Do you lack the confidence in talking to native speakers? Fear not, we’ve been there, and done that too. Here are some of our proven tips to boost your confidence level when trying to improve your English.
1. Stay calm
When you’re nervous, your words may sound jumbled up and unclear. Perhaps your English is already good, but that shaky voice wrecks your confidence and makes the person you are speaking to unable to understand what you are saying. Stay calm. Take a deep breath, and just talk. Remember, it’s usually worse in your head compared to the reality.
Practise a lot. Watch your favourite Hollywood movies without subtitle and mimic the dialogue of the casts. Pay attention to the pronunciation. You don’t have to try mimicking the accent, or you will start sounding odd.
3. Speak slowly
For native speakers to understand us, sometimes we need to speak slower (and clearer) so that they can listen to our English at ease. As an ESL/EFL (English as a Second/Foreign Language) speaker, we will always have an accent, and that’s okay. The key to good communication is to say things clearly.
4. Read a lot
Through reading, our vocabularies can increase quickly along with our knowledge of common phrases and idioms. Reading supplements our learning to speak confidently as we learn more about the language.
5. Tell a story
One of the best indicators of knowing that your conversational English is good is when you can tell a story. Don’t only practice on general day-to-day conversation. Chat regularly with your native colleagues, friends or family and really share some stories of what you did last weekend, or your recent holiday trip. Your English will improve significantly.
6. Listen more
To be able to speak well, we must listen more to English. Pay attention to what people are saying. In a meeting, take notes on how your native colleagues answer a question or present a talk. Improving your listening will in turn improve your ability to speak.
7. Talk more
At some point, practising in front of the mirror will not do you enough good. You need to actually talk to real people on real matters. This way, you can develop a knack in conversational English and after some time, you’ll gain the confidence you need.