Confidence speaking English
When it comes to gaining confidence in your English, it takes practice and overcoming your nervousness. But which one comes first? Will practice make your nervousness go away? Yes, for some people that will be the case and this is the approach most language teachers and programs take.
But what if you’re so nervous you can’t even practice? What if you’re so afraid of making a mistake that you can’t speak around others at all? In that case, it’s not good for language teachers to order people to jump into conversations. If you’re uncomfortable with English, then it’s important to manage the emotions first and that’s what I do as part of my coaching.
As a fourth-generation Mexican-American girl, I learned early that I was supposed to be able to speak fluent Spanish. But my parents had only taught me English, so I disappointed people over and over again. As a teenager, I successfully took Spanish in school, but I had already learned to feel ashamed of the way I spoke. Even though I eventually knew all the grammar and all the vocabulary, I just couldn’t bring myself to talk to others in Spanish. It felt too humiliating.
This kind of language nervousness is similar to any performance anxiety and can be approached in a number of ways. Maybe you’ve heard of musicians and athletes who visualize success before they attempt a goal. For performance anxiety, guided meditation is one tool, Emotional Freedom Technique is another, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is another and there are many more. Simple language practice didn’t reduce my fear, so I had to find a way to address what I was afraid of. For years I was stuck in simply being too scared to speak.
It took some time, but after using a few different methods to reduce my fear, I’m now able speak Spanish without being stopped by fear of making mistakes. As terrified as I used to be of speaking Spanish, I’m surprised by how comfortable I am now. I speak with much more confidence and when I make mistakes I just brush them off, not caring if anyone judges me. It might be hard to believe, but you can get there, too.
Because I know what it’s like to be paralyzed by fear of speaking another language, I make a point of working with clients on this. At Welcome Dialogue, I work with you patiently, but efficiently, to move fear out of the way so you can speak English in a relaxed way. We take things at exactly the pace that’s right for you, use proven techniques, and move you from being a hesitant English speaker to a confident English speaker. As impossible as it might seem, you can become a person who steps into an English conversation without hesitating.