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Finding and Practising with a Speaking Partner

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

Speaking partners are a great resource for any language learner. They give you the informal practice you need to speak with confidence and you can have fun too! You can find people to practice both informal speaking as well as for exam preparation where a speaking partner is, I believe, essential. How do you find a speaking partner? Well, there are three main possibilities - people you already know, local groups and online groups. Let’s look at each of these in turn.

People you already know These might include family, friends and colleagues who also want to practice their English. I had a student who used to speak English with his sister every dinner time. If you have a partner or other person in your household, this is a great way to practice. Notice that my student didn’t try and always talk in English, he set clear start and end times so it felt achievable. You could also arrange to meet a friend or colleague for a coffee and a chat in English for some of the time.

Local Groups If you live in a larger city, there may be language exchanges where people from different countries can get together and practice talking different languages. For example, where I live there is a Spanish - English speaking group as well as a couple of international language exchanges. This is a wonderful chance to meet new people as well as practice English and possibly teach someone else your language too! If you find this idea makes you nervous or shy, I’d like to tell you about an B1 student of mine in Japan who attends a local group. The other Japanese people there have much better English than her, but she is very brave and goes every week. Guess what? It really helps her English!

Online Groups There are two ways you could find online partners. One is though online speaking clubs such as where you attend and meet lots of different people. The format is organised for you, as are the topics, so all you need to do is turn up!

Alternatively, you can look for speaking partners in Facebook groups. This is particularly good for exam candidates as there are Facebook groups for pretty much every English exam out there! Very often, there are people in the group who want a speaking partner to practice with. Look for closed rather than public groups as they tend to be of a higher quality.

With a bit of research and experimentation, I believe that it’s possible for anyone to find a speaking partner, whether that’s for personal enjoyment or achieving a great score in an exam.

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