel comfortable not only with yourself, but also the people you are conversing with.

So, if you’ve always dreamed of having a full-on conversation in English, here is how you can do it with confidence.

Take note of nonverbal cues

When you speak English, just like any other language, you will be interacting with more than just your mouth. Your body language, movements, facial expressions and so much more plays a part in how you are communicating.

Depending on the setting you are in, taking note of verbal cues can be extremely important. If you are approaching a stranger in a public setting, you will want to take note of how the person you are speaking with is reacting. If they are constantly fidgeting or looking at their watch or checking their phone, chances are they are not interested in a long conversation.

Nonverbal cues are even more important for non-native speakers. That is because emotion can dictate the meaning of a phrase or saying. If you are only focused on the words, you may misunderstand the purpose or meaning of something. Paying close attention to the emotional reactions of your speaking partners will help you understand the overall meaning of the conversation.

For instance, the same phrase can be both sad and happy. If you were only focused on the words, you might not know which one. But, if you are paying attention to whether the people are smiling and laughing or are stern and serious, it will be much easier for you to follow along and engage.

Familiarize yourself with popular expressions

There is no way you can learn all English expressions. You can, however, take the time to learn some of them. English is a language that is very reliant on cultural expressions. They are not only a part of conversational English, but also permeate to formal English. If you don’t take the time to learn any cultural expressions, you will find it difficult to hold a conversation in English.

Even if feel you are fluent in English, it is very challenging to keep a conversation going if you are not able to recognize popular expressions. The problem will arise from you likely taking some things literally that are likely lighthearted expressions. This can lead to misunderstandings and awkward moments. Understand the culture You may know English, but how it is used will depend on where you are. If you are having a conversation in New York City, it will be different than having a conversation in Mississippi.

That makes it important for you to take the time to learn about the culture of where you’re at. If you understand the cultural background of where you are, it will be easier to hold a conversation. It will make you more comfortable speaking.

Follow current events

Unlike conversations in the movies or during English classes, when you are actually having a conversation in English, there will likely be mentions of current events. From local events to national news to weather, knowing current events will make it easier to keep the conversation going.

Current events are also great ways to learn new words and phrases to continue to increase your understanding of the language. They can also help you instigate a conversation.