Have you ever told a native speaker how challenging it is to speak English well? Their response will probably be, “I didn’t know it’s that tough.” English is among the world’s most difficult languages to master for many new speakers. This can add to a fear of making mistakes when speaking English with natives. These tips can help build your confidence.
Slowly Build Courage
Something as complex as learning a new language takes a lot of time and a lot of work. Don’t have yourself believe that one day your English will be perfect. Accidents will always happen. Practice and experience will improve your skills, but courage doesn’t come overnight. You can slowly build it by trying more difficult words in English conversations. Through continuous conversation not only will your courage build but so will your English skills.
What’s the Worst That Can Happen?
A related tip is to ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Accept that mistakes in speaking English will occur. When feeling doubt or fear about correct usage, say something like, “How do you say that in English?” Most native English speakers are happy to help, and won’t judge you based on your English-speaking ability. Be patient with yourself and others, especially when trying new phrases. Speaking English can be a doorway to new cultures, ways of thinking, and possibly a better job or life.
Learn Common Clarifying Phrases
Use phrases like these when you may not understand something that said during a conversation:
“You know what I mean?”
“Can you repeat that, please?”
“What are you saying?”
These phrases will not only clarify confusing words or phrases, but they will allow your conversation partner to explain and help you learn new things. Through this sort of interaction, you can build confidence and trust in knowing that those around you are willing to help. With repetition, you’ll feel more comfortable asking for clarification more often, and it will allow you to continuously learn new things like slang.
A Great Time to Learn
It’s important for you to be speaking English every day. It’s easy with the Internet, global TV, or free worldwide phone services like Skype or Facetime. You can watch an English movie or newscast online. If outside an English-speaking nation, use social media to develop mutual interests and start conversations with English speakers. Through these different tips and hours of practice, your confidence in English will build. Remember to stay patient, ask for clarification, and remember that learning is a process. As your skills build, your confidence will build too – just make sure to familiarize yourself by speaking in English as often as you can.