King George VI of England, who reigned from 1936 to 1952, was the father of the current Queen of England. He was famous for many things but if you’ve ever seen the film The King’s Speech you will know that one of the things he didn’t have a natural talent for was speaking in public. In fact, he had a stammer which made public speaking very difficult for him. On top of that, he was king during the Second World War – a time when political leaders and monarchs needed to give their most inspiring speeches to give confidence to the general public.
When learning a second language, one of the biggest obstacles that many learners have to overcome is fear. Even though there is no reason to be afraid when speaking, it can be tough to have the confidence to express yourself in your second language sometimes. So, if you are scared to speak up in English, what can you learn from George VI?
Find an expert to help you. In the case of King George, this was a speech therapist. For most language learners, this will be a good teacher, online course, or book written by an English expert.
Identify what you have problems with. George VI found out the letters he had trouble pronouncing and avoided using them. If you are a language learner, working out what you have trouble with or are unsure of in your new language then focusing on fixing those problems will make you feel much more confident.
Practise, practise practise! Practice makes perfect and King George spent hours practising individual words and sounds. He also spent hours rehearsing speeches. Regular practice at actually speaking your new language will make you feel far more confident.
And one thing not to do… One of the cures suggested for George VI’s stammer was smoking. He smoked almost constantly because of this. As we now know, this wasn’t good for his voice and was the eventual cause of his death. So remember, stick with positive habits to build your your English skills, stay healthy, and you will be able to speak with confidence, too!
To learn more, you can try our online English course which includes conversation classes to build up your confidence!