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Let me tell you something very important: You are going to make mistakes when you speak English. Even the best, most fluent English speakers make mistakes!
The main thing is that you don’t let your mistakes or not being able to find your words stop you from being confident.
Easier said than done you may say. I can’t find the vocabulary I need. I have to stop in the middle of every sentence to think what to say next. I don’t have the opportunity to practise English so I can’t speak fluently.
I hear you.
I speak several different languages at different levels of fluency and I understand how frustrating it is when you can’t explain what you want to say or you know you’ve made a whole bunch of mistakes. It’s hard when no one understands who you really are because you can’t express yourself properly.
These are some things I have learnt along my language-learning journey that might help you (and don't forget you can also download our free fluency top tips here):
You will have good days and bad days. Some days you feel like you are back at A1 level. Other days, it seems so easy! It’s normal to have good and bad days. If you’re having an A1 day, just do what you can and wait for tomorrow.
Don’t be afraid to correct yourself if you realise you have made a mistake. By correcting yourself, your brain will eventually use the correct version automatically. Also no one listening to you will care if you go back and self-correct.
Laugh! If you realise you made a really stupid mistake (like telling the doctor you clean your baby’s nose with the vacuum cleaner), just laugh. Everyone else will find it funny and no one will think worse of you.
Don’t compare yourself to other people. Some people are better at imitating accents, some people have better memories, some people are better at making themselves understood even when they don’t have the language. All of these things can be learnt and practised, they just take time. Remember that some people may have been lucky enough to do a high school exchange or spend a year in the UK. You can’t compare yourself if you didn’t have those opportunities.
Learn public speaking skills. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone to speak in front of an audience of strangers in English will make speaking English everyday seem really easy. You’ll also learn techniques for looking more confident, even when on the inside you are not.
Everyone who is speaking a foreign language is on their own journey and no two people’s journeys are the same. Everyone has a pain point, something they find really difficult.
I’ve worked with a lot of people who are ashamed of their English or who were totally afraid to speak, but who have overcome those feelings to go and speak English to people all over the world. I know you can do it too!