Are you struggling with speaking English at work? You are not alone. Most of our students use our online English classes because they want to feel good speaking English at work (or speaking “Business English”). Do you get nervous when you have to speak English in meetings or with clients? Do you feel uncomfortable making presentations in English? Don’t worry. It’s natural to feel stress when English isn’t your first language.
Of course there are many obvious things you can do to improve your Business English… practicing speaking with a friend, reading the newspaper, taking online English classes etc. But in this article we are going to focus on some strategies that will help you improve your communication skills quickly in the workplace. Sometimes reframing a problem can help you solve it.
5 tips for Improving English for Work Quickly
1- Slow it down
This is probably the most powerful tip to remember. So many of our English learners speak way too fast! It’s not a race. Slow down your speaking and you will have a better chance of finding the right words and be able to put them in the right order. If you have an accent, slowing down your pace will reduce its effect as well. Keep it slow and others will be able to understand you better.
2- The Internet is your friend
Maybe this tip is super obvious, but any question you may have about English grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation is at the tip of your fingers. Need to figure out another way to say something? Use google to find a synonym. Want to learn how to pronounce a tricky word? Use youtube to find a video example. You’d be surprised how many native English speakers use the Internet as a dictionary… nobody’s perfect!
3- Less is more
Don’t worry about impressing your co-workers with your extensive vocabulary. If you are talking in a meeting, keep it simple. Sometimes we see our students get into trouble when they try to complicate things with big words and run-on sentences. Stick to the facts and you won’t get tongue-tied.
4- Nervous before a meeting? Say something first!
Anxiety is totally normal and even more common in the workplace:) I know it feels crazy, but think of anxiety (or stress) as your body’s way of telling you “Hey, it’s time to wake up. Focus!” However, too much of stress can be a problem. And we know that the pressure can affect the way you speak English.
Have you ever felt stressed out at the beginning of a meeting? Do you feel butterflies in your stomach as soon as you sit down in the conference room? Try this trick to control your stress. Try to be the first person to say something. Even if it’s just asking someone how they’re doing. Hearing your own voice will calm your nerves and remind you “yes, I can do this. I can speak English at work.” Give it a try.
5- It’s all in your head
Many of our students speak English just fine. They know the basic rules of grammar and have decent vocabulary. Some may have accents, but their pronunciation is satisfactory for the most part. However, when they are in the spotlight, they freeze. They start to doubt themselves. They worry about what others think. That fear can be paralyzing.
I know it’s easier said than done, but ask yourself: “Do you really think your co-workers want to see you fail? Are you less of a professional because English isn’t your first language?” The answers to these questions should be an emphatic “NO!” Your co-workers want you to succeed. They are on your team. And English isn’t your first language, but hey… you know two languages! Finally, ask yourself “Can I speak English without stress at work?” Of course you can. Reframe those negative thoughts. Believe in yourself and you’ll have an easier time with English at work.
6- Bonus tip: Practice with an expert
I hope you enjoyed our article. Want to practice using some of these strategies with an expert teacher? If you get used to speaking with our Native English speaking teachers, you’ll be more confident at work. After just a few classes you’ll begin anticipating your mistakes and feeling good speaking English. Sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class today!