Are you asking how to overcome the fear of speaking English?
As a Lingoloop tutor, I talk with English learners everyday about their goals. I also hear about the things that are holding them back from being comfortable speaking English. The number one issue that people mention is shyness.
I was talking with a student just this week who mentioned that she is able to speak English pretty fluently when she practices alone in her apartment, but as soon as she is around others, she feels shy, freezes, and can’t get her thoughts out. Does this sound familiar? Want to get rid of your fear of speaking English?
So let’s address this very common issue. Here are 4 simple things you can start doing right now to help you overcome your fears when speaking English, or even when speaking your native language.
1 – Smile
Sounds simple, right? Well it is! I make this recommendation to both English learners and native-English speakers all the time. Smile! It doesn’t have to be a huge, goofy, toothy grin. Even a slight smile changes the way people perceive you. It shows that you are confident and at ease, even when you are not! Think of it as wearing a mask. Nervousness and shyness are all inside your head. Having a small smile on your face not only makes you look at ease, it actually does make you feel more at ease! Try it right now. Don’t you feel better?
Just because you feel nervous, you don’t have to appear nervous. Acting confident is the first step to being confident. In time, the nervousness will go away. Also, your smile will most likely make others around you smile. And when you see someone smile back at you, it makes you feel more comfortable and less shy.
2 – Ask Questions
Asking questions is a great way of controlling the conversation and keeping the focus off of you. In our previous blog post, we discuss how a conversation is like tennis. You need to know how to hit the ball back to keep the game going! A great way to do that is to ask questions. People love to talk about themselves, so give them that opportunity! The key is to avoid yes/no questions. Try to ask questions that start with the words who, what, when, where, why, and how. Questions that start with these words open up the conversation and gets the other person talking more, taking the pressure off of you.
3 – Prepare
Good conversationalists aren’t born that way. They take active steps to prepare for various situations. They think of things to say and questions to ask when they are on their way to a social event. They go into situations prepared with content to discuss. You can do the same thing. Before going into a social situation, take a few minutes to read about some current events online. Think of a few interesting things that happened to you that week. Think about some interesting plans you have in the coming months. Have those topics ready for when it is your turn to add to the conversation.
4 – Practice
To get good at anything, you need to practice. Practice your English with someone you feel comfortable with. It will feel good to practice speaking English in a safe space with someone you trust. A great way to practice is to join a Lingoloop Group class . You will be with other people who are in similar situations as you, and who understand what you are going through. Our expert tutors will guide you through the conversation and help you correct any mistakes that you make along the way.
Sometimes we can’t help feeling shy, but we can change how we respond to that feeling. Take a deep breath, smile, ask questions, be prepared, and practice. By following these simple steps, having conversations in English will get easier each time. Let Lingoloop help you overcome your fear of speaking English! You won’t believe what our students are saying about us!