How to Conquer 3 Common Fears of Speaking English
The lesson has been updated from its original version written in February 2016.
The fear of failure, of making mistakes, and of being misunderstood when speaking in English stops many from being successful in English. If this is true for you, the good news is it’s totally possible to overcome fear speaking English.
“If I could start conversations without fear of failure, I would be more understandable to the people that I’m talking with.”
“My greatest challenge is that I always afraid to make mistakes when I want to speak.”
“If I could assure that my point of view would be perfectly understood, I would have a better communication with others and they will give value to the things that I said.”
Do any of those comments sound familiar to you? These are comments I’ve received from students by email and in conversations.
And they might be very similar to how you feel in English. If they do, then let’s change it!
In today’s Confident English lesson, I want to offer some practical advice and tools to help you begin to conquer those fears of speaking English.
Practical steps for feeling more confident in your English.
Lesson by Annemarie
In the video, I talked about two lessons that may be helpful to you when preparing for a conversation in English and deciding which questions to ask.
10 Questions to Start a Conversation with Anyone in English
3 Simple Strategies to Master Making Small Talk
I also shared a little about Fluency School, which is my 1-month intensive speaking course.
If there is one thing I want you to remember about today’s lesson it’s this: confidence comes from preparation and practice.
It’s that simple.
As you know, preparation and practice require time. When you do it, when you invest your time and energy, it is always worth it.
So the big question is: are you ready and willing to invest in your English? This is an important question. And it’s important to be honest.
The truth might be that you’re not willing – right now – to do that. Maybe other things are more important in your life. And that is 100% okay. But you need to know the truth of that. And you need to accept that is a choice you’re making.
And – later, when you are ready – you can totally dive in and do what it takes.
Now that you’ve reviewed the video, I’d love to hear from you today.
Here are my two challenge questions:
- What steps are you taking now to make progress in your English?
- Do you need to make any changes in what you’re doing to make progress?
You can share with me in the comments below. That’s the best place to get feedback from me and learn from others in the community.
I look forward to hearing from you.
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I want to join with your class
The steps that I’m taking right now are…I have a tutor who I communicate with via WhatsApp. She sends me a video once a week, I watched the video and answer the question she also sends me. I have to record myself answering the questions and my opinion about the video. She later sends me feedback and she rephrases what I said and sends me the corrected sentences. I like this method but still, I feel like I need to do more. So I have been thinking about starting a journal, and I’d like to challenge myself to record an… Read more »
It sounds like you’ve got a great start! And I love your idea of an audio journal. Perhaps, instead of a random topic, you could answer the same question every day like, “What is one thing I read/heard/saw that was interesting today?” This kind of question will ensure that your answer will be different every day. 🙂
Hi Anne, I would like to thank you for the lesson through the video, it’is help me a lot, furthermore your lesson increase my motivation on continuing learning. I do not have confident on myself because after writting a sentence, I tempted to verifie my word by google translate if it right or not, and it’is become a bad manner for me. I learn a bunch of vocabulary everyday but I still have probleme in speaking. Especially when I discuss with my supervisor, my fear of misundertood comes, furthermore my supervisor asked me two times on what did I say.… Read more »
I just want to say thank you for sharing this video the idea of this video its really help me to learning english, i often do practicing my english through listening music and i can sing it again but somehow its totally different when i’m speak english my pronunciation goes wrong and i’m afraid of my mistake while i speak with people and i decided to speak english for those who i feel comfort.
And i will try the idea that you sharing through these video.
Thanks so much for your comment. I think music is a fantastic (and fun) way to improve your English listening, vocabulary, and pronunciation. The best way to overcomes fears in speaking and to improve fluency is to practice speaking. I hope you’ll find the new method helpful to you. 🙂
Hi Anne Marie, you are definitely right saying that both preparation and practice take time and energy and there is no other way to invest into the language and keep your daily actions going so that we see the progress eventually. I want to give you a big round of applause for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us. I admire the way you speak and communicate with us so professionally and by heart. One of the takeaways from this very class for me is an audio recording. I think I should start checking my English grammar and vocabulary and… Read more »
What a thoughtful and kind comment! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
I’m glad that you found this lesson useful and I loved your use of “One of the takeaways…” –> Great language there! 🙂 So have you tried to do an audio recording?
I hope you’ve had continued success in your English efforts.
My Name is Meggy from South Africa , My common fear is that I am a fast talker , at times people are unable to comprehend what i said because it seems like they couldn’t understand what I just said. I have to repeat myself most of the time . This kills my confidence every time when I have to speak English , while i speak clearly in my First language.
Thank you for your comment and sharing a challenge you have in English. One strategy we practice in Fluency School is to use our breath and silence between words when we speak. This naturally slows down our speech and helps us communicate more clearly. It is also a fantastic way to immediately sound more confident when you speak.
You are AWESOME 🙂
Thank you, Ayla! What a nice compliment.
Your lessons are really wonderful but I have a question here, I do audio recording and then listen but how to make sure that m using a correct grammar ?
Thank you for the question.
Many students notice some of the mistakes themselves when they listen. However, it’s definitely helpful when you have someone to work with you. When I do this activity with my students in my classes, I review the audio with them and provide the feedback they need. If you are learning English with a teacher, you could share this activity with your teacher to make sure you’re using the right grammar forms. 🙂
Right now I’m just reading your emails everyday and watch the videos in it. I am planning to get a job that requires me to be fluent in speaking and writing in english. I don’t know if I can get that job because I know that I’m not really good in english and maybe it will take a lot of time but I really need to get the job as soon as possible.
Thank you for sharing. I’m really happy to know you’re enjoying my lessons. Did you know I have many lessons on job interviews in English? You can get those here. I hope they will help you in your job interview process!
Dear Anne Marie, You are perfectly right , that confidence come from practice and preparation. I started to learn more seriously English when I felt at work the fear to speak , to extend my thoughts . First off all I started taking lessons one time per week with a teacher,every day I try to read even one article , to watch movie with subtitles in English and I’m feeling more confident. Sincerely I have a problem with grammar ( I haven’t patience after a long day of work to do my homework at English :)) I should work on… Read more »
It sounds like you have a great plan for building confidence and improving fluency in your English. That’s great!! I appreciate you sharing your experience because I’m certain it is helpful for others to read. 🙂
I was in a situation yesterday where I was “scared” to start a conversation in French. I was at a restaurant and I had some chatty people on one side, and some quieter people on the other. When it comes to getting the conversation going – I’m useless unless I really have no choice. But if someone chatty is next to me, it’s not really a problem. But I really need an extrovert near me to bring me out of my shell, whether it’s in French or English. I guess that’s why “small talk” is something we all need to… Read more »
So true, Cara!! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
First of all thank you very much. I learn so many words and try to talk them. I do English tests, those are publishing permanently in my country and like them. I decided to record my speaking. I can speak slowly.
Hi Ia Vatiashvili,
Thank you for your comment. I’m glad to know you enjoyed the lesson. How was your first time recording yourself in English? Did you notice anything you’d like to change? I hope this process helps you to develop your English skills.