#169: Communicate Easily in English — 3 Strategies for Shy Speakers

Mar 18, 2020 | English Confidence and Fluency, English Conversation

Do you believe it’s possible for you to communicate easily in English and feel powerful? Even if you feel shy, stuck, and nervous now? It is!

Two weeks ago, I interviewed one of my students, Ana from Spain. When I asked her about what her life was like after Fluency School, she said:

“Before Fluency School, I felt stuck. Desperate. I was sick and tired with wasting time in traditional classes, but after Fluency School, I felt powerful. I felt confident because now I don’t need to feel insecure anywhere. I don’t feel nervous because now I have the tools. I know how to get unstuck.”

Isn’t that amazing? To feel powerful. (You can listen to Ana’s story here.)

That same week when I interviewed Ana, I got two emails that completely broke my heart.

Watch the video to learn why and get 3 strategies to communicate easily in English — even if you’re feeling shy and stuck right now.

(Keep reading below for the full video transcript.)

Transcript — Communicate Easily in English

Two weeks ago, I interviewed one of my students, Ana from Spain. When I asked her about what her life was like after Fluency School, she said before Fluency School, I felt stuck. Desperate. I was sick and tired with wasting time in traditional classes, but after Fluency School, I felt powerful. I felt confident because now I don’t need to feel insecure anywhere. I don’t feel nervous because now I have the tools. I know how to get unstuck.

Isn’t that amazing? To feel powerful. (You can listen to Ana’s story here.)

That same week when I interviewed Ana, I got two emails that completely broke my heart.

One of them said: my problem is that on paper my English is supposed to be good, but in real life I’m still super frustrated with the way I speak and then she asked, what’s the point of all my academic and professional skills if I can’t express myself with ease?

On the same day, I got another email that said: I feel every time struggling with the appropriate words regretting later about my mistakes coming back home and fighting with my own self and asking why did this happen again?

I’m curious which one of those describes you best?

Do you feel like Ana, where you feel powerful, you feel that you have the tools to get unstuck and you don’t feel nervous anymore? Or are you wondering why you have spent so much time, effort, money, and energy to finally communicate well in English and you still can’t do it?

Are you still fighting with yourself about why you get stuck, forget words or feel nervous in a conversation?

If you feel more like those last two emails, there are three things I want you to know.

Number one, you’re not alone. Number two, you’re not bad at English.

And number three, it is possible for you to feel powerful, to feel confident and to have the tools that get you unstuck in English so that you can participate in any conversation and share your ideas successfully.

I know that because this is what I do.

It’s exactly why I created Speak Confident English and Fluency School. It’s why I do these videos every Wednesday.

My goal is always to help women around the world develop true confidence and fluency in English so that you can do whatever you want in your life using English, so if you’re feeling frustrated or you’re worried about making mistakes, if you always get stuck in a conversation and freeze, you lose the words that you want to say.

If you’re afraid that it’s just not possible for you to communicate confidently in English than today, that’s exactly what we’re going to help you do. In this lesson, we’re going to talk about how to communicate easily in English.

All right. Before we dive in and get started, I have two things that I definitely recommend you do if you haven’t yet.

Number one, I recommend that you get my free in-depth training on How to Say What You Want in English. In that training, I share my number one strategy to effectively make progress in your English confidence and fluency. It’s one of the same strategies I use with all of my students.

And number two, every year I open my Fluency School course two times: in spring and fall. Before I open Fluency School, I always start with a three-part video training series that is completely free. In that training series, I highlight how to speak clearly, get unstuck and sound natural in English. It’s a little sneak peek of what Fluency School is all about and I definitely recommend that you review those training videos.

The best way to do that is to get on the Fluency School waitlist and when you do that, you’ll automatically get that free training. Now, that particular training is unique because I only share that training before Fluency School opens and it’s available for a limited period of time, so get on the waitlist and watch your email inbox for when that training begins.

Those are two easy ways to immediately get started and make progress in your English confidence and fluency.

Now let’s get back to three simple strategies you can use to communicate with ease in English.

And I have to tell you that these strategies are perfect if you’re a shy introverted speaker. In fact, I created Speak Confident English specifically for naturally shy introverted speakers and everyone on the Speak Confident English team is also naturally shy and introverted. We love helping other women just like us get the confidence they want to express themselves clearly.

So why introverts?

As an introvert, you might often be shy even in your native language. When speaking, as introverts, we often prefer to observe and listen and we also prefer to have more uninterrupted time to think. We like having all our ideas organized and we want to choose our words carefully so that we can express exactly what we want to say.

We’re not so comfortable speaking with mistakes or trying to think out loud. In fact, making a mistake in public is an absolute nightmare. Do you feel the same about all of those things?

These realities of being an introvert definitely create challenges when you’re trying to learn how to speak clearly and confidently in a new language, but it’s not impossible and there are some strengths that introverts have that actually make them fantastic communicators, especially when they learn how to develop that confidence and to be in control of what they’re saying.

