How to talk about complex topics in English

You’re fine talking about simple topics in English or about your work: anything that you speak about regularly in your daily life is going to take less effort and you’ll feel fluent.

three people at a table discussing figures
Talking about complex topics is crucial when you work in English

But when it comes to talking about politics, or emotions, or explaining complex processes, you are stuck. You start talking, you realise you are missing some words and then you get lost in the middle of a sentence.

Once you get to that intermediate plateau in English, this happens. And yes, it happens to everyone!

Imagine you could get past this and get to the stage where you can speak about complex topics without getting stuck. How can you do this?

There are three things you need to remember:

  1. The structure of English is not the same as the structure of your own language. This means that you feel you are not explaining something correctly, because you are not explaining it in the same way that you would in your own language. It doesn’t mean you are explaining it wrong!

  2. Choose short and simple sentences. Connect them with the easy connectors that we use most often in speaking: and, but, so, because. Learn some easy phrases to explain things, such as “this means (that)…”

  3. You need to expand your vocabulary for areas that you don’t normally talk about. The best way to do this? Think about the kind of vocabulary you would need in your own language and look up the words. Make yourself a mind map or a visual with the vocabulary in it and then practise talking about the topic with your vocabulary in front of you. If you join a fluency class, you will be doing this.

Again, there is no big secret to talking about complex topics: you need practice and time (and of course a little effort!)

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