Fear of speaking in English is equivalent to the fear of failure for many. I have seen senior professionals confident in their work but not in their English. They shy away from making presentations, discussions with bosses and taking the client leads simply because they are not sure of their English. Honoré de Balzac famously stated, “Our greatest fears lie in anticipation”. If getting choked up and tongue-tied is getting in your way, take a look at these tips to help you overcome your fear of speaking in English.
5 Tips to overcome your fear of speaking in English
1. Your language is never as bad as you imagine
Your current level of English has to be better than the basic and you’re good to go with your public presentations, client discussions and what not. Remember how you worried about college presentations, taking an exam, or meeting your in-laws for the first time? It all went well and so will your presentation in English. Also remember, these are not your English tests. People are more interested in your content than your English. English is just a language used for communication. Work on your numbers, strategies and briefs and present them in English. It’s simple. All the complications are in your mind. Just uncomplicate- my favourite word.
Stick to simple English and you’ll get laurels, trust me.
2. It’s in no way as terrible as you think it’ll be
We all fear the unknown but feel the fear and do it anyway. Your ideals, your perfect bosses, your fluent colleagues- they all experience fear, they all worry of failing but they still go ahead and do what is required to scale up the business and their career.
No one was born fluent. People acquire fluency over time owing to various factors. Most of us are bilingual and fluent in both the languages.
If you’re getting to know English as a young adult, or even later in life, you can still master it with practice. Fear of speaking in a ‘not so comfortable language’ is normal. What matters is how you triumph over that fear so as to transform from an English language learner to an English language speaker. Don’t fear speaking in English because you think you are terrible. Your audience will appreciate your hunger for learning the language. We all work in inclusive settings where people are celebrated for their learnings. It’s never as terrible as you think it’ll be.
3. Everyone makes mistakes
Mistakes are useful! Mistakes are a proof that we are doing something. The one who didn’t speak never made a mistake and never learned. Whether you fear your tenses or your pronunciation, remember that it’s ok to make errors. Even the best of English speakers make mistakes, just that we don’t realise them.
4. Practice every moment possible
Practice your presentation content, the common dialogues exchanged during client meetings, the vocabulary used in your industry and you are ready to roll. You can’t learn cycling without cycling, you can’t learn English without practicing. Rehearse before a big presentation or a meeting and you’re good to go. Just chill and enjoy your big moments. English is just a language that can be pulled off easily.
5. Learn to laugh at yourself
Life’s not easy, roads are a mess, the air we breathe needs to be filtered, I can give your more reasons to fret. Don’t make your English a reason for your anxiousness. Laugh at your mistakes, client meetings and that jerk who asked you stupid questions in impeccable English. Approach the language with humour. Share a joke or two about you English delivery and errors and snigger at yourself. You’ll comprehend that talking in English can be fun.
These were a few tips to overcome the fear of speaking in English. Don’t let fear build a spot inside you. You have to overcome it and ONLY YOU CAN DO IT. Speak to me. Book my English speaking course. It is fun and you’ll have fun with the language too. Your English is already good, you just need to polish yourself. Let me do the honours.
Also, I run an English group on Facebook: Learn English with Tanya. Do join the group to add more English in your life.