Do you get the following thoughts when you think of speaking in English?
How on earth am I going to speak?
How am I going to explain myself, make myself clear?
How will I make myself understood by others without making myself look like an idiot?
I don’t have a good vocabulary and I make grammar mistakes. How will I speak?
My colleagues/ friends speak too fast. I am scared of asking them to repeat lest I irritate them.
If yes, understand that you are not the only one. There are many people in your boat who have the same fears. But then there are many people too who have surpassed their fears and speak English without any hesitation. I will help you to join their tribe. Read my post and thank me later.
What is the fear you have? Think deeply. You fear that if you don’t speak flawless, fluent English, people won’t see you for who you are- an intelligent and articulate person.
Am I right?
Here’s what YOU can do.
When you don’t understand something, don’t apologise. When you don’t get a word in English, scratch your English muscle and you’ll surely come up with an alternate word. Else, support your sentence with a word in your native language if that’s a possibility. I sometimes say, I can’t recollect the word in English but what I mean is…… and give them an example to explain.
When trying to understand a difficult explanation, you can repeat back what you understood and wait for the other person to correct or confirm.
In an office setting, you can also tell them that you aren’t familiar with the system and could they explain it again or walk you through each step again.
This happens: You can tell a telephone operator to lower her pace and help you with properly understanding the procedure. She will make things less daunting and terrifying.
You will not sink with your ‘bad’ English. On the contrary, your same level of English will help you sail through.
Further think to yourself that you have a job to get done and you need others to collaborate with you, with or without your English. And collaborate they will!
Moral to this post?
It may not be ‘perfect’ but never doubt, I say never doubt your language abilities. Just focus on your goal, be clear of what you need to achieve, create a plan (which involves strategy, human resources etc) and ask others to collaborate with you to easily realise that goal.
Never apologise because you have nothing to apologise for. Everyone has shortcomings and rejoice in the fact that English language you’re using is your second or third language.
Put your focus on communicating your message in the best way you can -by giving examples, asking your doubts, asking clarifying questions, asking for reasoning, asking people to slow down (which is ok), asking people to paraphrase or explain a word which is unfamiliar. And lastly, encouraging them to collaborate with you which is the essential key. Language is just a medium to communicate.
Always have this one goal in mind: don’t speak perfectly, communicate meaningfully.
And that my friend will make all the difference.
Warmest wishes from my side. If you’d like to join my English coaching classes, you’re more than welcome. I help professionals ace up their English speaking skills and communicate effectively. Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find more about my classes. I guarantee one thing- you’ll start loving English as a language and speak it without hesitation. See you in my classes. Good luck!