Some people just dive straight into speaking English from the very beginning, equipped with a small vocabulary and lots of confidence, careless of their mistakes or their accent. They don’t care if they are butchering the language. Many of us, however, will feel blocked, too self-conscious to utter a word until we know exactly how to put an entire sentence together. Where to start, then?
Read on to discover some top tips on how to overcome your fear of speaking in English.
Step 1: Understand Your Fear
Think about it – What exactly are you afraid of? Fear of speaking in a foreign language usually boils down to being afraid of looking clumsy, being judged, and feeling anxiety or having fears of failure. But this is all this is normal – it is to be expected! It is caused by stepping into unknown ground -. Anxiety will do you no good – it reduces your ability to perform on any field. So, you need to get that anxiety out of the way.
With your English language coach by your side, you will be able to tackle this task one step at a time and overcome those fears – little by little.
Don’t expect to speak perfectly right away, of course. But who cares? It is not your native language, after all.
Don’t expect to speak perfectly at first – and there’s no need, really
Step 2: No Need for Perfection: Learn to Tolerate Frustration.
Don’t expect to speak perfectly at first – and there’s no need, really. You’ll never speak a language fluently without speaking a broken version of it first! So, let go of perfection. And the sooner you start talking, the sooner you’ll reach a conversational level.
Realizing you’re making mistakes will be frustrating, but this will ultimately be outweighed by the reward of starting to speak and feeling that you can communicate, no matter how limited your communication skills might be at first – what matters is that you start talking.
Step 3: Seek Out One-on-One Conversations
You might have found yourself among English speakers in a party, during a trip or in a business meeting – struggling to catch a word and suffering throughout the experience. But, when you think about it, being in any of those situations requires a very high level of fluency that you might not have achieved yet – it doesn’t mean that you can’t get there. It’s just that, when a group of native speakers get together, the conversation will usually speed up and become extremely difficult to follow for a non-native speaker – let alone for someone who has never spoken it before.
Don’t despair – there’s no need to torment yourself trying to do something that is way above your English level. Start small – with one-on-one conversations, which are easier, asking your conversation partner to speak slowly and clearly; or even better, taking private lessons where you can benefit from getting the input and guidance you need from an expert, as well as the patience to let you think, making you feel comfortable and repeating anything as many times as you need.
Step 4: Start Having Fun.
Every time you make a mistake you will have an opportunity to learn how not to make it. So, embrace your mistakes as the learning opportunities they are. Once you see it this way, you will be able to relax, have fun and enjoy your learning process.
Remember! Don’t beat yourself up every time you notice that you’ve made a mistake or when you can come up with a word or put together a perfect sentence. Give yourself a break. Then, keep trying. Because, when you do this, you will eventually get there.
How can a teacher help me?
There’s a lot you can do on your own and a good teacher knows it and will create or recommend plenty of materials and give you tips so you can do your own self-study to learn the basics.
Then, to consolidate what you learn in class, you can do more and more conversation in class, always getting feedback and recommendations for materials to push you forward. This way you’ll the most bang for your buck.
Find a teacher for conversation-based sessions and feedback. She will know how to focus on conversation while keep you learning new material and having you use what you know, because so much can stem from that – pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and so on. And then when your teacher notices a gap in knowledge or a repeated error, she can offer up activities that will help you specifically with those issues.