It takes time to learn how to be confident while speaking English. Especially at work, where making mistakes can cause more than just embarrassment. However, it’s important to understand making mistakes is normal, even at work.
And it’s normal not just among beginners. Even more advanced students and natives can have a hard time speaking English in public. So, if you’re still at the basic or intermediate level, just remember that you’re not alone in this. And as they say, “practice makes perfect”.
It might also help to think that 75% of the world population doesn’t speak English. Based on that alone, chances are your colleagues are just as insecure as you.
Below are a few tips on how to be confident while speaking English both at work and in your personal life.
Why Are People Afraid of Speaking English at Work?
Don’t worry, fear is part of human nature. The fear of not being able to please everyone, the understandable fear of the violence in the world, the panic associated with losing loved ones, and even the fear of speaking English at work. It is often an irrational reaction due to any number of reasons.
It can come up because of past trauma stored in the body, self-consciousness, aversion to embarrassing situations, all of which can be barriers in the workplace and beyond. Barriers that can easily be broken if you follow the tips below.
Accepting the Fear
When you experience an unpleasant sensation such as fear, the first step to take is accepting it. The fear of speaking English at work is no exception. You first need to accept you’re afraid of communicating in English. Then, investigate internally the reasons why.
Lack of practice or vocabulary, difficulty with specific topics, or being ashamed of your accent can be some of the many causes behind your fear of communicating in English. That’s why it’s so important to identify what you’re feeling and what’s behind it.
Identifying (and Overcoming) the Fear of Speaking English
At this stage, we recommend you identify the reason why you’re afraid to speak English at work. Is it shame? Is it lack of exposure? Is it your pronunciation? Whatever it is in your case, it’ll be easier to deal with it once the reason behind your fear becomes clear to you.
If it’s just lack of exposure to content, you can try and practice more. If you’re ashamed, you can practice at home by yourself or with a friend. If it’s your accent, you can focus on how to improve your English with pronunciation experts. Whatever it takes, persistence guarantees good results.
If you’re ashamed of your pronunciation, it’s key to understand you don’t need to sound like a native speaker. As long as you get the message across, you’ve done your job!
Focus and Concentration
Focus is a key element if you want to overcome your fear of speaking English. By practicing tirelessly and correcting the mistakes you tend to make, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively. Concentration when speaking is another key aspect. People often find it hard to communicate in English because they cannot concentrate on what they’re trying to say.
You can practice all you want, overcome all of your fears, but losing focus when you’re about to say something can be disastrous. You might have to face those fears all over again. So, focusing on the message you’re trying to convey and how to express it is essential. It’s an important step towards feeling confident to speak English in public.
Practice Speaking and Thinking in English
Try to speak and think in English as much as possible. A great strategy many students use is to speak English as you go about your daily life. You don’t need somebody else to practice with, although that’s also an effective way to improve your skills. But even if there’s no one around, you still have yourself to practice with.
Also, try to think in English whenever you can. Especially while you’re still overcoming your fear. It’s a way to familiarize yourself with the language and develop confidence.
Watch Content in English
One last fundamental tip: watch content in English as much as you can. This really includes everything. Whether it’s podcasts, YouTube channels, forums, TV shows, movies, documentaries… You name it! All of those are available in English. It’s a fun way to practice while watching or listening to something you enjoy. It also makes learning English a lot easier and quicker.
Practice with Cambly
If you’re still afraid of speaking English at work, relax. Take a deep breath. Cambly is here for you.
Our platform offers classes taught by native speakers to help you feel confident speaking English. Cambly also has a business version, through which you can learn English with a special focus on business English. Talk to your manager about it!
And for whatever else you need in terms of learning English, you can always count on Cambly. We’re certain you will soon reach your desired level of fluency.