That’s what we’re going to focus on to help you communicate easily in English. So strategy number one, practice pausing.

This is something I focus on in that free Fluency School training that I told you about, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time in this video going into the details, but when I say practice pausing, it means to learn to use short little pauses in between your sentences or in between your ideas as you speak. When I say that, I don’t mean using a long pause like________ like that and then continuing, but just short little ones in between the different phrases, groups of words or ideas that you’re expressing.

That strategy I just told you about, to use pausing… I’m using it with you right now. In fact, it’s a strategy I use all the time when I speak in my Confident English videos, in my lessons, in my conversations with my husband and friends.

It’s how I communicate. Does it sound strange or slow to you? Did you notice that I was using this strategy? Probably not, and that’s the point. But the beautiful part of using those little pauses is once you get comfortable with them and you learn how to use them well, you can use those tiny little microsecond pauses to think, organize your ideas and express your next sentence, your next idea, your next thought clearly.

This is a skill that I love helping my Fluency School students master. Once they learn how to do it and get comfortable with it, that is where real confidence begins.

Strategy number two to help you communicate easily in English is to breathe and get time to organize your ideas.

This one is all about staying calm or relaxed and giving yourself the time that you need to organize the ideas in your mind and make the right choices for the words that you want to use and strategy number one, I talked about using these tiny little pauses, but in strategy number two, I’m talking about giving yourself a little bit of extra time to really think about what you want to say to do this correctly.

We typically use a phrase or some kind of body language to buy ourselves some time.

Here are some things that you can say to do that, and these are my favorites. I use them all the time. If someone asks me a question or in a conversation if people are waiting for me to say something, I might start with:

  • Give me a second. I want to be really clear about what I’m going to say.
  • Hmm, I need to think about that for a moment to make sure that what I say is clear.
  • Let me have a moment to think about that.
  • Give me a second to organize my thoughts on this.

Now if you’re in a group conversation and you know that everyone is eager to join the conversation, you could say something like:

  • I need another minute to organize my thoughts. So go ahead and continue the conversation and come back to me in a moment.

Using something like that indicates that you definitely have something you want to say, but it also allows the conversation to continue successfully and when they’re ready they can come back to hear what it is that you have to add.

And finally, strategy number three for easy communication in English is to let your ideas connect to each other.

Let me explain what I mean by that. Letting your ideas connect is about allowing one idea to flow into the next idea.

When your mind is calm and free to do this, it allows you to process information more easily and get to the key points or the key ideas that you want to talk about.

You already do this in your native language. It’s possible that you’ve never thought about it or recognized it because you just do it. You’ve learned it from the time you began learning your language.

But doing it in English means that you have to practice.

It means learning to think in English. This is definitely something we work on in Fluency School, but I’ve got a great strategy for you to use on your own. In fact, it’s one that I still use to practice my second language to practice this process of thinking in English and allowing your ideas to connect to each other so that you can process information and find what you want to say.

You want to make sure that you’re alone and you’re in a calm, relaxed space. And then all I want you to do is look around you. Identify things that you see, hear or feel right where you are, but do it in English. So let me give you an example of what that might look like. If I’m sitting in this room, I might look at my desk and I see that on my desk. I’ve got my computer, I have my notebook, my daily planner.

(I have way too many pens and pencils.)

It’s also where I keep all my painting supplies and when I see my painting supplies, I immediately start to feel happy. I start thinking about the parts that I enjoy about painting, that it makes me feel relaxed and that I’m enjoying the process of learning to paint and then it continues from there.

The goal is to do this in English.

Now, I mentioned at the beginning of the strategy that you can do this while you’re thinking, but even better is to do it out loud, to do it as you’re speaking.

This is something that is challenging for us as introverts. Remember I said we like time to think and be clear. We don’t like to think out loud, but this is going to teach you how to do those things in English. I want you to learn how to think, how to think quickly and how to find the words or ideas that you want to express in English.

This is going to help you avoid translating in your mind and getting stuck.

Combining these three strategies of practicing, pausing when you speak, giving yourself time to breathe and think clearly or organize your thoughts and teaching yourself how to think in English will allow you to communicate more easily in every conversation.

This does take time. It’s not something you can learn to do and be ready tomorrow, but I promise you the moment you begin regularly practicing these three strategies, you’ll start to notice immediate progress in your ability to communicate and express what you want.

Now I want to hear from you.

  1. I want to know what your biggest aha moment or your biggest insight was from today’s lesson and how you can use that to help you in the future.
  2. And if you’ve got a great piece of advice or tip on how to communicate easily in English, I would love for you to share it with me in the comments below as well.

It’s a great opportunity for you to share with someone else in the Confident English community.

Don’t forget to download the two free trainings I mentioned and share your comments with me.

Have a fantastic week.

– Annemarie

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