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There are many challenges to learning a new language, but none are perhaps more harmful than our lack of confidence. With doubt and hesitation hampering our ability to improve, our journey to mastering English can be especially frustrating.
If you’re facing a similar challenge, it’s perfectly normal. Speaking in front of a group is difficult because you have to listen, process what people are saying, and also come up with a response in real-time.
But much of that insecurity will go away if you are prepared. So today, I’m going to share some tips and recommendations that will help you get confident enough to speak English in front of people. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Planning and practice pave the way
- What to do in case of setbacks
- Where do you need to focus?
- Take it one step at a time
- Your mindset matters
How To Get Confident Enough To Speak English In Front Of People
Planning and practice pave the way
The best way to improve your English public speaking is to practice giving speeches in English in public. You will find out what you struggle the most with, whether it is maintaining dominant body language, crafting a compelling story or something else. You will also find out the situations in which you might have lost the attention of your audience.
Before going to the public, you should also practice at home. If you are going to give a presentation, do it as many times as you can at home, in front of the mirror or a camera. Watch yourself in action or rewatch your speech afterward.
If you record your speech, it might be helpful to get feedback from other people, especially English native speakers. They can point out any problems with your pronunciation and the places that you put word stress. They can also warn you of the body language that might come across negatively to an English-speaking audience.
If you want more public speaking practice before having to do an important speech at work or school, you can join groups like the Toastmasters International or public speaking meetups in your area. You will meet other people who are enthusiastic about public speaking and willing to help you improve your skills.
What to do in case of setbacks
Being prepared also means planning for setbacks. This is something that helped me immensely when I was working on getting more confident in speaking English in front of people.
If you worry about making mistakes when speaking in English, you’ll find it useful to focus on this point.
I’m not talking about apologizing every time you mispronounce a word or make a grammar mistake. You don’t need to do that. English speakers understand that it’s not your first language and adapt to the situation.
But what if you didn’t catch something that someone said? Or what if you need to take a minute to think of an answer?
It’s not unusual to get lost when listening to English speakers. Just ask them to repeat what they said. You should never be embarrassed about it. Here’s what you could say:
- Could you repeat the last part? I didn’t catch what you said.
- Sorry, I didn’t get that.
- Pardon me? Could you repeat that please?
- Sorry–what was that?
If you need someone to speak louder, simply say:
- Could you speak up please?
- I’m having trouble hearing you.
It may happen that you’re not familiar with a word that was mentioned. In this case, you could say:
- I don’t know what that means, do you mind explaining it to me?
- [Word]? I don’t know that word. What does it mean?
There may be situations where you misunderstand part of the dialogue, you could answer by saying:
- Oh sorry! I thought you meant [what you understood].
- I think I misunderstood what you said. Did you say ____________?
The point is: don’t let these kinds of situations undermine your confidence when speaking English in front of people. Just learn to deal with them because they’re part of real and authentic conversations.
What do you need to focus on?
Once you start having real interactions, you’ll be able to identify the skills you need to improve. Even if things don’t turn out as you wanted them to, take them as learning opportunities.
So whenever you get the chance to talk, pay close attention to figure out where you need to improve. Afterwards, write your thoughts on a list.
For example, you could make a list of the different things you’d like to work on:
Are you finding it difficult to start the conversation? Maybe you need to search for conversation starters
- Do you get lost when listening to a conversation? Here are some tips to improve your listening. After reading the post, you can also try practicing your listening with YouTube videos.
- Are you dissatisfied with your grammar? Check this article for some useful tips.
One step at a time
You don’t have to be the life of the party just yet!
If you feel you’re still not ready to speak English in front of many people, you don’t have to do it. There are other ways to practice, and in time you’ll get confident enough to speak in front of a group.
For example, you could get used to speaking to one person at first. Try to build your confidence by starting a conversation with someone you don’t know.
