top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Tips on how to practise your French conversation skills in France

From language exchanges to speed dating, there are several ways of improving your spoken French

Practise makes perfect when it comes to conversational skills Pic: Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

Once your language learning is well under way, the challenge can be putting your skills into real-life practice. 

Speaking French is all about confidence and that only comes from practice. 

The best way to improve is to use every opportunity to use what you have learned. 

Conversation is - in my opinion - the most important part of getting to grips with a language and should be the focus of the majority of your learning. 

Oral communication is the part of language learning that you will use most so the more practice you can get, the better. 

However, this can be easier said than done so here are some tips to help you manufacture situations where you can practise your conversation skills. 

1. Language cafes 

If you are living in or near a French city, there will be plenty of events for language learners. 

Language cafes are common - this involves meeting with French native speakers who want to improve their English, having a coffee or a drink together and speaking in both languages to allow each person to practise. 

This is a great free way to work on your speaking skills while also socialising in a more relaxed environment.

These events can usually be found on Facebook groups or by simply searching on Google. 

Read also: Try these 17 French expressions to help improve your language skills

2. Language speed dating

This is a speaking exercise I use with my students that works very well every time. 

If you have a group of friends who are also learning French, this exercise would make a good event and a different way to practise languages together. 

The point of this exercise is to get used to speaking on the spot without thinking. The repetitive nature allows you to gain confidence in saying the same phrases and then builds a base to expand on as the conversation continues. 

It works as you can imagine - two lines of chairs facing each other. People speak to their “date” for two minutes before one line moves along a chair. 

You can either be yourself and talk about real-life situations - which may be helpful if you are an early learner - or you can invent a whole persona if you are a more advanced learner and want to challenge yourself.

Don’t worry if you end up saying largely the same thing to most of your dates - the point of this is to develop confidence in speaking and confidence comes from repetition. 

You can make it more challenging by trying to say the same thing differently each time you speak to someone new. 

Read also: How to pronounce the French words Connexion readers find hardest

3. Join a local class or club 

You may well be part of a language class, but joining another type of club is a great way to practise your language skills. 

Even in small towns, there are all sorts of activity groups to suit your interests. 

Things like walking or running groups are a great way to increase your speaking opportunities at a low intensity. 

The beauty of a class or club is that it revolves around the activity rather than the conversation, which takes a lot of the pressure off. 

A bigger group also means that you can contribute to the conversation when you feel able to or focus on listening to the conversation going on around you if you don’t feel ready to chat. 

As well as allowing you to improve your conversation skills, you might even make some French friends - which is ultimately the best way to improve your French. 

4. ShareAmi

ShareAmi is a platform first started during the pandemic by the charity Oldyssey to try and combat the isolation felt by older people due to the various lockdowns. 

It links young language learners with French senior citizens in a mutually beneficial scheme. 

Not only does it help the young learners’ language skills, but it promotes intergenerational friendships and offers a sense of purpose to both parties. 

Read more: Language-learners call retired French people to practise chatting

Discussions take place on Zoom, with many participants having forged strong bonds with their “buddy”. 

You can find out more here:

Related articles

Updated: Your tips on how best to improve French language skills

Seven beginner mistakes in French to avoid

Try these eight daily life hacks to improve your French

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France