In yesterday’s lesson, you learned how you can get fluent faster by focusing on learning phrases, NOT on memorizing individual words or grammar rules.
But there’s another problem that might be holding you back from becoming fluent.
That problem is not being confident in your English.
Let me tell you a little secret…
I’ve worked with hundreds of students, and I would say about 99% of them are insecure (lack confidence) about their English.
They say things like:
- “I hope you can understand me.”
- “I know I make a lot of mistakes.”
- “Sorry for my bad English.”
Even students with a GOOD level of English say things like this!
Do you ever feel like your English is bad?
Do you ever want to say something… but you don’t feel confident that you’re going to speak English well?
Here are three simple ways you can increase your confidence to speak English:
1) Focus on what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T do
It takes a long time to get fluent in English, and most students are constantly thinking about what they are missing or lacking.
This is a big mistake!
It will sabotage your English-learning progress… and also, it makes you feel bad 🙁
Instead, you should change your focus to celebrating what you CAN do in English. One way you can change your perspective and learn to think more positively by keeping an English success journal.
Every time you make progress or have some small “victory” in your English learning, write it down in a notebook (or in a document on your computer or cell phone).
- Today I learned 3 new words and used them in sentences
- Today I understood how to use the present perfect
- Today I practiced listening for 15 minutes
- Today I remembered a word without using the dictionary
- Today I understood some of the phrases in a song or movie
- Today I successfully made a phone call in English
These things can be big or small – the important part is that they show progress and improvement.
On days when you’re feeling depressed about your English, or when you don’t have much motivation, you can read your success journal to see all the wonderful progress you’ve made. This will help increase your confidence and encourage you to keep going!
2) Practice speaking English in low-pressure situations
When you have to give a presentation in English, or when you’re at a party trying to socialize with native English speakers, there’s a lot of pressure!
The pressure can make you feel like you need to be perfect – and then you’re not confident enough to say anything at all. What’s more, you become nervous, and then you might have trouble remembering or saying even the phrases you already know.
If the only time you practice speaking is in these types of high-pressure situations, it can make you think speaking English is just really difficult.
But you can build your confidence by practicing speaking in low-pressure situations. One way to do this is to speak to yourself. It might sound or feel ridiculous, but it really works!
You can look at a list of discussion questions, imagine that someone is asking you the question, and respond by speaking aloud. This helps you train the ability to put your ideas into spoken English – without the pressure.
When you become comfortable and confident speaking English in a low-pressure situation, it will be much easier to express yourself in a higher-pressure situation like a job interview or telephone call.
3) Get feedback on your English speaking
Let’s say you’re doing OK with your speaking, but you still wonder…
- “Am I saying everything correctly?”
- “How is my pronunciation?”
- “Are there any phrases or words that would sound strange to a native speaker?”
The way to get answers to these questions is by getting feedback on your spoken English.
Someone – a friend or teacher – can comment on your speaking and let you know what you’re doing well and what you could improve.
Where can you get feedback on your English speaking?
- You can sign up for private lessons with an English teacher on a website like italki.com or verbling.com
- You can join a conversation exchange, where language learners interact and help each other
- You can join the Everyday English Speaking Course, which includes “Speaking Tasks” – you can record an MP3 of your answer and send it in for evaluation. An Espresso English teacher will reply with comments and correction!
This type of feedback is really valuable for students at all levels, because you’ll know EXACTLY how to fix your mistakes and improve your speaking.
If you’re ready to start the course, click here to join!
Remember, the three ways to increase your confidence to speak English are:
- Focus on what you CAN do in English, not on what you CAN’T do yet
- Practice speaking in low-pressure situations
- Get feedback on your speaking
Think positive and keep up the good work in your English learning! I hope to see you in the speaking course, where our teaching team would love to give YOU personalized feedback.