I’m not implying you stop random people on the street to talk to them about the weather. But why not have a small conversation with the barista at your favorite coffee shop. You could ask, “How’s your day going?” or make a comment such as, “Busy day today, isn’t it?”
If you don’t feel comfortable striking up a conversation yet, you could start by letting others take the lead. Answer questions with more details about yourself when asked.
A good exercise that has worked for me and my students is to come up with common questions someone might ask you, and practice how you’d answer them:
- Why did you move there? How long will you be in the city?
- How was your week?
- What are your plans for the weekend?
Small steps like this one will help you get over your fear of speaking in English and build your confidence.
Your Mindset Matters
Remember, overthinking undermines your confidence. When we analyze everything that could go wrong, we end up holding back.
Improving your language skills will have a lot to do with how much you practice and interact with other speakers. Nothing compares to having a real conversation in English. No matter how much you learn in the context of a classroom when you get out there, you’ll see that conversational English is a whole different world.
So the more you practice, the higher your confidence levels will get. Yes, speaking in English especially in front of a group is intimidating at first, but I promise you that with time and practice the fear you feel will get smaller. The important thing is, don’t let it stop you! Feel the fear, and speak anyway, and watch it get smaller every time you take that brave step.
Being able to communicate in a foreign language is enough reason to be proud of yourself. Remember that next time you need a push yourself to speak in front of people.
What Are the Components of a Successful Speech?
Any speech you might need to make, from a business presentation to a personal introduction in front of new classmates, requires more than just the spoken words. Great public speaking typically also comprises three core types of communication: physical, visual and the story.
- Physical: This includes your English body language and sometimes the environment that you choose to give your presentation in. It tells listeners how confident you are about the topic and how approachable you will be if they have any questions.
For example, facing the audience with a smile and a straight posture will help you seem confident and friendly, making the audience more likely to listen to and trust your speech. Many people tend to overlook this aspect while preparing for their public speech, but physical communication can leave a long-lasting impression on the audience.
- Visual: This includes pictures, charts and graphs, PowerPoint slides—any visual element that reinforces your speech and helps your audience follow along. You can either use a slideshow projected on a screen or bring physical objects to the stage with you.
- Story: The story is the core of your speech. It involves both the words you say and their emotional content—so it determines your physical and visual communication, too.
For example, if you are telling an inspirational story, your facial expression should be uplifting rather than serious. Similarly, if you present the business results of the first quarter, your visuals should probably include graphs and charts but not photographs.
Public speaking in English is a great skill to have but not an easy one to master. However, by learning the techniques in this article, you will acquire the tools and gain the confidence for the next time you need to speak before a group of people in English.
Speak Perfect English with Aparna Mulberry (Inverted Coconut)
As mentioned earlier, the study was completed by Aparna Mulberry at our ENTRI Learning platform to complete the basics, fluency in English, and other language-related needs. This course is well integrated for those who want to explore a different and more effective English-speaking arena. There are countless specials in the process of fulfilling the conditions of the aspirants.
Although English can be much easier than other languages to learn basic, for example, no gender, no tenses, and very little verbal integration, it can be difficult if you want to speak as native and fluent. The best way to learn the most complex aspects of English is to practice with people from all over the English-speaking world.
If you are learning English, you will probably learn British or American English depending on where you study, or who you study with. Although there is a difference between the two pronunciation and the spelling, most people have no problem understanding each other from any English-speaking country. So if you like to speak English Queen, practice with the Brit. If you like to talk like a cowboy, train with Yank. Or if you like to talk like a kangaroo, train with the Aussie.
Thankfully, it is becoming more and more comfortable to find native speakers from all over the world to help you practice speaking English online. The ENTRI Learning App is a great way to take an English-speaking class online and find chat partners, however, it does not offer many ways to find these partners. If you want to exchange language, there are many sites you can check online, but most of them are unfortunately expensive, and not easy to use. And yet you still have to make time with your new partner and remember to be there. But with our lessons “English Padikkyam with Inverted Coconut” you can talk to a counselor and other students about word practice groups.