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Afraid of speaking? Read This

"I feel nervous when I have to speak English at work."

 

Is that you?

 

If yes, don't worry. I'm terrified of flying.

 

I'm definitely the ridiculous one here, not you.

 

I still haven't overcome that fear but I've helped hundreds of learners fix their speaking problems.

 

So today, I will tell you why you become fearful when speaking at work and how you can smash this issue.


 

 

You're not the only one


I've worked abroad for a multinational company with thousands of employees who don't speak English as their native language.

 

I've done hundreds of meetings and talked to hundreds of foreign professionals.

 

I can promise you that there is not one single person who is 100% comfortable when speaking or listening to a native speaker.

 

They don't say it because, let's admit it, it's not cool to say that you don't understand or can't speak.

 

But remember...

 

you are not the only one.

 

That's for sure.

 

How to fix this:

Aim at making at least one question in each meeting. Your main goal should be to ask at least one question in every team meeting. Trust me that after some point other teammates will look at you as the brave one. It happened to me.

 

Why are we scared?

We think our language is not good enough.

 

You might worry that others will think you are not skilled because of your English.

 

And to tell the truth, sometimes unfortunately this happens.

 

But remember...

 

your actions show your true value. Not the way you speak.

 

Your work will tell people how good you are. Not your vocabulary.

 

What you do is more important than how you sound.

 

When HR professionals hire people, the first thing they require is that you can do your work. The rest is secondary.

 

Nobody would ever hire an engineer who speaks perfect English but can't code.

 

How to fix it:

Before each meeting, take 5 minutes to meditate. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Repeat to yourself:

"I speak [language] well" 100 times.

Not 99! It has to be 100. It's a proven formula.


 

We are afraid of making mistakes


From a young age we learn that mistakes are bad.

 

We think we need to be perfect because otherwise, we are not useful.

 

But guess what?

 

Making mistakes is the ONLY way to learn.

 

Let this sentence sink...

 

MAKING MISTAKES IS THE ONLY WAY TO LEARN.

 

There's no way around it.

 

To speak English well, you must be okay with making mistakes.

 

This depends greatly on your personality.

 

Shy people unfortunately will have a hard time speaking.

 

But this doesn't mean that they are less skilled.

 

How to fix it:

Start measuring your progress by how many mistakes you make per day. You should make at least one mistake a day. If you don't, it means you haven't tried hard enough.

 

Pro tip:

Choose one topic and speak for two minutes two times. The first time, focus on speaking perfectly without making mistakes. The second time, focus on speaking fast and allow yourself to make all the mistakes you want. Record yourself and listen to both recordings.


 

We avoid difficult situations

 

Feeling uncomfortable is normal.

 

It's like exercising.

 

The more you do it, the stronger you become.

 

If you avoid speaking your second language because it feels hard, you won't get better at it.

 

Think of your courage as a muscle.

 

The more you train your courage, the more brave you will become.

 

And this will apply to all things you do in life. Including speaking a second language.

 

But if you never step out of your comfort zone, if you never train your courage...

 

How can you expect to magically become a confident speaker?

 

How to fix it:

Have one uncomfortable discussion in your target language every day. If you don't have anybody to practice with, ring a customer care number of any random company and have a conversation with them.

 

Pro tip:

Change from writing to speaking. If you need to send an email, talk to the person face to face or call them on the phone instead.


 

Speaking English at work can be scary.

 

But hey, it could be worse.

 

At least you're solidly on the ground.

 

Think if you were afraid of flying. That would be a much worse problem to address.

 

Alright. I hope this was useful, but even more...

 

I hope you'll do something with it.

 

Nick

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