Learning a language can seem scary at times. In reality, though, there’s nothing to be afraid of. People actually are unlikely to notice many of the small mistakes you worry about when you are speaking because they are too busy concentrating on the interesting conversation you are having. Just knowing that can give you a bit more confidence but what can you do if you really want to overcome a fear of speaking and improve your English faster?
Do something scarier!
Many successful people have talked about the benefits of doing things you find scary in order to improve yourself. In fact, the idea goes back to stoic philosophy and maybe even earlier. So, how does that apply to learning English?
Good teachers should do their best to make the classroom a comfortable place to be and that’s an important part of learning. If you want to be able to apply your skilled real life, though, a bit of discomfort is often necessary and the best way to bridge the gap is often in small steps.
For example, if you feel fine speaking English in small groups in class but not confident in the real world, try doing something that makes you uncomfortable but in a controlled environment, for example standing up and presenting something the class.
Start small with things only you might find scary, like banning your overused words then you can work up to bigger challenges, like delivering a talk to a group of strangers.
Here’s a list of ideas to get you started. Remember, something you find easy might be scary to others.
- Join a new English class
- Present to the class
- Introduce yourself to an English-speaking colleague
- Introduce yourself to a stranger
- Present to a new client
- Speak at a conference
- Publish an article in English
If you manage one of these things you’ll reach your bigger goals in no time. So, what scary thing are you going push yourself to do this week to help improve your English?
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