What’s your first reaction when you know you’ll have to speak in English – maybe at an international meeting or conference, or when you have company visitors?
You might feel anything from ‘slightly worried’ to ‘complete fear’ or panic.
This is totally normal. If you don’t often speak English, you’ll probably be anxious about ‘performing’ in an important situation. This anxiety can be due to three main reasons:
A fear of making a mistake.
A fear of not understanding when someone else speaks.
A fear that your English isn’t good enough – and that someone will think you’re stupid.
You probably recognise at least one of these – and they’re all “confidence killers”.
Why confidence is so important when you speak English
If you appear confident, people are more likely to listen to you because you show authority. In contrast, if you look scared or if you apologise for your English, people are less likely to take you seriously.
There’s another thing as well. When you speak confidently, people listen to your message – to the meaning behind your words – and not to any English mistakes you might make.
It’s a “virtuous circle”. When people listen and reply to you, you can develop the conversation. This exchange of English gives you confidence, because you know that you can engage with people and build a conversation in English.
That’s why these “confidence killers” are so damaging. When you feel afraid or anxious, you might speak more quietly, you might say less, and you might be more hesitant. When these things happen, people are more likely to hear mistakes and more likely to judge you on your English.
So how do you develop confidence?
You can’t just wave a magic wand and become more confident overnight.
But there are things you can do NOW to minimise any fears you have when you speak English.
In this video, I show you 3 things you can start doing today to build your confidence.
The advantage of these three things is that you can do them relatively quickly – and the first two you can do on your own.
Click the link below to see the video.