Do you recall the last time you stood before a large crowd of people to speak?
You memorized what you needed to say, however you felt nervous and maybe your voice was shaky towards the beginning. Subsequently, you glanced through the room to check whether anybody liked your presentation, looking for feedback from the faces around. Your boss makes eye contact and you hope he didn’t notice how anxious and restless you were.
Does this sound so like you? Possibly you were in the same situation not long ago.
Even as experienced professionals, it is obvious to feel nervous while speaking in front of an audience. But what is awkward is to completely avoid doing these types of presentations. While there are many tips and techniques to improve English, having confidence in your skills and abilities is just as important as vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and everything else.
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” -Norman Vincent Peale
Having a sound feeling of confidence serves as a motivator when you are learning English. Confidence in our abilities and our potential urges us to push ourselves more.
Some studies demonstrate that building your confidence will also help you at work. Confidence in your skills and aptitudes at work will imply that your boss will have more confidence in your abilities, which could lead to more responsibilities at work. When you are confident in your abilities, you are more open to learning opportunities, such as professional development programs from your company.
Not only that, if you are responsible for dealing with clients and managing customers, your confidence will make them trust you more.
Since now you understand why you need to care about confidence when learning English, let us take a look at how to build your English language competence in order to project a more confident version of yourself.
Part of being confident is speaking well. If you speak clearly and loudly, you will appear and feel to be more confident. An easy to do technique is learning to read with fluency.
What is the meaning of that? It implies that you practice reading a piece of text so that you sound confident not only in what you say, but also the way you say it. Practice reading it in front of a mirror and notice your body language. This will help you to work on changing the way you stand and the way you talk. Body language has a surprisingly large influence on your confidence level.
A great way to act confidently is to study people. You need to be able to realize what they do that makes them so confident. There is no alternative and better way to understand this than by watching people who have to speak before a large number of people every day – news reporters and presenters.
While it might be tempting to watch the news in your local language, it is better and smarter to watch it in English. Firstly, you get the chance to practice your listening skills. Secondly, you have the option to imitate their tone so you can do the same in English.
If you think you can’t do this, just remember that even native English speakers struggle when it comes to talking in front of an audience. Those reporters can do it since they have practiced for a long time over many years and have teleprompters to their aid. You, as well can be as confident as them, however you have to invest your time and efforts.
There is a lot of research done by the social scientists about the influence of body language and its affect on how other people see you and also how we see ourselves. We make sweeping judgments and conclusions from body language. Those judgments can predict really meaningful life outcomes like who we hire or promote or which business deal we crack. Body language has the potential to improve honesty, conflict resolution and the working relationship of a team.
Sometimes all we need to feel better about learning English is realizing that we're not by any means the only one who struggles and that others also struggle with certain things, such as how they look when talking to their boss.
Feel free to share your struggles with a close friend, your spouse, a mentor, or even a trusted co-worker. This is not about grumbling. Rather, it’s a time to share what you don’t feel confident in, or what you are struggling with.
Try not to pass judgment on yourself or contemplate why you don’t feel confident, that will not help. Instead, say what you have to say and go on. Sometimes, venting out our frustrations is all we need to feel better. That way we can get back to improving our English.
It tends to be quite nail biting when going to networking events or even speaking with co-workers who have better English than you. In such a situation, it will help if you prepare at least 10 phrases to use as conversation starters. That way you are not remaining around with awkward silences which will only make you more anxious and less confident. You can plan and be ready with your conversation starters for various scenarios. So, regardless of where you are, you will be prepared to face any situation.
Part of being confident means understanding that others may be battling with similar issues. It's normal for us to feel better when we realize that others are tackling the same problems we are. Studies show that when we perceive this, it works on our self-esteem and in turn with our confidence. It’s essential to work with somebody you trust. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about your problems, then how are you going to settle them?
It is useful to talk to trusted colleagues or maybe join a group of professionals who meet together to discuss a topic of their choice, in your case, improving your confidence in English.
These could be informal groups at various training centers or virtual training rooms for the professional English development of individuals who wish to bring the best out of them by learning right English in order to project a confident version of them. Professionals also use it as a platform to help each other learn and exchange ideas or just to network.
Learning a new language is not simple and it appears as though there is a ceaseless amount still to learn. We all sometimes need a little encouragement and it would be really inspiring to read about people who have successfully learned English. Finding out about how others have been successful helps to encourage a positive outlook. These success stories will likewise enable you to understand what techniques they have used to gain more confidence.
Setting aside some time to reflect on what you have accomplished so far will help you realize how much you’ve actually learned. It is also a confidence boost since it shows just how hard you have worked.
You could keep a journal to keep a track of the things you worked on or accomplished. You could also create a feedback form to give yourself positive feedback on your skills. Ensure that you ask for the feedback from people who have better English than you.
Taking up an English language development program will help you to get into a conversation with your trainer regularly and ask what they noticed about your progress in English. You can speak with colleagues who you use English with as well. Start thinking about your errors as opportunities to learn. Remember that it’s not the end of the world if you’re struggling with English. There are many worse problems that you could have, and that others are going through. Putting things into perspective will help.
Learning English isn't simple, yet it doesn't imply that you can't be confident in the abilities that you have right now. If you work on any of the tips given above, you will feel much better within yourself and feel more confident. The individuals around you will begin to notice as well as the individuals you work with.
Remember that having confidence will automatically give you more confidence and this virtuous circle will help to motivate you to improve even more.
Also read: Public Speaking is a Key to Success
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